So what I did for Labor Day (US version) weekend: I got up about the same hour I do every weekday in order to make a long drive up to north Jersey. This slightly odd behavior was very well-motivated: bunny_hugger was flying in for the weekend. Getting up that early is unnatural for us both, but it made for the best use of weekend time while respecting the budget. As I drove up I realized that we had made a couple of little tactical errors in planning our meeting: the first is that we didn't actually set a place where we would meet. In fact, I didn't actually know what terminal she would arrive at, but since she was coming in on a Continental Airlines flight I knew she'd be arriving at Terminal C in Newark (we at least had the airport figured out). And while she was flying with only carry-on luggage, the logical place to look for her would be the baggage carousel since that'd be a central, bounded area with a major marker identifying the flight she'd been on, and I felt sure she'd come to the same conclusion.
Did you know that, in fact, not all Continental flights through Newark use Terminal C? Some of them use Terminal A, instead, which would have been nice to know since that's the terminal that United uses and that I've come to think of as my home terminal. I began to suspect this when I found the baggage claim and found none of the carousels were assigned to her flight. Then I looked up the flight arrival information and found she'd arrived On Time, at Terminal A.
I considered: is Terminal A close enough to walk to? I have no real idea how far apart terminals are, just that you can get into a driving orbit of them pretty easily. Should I go back to the parking lot and drive over to Terminal A to re-park? Or would that just mean I paid for two half-hour parkings rather than a single hour, maybe even a single half-hour if we were fast? I tried the new AirTrain shuttle instead, which allowed me to discover just how very high above the ground the trains run and how narrow the monorail-like structure is. It can be breathtaking.
Still, despite the miscalculation about the terminal my instinct was good: she had been sitting in the baggage claim area, checking the Internet on her new-to-her iPod Touch, and I almost managed to sit directly opposite her before she noticed I was there and recognized me despite my recent weight loss. It was a most happy reunion.
So, I tried to explain the Terminal problem as clearly as I could, which still came out feeling muddled, and we found the AirTrain back to Terminal C so that we could go down enough escalators to take the escalators up to where I had parked. It's all a little weird. Driving home, though, we had a generally unremarkable ride despite bunny_hugger fretting that she was being untalkative due to sleepiness. She wasn't actually untalkative. We did take a little detour because a part of the drive back goes near my childhood home and elementary school and we were able to compare notes about the places where we grew up, and the schools where we grew up. My elementary school is, from the outside, not appreciably changed except the playground is full of considerably less dangerous stuff and the parking lot isn't a kickball field anymore. Just as well; I never figured out the part where you kick the ball and it goes any appreciable distance away.
When we got home, we actually had the house to ourselves, as my parents had gone visiting friends for the weekend, which is a pretty convenient way to work things out. But the important thing to do, starting out, was to nap. (This would be unremarkable except that I bolted upright in bed about 11:30 am with the dread fear that I had overslept and left bunny_hugger stranded at the airport.)
After we both got up and felt much more rested we started looking for the cats since I realized we couldn't actually account for the presence of the middle one. The eldest cat came out and looked indifferently at us, and the youngest was reasonably hoppy; it's just the middle that was not in any room, nor any closet, nor under any furniture, nor on top of anything that I could find. I couldn't find her in the garage either, but as the other doors were locked I accepted temporarily the hypothesis that the middle cat couldn't have escaped. This is not perfectly satisfying, logically, but rather than continue the cat search we decided to find breakfast/lunch/arguably dinner.
If we have any tradition --- actually, we may end up with many traditions given our overflowing sentimentality and joy in finding anything we do with any thematic connection --- for her visits to New Jersey it seems to be an initial meal at one particular diner, where we had our first meal together and whose name happens to be her home's street name. We even had something like a traditional meal, her French toast and me an omelette, favorite foods that we don't have as often as we might. And we got lost in the meal with how happy it is to share a meal together, and to be in the same place together, and to be in a place which was so happy, and, well, two hours later a waitress came over to ask if we needed drinks refilled. We did, but we weren't waiting for that particularly.
Also along the way bunny_hugger worried about what looked like bruises on my wrists, but we determined after going to the bathroom that it was just some of the blue ink of the placemats rubbed off on my hands, probably the result of condensation on the water and soda glasses.
Following dinner (whatever the meal was) we went to Target because in the natural course of packing, well, bunny_hugger had forgotten to bring her toothbrush, and some other minor accessories. Wandering along all the aisles in Target may sound like a faintly dull way to pass an evening, but the thing is, with the right person it's exactly the sort of way to spend an evening. There is a time when looking over sunglasses and marvelling at the dinosaur toys is joyful, when you have the right companion for it, and it is to my wonder that I do have that person.
We also stopped at a Best Buy, in the vague idea that they might have a demonstration of The Beatles Rock Band set up to tease people into buying it when the game would come out the next Wednesday. They didn't, so we had to content ourselves to wandering around, although we did discover a set of Colombo episodes on DVD that bunny_hugger was ... not at all sure whether she had them or not. The problem is they got to labelling new releases worse than they used to, so it wasn't clear whether the set of episodes from 1990 was a subset of those on a slightly older 1989-90 set she already had, or if it was just the episodes made in 1990 which hadn't been included before. While tempted, she chose to put off buying it since the set might be redundant and it could almost certainly be bought back home anyway, particularly with how she's comfortable buying stuf online.
Returned home, we found the shy cat had decided she'd had enough of hiding, and she came out to walk gradually closer to bunny_hugger, soon to take up the cat's pastime of trying to step on at least one foot. (She likes stepping on feet.) A quick check verified we had the full cat inventory. So we were able to settle back to holding each other, and watching some of the Superfriends Lost Episodes DVD I mentioned because one of the episodes on that is aptly titled, ``Roller Coaster''. That episode features the Wonder Twins failing miserably at rescuing teen idiots from an abandoned roller coaster, and it's wonderful in just the ways you would expect from something that forced bunny_hugger to exclaim, ``Roller coasters do not work that way! Morbo says goodnight!''
We also caught the New Effects version of Star Trek, that weekend the story of ``Charlie X'', raised a nearly feral child granted supernatural powers by aliens, whose tragic failure to fit into human society could have been prevented only if someone had tried. Yeah, from the show's setup, Charlie can't really have a happy ending, but boy, you'd think somebody on the ship would have the slightest talent, ability, training, or even remote interest in helping socially displaced people find their emotional bearings.
Trivia: The United States Navy's specifications for what became the Monitor included the requirement it include masts, spars, sails, and rigging adequate to drive it at ``Six Knots per hour in a fair breeze of wind''. John Ericsson ignored the requirement. Source: Monitor, James Tertius deKay.
Currently Reading: Nanocosm: Nanotechnology and the Big Changes Coming from the Inconceivably Small, William Illsey Atkinson. Er, all right, so he's a fan of Japan and ... you know, this whole book reads like it was blog entries that got filled up to overflowing.