[ Done with late for a little while at least; we're back after the big trip to Maine. ]
One of the things bunny_hugger and I kept meaning to do was to have a barbeque cookout. We'd meant to do it the previous year, and not managed; we kept meaning to do it some evening this week, and not managed. bunny_hugger had suggested the best solution we had now: have a cookout for lunch instead.
She has, among other things, an adorably tiny grill just about the right size for a couple pieces of corn and some hamburger-sized patties. All it takes is a little bit of charcoal, which she had in abundance in a bag in her garage; the bag, it turned out, had rotted away on the bottom so we ... didn't actually have that many fall out when we picked it up. The bag worked just as well upside-down. Although the first attempt with charcoals, lighter fluid, and matches didn't quite take, the second attempt did.
The recipe bunny_hugger really wanted to try and that I never heard of but was interested in was for corn, which would be slathered in sour cream, then sprinkled with chili powder and queso fresco. My corn imagination tops out at putting butter on it, so I was fascinated and skeptical of the results. I shouldn't have been: the combination was great, albeit messy. The actual recipe called for sour cream mixed with mayonnaise, which we had passed on as sounding too much like one of those die-before-30 recipes where you eat deep-fried cholesterol in a grease gravy and shoot your heart with a pudding bullet. But bunny_hugger has subsequently tried the sour cream/mayo mix base and that works quite nicely, it turns out.
We also had veggie burgers, of course, and I spruced mine up with the chili powder and the queso fresco, which shows my basic attitude toward topping off burger-type foods. Cheeses being added always works; slightly strong toppings, often.
While eating we discovered an inchworm had taken to inching its way up my shirt. bunny_hugger hadn't noticed them in her yard before. I hadn't noticed how much they move like the inchworms displayed on The Muppets, with a slightly less obvious string.
Pausing only to completely forget to flip bunny_hugger's mattress --- an overdue chore she had looked forward to having the help of a second person for, and which she'd asked about and I'd agreed to do two or three times in the run-up to or during the week --- though, I finished packing and got ready for the drive to the Grand Rapids airport and my flight home.
Driving westward, we reflected on just how much we had seen this side of Michigan the past week; I was getting to recognize some of the landmarks, at least along the road leading in the general direction of Grand Rapids. After a while we realized we hadn't heard the end of that Doctor Who serial, so we resumed where it had left off. From the point we'd left off Friday, we'd thought The Curse of Peladon was in its closing minutes, maybe ten or so to wrap up everything, but it surprised us by tossing in a fresh climax and dragging out the end for another half-hour. (We had to agree, the Peladonians have a complicated relationship with Aggedor, their resident monster-and-god.) On the other hand with the extra episode the audio turned out to end just about as we pulled up to the Grand Rapids airport.
The Grand Rapids airport is named for and dedicated to Gerald R Ford, who of course hails from the area and has not made Michiganders at all touchy by getting into the Presidency without being elected. (In my defense, I brought up the way he got into office only along the way to saying how he could be so strikingly dull; he didn't have to go through quite the same ``charisma filter'' that other television-era presidents had to survive.)
We kept checking how the line at security was; since it was nonexistent, though, we felt comfortable sitting in the surprisingly comfortable lounge until just before boarding. Also we kept noticing that of the six flights leaving Grand Rapids that evening, five of them were delayed, somehow. Mine was the only one not leaving late, although, it turned out it would leave late after all. The reason? Although there was only one other flight leaving from the same wing, it was leaving from the exact same gate, and just before my flight, so that we had to wait for them to get through before we could start boarding.
I managed to have minor crises on the airplane. For one, I'd expected them to want to gate-check my backpack, but they didn't. They should have, as it barely fit in the overhead bin, something which did not stop the guy sitting next to me from giving theoretically useful but incorrect advice about how I should rotate it so it would fit. (It wouldn't fit rotated; I needed to rearrange stuff in it.) Also, a bottle of Sprite Zero I'd bought before boarding exploded when I opened it, spraying the guy sitting next to me (and also my book, for that matter) and making a surprisingly nasty mess. The woman across the aisle had a spare package of tissues, though, which she gave me, and I was able to get that cleaned up. But I still don't know why the soda exploded.
Arrived in Newark, incidentally, I checked the arrivals boards to see my own flight, surely one of my many weird compulsions. The monitor showing the end of the alphabet in sources had the classic Windows ``there are unused icons on your desktop'' bubble in its lower right corner. I love catching computer systems with extraordinarily simple tasks in the midst of messing up those tasks; what can I say?
I'd arranged for my father to pick me up. We'd planned from past trips that I should wait for him outside the terminal rather than wait for my father to park, meet around baggage claim, and go back again; instead, we should meet by the doors. Well, I spent about a half-hour leaving my father voice mail messages on his phone reporting where I was, and he spent a half-hour leaving voice mail messages on my phone reporting he was there and couldn't find me and the cop was telling him to move --- in my father's world, the airport cops spend about ninety percent of their time telling him to move his car --- and where was I?
The short answer: I keep mixing up ``Arrivals Level'' and ``Departures Level'' in leaving these sorts of coordinating messages. So he kept being one level above or below where I was. In my defense, I had just arrived. We should have just agreed ``meet on the topmost level'' and not confused things with labelling them arrivals or departures.
But I did eventually catch my father, and got in the car even though he insisted we had to move move MOVE because the airport cop was supposedly on his case so I didn't have the time for luxuries like opening the back door of the car to put my bags in; I had to throw them over the seat as I lunged inside. But we got home safe and sound, ready to go back to work.
Trivia: A play, Captured By Wireless, about murderer Hawley Crippen and his transatlantic escape and capture, played for one week in April 1912 at the Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan, Crippen's hometown. (It also played elsewhere.) Source: Thunderstruck, Erik Larson.
Currently Reading: The Unwilling Warlord, Lawrence Watt-Evans.