Baltimore Washington International Airport
Chicago O’Hare Airport
Home in Houston
In addition to a Driver Manager, I have a “Counselor” who is supposed to represent me in matters of family considerations, personal leave and financial matters. I will admit that I doubted the effectiveness of this set-up from the start. It may be that I am too cynical on these matters. But I insist that I have good reason to be cynical by default.
Nevertheless, I called and told my tale to my Counselor and she did what someone should have done before they jerked my chain around like they did. She found a place for me to store the truck and bought me an air ticket home. So, while I cannot forgive the despicable way they were treating me, I can say (somewhat grudgingly) that they ultimately did the right thing. Since I am managing to get these loads delivered on time and safely (and at bargain prices, I might add), I have every right to expect the right thing.
So let’s move on. The place where I left the truck is the other Peterbilt shop in Maryland, this one in Baltimore. I made sure to tell them about my ten-day visit to their sister “Pete Store” in Landover where I was so long a fixture in their shop that they joked about me being put “on the payroll”.
I am in the Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) with an hour and a half to burn. If it were anywhere but an airport, I would have a beer. I vaguely remember beer. But the fact that the menus don’t mention prices and that this is the Eastern Seaboard North of Virginia tells me that these prices are out of my league. Besides, I’ve waited over a month and it won’t hurt me to wait until I can have beer at merely retail prices. On the other hand, I don’t do this often. These days I almost don’t drink beer at all. Maybe just one. In the spirit of investigation, you see. (That wasn’t hard to get over, now was it?).
Well, beer at BWI is seven dollars for a draft pint. I can’t call it reasonable. Indeed I can still call it excessive, but with the understanding that the airport will set the rents for these places knowing that they can charge these excessive amounts and so that is what has to happen for them to meet that rent. So, I pay the seven bucks for a Samuel Adams draft and tip a Dollar – once.
You may remember that this all came about because they wanted me to go back to Illinois. In a weird twist of fate, I had a layover in Chicago before the final flight to Houston. In Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD), the investigative urge comes upon me again and I find that the price of beer went is now in double digits – for the same Samuel Adams draft. I am an old man of limited means and so I appreciate very much that the bartender selling this expensive brew contributed his tip to the price of my beer.
So, now I am home at that same kitchen table where you saw my “before and after” photos. I have been to the gym this morning to swim 15 laps and already I have some muscle tone in my upper body that has been so sadly lacking in the last few months. I also weighed myself to find out that I am still 70 pounds lighter than the end of last year. That is a really good thing, since my health was beginning to notice the extra stress!
I have “taken care of business” – most importantly to get my youngest son to college at UT Dallas. It is a great campus for a University that is gaining a good reputation for Computer Science. Among their corporate sponsors is Texas Instruments, a company that invented a little thing called the “integrated circuit”.
I dutifully spoke the required phrases that all Fathers must recite.
“Why when I was in college, we had roommates and a bathroom down the hall with a gang shower. Not these single bedrooms and private baths. ”
“ We had to lug around big piles of hardcover books, not your fancy-pants ipads.’
“We walked to classes in the snow, uphill – both ways”.
The elder son is now a Chef and I have counseled him to become a restauranteur extraordinaire and create a gastronomic empire on the model of Papas family – now famously successful in Houston and all of Texas.
I figure that while I am dreaming, I should dream BIG.
I also was able to make room in the overstuffed garage for the second of four automobiles that will live here with the two resident humans for the near future. It is perhaps ominous that cats now outnumber human occupants in my remote and fondly remembered home. 😉
And my lovely wife is also busy with her many interests – not least of which is her travel agency where she creates “Dream Vacations”, arranging cruises and tours worldwide. I am happy that in my absence, my loved ones are industrious and well-occupied.
Me? I am also well-occupied, back in my truck in North Carolina and bound for Orlando. This is not what I imagined I would be doing at my age, but it has been challenging and interesting. I will continue to ply the highways and tell my tales. I of course appreciate your interest, Dear Readers.
P.S., I know you like when I include photos. I don’t have any that relate directly to the text. But, the photos below are from the time in Maryland when I visited the Air and Space Museum. And, I did mention Maryland.