My life is about to change. Come August 12th, I'm driving up to New Hampshire to live and start school with Sarah. I've left Wal-Mart after five years, which I did with mixed feelings. On the one hand, Wal-Mart can be a messy, exhausting and frustrating place to work, but I've gone rather attached to all of my co-workers there. It's hard seeing the same faces every day for so long without feeling sad that I'll be a thousand miles away. It'll be worth it though, ultimately. Closing the distance in my long distance relationship will mean the world to me. Also, I am pumped about never having to try and sell a person an extended coverage plan for their electronic devices again. Fantastic.
I've just gotten back from this year's Dorp meet-up. A 2-week vacation where half of the trip was spent with Reno in Cleveland, and the other half was spent in Maryland at Anne Marie's family Beach House or at Otakon in Baltimore. The beach house segment came partially out of a compromise offered by Anne Marie. Sarah and I had been dragging our feet about Otakon, finding it expensive, loud and distracting when all we really wanted was to spend quality time with friends. We argued that meeting up virtually anywhere else would be vastly cheaper and we would easily make our own fun without the built in entertainment of a convention, and pushed to do it anywhere else. We also had basically had our fill of the convention after doing it so many years in a row. The others weren't as keen on this idea. Otakon is convenient for Anne Marie because it is nearby, and SungWon was in love with the Inner Harbor area while he and others were just excited about panels and products of the convention itself.
To satisfy Sarah and I's whining, Anne Marie got permission from her family to use the beach house for our stay. In the Maryland half of the trip, we'd stay at the Beach House for a few days before going to Otakon. Sarah and I would return home at Otakon and leave the others to enjoy the convention fully.
A huge deal this year was that our resident Australian, Wilco, finally got to come stateside again after years of the pacific ocean separating him from his friends. Taking a huge blow to his bank account in spite of disappointments over possible promotions at work. He spent a solid week in Canada and Oregon, partaking in the Calgary stampede and visiting with Huskie and Morri. He would join us in Cleveland and we'd finally be reunited with our favorite Aussie spook.
The night before the trip was sleepless, like waiting for Christmas as a kid. You're anticipating it far too much to actually relax. I was double ready, had packed a week in advance and my final day at work dragged on like a personal purgatory. I woke up at 4AM, triple checked my luggage, showered, ate a hearty breakfast, and rode to the airport with my mom. All of this preparation was for not, though, as I failed to bring along my reading book with me (which I had my itinerary information inside as a bookmark). Luckily this wasn't a deal breaker, just meant that the traveling would be much more boring.
The drive up with mom was a rare chance to talk to her about family issues. I learned a few things about my sister and her husband that I didn't know. I was alarmed to hear that their Blue's Bar (The Trouser Mouse) is apparently failing. Employees are stealing so much from them that they can't turn a profit. Brad is looking at changing jobs (he works as a business executive) to something with better pay but he still loathes the work.
There have been major deaths in the extended family, and my grandmother and father continue their passive aggressive grudge against each other. My Grandmother tells mom to divorce dad pretty frequently, but she's very steadfast in spite of her own frustration with dad.
We also discussed my impending move, which mom is taking a little hard but still in stride. In spite of my being 25, she dreads me moving out and so far away at that. She plans to drive up with me to New Hampshire as a opportunity to spend quality time together. She watched me disembark the car, pouting a bit, and wishing me safe journey.
I packed light for this trip. One mid size bag, easily fits under the seat. Nothing gate checked. Fast, clean. I had to pack less, though. Just clothes, toiletries. Would need to reuse more. Most useless thing I brought was my GPS, which I wound up regretting.
I flew, nodding in and out of consciousness in time for half a can of sprite from the attendant. I read one of the in-flight magazines, and was staggered by how expensive everything was. Ads for cars, investments, houses, and even a three page ad telling me how to contact the most luxurious and expensive doctors and plastic surgeons in the united states. Airlines think I have way more money than I ever will.
I arrived at Cleveland, and had to wait forever to get off the plane as I was in the very back. Got a little lost, Cleveland's airport is above average in size.
The stairs serve a double purpose at the Cleveland airport.
At baggage claim, I called up Reno who was waiting for me. I spied his gold Pontiac, complained that it wasn't actually solid gold, and we began those first few surreal moments where someone you've only spoken to someone over a computer is right in the same space as you, talking to you right there. This novelty would hit Reno again and again as his roster of guests started to grow.