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Amparo Bertram

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09:20 pm: 50 years and counting
My mother's family was having its 50th annual reunion this year, so I took a week off work in order to meet up with everyone for a visit.

I was a bit worried on Wednesday the 11th, when I woke up with a bit of a scratchy throat. That turned into a sniffle by Friday and a minor cough by Saturday. This was a problem, because my first stop was going to be Washington D.C. to see my brother and his family. My nephew had just come home after spending 7 months in the hospital as a premature baby, and his lungs are still too weak to handle getting sick. Whatever bug I had caught was a negligible inconvenience for me, but it could be devastating for him.

I spent the weekend guzzling grapefruit juice and tea and hoping I would get over the cough quickly. When I flew out on Monday the 16th, my parents had me stay a hotel the first two nights just in case. I did visit on Tuesday, but I wore a mask most of the day and mostly remained out of the room where the baby was. By Wednesday, it was clear that I didn't have any more symptoms, so I was able to interact more. I even got to hold the baby a little, which was a complicated affair due to the oxygen line and feeding tube and other things connected to him everywhere.

On Friday, my parents and I drove back to Michigan, where I got to have supper with one of my other brothers and his wife. Saturday was the family reunion, which was a pretty huge affair. I had a chance to talk with a bunch of cousins and aunts and uncles I hadn't seen in years.

Sunday I spent the day with my third brother and his family. We talked about gardening for a while and had a lovely meal.

My parents took me to the airport on Monday, where I arrived in plenty of time for my flight. In fact, when I got to the gate, I saw that my flight was delayed by about half an hour. Since I had about a 2.5 hour layover in Chicago, I wasn't too worried at first. As time went on, however, the flight time kept getting pushed back in roughly 15 minute increments.

By the time it had gotten pushed back over an hour, I asked the airline agent if I would have trouble making my connecting flight, but she assured me I would be fine. Time passed, and the flight continued to be pushed back. By the time the plane finally arrived for us to board, the new departure would only leave me 40 minutes in Chicago to make my connection. I asked the agent again if I needed to adjust my flight, but she said that as long as I had at least 30 minutes I could make it.

We all boarded the plane and had the pre-flight safety announcement. Then the pilot came on and said that Chicago had issued a ground stop--no flights allowed in or out--that would be about 15 minutes. That made me nervous, because it would bring my connection time down to 25 minutes, which was cutting it too close for comfort. We continued to wait, until eventually the pilot said the ground stop had been extended indefinitely and we would all have to leave the plane.

After getting off the plane, it was clear I wouldn't make my connection, so I got back in the long line to talk to the agent yet again. Just when I made it to the front of the line, they announced they had received the go-ahead to take off and we should make any further arrangements in Chicago. Those that hadn't given up and gone home for the night re-boarded and we were finally on our way.

There were about five of us trying to get to San Francisco, and the others were all checking flight info on their phones as we taxied up to the gate in Chicago. There was only one flight left that night, and it was scheduled for departure within minutes. We all grabbed our bags and ran as fast as we could to the next terminal, where we arrived just when the plane was originally scheduled to leave. Fortunately for us, it had been delayed by about 10 minutes, so it was still possible to board. Even more fortunately, it had enough seats open for everyone.

I ended up arriving at SFO about an hour later than originally planned. I missed the last regular bus by about five minutes, so I had to take a taxi, but that was probably for the best because I didn't particularly feel like walking home from the bus stop at 1:30am anyway.

I spent most of today getting caught up on some garden work. I pruned the grape vines, saving some of the more tender leaves for some recipes I want to try, and harvested the last of the cherries. It took me about two hours to pit them all. I also picked the first handful of blackberries of the season as well as a bowl of cherry tomatoes.

I imagine it'll be a bit jarring going back to work after such a whirlwind week.

Edit: Also, as an update on the game that I designed, it won the category of Best Cooperative Game in the Board Game Geek contest, with an honorable mention for "best integration of mechanics and theme."

Comments

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From:mvrdrk
Date:June 25th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
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Glad you got home safely! Sounds like you had a great trip!
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 25th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
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I hope I don't have as much airplane trouble on my next trip, that's for sure!
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From:wednesday_10_00
Date:June 25th, 2014 02:39 pm (UTC)
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Sounds like you had a fun trip (with lots of gaming)! How awesome that you got to see and hold Benton at home.

Congrats on your game winning a prize!
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 25th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:youchikara
Date:June 25th, 2014 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Good news to hear that you safely arrived home. I've never experienced some thing like familiy reunion because my family members live more or less near here. We seems to be quite static people :)Well there was a time when it'seemed that my brother had to go work in Holland...but he's still here for now.
Just a little question, do you ever cultivated roses?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 25th, 2014 10:15 pm (UTC)
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Just a little question, do you ever cultivated roses?

I have several rose bushes in my front yard, but I'm not much of a rose expert. My attention to them mainly consists of pruning them in January, and occasionally deadheading in the summer if I have time.
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From:mangaroo
Date:June 25th, 2014 07:46 pm (UTC)
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I'm so glad you were healthy enough to interact a bit with your nephew. It would have been sad to miss that opportunity.

Congrats on the win in the BGG contest! I especially applaud the honorable mention, because I always think you do an amazing job flavoring your games in an immersive way.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 25th, 2014 10:17 pm (UTC)
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It would have been sad to miss that opportunity.

It certainly would have been a bummer. There's no telling when I'll get a chance to see them again.

Congrats on the win in the BGG contest!

Thanks! Now I just have to work on adding the finishing touches to the art so that I can upload an official version.
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From:megory
Date:June 26th, 2014 02:22 pm (UTC)
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We're really sorry about the delays and the worry that they caused. We're pleased that you were able to make the connection to SFO and to get home safely at that hour.

It's great news about your game. Congratulations!! Both awards are awesome. We've played it and we really enjoyed it, so we know how well it works. We're looking forward to seeing your final version.
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From:megory
Date:June 26th, 2014 05:48 pm (UTC)
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P.S. That's a great harvest of cherries. You're going to have some good eating for a while!
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 27th, 2014 03:10 pm (UTC)
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That's a great harvest of cherries.

Just wait for the blackberries...I'm going to have to make serious room in the freezer for all of them.
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From:megory
Date:June 27th, 2014 07:31 pm (UTC)
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What an awesome situation to be able to confront!
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From:megory
Date:July 11th, 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
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So, Bob and I took the Amtrak back to Washington, DC. First, it wasn't scheduled to leave Toledo until close to midnight. Then it was two hours late coming in from Chicago. Then we had to keep waiting on the way for freight trains to pass or for work on the tracks. It was already going to be a long trip (13 hours compared to 10 hours by car), but we ended up arriving four hours later than scheduled. At least we could get up and walk around on the train, and the seats were much roomier with way more leg room than on a plane. Price-wise,though, it was only $170 for both of us (senior tickets) compared with $200 a person by plane. I'd do it again if need be.

Edited at 2014-07-11 08:58 pm (UTC)
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:July 12th, 2014 01:50 am (UTC)
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I'm sorry to hear that your train ride ended up being so troublesome. I wish we could do trains in this country even half as well as they do in Japan...
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From:megory
Date:July 12th, 2014 02:25 am (UTC)
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You and me both. Bob was saying the same thing. What is wrong with us????
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From:sara_tanaquil
Date:June 26th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC)
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Congrats on the BGG win, and glad you made it home safe! I had the excitement of being evacuated from my Denver-Hartford flight for a tornado warning, but fortunately since it was a direct flight, all I had to deal with was arriving home two hours later than planned. Worrying about making a connection is so stressful, and being stranded at the airport overnight is even worse.

Yay for being allowed to see and hold Benton! That's wonderful news that he is home at last.
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From:spacealien_vamp
Date:June 27th, 2014 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!

Weather can definitely make flying a gamble. Fortunately I have direct flights for my GenCon trip.
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