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Trip/Travel Report - RonO's Ramblings

Jun. 12th, 2009 04:34 am Trip/Travel Report

At this point robot_grrl are in Naperville for DucKon. We flew out on a "red-eye" Wednesday night.

After coming home from work, and I barely managed to catch the paid (rather than free from Qualcomm) shuttle to the earlier train since I was actually doing work that I didn't finish before leaving, unlike much of the last couple of weeks) and got dinner with Derrick and Tara's Mom. After dinner, we put Derrick to bed and said good-bye. I think he was/is still confused about when we are getting back and when he is leaving (we get back on Monday, he and Tara's Mom leave on Wednesday, but not on a red-eye).

I then finished up packing, wrote a letter to the people who have what I call "staff look" badges reminding them that they need to fill out a gopher time sheet to get a roll over, and we headed for the airport. We left a couple of minutes later than we should of, but I as I often do underestimated the time to get from Oceanside to downtown San Diego, so we weren't there quite 2 hours before our flight, but that wasn't a problem. We dropped the car off -- close to the entrance of the garage -- and got to the airport. Our check in and security were quite quick. While waiting the only problem was that with 4 gates and only 2 outbound flights, United had put them at adjacent gates so seating was tight.

Our flight was full, so we didn't get to spread out. And, as seems to happen way to often, many people were carrying on too many bags, bigger bags than are officially allowed, and putting them all in the overhead bins. Fortunately, we were in an early boarding group and were able to get in line early in that group. So I was able to stow my 1 legally sized bag in the bin and have room for my feet.

The flight was fairly smooth, and I slept through most of it (or at least enough of it that I was able to not see most of The Pink Panther Returns, or whatever the name of the second Steve Martin Pink Panther movie is -- not that I was listening to it at all. We did get a reasonable amount of turbulence at the beginning and end, but none I noticed in between.

We actually got in about 20 minutes early, and Tara and I were probably waiting for the Avis shuttle about when the plane was due, or a bit later. But we waited and waited. We actually saw the Hertz shuttle go by 3 times, the Budget shuttle twice and at least one of the other places shuttle go by twice before Avis came. Then, the drive was not smooth, and Tara was not happy with the drive. When we got to the lot, the driver told me that my car (preferred, I don't have to go into the office most of the time) was in slot E-36. I could see a Prius like I'd requested in F-36, but there was a Jeep Liberty in E-36. I questioned this, and the driver went to try to track this down which took longer than if I'd gone in myself.

So it was almost 6 by the time we left the airport, and we were both getting hungry. So we stopped at the McDonald's in the tollway for breakfast (and to fix the hatch which hadn't closed completely). After that we got to the hotel, checked in and went to sleep. We slept until about 11:45, later than we'd hoped.

Once we got up, we headed out to get lunch and to the house by 12:30 or so before our Realtor was supposed to be there at 1:00. On the way out we ran into qnofhrt and dave_ifversen and ended up talking and checking out the already partially set up registration office. We then stopped at the Corner Bakery Cafe in Wheaton and got lunch to go and got to the house a bit after (not before) 1. But our Realtor called and let us know he was running late and we ended up rescheduling for 5:00.

The house was still quite a bit of a mess -- and this was after Tara's brother had spent most of two days cleaning it out. We also had some damage to deal with. Some was fixable, and some I wasn't so sure about. The toilet in the downstairs powder room will need a major repair -- the tenants tried to fix it with zip-ties but their repair cannot be redone, the flapper is no longer sealing and another part is leaking. Since the problem developed when they were supposed to take care of repairs (or request we take care of major repairs) at least some of this will come off their deposit.

But the biggies, not including the money we've paid Tara's brother and Stanley Steemer [sic] for cleaning, are the burn marks in the downstairs carpet we'd installed last winter (before we knew for sure we were moving, so we got good carpet we could live with) the walls that will now have to be repainted (we'll pay Tara's brother to do that and we've already paid for the supplies), and the LP tank for the grill that they took when they left. When you add our time and the other possible reduction in market value or sales opportunity we should be able to justify keeping all or at least most of their deposit. (I'm not as sure how we account for the intangibles).

The vanity door in the upstairs bathroom that we'd just finished remodeling before we left last summer was falling off. At first I thought that the door itself was damaged, so Tara and I headed up to Ikea (also killing some time) to get a replacement for the door and the hanging hardware. When we got to Ikea, found the right department and one of the "co-workers" after their rally, we discovered that they are discontinuing the line of cabinets that we used for the vanity.

{We seem to have a talent for getting things that Ikea is about to discontinue. About the time we were married we started buying parts for the shelving system we use for an entertainment system, only to find one component we wanted was discontinued, and the whole system was discontinued a year or two later}

We got back, and I ran to Ace to get some other supplies. Only I found that the Bartlett Ace was closed. It hadn't been doing all that well the last few years with a Home Depot not that far away. But I suspect that the fact that it is north of Devon, and thus in Cook county probably was the proverbial nail in their coffin. So I ended up driving further to Home Depot and spending more time trying to find what I needed.

I got there not too long before the Realtor who was a bit later than planned. Then with talking to him and Tara's brother, it was after 6 before we headed to the hotel. Deciding that we could enjoy ourselves a bit anyway we stopped at the Sonic that was built by the Home Depot since we left and had dinner (but not shakes, we didn't have time).

We ended up getting to the hotel about 7:30, and I'd told people to meet us about 7:00 to start packet assembly. But Angela had gotten them started filling the packets (the first job that needs to be done). Shortly after Tara got the labels downstairs, and Dave got the badges there, people started putting the labels on and the badges in. This was slightly complicated because of a communications glitch between Dave and I. I hadn't clearly specified that I would have the labels grouped into Staff, Dealers, Guest and Everyone Else, so he had the badges grouped by the actual bookkeeping types.

But badge assembly still got done fairly reasonably. Tara and jerusha took care of most of the Everybody Else group, I took care of Guests and about half of dealers, before Lindee took over and Chris took, later with Lindee's help, took care of staff.

Over the course of assembly we discovered another glitch that hopefully we can work around. Helen is on a panel at 11:00 on Sunday. But the panel was supposed to have been moved to 1:00 to make it easier for me to get back from church. However, it is still in the pocket program at 11:00. I think one way or another we can cover this (worst case, one of my other staff people will have to run from 11-12 instead of from 1 until 1:15 or so)

Once assembly was over, we hung out for a while and then headed up to our room. I swung by con-suite and got some pizza and a Pepsi before turning in.

I ended up getting up earlier than I'd hoped this morning, because I wasn't sleeping. I hope I won't pay for the lack of sleep later today, or on Monday.

(For my non DucKon friends: qnofhrt == Angela == Head of Programming, dave_ifversen == IT/Tech services head, and Angela's husband, Helen == my second, Chris == another member of my staff, Lindee == Hotel Liaison, jerusha == filk track second)

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Comments:

From:erikvolson
Date:June 12th, 2009 01:27 pm (UTC)
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But I suspect that the fact that it is north of Devon, and thus in Cook county probably was the proverbial nail in their coffin

Probably not. *All* of the home supply/hardware stores have been crushed by this recession, and you could have flipped the locations and the Home Depot would have still won. Between better selection and better buying power, the HD was cheaper.

If a 1% price hike -- which is what the sales tax increase effectively was -- was going to shut them down, they were going out of business anyway, and fast.

Will be good to see you this weekend.