Before leaving for breakfast, I picked up the hotel bill and noticed that we had a $111.00 charge from the Terrace Cafe at the hotel. This year, we hadn't had any meals there. (In the past we've sometimes gotten breakfast or lunch there on Friday, but now there are more nearby options). I called the front desk and found out that the problem had ALREADY been taken care of due to a combination of an honest other guest and the competence of the hotel staff.
At some point, Tara found the hotel's survey and filled it out, attaching a further note, practically gushing about how much we, both personally and as part of DucKon, appreciate our hotel. While checking out I verbally said similar, and decided that filling out a card for singling out good hotel employees but listing "everyone who worked over the weekend" might be overkill -- but I'm not sure I shouldn't have anyway.
One other thing I do need to get fixed. The Priority Club (or perhaps the hotel) still has me living in Wheaton. I've not lived in Wheaton since 2002, but somehow they've never gotten my updated address. As long as the points go to the correct place (my airline frequent flier program at the moment), however I won't be too unhappy.
After leaving the hotel for the last time until next DucKon, we headed up to the house to drop off a check for the person who will fix the running toilet and check on Tara's brother's progress. This took longer than I'd have liked, in part because I ended up spending about 30 minutes at Home Depot waiting in line to get paint. I probably should have just grabbed the similar pre-mixed color and headed back, but I waited for the color I'd chosen for the bedroom that used to be ours. This delay left us no opportunity to get lunch before getting to the airport. So we went to leave.
During the visit to the house, Tara got even more upset at the former tenants than we'd already been, when we found even more damage we'd missed. Somehow they had managed to break the cast aluminum handle to the door into the porch. Given that this door is a 30-year-old sliding glass door, I have no confidence that anyone is going to be able to replace just the handle. They may well have to replace the entire door to fix this. If it comes to that (and it may before we can close any sale -- I'd want it fixed if I were the buyer), I'm going to try as hard as I can to get the company that contracted for the house to pay for it. At this point, I'm very seriously hoping that we have no problems claiming their entire deposit.
Frankly, I'd almost be up for charging them to replace the entire downstairs carpet that the burned with their cigarettes -- if I didn't think that they'd claim that should be considered "normal wear and tear." The carpet in question was laid last spring (March or April, possibly earlier) so is less than a year old. And we didn't get landlord grade (read "cheep") carpet. We got carpet thinking that we'd probably, or at least possibly, be living there for some time.
Just as I was about to walk out of the house, my phone rang. It was the head of the Karate school I haven't been going to since their belt test left me feeling very unsure of their program. He was, naturally, asking why I wasn't there any more. So I told him, and ended up arguing more than I should have, since I was both upset about the house, feeding on Tara's much worse anger about the house, tired, emotional about leaving our friends again, and probably heading towards a lowered blood sugar (although I didn't crash later, so I'm not sure). Later I almost wished that I'd had time to get to National Karate on Thursday, and had been there when the call came. I'm pretty sure if I'd spent any time visiting with any of my former instructors, I would have shared my experience with them, and at least the two I know the best (and probably some of my former fellow students as well) would be as disgusted with that idea of a belt test as I was. I wouldn't be surprised that one of them might even have gotten on the phone and told off the other person, politely I'm sure.
We got to the airport fairly easily, although we did have to get around some slow moving trucks on both Thorndale and Toughy (or however you spell it). I got momentarily confused coming off of Manheim into the rental car return area, but found it OK.
However, as we were coming around the airport, I looked at a plane that was getting ready for departure, and realized that it was one of two 747's painted in US Air Force livery for presidential use. Only after we were at the airport did I get at least rumor level confirmation that when I saw it, it was operating as Air Force One. Part of me kind of wished that we'd been on a flight in such a position that we were either already at the airport, or even on the plane so that I could be listening to the tower traffic. But, at least, I'm now pretty sure I've been within a couple of miles of a sitting U.S. President. (Of course having wandered around Washington D.C. twice probably means the same thing).
Getting to the airport, checked in, and through security was no problem. We ended up grabbing lunch in the noisy food court in the C concourse -- probably my least favorite place to eat at O'Hare -- and then waited for our plane.
The flight was relatively smooth and mostly uneventful. I did have fun realizing that I was able, I'm at least 99% sure, to spot lonotter and dracos666's house. A task made fairly easy by first seeing Arlington International Racecourse, and then the really big water tower, and finally by what has happened to their neighborhood since they bought the house about 10 years ago.
Getting home wasn't too bad either. Even though we were later than his bed time, Derrick was still up and outside waiting, and Rocket was beside himself when he heard that we were home. Sam, on the other hand, was just waiting quietly in our bedroom having not missed us too much with other people and the dog left in the house -- or at least his attitude said.
One last thing. When going through the mail that had been collected while we were gone, I found a letter from the head of the National Karate schools which was a personal response thanking me for the letter I'd sent to him and to the head of the schools in Chicago. Especially after the phone conversation earlier, this did a lot to lift my spirits.
I enjoyed DucKon -- even if I didn't see much of it. I've already had some preliminary discussions with ann_totusek about possibly further redefining my role in the direction I'd like to see it go, with one hopeful outcome being really freeing me up to enjoy more of the con.
One perhaps heartening thing about this is that this weekend, DucKon, the Napervile hotel, and Wheaton Bible Church all felt like coming home to good friends and a welcoming place, but the house we're trying to sell felt like visiting a former house. (We still would like our kitchen back, however)
On Wednesday, Derrick and Tara's mother fly back to Rockford (by way of Chicago). So Tara and I will have six weeks as a childless couple. I think we'd enjoy this more if we weren't so worried about getting the house sold (and worried that we haven't gotten it cleaned up enough to really show well). During that time we should make it to Westercon (unless we are too worried about paying for the hotel and food) and to Comic-Con, and we will make it to Anticipation where we will get to see many, but not all, of the same friends, and a few that we didn't get to see at DucKon. After that, it will be back to life as normal