Thursday morning I took off for NJ at around nine. The whole point of going down in the morning was to avoid the horrendous traffic jams around the Tappan Zee Bridge, and it worked mostly. There was only about a fifteen minute delay, annoying, but manageable, as opposed to last year, when traffic was backed up almost to Connecticut on Wednesday evening.
The interesting thing this year was that halfway over the bridge, the back of my truck started ringing. This surprised me a bit, because my truck had never rung before, and it took me a few seconds to figure out that Victor must have left his cell phone back there the night before. It rang one more time, and then continued to beep intermittently for the rest of the trip. I couldn't do anything about it at that point, because it was lost in the back somewhere, and I didn't feel like stopping on the side of the road to look for it. So I just turned the volume on the CD player up a bit to mask the beep, and all was well until I got to Bill's house. Once there I found the phone, turned it off, and went on-line to let Victor know I had it.
Rie hosted dinner this year, so I drove down there. On the way down, I took a detour through Morristown to the old neighborhood. Took a quick ride through Jockey Hollow and Fort Nonsense, and went by the old house, which turns out to be painted in the exact color scheme that I had in mind when I had my house painted back in May, sort of a tannish stone color with maroon trim. What wound up happening with my house is that the tan I picked was really not as gray, nor as dark, as I wanted it (stupid color chips), and I left the trim blue because the neighbors already had maroon trim on a tan house.
The ritual sacrifice with pie was good, but small. Just Rie, the parentals, my aunt, Sue and her family, Laura (solo), and me. My aunt doesn't seem to be doing too well. She still hasn't stopped smoking, and SIL tells me that my aunt's been having bouts of depression since my grandmother died two years ago.
Got back to Bill's in time to catch "Buffy vs. Dracula" on the FX Buffy marathon. Had to listen to SIL wondering what I see in the show given that this episode was so bad, and I couldn't even argue with her, because she's right. BvsD sucks. I tried to get her to watch "Fool for Love", but she wasn't paying attention. Sigh.
Friday, I went to the Old Book Store, and scored copies of Cryptonomicon, The Annotated Alice, a Sandman illustrated novel, and a couple other comic collections. Went and got the car inspected, then headed down to Old Bridge to visit Alex. He and I took a ride to the Sam's Club in Freehold, which sells beer, wine, and liquor at warehouse prices. This is like the best idea ever! I laid in a supply of Yeungling lager (can't get it in Rhody), and picked up a few bottles of cabernet and riesling. Went to the hobby shop at the mall, and complained about the prices of plastic kits these days, as usual. It is a shame. When we were kids, kits ranged from fifty cents to two dollars, which means you could buy one or two a week on your allowance. Now, the American kits run ten to twenty dollars, and the imports run thirty to fifty dollars apiece. It's insane. Adults can afford those prices, but kids can't. How can you expect a hobby to grow if you shut out your future participants? Grump...
Picked up Al's SO, and had dinner at the Outback. Didn't have to wait, because we chose 'first available', which these days means 'smoking'. Wasn't bad. Didn't seem like anyone else was smoking back there, either. After dinner, I asked them if they wanted to watch the extendo version of FotR. Alex was uncertain, but SO wanted to see it, because she'd heard good things. Did I mention Al has a 61" TV with full surround sound. Wow! Afterwards, they were both enthusiastic about it, so two more folk turned to the geek side.
Left for home about one on Saturday, again trying to avoid traffic on the bridge. There was some delay on the bridge itself, but wonder of wonders, the stretch of road on the other side of the toll booths was empty. I couldn't believe my good fortune. Didn't last long. The CT Turnpike was jammed pretty much from Stamford to Branford. I even got off 95 for awhile, and drove up Rt 1 to avoid the worst of it. By the time I got back to RI, I was exhausted.
Today, I have lots to catch up on. I want to do some straightening, and also work on the prototype for the bookshelves that I'm gonna build.