Friday, September 04, 2015

Travel Day - YUCK!

Ok, there will definitely be a post all about my niece with plenty of pictures, but first: a word about today's travel.  It.  Was.  GODAWFUL.

First - I'm just generally tired of traveling.  It screws with my fitness routine, I don't like sleeping in not-my-bed, and I miss Lucy & hate leaving her alone so much.  She doesn't spray or anything, and she likes my neighbors M&C who are super generous to drop in and watch her, but even so it's clear she misses me (VERY affectionate when I get back) and I hate doing it.  I've been traveling a lot lately it just grates on me.

Second - I was rushed this morning (the result of just getting back from Nashville last night, see #1), and caught the train out of Richmond with 1 minute to spare.  I parked the car and could see the train preparing to leave as I was running to the station.  That kind of thing stresses me out and it takes me a while to cool back down again.

Third - Track work = train delays.  It frustrates me to no end that we don't have a decent rail infrastructure in this country.  That an Amtrak train full of people has to pull over and subject its passengers to 30 minutes of stale, stagnant heat, just to give a much slower freight train the right-of-way because Amtrak has been stripped to the bone and can't afford transit fees, BLARGH.

Fourth - As a result of #3, we were 30 minutes late getting into Baltimore, which meant that I had to HUFF it to get to the light rail station.  (Which frustratingly isn't really connected to Baltimore's Penn Station, see #3 also.)  Huffing it in the Baltimore summer sun, with a duffle bag on one shoulder and laptop bag on another, in freakin flip flops (ugh, did NOT think that one through this AM), translated into being drenched in sweat when I got to the station, which happened to be right as the light rail train was pulling in.  Those things do not wait, so I hurried to the ticket kiosk and tried to buy a ticket.  First time - card reader error.  Reset, try second time.  Card reader error.  Reset, try third time, with different card.  Card reader error.  Meanwhile, the seconds are ticking away and the train's about to pull out.  I desperately pull a $5 bill out of my wallet and shove that in the kiosk to pay for the $1.70 ticket.  It prints my ticket - FINALLY - and then starts plunking out quarters one at a time for my $3.30 in change.  EFF IT, my internal monologue shouts, and I, $3.30 poorer than I should be, jump across the tracks to get on the train.  Hit the button to open the doors again as they were closing, climb on, and then the train starts moving.  So like, 30 seconds to spare, if that.

Fifth - After all the drama and stress of #4, they didn't even have a warden on the train to check the tickets.  So it was a complete waste of time and money and mental stress.

Sixth - To make the train on time (see #1) I parked the car and deliberately ran right past the self-serve kiosk where you're supposed to put in your license plate and pay for X days of parking.  Given how close I was to missing the train, that was a wise decision.  But leaving it there, unpaid for several days, over Labor Day weekend, well ... I'd kinda like the car to actually be there when I get back.  So I got online and tried to find the company who manages their parking, which I figured would be easy since they're modern enough to send you text notifications and what not.  Incorrect.  The station page on just lists it as a self-serve kiosk.  Ditto for their Wikipedia entry, and a cursory google search just brings back results from 2 years ago when they expanded the lot.  FINALLY, after 15 minutes of google-fu, I found, of all things, a Yelp review (?!?) that lists the company as parkmobile.  To pay online, you have to give it a specific "zone number", which of course isn't easy to find either, but when I finally got the transaction to go through, it shows up in my Wallet app as AMTRAK PK, so I'm gonna go ahead and declare that a success.

Seventh - It's just hot.  And humid.  And Mom's AC is broken.  So I'm miserable at night.

BUT - got to meet and hold a sweet baby girl that I have the honor to call niece and god daughter.  Makes it all worth it :) 

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