A whole bunch of stressful stuff has decided to happen all at once and I really wish it would stop being like this.
I made it back home today. My cats were briefly happy to see me, then insistent that what they really missed was going outside. Okay, then.
A thing occurred to me the other day: driving in a Nissan Leaf, especially on the highway, feels less like driving and more like piloting. It’s a very different feeling for me. And I like it.
Also ProPILOT made the whole thing way less stressful and I never want a car without at least level 2 self-driving ever again.
The weather forecast for today was pretty dismal, but it was also wrong. I took a drive out to the Madison Creek Falls to have a nice low-intensity hike. It turns out the Falls trail is incredibly short, but there’s another longer set of trails (service roads, actually) that follow the Elwha river quite some ways. And that was a lovely walk.
A funny thing happened when I went back to my car, though: I went up to what I thought was my car but then had a “wait what’s going on?” moment when its interior was beige fabric instead of black leather. For several seconds I was actually thinking that maybe I’d forgotten what the upholstery on my car looked like… and then I realized that it was someone else’s black, second-generation Leaf. Oops.
Today the weather in Port Angeles was absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t enjoy any of it because I was stuck inside with a migraine all day.
Last night I didn’t sleep very well because of asthma issues due to the fabric softener the AirBnB host used. So this morning I did a load of laundry and sent a suggestion to the host about not using fragrant fabric softener; she apologized for it and said that normally she gets fragrance-free but her wife had picked up the wrong stuff and she didn’t want to waste it. Not a huge deal, at least.
Today I made it out to Port Angeles. Here are some highlights of what happened.
The insurance company put me up at the SeaTac Marriott, which is way fancier than anything in SeaTac has any right to be. Swanky as heck. Also the room’s decaf is surprisingly good!
I brought my work and studio laptop here so I could maybe get work done without having to reverse-commute if possible, although there’s definitely things I need to go back to the house for (hugging the cats, mostly, and also meeting the contractor, and so on), and of course I’d much rather work on my music in my actual studio with huge screen and proper 88-key keyboard instead of on my tiny portable keyboard and tiny laptop screen. But there’s worse situations to be in right now, I guess.
The insurance company also sprung for the pet fee in case I want to bring my cats here, but that seems like it’d be a disaster. They’re finally getting along with each other and after I left them home alone overnight on Monday they got a lot closer, and it’s also good for Tyler to NOT have me available 24/7. He gets pretty bad separation anxiety even when I go downstairs to the studio or if I sleep with the door closed, and he needs to learn that it’s okay to not have me there sometimes.
Anyway I have up to 9 days here but hopefully I won’t need all of them. If all goes well I’ll have running water again on Monday, and the bathroom should be done soon after. Given the original scope of work was a near-complete gutting of the bathroom, and now the scope is an actually-complete gutting, I can’t imagine what else would possibly go wrong that wouldn’t involve me, like, moving back to the condo for a while.
You know what I miss about the pre-9/11 days?
People being able to go to the gate to greet the traveler as they arrived.
It was always so nice to welcome people, or be welcomed. After 9/11 that little ritual went away, because now only travelers themselves were allowed beyond the security checkpoint, and nobody wanted to wait for their loved ones outside of the security checkpoint, so that very quickly made way to people waiting in the loading zone, which then turned into waiting in the cellphone lot, trying to make the whole greet-and-pick-up process as soullessly efficient as possible.
There’s a bunch of other stuff that changed so much that people are talking about, but this is a thing that I haven’t seen anyone else mention. Just this little bit of humanity that was part of the travel experience.
Then again, everything we’ve lost comes down to little bits of humanity, in the end.
This morning I decided to leave the AirBnB at around 9:30, and I got home at around noon. My new iPhone 12 mini was waiting for me (along with an extremely needy Fiona, who needed a couple hours of lap time), and after getting the iPhone set up I went for a nice long walk, and ironically got more exercise today than I did the whole time I was in Port Angeles (a city I ostensibly went to in order to get plenty of outdoor exercise). Oh well.
After dinner I realized I’d left my fancy Nalgene bottle in the fridge at the AirBnB. Dangit. Not really worth trying to get it back (shipping probably would cost more than just getting a new one, I think?), although I let the hosts know in case they want to figure out how much it would cost to ship it or if they just want to keep it for themselves. It’s mostly frustrating because it was a gift from someone around 10 years ago (when my major health issues were starting up and it seemed like better hydration would be the key), but they gave me two of them and I still have the other one. Plus a pile of other water bottles I’ve picked up over the years. Mostly I hate accidentally losing thoughtful gifts.
My last full day in Port Angeles was just like… okay I guess. I went out for breakfast and got a decent eggs benedict at a café in the industrial district. The weather was pretty nice so I started looking into other hikes I could do but all of the trails that were both open and not expert-level were a two-hour drive away, and I was feeling pretty tired, so I took a nap to mull it over.
When I woke up it was raining, so I just stayed at the AirBnB and worked on some more music and just generally hung out and relaxed. Then for dinner I went to a barbecue place (the one I had planned on going to turns out to be only open for lunch) which was pretty decent. There was also a huge print of their “mascot” on the wall, which looked suspiciously furry. I posted a photo of it to my Discord and right away a friend recognized the original art. (Update: For once, it turns out it was properly licensed. Good on them!)
Anyway. Tomorrow I check out and head back to Seattle. I’m not sure I feel substantially better than when I left, but at least it was nice to get away for the first time in well over a year, and to have my first actual not-actually-an-unpaid-job-in-disguise, not-a-family-disaster vacation in a long time.