Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Sorry for the lack of heads up before hand, but Ol’ Robbo has been away from Port Swiller Manor on biznay since last Sunday afternoon.  I’m writing out a draft of this post in longhand as I wing my way home Thursday morning, and (God willing) will have got back safe and sound and able to read my own scrawlings by the time it appears in pixel form here. (UPDATE:  I did, as you probably have figured out already.)

A beastly-rotten flight to Denver last Sunday – very late, over-booked, and horrid headwinds and cross-currents the entire way as that Arctic storm came sweeping into the west.  My two colleagues – seasoned fliers and not white-knuckled cowards like Ol’ Robbo – both said it was the worst flight they’d ever been on.  I came through surprisingly well, however, in part because I had reached a point of nervous exhaustion where I simply didn’t give a damn anymore, in part because I was highly amused by the early-middle-aged gal in the seat in front of me who got quite flown in drink and spent most of the flight hitting on the hunky young guy next to her.  (I noticed other people around us also rolling their eyes at each other and smiling.)

In contrast, this flight is shaping up to be fast, smooth, and uneventful.  So far, the only entertainment has been the big, snoring fellah next to me getting knee-capped by the hipster-doofus steward with the drinks cart.  The H-D didn’t even apologize.  (UPDATE:  Later on, the older woman sitting next to me invited me to look out the window at something or other on the ground as we came across the Appalachians.  I shamefully had to decline because of my fear of hights.  She seemed quite surprised.)

Ol’ Robbo got thoroughly entangled in this same big storm once he arrived at his destination.  We spent Monday driving hither and yon across eastern Wyoming and got caught in no fewer than four separate snow squalls (this in a mid-size with no 4WD, mind you, because my employer’s bean-counters are so stingy).  The temperature was in the teens, but the snow was very thick at times and the wind kept up a steady roar at about 45 mph.  A thoroughly miserable day.  We spent all day Tuesday, fortunately – at least from a weather point of view, in a conference room.   After a final blast of snow Wednesday morning, the wind finally dropped down.  Unfortunately, so did the temperature:  when we left (yesterday) morning, it was a lovely 12 degrees below zero.  Ol’ Robbo is unaware of having been in such thoroughly sub-zero weather before, although I suppose that since my misspent birth and infancy occurred in Upstate New York, I probably have.  It was a curious sensation:  without the wind, it didn’t seem so bad at first.  After a bit, however, one was suddenly aware of just how damn cold it really was.  (As I write this, I’m getting an odd sense of deja-vous.  It’s possible I’ve had the same reaction on other trips to the Midwest during winter.  The record low I’m certain of, however.)

While we were out on the road again Wednesday, Ol’ Robbo had tried to schedule things so we could get back to base in time for me to visit a local church and catch the Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, the idea being that it would be tough for me to drag my carcass to my home parish after driving an hour and a half to Denver at Oh-Dark-Thirty and winging it home today.  (UPDATE: In fact, I was able to do such dragging, having just enough time after my plane landed to dash home, drop my bags, and scuttle off to the 4:30.  I’d never have lasted long enough to catch the 7:30.)  Alas, my plan was good, but I had not reckoned with the fact that one of my colleagues is pregnant:  When we finished our biznay mid-afternoon, we were still about 100 miles from base and – seconded by my other colleague – she quietly but firmly asked that we stop for lunch before making the drive.  Well, what could I do?  Had I been on my own, I’d have simply toughed it out, but this was a different situation.  Women.  (I keed! I keed!)  Well, while we found a decent place right along the way, it turned out to be rayther slow, too.  Thus, despite the glorious 80 mph speed limit on most Wyoming interstates, Ol’ Robbo just couldn’t quite pull it off, missing his window by about 45 minutes.  Oh, well.

Aside from biznay and staring at The Weather Channel, ol’ Robbo hasn’t paid that much attention to anything this week.  I always avoid the talking heads shows blaring in all airport and hotel lounges, and have stopped reading Useless Today because it makes me feel like I’m bleeding IQ points.  From what I did read and see, and from what Eldest Gel told me in her daily and usually ill-timed phone calls, it appears that there continues to be a tremendous amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth in all the right places, so I assume things are still good.

I had brought along my copy of The Portable Kipling for a little bedtime pleasure reading (I’ve been Kipling a lot recently:  Kim, Plain Tales from the Hills, the Soldiers Three stories – some time I’ll try to post on my thoughts), but I couldn’t keep my eyes open long enough to read more than a couple paragraphs at a go.  Rayther unfairly, when I gave it up and put out the light, I couldn’t really get to sleep, either.  This is a thing when I sleep away from Port Swiller Manor:  My nights typically consist of two hour cycles of toss and turn followed by light doze followed by weird dream followed by abrupt waking.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  All night.  Sometimes I get around this with a glass or two of the crayture, but our hotel this time was not equipped with the readies.  (UPDATE:  Last night at home, in contrast, after a big dinner and several glasses of the good material, I dropped right off.)

The other travel observation to mention as we (now) bump around is that Ol’ Robbo finds few things more pleasurable than the sensation of coming home after a long slog.  I love that feeling – usually beginning when the wheels hit the tarmac but coming to a first head in the cab ride home, of starting to unclench, of looking forward to wallowing in a spell of well-earned relaxation and break from responsibility.  And, since this Friday happens to be my day off, of being able to sleep in while everyone else clears off for school and work.  (UPDATE: It’s around 10 am and I woke up just a while ago.  The fact that my first move this morning was to transcribe this post ought to be some indication of my esteem for you Friends of the Decanter.)

Of course, I probably will not get to loaf as much as I’d like.  Tomorrow evening (UPDATE: In other words, tonight), I’ve been dragooned into helping set up for Middle Gel’s Renaissance Feaste madrigals concert this weekend.  (More on that in a subsequent post.)  There will also be yardwork no one else will attend to, and I’m sure the Youngest Gel will manage to cause some kind of mayhem, either through excessive noise when her friends come over, or else through some hideously complicated schedule of places to which she needs to be chauffeured for her various activities.  But I suppose that’s really the point of all of this, isn’t it.