Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

Plan A all the way, with extra earliness

Hardly slept, woke in time to turn off the 5 am alarms as they launched. Showered & dressed, medicated and on the road by 5:30. At the Doubletree around 6, dropped off the car. Just missed the shuttle, so had to wait 15 minutes.

At the airport, boarding pass said TSA Pre, which saved me taking off my shoes and the body scanner, but it wasn't a much shorter line than the general boarding.

The gate was the last one at the end of a very long terminal, but I was way early. After the pre-boarding, 1st class, military and 17 special programs members, I was 3rd on board because my seat was in the 2nd to last row. Had to kick a stewardess out of my way who was being asked by a passenger in the last row for 4 seats together in  a 3-in-a-row seating arrangement. The rows are staggered, there is no continuous 4-seat arrangement.

Had the aisle seat, I forget why. Spent a long time hoping I would not have to get up to let two more passengers into the row. One more showed up in a few minutes, then nobody else, but it was a long boarding process, almost full plane.

We landed half an hour early. I knew something was up when the pilot had the staff prepare for landing way sooner than normal. Many points against Alaska, because we didn't get to pull into the gate until the scheduled landing time, Half an hour on the side runway waiting. This is their main hub, there were other gates nearby available. Now that nobody is allowed to meet passengers at the gate, there's no good reason not to change gates.

As soon as I turned on my phone, there was a message from Sis, she was in the cell phone parking area. Early. I expected her to be there about 11:30 or noon, but she figured on being ready to pick me up at 10 as soon as I was off the plane. Plan A had included scoping out the Global Entry office location before going to lunch with her.

She found me right away, we went to 13 Coins because that's what one does. We had omelets. For me it was 2nd breakfast (I had a banana at about 7) for her it was lunch (she is the original Morning Person). We chatted till about noon. She took me back to the airport, which was a long ride considering it's only a 3-block walk. Seatac was redesigned similar to SJC in a loop which prevents easy access by vehicle. Blame TSA, I think.

My appointment wasn't till 2:45. I had planned on hanging out at a Starbucks or similar, but like SJC there are no longer any major eateries on the "insecure" side of the gates. Just one Hudson's news & junk and a Seattle's Finest which only had half as many seats as needed.

I followed the directions and found the office I was looking for, then went down to baggage claim where there were seats (hardly any in the ticketing level) and read. Finished my trashy novel, which was ended somewhat precipitously with the last chapter being the obligatory sex scene between the fake kidnapper and his fake victim. If they ever make this a movie, that scene's music will be Lovers And Other Strangers by the Carpenters.

I still had an hour to kill. so I went to the area the maps said the art exhibit was, but there was only one piece, the rest of the hall was walled of to construct needless showplace stairs to the mezzanine level. There are elevators and stairs already. Found seats outside the USO lounge and read some more.

Finally 2:30 rolled around, I signed in for my 2:45 appointment. There were three 2:30 appointments and one 2:45 ahead of me. Three interviewers. I drew the quiet Korean-American one in the back cubicle. It went quickly, smoothly, and I know she isn't a Silicon Valley techie because she asked why I wasn't a full time Google employee.

She approved me on the spot, said it would take about 24 hours for me to be in the system, but here's the membership number, if I need to fly between tomorrow and when my official card arrives. She also said that it's good for driving to Canada. A very Seattle thing to point out.

Done by 3, checked through TSA for my 6:20 flight, because there are lots of places on that side of check-in to sit, people-watch, eat, buy stuff. After a lot of indecision, I ate at the expensive fish restaurant, which I will not do again because there was no view at all, except of that horse race in KY on the bar monitors. And a hockey game. Crab salad had the right amount of crab, but hardly anything else. 1/4 of a small avocado, sliced, some spring greens and vinaigrette. Not a crab Louie, by any stretch. But it wasn't billed as one. Tiny cup of clam chowder with little pieces of rubberized clam. There were plenty of other places to get dessert, so I fled after the flamer waiter brought back my credit card. He was soooo out, I wondered if he was an actor hired to play a gay waiter.

Went over to the nearby chocolate things stand, and saw a yummy looking devil's food layer cake slice. There was no price tag visible, so I asked the young woman behind the counter. She didn't know, so she reached in to pull one out and instead knocked it to the front of the glass-enclosed case. And reaching to get it, knocked a sandwich and a salad as well. Her boss showed up, opened the front of the case, put all the things back into place and told me $8.80. "The price tag is right there, but the cake boxes are pushed too far forward". But she didn't fix that. I walked away. Those are $4 slices most other places.

Eventually got a small mocha at the Starbucks by my gate, which once again was the last gate at the end of a very long terminal.

Boarding at 5:55, at 5:50 they announce that there are 1st class upgrades available, but I thought I mis-heard the price. Went to the counter and yes, only $50. Online they charge $80-100 more for first class. So I upgraded. Got a window seat.

Boeing needs to do better at designing plane interiors, because the windows are at child height, and in first class, where you would think they would pay attention, they are offset so there's no true window seat. There's a window between each row.

Normal flight, except someone let a loud child into 1st class. I should add that neither flight had the Obligatory Screaming Baby, but this kid made up for it.

I found another book to read, free again, sci-fi this time, and totally unbelievable YA stuff. But not bad enough to erase. Yet.

First class is supposed to have a "meal". What it had was a plate with 3 slices of a cross between salami and prosciutto, one slice of farmer cheese which they claimed was mozzarella, two small slices of tomato, a sprig of basil, and some kind of salad dressing substance which contained olive oil and something which could cause vomiting in laboratory animals. Oh, there was also a wrapped chocolate-ish sweet with almond chips embedded.

Arrived on time, off the plane quickly, but then there was the mile-long walk to the exit. SJC after 8 pm is a ghost town. Blame the neighbors, who imposed a curfew on plane noise. Most of those neighbors moved in well after the airport was a thing.

Had to call for the shuttle, 15 minute wait. I was the only occupant. When I called they asked for my valet ticket number, I thought it was just to verify, but when I got there they asked if I needed directions to the freeway, I said I just needed directions to my car. The guy was puzzled - my car was right there. I was so shocked I forgot to leave a tip. But I can do that online.

Home in 20 minutes. Nothing in the mailbox, no deliveries. Plugged in the car, and Spook was behind the carport door when I opened it. She does that often, and gets hit by the door because she's lying on the mat in front of it.

She followed me to the bedroom, and when I threw my jacket on the bed she jumped up and curled up on it.

And followed me to the kitchen meowing for treats. Twice. The first batch is on the carpet, mostly chewed.

And now I am going to take drugs and crash.

Plans for tomorrow:
Car wash
Janice coffee
Maybe Pear Slices in between

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