fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Weekend in Colorado

Celebrity Death Watch: Howard Baker was a Republican senator back in the days when politicians on both sides of the fence actually talked to each other and compromised. Meshach Taylor was an actor, best known for having been the token man on Designing Woman. Mary Rodgers was a composer of musical theatre and a novelist. She was the daughter of Richard Rodgers and the mother of Adam Guettel. Her best known musical is, of course, Once Upon a Mattress and her best known book is Freaky Friday. She also wrote the music to "The Boy From …" which is probably better known for Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics. All I can say about her work is bravo, bravo, bravissimo.

The Secret to UA Hub-to-Hub Upgrades: I went to Colorado for the weekend. Normally, it is very difficult to get upgraded between IAD and DEN, because they are both United hubs, with lots of elites. Apparently not so many people are insane enough to fly as late at night as I did. The upgrade notification for the 10:09 p.m. flight from IAD Friday night (which arrives in DEN about midnight) came about 10:00 a.m., and the upgrade notification for the 7:39 p.m. flight from DEN on Sunday night (which arrives at one in the morning) came by 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Both flights were fine, though the food left a lot to be desired. The Mediterranean cold plate they serve as a snack from IAD to DEN is pretty dreadful. A few limp asparagus stalks, two pallid tomato slices, an artichoke heart, a few strips of roasted red peppers and three balls of mozzarella (plus prosciutto, which I don’t eat) is just not very appealing. On the way back, there was something that might have been intended to be taboulli (it wasn’t, but it was fairly tasty), along with hummus and pita chips, plus a large quantity of feta cheese and olives in case you might be trying to increase your dietary sodium.

I should note that we had a particularly excellent crew on the way back. And we got to IAD about 20 minutes early, which is awesome at that hour.

The Car Rental Saga: I’d had a previous bad experience with Budget at DEN, but the price was about half everyone else’s so I decided it had been long enough that I should give them another chance. The short version is that I was wrong.

First, I waited half an hour for the shuttle to their lot. (They claim their bus runs every 20 minutes. They lie.) Then I got in line and waited and waited about another half hour to get up to the counter. The clerk insisted they didn’t have any compact cars available and offered me a choice of an SUV or a Mustang. I went with the latter. She told me it was in spot F9.

Except, when I went out to the lot, there was no car at all in that spot. So I went back inside and she said she would find another car. This took quite some time. In the end, more than an hour and a half from when I arrived at the rental car island at the airport, I had a Ford Fusion.

Everything was fine, right? Well, yes, until I went to return the car and the guy checking them in got a “car not found” error message when he scanned the bar code. Apparently, the clerk had not actually done the paperwork correctly when she exchanged the car. This added at least 20 minutes to the process of returning the car. And there was a huge crowd waiting for the shuttle to the terminal, which was wall-to-wall people and, despite the temperature being in the high 90’s, had no air conditioning.

DEN: To make sure my stress level stayed up, the return trip was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t have pre-check on my boarding pass. (That happens randomly from time to time.) There were an astonishing number of people (i.e. more than one) who were apparently unaware of the liquid rules, slowing the line down.

My only other complaint re: the airport experience is the lack of outlets for recharging electronics. That matters because a lot of planes still don’t have power points.

The Actual Weekend: Party. Friends. Good conversation. Good food. My contribution to the latter was a quick stop by Fior di Latte, a newish gelato place in downtown Boulder, where I bought pints of riso (like frozen rice pudding), stracciatella nera (essentially chocolate chocolate chip, but it sounds so much more elegant in Italian), and limone e basilica (lemon-basil). That was a good variety to satisfy different people’s tastes.

Airport Parking: Because of the flight times, I thought it made sense to drive to the airport. I have a distinct memory of writing down where I was parked on the back of the parking lot ticket and sticking that ticket in the key pocket of my handbag. Apparently the other dimensional creatures felt the need to play with me, as that ticket disappeared by Saturday night. I went through everything in my handbag and my backpack and even searched all the pockets of every article of clothing I’d brought with me. When I got back to IAD, I hoped to find the ticket in my car, but there was no sign of it.

I drove to the cashier and explained that I’d lost the ticket. They can look up when you entered the lot (and, hence, how much you owe). And they copy down the info from your driver’s license and have you sign two copies of that info, presumably to make sure you aren’t stealing the car you’re driving out with. (You might wonder who would steal my car, but I have a friend with an even older Saturn than mine who had it stolen. So it apparently does happen.) Bottom line is that it was just a minor hassle

The bottom line is that I had a good enough time to make up for the annoyances of travel. And now I am a complete zombie because I really don't function well on 3 hours of sleep. Though, I suppose that is good practice for the upcoming NPL con.
Tags: celebrity death watch, travel

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