Sunday, September 11, 2005

Chickens, Eggs, and Volunteer Blogging

Do Bloggers manage to find something noteworthy in every experience, or do people who frequently have noteworthy experiences end up Blogging?

In my case it's probably a bit of both. Take my current trip to Houston to help with hurricane relief. I hadn't even left Oregon, heck, I hadn't even left at all before things got interesting.

It had been three years since I'd seen Vulture Six and his wife at their wedding, so The Feared Redhead insisted we develop the pictures we have of The Lad to bring down and show them. Of course I managed to not get this done until Friday. So I trekked over to the local Wal-Mart in Springfield to use their one hour lab (the only one in town that takes film that late in the afternoon.

By the time I got them in (4:50 PM), they told me it would be two hours, not one. I was fine with that. Two hours gave me time to feed The Lad, do some laundry and packing, then pick up the pictures, then go pick up TFR from work.

Right.

Of course, The Lad was cranky because of his teething, so very little trip preparation got done. Then, when we arrived at Wal-Mart to pick up the pictures, we were informed that they were not ready yet. Give them 45 more minutes, and they'll be on the house.

So we waited. It was too impractical to go home and come back, so we stayed at the store. And I proceeded to forget to use the time to pick up needed supplies for the trip.

The 45 minutes elapsed, and still no pictures. By now TFR had called and was ready to be picked up from work. I told her (and kept her informed, in a running series of phone conversations) they said it would be 15 more minutes.

It was actually 30 more minutes. But eventually I got the pictures and escaped Wal-Mart (yes, yes, I'll post them soon, patience). By the time I drove to downtown Eugene, met TFR at the restaurant where she was eating while waiting, got home, got packed, and got to bed, it was around 11 or so instead of the intended target time of 9 PM.

Nonetheless, I managed to get up at 4:10 AM yesterday and get going rather quickly. The plan was to catch the 5:45 Amtrak Cascades, which would put me in Portland at around 8:30. That would give me a full 5 hours before my flight time, plenty of time for the SIL to pick me up, take me to Fred Meyer to buy snack supplies, and get me to the airport.

The countryside through which the train cruises is much more scenic than the view along I-5, but one spot along the way, just outside Aurora, Oregon, I got to know too well. We stopped to let a UP freght pass us onto a siding before we could proceed. The freight train managed to break down right next to us, before it could clear the track. We sat for two hours waiting for it to be repaired, during which time we had not eta on the repairs. I don't suppose you'll be surprised when I tell you that those of us with appointments to keep (a couple who ended up missing a wedding they were to attend, three other people with flights even erlier than mine, etc.) were a bit on the... anxious... side.

Finally, they repaired the computer that was giving the UP train fits, and it, and then we, were on our way. we pulled into Union Station around 10:30 or 11:00. By this time I knew I was SO Blogging on the whole adventure.

Thankfully, the airport and my flight went off without a hitch, and here I am in Houston. Today I'm scheduled to go get my Hepatitis vaccine (already have a tetanus booster under my belt), and also hope to finalize the details of where I'll be spending my volunteer time. I also need to deliver the donated goods TFR sent with me.

Let's just hope today doesn't go like yesterday.

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