Day Trip – Mt. St. Helen’s

Today we took a day trip and drove down to Mt. St. Helen’s Visitor Centers. It was a beautiful sunny day, great for exploring and taking some photos.

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Mt. St. Helen’s western side from a distance

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A closer look at the crater

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The side of the mountains facing the blast when the volcano blew.

Welcome Home!

Another business trip in the books. More people watching, at the airport flying out and flying back, is a never ending source of entertainment. On the flight out the plane was booked to capacity and when I checked in for the flight I made sure I had an aisle seat. I don’t want to be stuck by some stranger who is in no hurry to get off the plane, I want to get out as quickly as I can. I sat in my aisle seat, first one to sit in our row, got settled in and a man stopped in front of me and said he had the middle seat so I stood up to let him in. A couple of minutes later another man stopped in front of me and said he had the window seat. As I was gathering my papers, he said that if it was easier, I could just scoot over and let him have my aisle seat. I looked at him and said, “No that’s not how it works.” The other guy moved over so he moved from the middle seat to the window seat, and the second man took the middle seat. Lucky me, he hadn’t bathed in a few days and he hogged the armrest.

The flight home provided much more entertainment. As the boarding process started, the gate agent made the announcement that people with small children and anyone needing assistance getting on board to come up and check in. I watched as a long line of people being pushed in wheelchairs, some walking with canes and some that I suspected were scamming the system just to get on the plane early queued up in front of the gate. Added to that group were parents with small children and babies, one woman came up pushing a double wide stroller and she plowed her way through the throng almost knocking one man wearing a walking cast over.

I sat there thinking, “Oh great a plane full of crying babies and people in wheelchairs, this is going to take forever to get boarded and with my luck I’ll get to sit next to an unhappy baby.” Then I remembered that I was in an exit row, no babies or small children in exit rows and I breathed a small sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for mothers of small children and most of the ones I flown with have more patience than I ever had. I was just tired and ready to be home.

The biggest welcome home came from Orso. He barked at me as I walked in the house and let me know how displeased he was that I was gone for nine days and I left him alone with Mitch. He showed me just how rough it was to be sequestered for nine days with Mitch, because as I started to walk up the stairs to the bedroom, I saw that he had diarrhea. All over the floor. At least it was not on the carpet. So at nine o’clock at night, after spending three and a half hours in a plane with one hundred and sixty-eight people and being awake for seventeen hours (not counting the time change), I got to mop the floor.

Business travel is so glamorous.

Day Trip

I wouldn’t normally call a trip to a store a day trip, but then a trip to IKEA is not a normal stop by any figment of the imagination. I used to think that a trip to Sam’s Club after eleven in the morning was crazy enough, but that was before I went to IKEA. Oh my god, is that place a zoo or what? As we waited in line to turn into the parking lot, my first thought was to just keep going, that nothing is worth this madness, but no we waited patiently to turn into the parking lot so that we could drive very slowly about three miles an hour in a long line of cars hoping for the sight of taillights lighting up on a parked car before the guy in front of us did. We circled the building and quite by accident we ran across an empty parking spot next to a parked tractor trailer. Snagging it we then had to walk around the building to the other side to go in the entrance. There were even security guards acting as parking attendants directing the madness and keeping road rage to a minimum.

Once inside it was no better, worse I would say, because now there were all of the occupants in the parked cars running amok in the building. There is even a play center to dump your kids in while you wander around in the maze the store has designed to force you to go through departments you have no desire or need to go to. The playroom for kids was filled to capacity and there was a waiting line, which meant there were kids running around out of control just like their parents, adding to the melee. People would walk along the path through the departments sort of like the yellow brick road until they see something that catches their interest, then they would just stop in these big groups blocking the expanse of the yellow brick road, only it was gray I think. I kept looking for an escape route and Mitch kept pulling me back. He didn’t want to die alone.

I have to admit there were a lot of cool things in there. We found a couple of chairs that were very reasonably priced, I found a desk that raised to a standing position or was easily lowered to a seated position and since I work from home, this was a must. We also found some really cool window panels, but it was the chaos of the crush of people that made the biggest impression on me.

I learned that you never go to IKEA on the weekend, not unless you have already been drinking and then you will end up with a huge credit card bill. Of course that isn’t the worst of the whole ordeal. You pick out what you want, then you have to go to the warehouse where you have to wander through aisles and aisles for the items of choice, (god forbid if you wrote the numbers down incorrectly) figure out how to get the one thing you want off the top shelf then get it to the other end of the warehouse to pay for all of your finds.

After you pay for everything you have a couple of choices, you can either go get the car, drive through the traffic jam to pull into the designated loading area and load your car or you can push your cart out to the parking lot and dodge cars backing up to leave and cars that will run you down to get to the vacant parking spot. We chose the latter and after almost getting run down by another guy pushing his cart out to his car and a man who couldn’t get out of the parking lot fast enough, we made to our car. As we started unloading our cart a woman pulled up and asking if we were leaving, so she could wait for our spot.

What a day.