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Monthly Archives: June 2011

I thought I’d give an account of a trip I had to take last Friday and Saturday…to and from Santa Rosa, California.

Some of you may remember that last year my mother-in-law came for a two week visit.  Now, saying my mother-in-law “came for a two week visit” is a little bit misleading.  You see, she didn’t “come”…I had to fly out to California and accompany/escort her back here to Houston.  My mother-in-law is 89 years old, barely five feet tall, and weighs less than a hundred pounds.  She still lives by herself and gets around on her own, but she is tiny and frail and not in the best of physical health; she could not make the trip unless I go and get her.  But, though she is certainly forgetful, her mental health is still real good; I love being around her and she and I have always, from the first time we met, gotten along splendidly.

This year, we planned for her to come spend time with us again.  A few weeks ago, my guy made the flight reservations.  Then, a week or so ago, we found out that she wasn’t going to come out unless her doctor signed off on it first.  The long and short of that is that it was only last Thursday evening that I found out for sure that I would be flying out to California the next morning…last Friday.

Now, my mother-in-law lives outside of Santa Rosa between there and Sonoma in the Valley of the Moon.  When going out to visit her we always have a choice between either flying into Reno (if we are going skiing), Sacramento, or San Francisco.  By far the easiest of those three airports is Sacramento…the worst, hands down, is San Francisco.  San Francisco is the worst because the airport is located South of San Francisco and there is absolutely no easy way to get from there to Santa Rosa.  For whatever incredibly strange reason, my guy made the reservations for us to fly in and out of San Francisco.  I hadn’t checked the itinerary and was shocked when he told me that Thursday evening.

Anyway, the flight was supposed to fly out at 9:05 Friday morning.  After having an early breakfast on the way to the airport, my husband dropped me off at Bush International right at 7:00.  I only had a small overnight bag that I also had my purse in, so no bag checking.  I walked up to the e-ticket machine, punched in the confirmation code and almost immediately found out that the plane was delayed coming out of Lima, Peru…current boarding showed 10:30…I had three and a half hours to kill.  Eventually, the delay dragged on until we finally boarded the 767 at straight up noon…pulling away from the gate at 12:30.  We arrived in San Francisco at roughly 2:30…I pulled out of the rental car area at 3:02 and directly onto the 101 freeway, heading North through, and then out of, San Francisco.  I was in bumper to bumper, Friday afternoon, San Francisco rush hour traffic.

The traffic poked along.  Before hitting the Golden Gate Bridge, one has to negotiate miles and miles and miles of stop lights located on every block.  I had hope that after crossing the Golden Gate the traffic would start to thin out, but it didn’t.  The result being that all the way to the Santa Rosa exit, the traffic barely trickled along.  It took me more than three hours to make the 55 mile or so trip up the coast on the 101.  From being dropped off at the airport until I pulled up in the Drive, was over 13 hours of travel time!

The flight back to Houston was not a walk in the park either…the flight was delayed for a little over an hour out of SFO.  We got into Houston at 9:30 at night…by the time we got our bags and were pulling out of the airport for the 55 miles drive back to Clear Lake, it was 10:40…we got home at 11:35 at night.  Total travel time on the way back…just over 12 hours.  Things just move slower when you are traveling with an older woman.

I’ve never been so glad to be home from a trip in my life…in fifteen days, I get to do it again.


Hey, guys…remember this:

“Your mission, should you decide to accept it Mrs. Taylor, is to take the parts on this table and elsewhere and build a very steady, strong, and exceptionally beautiful cockpit table.  As usual, should you choose to proceed, but fail, everyone will laugh at you.  The decision is yours, Mrs. Taylor.  This recording will self destruct in five seconds.”

Well, here she is:

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As I will be 61 in a few months, though I haven’t completely eliminated it and put it into the “deal killer” category just yet, more and more the thought of traveling to Timbuktu or some other God forsaken locale, living in a small efficiency apartment, and commuting, via air, back and forth on weekends has become less and less attractive to me.  I’ve done this for years, and though I’m compensated quite well, and though to some this kind of arrangement might sound super cool, believe me when I tell you that it gets quite old.  Now, I live in the Clear Lake area of the Houston, Texas metroplex, a mile or so from the Johnson “Houston, we have a problem” Space Center…25 miles or so from Galveston…30 or so from downtown Houston…and just a couple of miles from Kemah, Clear Lake, and the bay.  I’ve lived all over the United States and traveled overseas to more than a few foreign countries, and Houston is one of my least favorite spots on the planet.  Where I live is a real nice area, but if I lived even ten miles closer to Houston proper, I wouldn’t be able to stand it.  The only upside is that it is Houston, and in many respects, Houston, in one way or the other, is the center of the industries that my career has been based on.  So, only needing a few more years before my husband and I retire and not absolutely crazy about continuing to travel, as of late, I’ve decided to look more into working here in Houston than in going away.  Though even as I type that last sentence, the thought of commuting to downtown or the west side makes me a tad nauseous just thinking about it.  Aside from LA and maybe Atlanta, Houston has the worst traffic I’ve ever seen.

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