Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Embarkation SNAFU


Today, Wednesday 29 December, 2021 is embarkation day attempt two.  The original plan, with reservations, was to leave corpus Christi, Texas yesterday, 12/28/2021, enroute, via Houston, Texas, to Fort Meyers, Florida and ultimately back home in Englewood, Florida.  The flight was scheduled to leave Corpus at 1715. Monday afternoon at 1515 I received a text from United Airlines saying that my flight from Houston had been canceled due to staffing shortages.

at 1739 I received text messages from United and Expedia that I had been rebooked on the same itinerary for 12/29/2021.

Last evening, I tried to check-in for my "new" flights online but was thwarted a couple times prompting me to try a phone call to address this issue.  I should know better, but trying to keep a positive outlook, I tried.  After, unsuccessfully, trying to solve the problem with AI "it" finally offered to connect me to a real person.  Then "it" proceeded to inform me the wait to talk with a human would be at least an hour.  Reaching a high level of frustration, Bobby and I decided to drive to the Corpus Christi airport, a twenty-minute drive, and see if I could clear-up the SNAFU.

The United ticket counter was unmanned, but a man tagging baggage knocked on a door leading to the agents' room and an agent, named Tia, took my original paperwork for Tuesday's itinerary and in ten minutes, maybe less, handed me my boarding passes for both flights.  Voila, I thanked her profusely for her assistance.

Earlier in the day Bobby had to take an informant for a hearing at 1000.  When he returned, he said "let's go out for lunch."  First, we went to HU DAT only to find them closed until January 3rd.  Then we went to "Surf and Crab" to find that the only day of the week they are closed is......... you guessed it; Tuesday!  Finally, we decide on La Playa Mexican Restaurant.

Bobby ordered a Fajita and Tea, while I had the shrimp taco and a merlot.  Our waitress' name was Sandra, and I only mention her because of her magnificently done make-up.  While certain she is Mexican, at first, I thought she was a geisha.

On our return from the airport to clear up my reservation rebooking we stopped for supper at Pizza place near Bobby's house.

Laura was our waitress, and we ordered a half dozen wings and a white pizza.  Everything was delicious but the pizza could have had more garlic for my taste.

Before I forget again to mention it; Bobby and I went for 45-minute, early morning, walks around his neighborhood on both Monday and Tuesday.

Here's hoping today's flight plans go as scheduled!

Monday, December 27, 2021

Holiday comes to an end.

 Sunday 26 Dec. 2021

Hailey, Alex and I went to the seawall on Corpus Christi waterfront and took a short walk.  We stopped for gas on the way home.  Crystal stayed at the house with Bobby so she wouldn't get sweaty walking the seawall.

Bobby and I took V to airport so she could catch a flight (1000) back to Denver.

the girls, Alex, Bobby and I watched football until I took a nap.  Before napping I said goodby to Hailey, Crystal and Alex.

Crystal drove her Jeep back to San Antonio.  Hailey and Alex are staying with Loraine until they fly out Tuesday morning to North Carolina.

Bobby and I finished off the prime rib and had a salad that we'd forgotten to mix for Saturday's dinner, and watched football games 'til bedtime.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Christmas in Texas


Last night (12/18/2021) Bobby and I went to a Christmas party at the home of co-workers of Bobby from DEA.

I know, I know; a graduation and 3 Christmas parties in one week is a lot and it's not over; V., Hailey, and Crystal will all arrive next week!!! I'll need to return to Florida to get a rest. But I digress.
Theresa and Dave opened their beautiful home to a group of co-workers to celebrate Christmas and to recognize Bobby for his exemplary work with them over the past 6 years.

The piece de resistance capping off a wonderous array of delicious appetizers was desert self-cooked over their outdoor chimenea. Theresa called them "woof 'Ems.
Y'all may have had these, but they were new to me and a delightful cap to a special evening. The adults were as entertained as the kids when making these delicacies.
Theresa and Dave, hosts
Bobby and me
Kristen and Bob + 2 daughters
Sarah and Chris + daughter Sadie and baby
Linda + granddaughter
2 dogs; Chili (dachshund) and Wrigley (German Shepard)

Sunday was cookie baking day and Bobby outdid himself making gingerbread boys and sugar cookies galore.

Yesterday we went out to Mustang Island to see how the fishing was.  There were a dozen or so human fisherman and as many avian fishermen looking for leftover scraps.

 It was a chilly (50's) breezy walk on the Jetty and the Gulf was choppy.  We drove to Port Aransas and stopped at a wine bar, only to find it closed.  So, we drove a little further and found a delightful seafood restaurant, Tortuga's Saltwater Grill.  Laura was our server; friendly, outgoing and efficient.  I called her, besides Laura, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  Menu I had the shrimp and grits and Bobby ordered the crusted Red Fish.  Both were delicious.  Full, we passed on desert.  Bobby had a beer, and I sipped a 9-ounce red blend.

Tuesday the 21st. we did some Christmas gift wrapping and went to the mall to buy last minute gifts.  The salesgirl in Michel's perfume shop asked me if I, too, wanted to purchase perfume for my girlfriend.  I told Her, "I don't have a girlfriend." 
I said, "would you like to be my girlfriend?"
Her response, "At least you could bring me a cup of coffee."
I told her assistant, who was wrapping Bobby's gift, "at least she didn't say no!"
It was a fun exchange.
After bringing our shopping goods home it was time to truck to the airport to pick-up granddaughter #1, Hailey and her beau Alex who were arriving from North Carolina for the holiday.

Hailey with her dad, Bobby, and her cat, Bast, in the background.  Bast lives here in Texas with Bobby because Bast and Hailey's other cat don't get along.  I asked Hailey if she knew Bast's middle name?  she responded with a puzzled look, "no."  I said, "Ard."

After Hailey and Alex settled into their room, the cabin room, we headed out for supper.  We went to a Vietnamese restaurant "Hu-Dat" and had delicious repasts.

* All Star on the menu.

Yesterday, it was a 47-degree day in South Texas. Grandpa took advantage of the sun's warmth to catch a cat nap, accompanied by the cats, Bubba and Bast, not visible in photo.

Wednesday 12/22/21.  While Hailey and Crystal went shopping, Bobby repaired his lawn mower.  After the lawn mower was functional, Bobby and I made a shopping run ourselves, Sam's, Home Depot, and finally H.E.B. for the Christmas dinner supplies.  We also purchased a frozen lasagna for supper.  We returned home around 1615 and Hailey and Crystal arrived 15 minutes later.  While the lasagna was in the oven cooking Crystal, and I availed ourselves of an eggnog laced with Pilar rum.  Looking for games to play, the girls settled on a game played with the smart phone called "Head's Up" which is similar to charades.  After numerous rounds we broke out the UNO cards and played a couple hands until the lasagna was done.  Bobby heated up the garlic bread we'd bought to go with the lasagna.  After dinner Bobby brought up the movie "Solo."  I watched for a half hour or so and then said my goodnights and hit the sack.

Thursday 12/23/21.
I rode with Bobby to radiology and waited while he had an MRI of his shoulder.  

at 5:30 PM, Hailey drove Alex and I to the AMC theater where we met up with Crystal to see "Spiderman; no way home" @6 PM.

Friday, Christmas Eve

Christmas eve was spent preparing to celebrate Christmas with Hailey, Alex, and Crystal.  Veronica spent time wrapping gifts while Bobby and the kids did meal prep.  After dinner we opened gifts.

Crystal and Hailey open gift from grandma and grandpa LaRock

UTSA coffee mug for grandpa from Crystal and card from Michelle.

Veronica opens rice cooker from Hailey.

Gifts from Michelle, chocolate, amazon gift card, and a Navy Corpsman Tee.

New thermostat from Bobby to Dad.

Bobby opens YETI cup from Crystal.

Alex wearing toque from Veronica and Bobby with Rocky Mtn. emblem.  It also came with earrings.

Veronica opens rice cooker from Hailey.

Crystal wearing Santa glasses.

Veronica and Bobby look at gift and card from mom and dad.

Veronica smells perfume from Bobby.

Veronica and Bobby show NFL shirts.

Bobby's Bill's toque from Veronica.

Veronica opens blanket from Bobby.

Bobby carving prime rib for Christmas dinner.

Bobby, Veronica, Rose (Veronica's mom,) Mike (Veronica's stepdad, and Jose (Vs nephew.)

Monday, December 13, 2021

Graduation and Christmas

Due to recent circumstances, beyond my control. I made the decision, upon invitation, to attend my granddaughter's graduation from the University of Texas in San Antonio.  After her dad, my son, told her I was going to come to graduation she texted me to say, "since you're coming for graduation, you might as well stay for Christmas."  The prospect of spending Christmas in Englewood by myself was unappealing so the decision to spend the holiday with my Texas family was tempting.
My habit, when making plans to fly somewhere, is to try and get the earliest (first) flight available. I also prefer nonstop flights, but that option was unavailable. When flying to Corpus Christi I had to route through Houston and change planes before continuing down to Corpus.  First flight out left at 0700 which meant I'd have to leave Englewood by 0415 but I'd be in Corpus for lunch.

So, Jeff Hartman from Aero shuttle, sent a driver to pick me up at 0415.  About halfway there, driving through heavy fog, I get a text from travel agent Expedia saying flight to Houston at 0700 has been delayed for 600 minutes.  At first, I think it's a typo, but no the plane never arrived from wherever it was supposed to come from so the flight was postponed for 10 hours.  Oh great, I'm in Fort Meyers, two hours from home, and I have to wait 10 hours to catch my flight?  I have to remind myself to stay calm.

After standing in line for two hours waiting to check with a ticket agent, I get a text from Expedia saying I've been booked into a noon flight to Houston and a 1500 flight out of Houston to Corpus.  When I get to the ticket agent, about 15 minutes later, and show her my text, she checks her computer and looks back at me and says, " you are golden! you are all set."  she prints off my boarding passes and I'm on my own 'til noon.  I find my way to the gate, get through security easily, orient myself to departure gate and then go to a nearby restaurant to enjoy a leisurely breakfast.

After finishing breakfast, I took a seat in the gate area to people watch and watch planes load and unload.  The fog was quite thick outside 'til around 1000 when it started to lift and clear.

I slept for 2 of the 2 1/2 hour, uneventful, flight from Fort Myers to Houston.  We were a little late arriving in Houston and the time for my connecting flight was getting tighter by the minute.
The time to get to my connecting flight appeared to be only 15 minutes and a note from the airline telling me that it usually takes 15 minutes to make the distance.  Let me tell you, I walked as fast as I've ever walked to get to that departure gate (from C15 to B9) on time.  I actually made it in exactly 15 minutes, only to sit and wait an additional 20 minutes before we boarded.  But I was okay with that.  A couple glitches but overall, all went well, and I arrived in Corpus at 1600; just 5 hours later than scheduled, but in plenty of time to enjoy the evening and get ready for the next day's graduation in San Antonio.

Crystal LaRock with grandpa LaRock following graduation ceremony, 11 December 2021.

We left Corpus, after a leisure morning, at 1000.  Stopped for gas, and the bank for cash and then North on Rt.# 37 toward San Antonio.  Crystal had asked that we pick up her roommate, and best friend, Alessi, at their apartment.  A text from Alessi, who had to work, said she should be ready by 1330.  We arrived in San Antonio early enough to grab some lunch.

We went to Pappasita's Cantina    where I had a Modelo draft and Pappasita's ceviche.

Pappasito's Ceviche

shrimp, scallops & fresh fish marinated in lime & cilantro, with avocado

We Picked up Alessi at the apartment at 1330 and the GPS said it would take us a half hour to get from there to the Alamo Dome, where graduation was to take place, starting at 1500.  File under, The Best Laid Plans; the traffic was so heavy and congested that it took us over two hours to get into the parking lot.  We were late for the 1500 start, but we didn't miss any of the diploma presentations and fortunately Loraine and her parents, Hue and Dave, had saved us 3 seats.  The Alamo Dome is immense, and we were up quite high, so we had to photograph the Jumbotron to catch Crystal walking on stage to receive her Diploma.

After the ceremony we were able to get all the requisite family photographs.  Following that, Bobby and I returned to Corpus Christi to attend his police department Christmas party.