December 2014

And again with the lateness.

From Seattle, Duncan in the box, waiting for his turn to play.

The base held a run/walk around the T-shaped runways, called “Tour the T”. I attended it, but part way through, my ankle gave me so much grief that I bailed out.

The Squadron had 2 more helicopters, plus a heap of stuff for my job, arriving on a C-17 from Florida, via California and Hawaii, so I went in to help out. Fortunately, I wasn’t needed, but I did hang around to have a look inside (as one does!).

We’ve been having an ongoing (and losing) battle with fleas on Angel and Buddy. They each get a 2-weekly FrontLine treatment, and Angel gets powdered every day or two. Just before we left for Seattle, she had a thorough wash, which removed quantities of dirt, dead fleas, live fleas, and who knows what else.

I can personally recommend these devices, called de-flappers. They attach securely to the awning and tension it against the strut. Even in some the winds and rain we have seen lately, they work!

This was a news promo picture of one of the helicopters into front of the Navy’s brand new aircraft carrier.

The trip was relatively uneventful, although it started with having a confirmed taxi booking at 7:45 to be at the Bomaderry station for the 8:15 train. Called them at 7:50 and the booking apparently didn’t exist. The taxi turned up just a few minutes later, so all was well. The 13-hour flight was, as always, a killer, although we had paid extra for exit row seats, so at least we could get up easily. I covered myself early on with Codeine, followed by a booster a few hours later, and managed to get to within a couple of hours before the end without my legs aching. Consequently, I actually got a few hours of good sleep. I think Julie got about half an hour.

At San Francisco, I treated myself to a real clam chowder in a real sourdough basket, although we didn’t have much time to enjoy the meal, as the layover was quite short. The good news was that Julie had again attempted to quit smoking, having her last one after we checked in at Sydney, so she wasn’t faffing around going back and forth through security. Unfortunately, the “quitting” didn’t last (again). It was foggy there, so I’m pretty sure we did an instrument landing, and had an interesting time taking off, queued up behind other aircraft, with several others lined up behind, in the fog.

We collected our hire car, to find that the vehicle type I had booked, a little Ford Focus, had been upgraded to a somewhat larger Chev Sonic. I got most of the gizmos worked out, but it took until the next day to get the RH mirror adjusted properly! And because I didn’t want to pay the ridiculous airport surcharge for the whole 2 weeks we are here, we went to the Everett office to finish that rental and start another one. The guy was very happy to simply let us continue to use it (probably because it’s one less car they need to clean), so now we have the Chev for the whole time we are here.

And of course, it’s been raining off and on since we arrived. Hey, it’s Seattle. And because I can’t find the battery charger for the camera since we moved (yes, need to organise the junk room), we are relying on our phones for pictures this trip.

On Christmas Eve, Julie and I took Duncan to lunch, and managed to get him talking in more than the occasional grunt.

That evening, we all went to a Laughlin family gathering at the home of Mike’s Uncle Tony. Wow, can they ever put on a good spread. He has been a caterer for many years, and knows what to cook, how much to cook, when to cook it, and for how long. It was a real pleasure watching him work. We had a great time, and I managed to drive us both ways without incident.

Christmas Day started, by official order, no earlier than 8am, and after the initial noisy process of opening presents, proceeded rather quietly. Since then, there have been various shopping forays, and a Community Skating session, where I at least got out there and had a go, although didn’t manage to improve my technique any further.

Hmm, cold AND wet out there.

Clear and still cold.