Scarlett’s Letter August 18, 2013

You guessed it. Another trip to Sacramento.

Not quite as early, but still requiring copious amounts of coffee. Mom went with me, again.

 

Third trip to Sacramento in as many days means coffee. Lots of coffee.
Third trip to Sacramento in as many days means coffee. Lots of coffee.

Since we missed out on chicken and waffles at our “farewell” lunch with my son at Cafeteria 15L, we decided we needed to try again. Sunday brunch. Is it bad that our waiter from Friday recognized us and laughed at us for returning? I know, deep down, he understood. This was all about chicken and waffles. Oh, and the bottomless mimosas.

Cafeteria 15L The Chicken and Waffle Capitol of the Capitol City.
Cafeteria 15L The Chicken and Waffle Capitol of the Capitol City.

I think Mom was awake for the whole trip to Sacramento. Bless her heart, so it was pretty much one inquiry after another, questions I couldn’t possibly answer, then long, disjointed stories that probably had a point at inception but didn’t when all was said and done, followed by random, pointed, statements that provoke me into fury. Bridled fury, but fury, nonetheless. I’m not so sure this is done unwittingly. It may be fun to see me turn red, bite my tongue and smile anyway. I introduced Mom to Pandora. I put the “Big Band” station on, which I like a lot, and I knew she’d appreciate. I even successfully taught her how to pick up the phone, without touching the thumbs down button, to view who was playing. And I still don’t think she totally understood. She still calls my phone “the Facebook” and emails, text messages, chats, and Facebook messages are often “faxes”. The bottomless mimosa made everything all right, again. For both of us, I’m sure. We do really love each other. I know she talks smack about me. I’ve caught her in the act.

Yes, the chicken and waffles were Uh-mazing! And if there were a gun to my head and I had to choose the best chicken and waffles I’ve ever had, just shoot me. They’re all different, and I’ve tried many. I still love “the original” at Roscoe’s in Long Beach (and other locales). Fremont Diner in Sonoma is hard to beat, but Cafeteria 15L adds a peppery gravy and a maple pecan butter that just puts it over the top. And I do love over the top.

CHICKEN AND WAFFLES and BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS!
CHICKEN AND WAFFLES and BOTTOMLESS MIMOSAS!
Four orders of chicken and waffles and bottomless mimosas. The food coma set in before the first bite.
Four orders of chicken and waffles and bottomless mimosas. The food coma set in before the first bite.
A picture of my son taking a picture of me taking a picture of bottomless mimosas. The food picture thing; is it hereditary or socialization? We may never know.
A picture of my son taking a picture of me taking a picture of bottomless mimosas. The food picture thing; is it hereditary or socialization? We may never know.

After our fab brunch, we headed back to my son’s house to collect things that won’t fit in his luggage for his upcoming move to Hawaii, pretty much his library. The plan; I will package the books up in U.S. Postal Service Flat Rate boxes and send him one every couple of weeks. You’ve got to love flat rate! The last little package of love I sent to my sweetie in Alaska cost me $15. If I had sent it regular USPS, by weight, it would’ve cost $65. If you haven’t discovered flat rate, do. And, the boxes are free, in the lobby of the post office, 24/7, and are perfect for birthday gifts and Christmas gifts of many sizes, in case you kind of forgot to buy boxes and you only have three hours to wrap everything before Christmas happens. Or, if, perhaps, you spent your entire Christmas budget on gifts, and shoes, and forgot to buy boxes. Free is good.

We headed home. Maybe it was the mimosas, maybe I’m just exhausting to be around. Perhaps both. But Mom slept the whole way home. There was a wreck in Vacaville that had traffic backed up for miles. We were down to a crawl for, well, most of the drive. It took absolutely forever. I was getting sick of the Big Band station, but didn’t dare change it. Mom would occasionally wake up, utter a provocatively ignorant statement and then go back to sleep before I could rebut. Example; “Is that a TAPE we’re listening to?” Snore. “No! It’s not a tape! They don’t even make tape players anymore! Do you see a tape player in the dash of my car? Why would we listen to Internet radio on the way to Sacramento and a TAPE on the way home?”  I deserve sainthood. Perhaps Mom does, too. We do love each other.

When we got home, Mom went up and took a nap. I seized the opportunity to finish a creative venture I’ve been wanting to work on, uninterrupted, for a couple of weeks. Then I wrote. And it was good.

I had eggs for dinner.

I HAD to have eggs for dinner.
I HAD to have eggs for dinner.

Scarlett’s Letter August 11, 2013

Today was like some weird time continuum thing. Sunday already? How did that happen?

This phenomenon continued beyond just that moment when I awoke and realized it was Sunday. Already. I went down for breakfast, my usual Sunday at home no other plans kind of breakfast; a piece of bacon, a shirred egg, oatmeal, the kind that takes thirty minutes to cook, coffee and some kind of fruit. But I was out of fruit today and I’m not sure how that happened, either. I fixed breakfast, ate breakfast, wrote in my journal, tapped out a few notes on my iPad for articles I’d like to write, perused Facebook for “the news” and to make sure I’d made the appropriate birthday wishes. I had a square of dark chocolate and Mom decided we should have mimosas with her unchilled, $2 bottle of sparkling wine like substance. She’s saving the “good”, chilled bottle of sparkling wine for some occasion that we’ve already made alternate plans for. Whatever. I consented. And then it was noon. How did that happen? Not only is it Sunday, now it’s noon on Sunday. How did that happen?

I did my dishes and took my shower and got ready. Ready for what, I don’t know, but I was ready. I’d planned on, perhaps, working on a video project, which I would need a few items from the grocery store. I was out of fruit anyway. And yogurt. So, I guess I was shopping. Now I had plans.

I’ve been in dire need of a new suitcase. My big, purple Samsonite has no zipper pulls left and the fabric has been worn thin enough in several places that TSA no longer has to open my suitcase to make an inspection. One zipper compartment is so broken I can, in no way, open the compartment. My travel yoga mat is hopelessly trapped in that compartment, weighing down my suitcase just enough that I had to pay the extra weight penalty on my last trip to Alaska, where I had zero intention of doing yoga and most certainly did not need to take the mat. It is a surprisingly heavy item and I just couldn’t remove it from the suitcase without permanently destroying the suitcase.  The local department store that I hate with every cell of my being has “the one” suitcase I like on sale for 60% off. I’m very particular about my suitcases. To me, it’s like my house. I spend more time living out of my suitcase than I do out of a house. I feel that my fastidiousness is well warranted. Mom had her Sunday pile of ad inserts from her two Sunday newspapers in a terrifyingly tall tower on the edge of the table. There were no less than four different ad booklets for this one store for this one week. I was made to look through them. All. It was infuriating. I especially love how the items aren’t organized in any logical manner, suitcases were pictured on three different pages in three different, and totally random sections of the booklet. The one I was interested in, of course, was on the very last page. Some of the specials were for today only, others could be combined with stickers received in the mail or coupons from other ad inserts to realize even more savings. When you used the store credit card, which Mom has, the sales associate will give you a “scratcher” and you will realize even more savings of an amount to be known only after you rubbed that gooky gray stuff off the flimsy paperboard, usually also removing the ink stating the amount of additional savings in the process. When I added it all up, before reading the incredibly small print, it looked like they might pay me 34.78124% of the retail value of the suitcase to take it off their hands. I decided I’d better take my chances and stop by the department store on my way to Whole Foods, which isn’t on the way at all, but, you can get clear across Napa in ten minutes flat, even in what Napkins call “traffic”.

I drove downtown and found the only parking place available in the whole city on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I stepped through the dirt planter because the sidewalk was barricaded off for some 9/11 Memorial project that has been in the works since, well, I think 9/11/01. I finally made my way to the door of the department store. Upon entering, I headed towards the luggage section, having to step over an entire family of children and the husband who were lounging on the futon that was displayed in the “off to college” section. Once to the impossibly crowded luggage section, I perused the offerings and only found one suitcase of the brand I require, and, incredibly, in a size larger than I need. Anyone who has seen my suitcase will be amazed by that. I could buy the futon and fit it into the suitcase if I wanted. And the suitcase was blue, and much more than I want to spend, even on sale.  I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t fit on domestic jets, anyway. Besides, I require purple, or red. I left. I’ll buy zip ties on the way home to secure the unsecure compartments on my old suitcase and keep looking for “the one”, on sale. On to Whole Foods.

I made my purchases, bundled them into my trunk and came home and suddenly it was time for dinner. How did that happen? And now it’s time for bed. How did that happen? I feel like the fast forward button is stuck on my day. I have nothing to show for it but a tub of yogurt and a few pieces of fruit in my refrigerator. SMH. Monday begins in a couple of hours. How did that happen?

 

Poor old suitcase.
Poor old suitcase.

 

Scarlett’s Letter July 23, 2013

Tuesday, right?

I wasn’t scheduled to work with a client today, nor did I have a project for work. The latter half of my day was marked on my calendar as a “travel day”. I work on site in Redwood City, California, about sixty miles from home, for the next couple of days. My morning was free. So I got paid to sit around the kitchen table, in my pajamas, and visit with my mom, answer the occasional email and be ready to assist if anyone on the team needed help. No one did.

I had a leisurely breakfast, my usual, plain Greek yogurt with local, organic honey stirred in and some organic blueberries. We sat and talked and talked and sat as the morning wore on. I went upstairs, finally, and returned a couple of emails and a couple of phone calls. My “obligations” were met for the morning, all I had left to do was shower, pack and drive.

Mom and I had entertained the idea of having mimosas, for the sole purpose of finishing off that pesky opened bottle of sparkling wine in the refrigerator before it lost its effervesance. We dismissed the idea, initially, it was Tuesday. Morning. So? We revisited the idea and decided it was probably better to enjoy the bubbles and orange juice sooner rather than later.

Three mimosas later.

We were still talking, and coherently. It was after noon and, still, I was in my “pajamas”, sweats, actually, but still, I was in what I wore to sleep in last night. This is so unlike me, I am actually repulsed by the thought of still being in PJs at noon. Blech! I planned on leaving for my hotel at about 3:00 PM, to hopefully miss traffic through San Francisco and get there early enough to complete my “first night ritual”. I showered and got ready, finished hanging and folding last night’s laundry and packed simultaneously, in fairly short order.

I’ve been missing a sock. I’ve been missing a sock I really, really like. I have these “business socks” I wear with my slacks, for work. And the sock that is missing is actually silver. And glittery. Last night, after my run, I grabbed a clean towel to use after my shower. I guess the silver, glittery sock clung to this towel and has been folded up with it since before I went to New York over a month ago. When I got out of the shower and grabbed my clean towel, out fell my missing glittery, silver sock. I was so happy! Really. It doesn’t take much. I was so happy, I even told my man about finding my silver, glittery sock during our nightly phone conversation. As I explained finding my beloved sock, I was looking for the mate, the one that wasn’t lost. I couldn’t find it! Shit! Now the sock that was there, wasn’t and the sock that had been lost was here. I’m hopeless, sometimes. Today, in folding my clothes and packing, I found the sock that hadn’t been missing, so, yes, now I have two silver, glittery socks. In my suitcase, ready to be worn with my business attire tomorrow! Excellent, I just wasn’t sure how many more times I could stand wearing black business socks with my blue, pinstriped slacks. There is peace and harmony in my world once again.

But, as I continued to sort and fold my laundry, it came to my attention that I only had one of my super expensive, hot pink, Balega running socks. I swear, it’s a curse. I just wore them last night, and I washed them and put them both in the dryer, I remember, vividly. I shook the other clothes out, once, and again. No pink sock. I looked downstairs by the dryer. I looked in the dryer. I looked in the washing machine. My mom had put my clothes that had been in the dryer on my bed, and she’d noticed the solitary pink sock, too. A curse, I tell you. A curse. It was nowhere. It’s like there is this cosmic balance that is maintained only by the fact that there is always at least one highly valued, missing sock. I had almost texted my man the good news of finding the silver, glittery sock, but now that my pink sock was missing, I decided not to draw any additional attention to my ongoing sock saga. Curses are never good and are probably best not discussed.

An hour later, after my mom took her clothes out of the dryer, I went to the garage for some other reason, and there, on the floor, my hot pink sock. If the world tips off its axis or the cosmic well-being of the universe is at all unsettled, just know, it’s because all of my socks are presently accounted for.

After I packed, Mom and I decided to have lunch, and, no, we did not have more mimosas. We were out of sparkling wine and I had to drive. We did decide to have a half a cantaloupe each with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle! This is my new favorite lunch and I need to not indulge in this deliciousness too often! It has been a big food week, and with work related travel, meaning dinner out for the next three nights, and another “party weekend” coming up, this could all add up to very tight size sixes by the time next Tuesday rolls around. Or I roll around. At least I’ve run a couple of times this week.

At 3:00 PM, precisely, I loaded up my car and headed for the “peninsula”. As planned, traffic was light. There was a little congestion here and there, but nothing like commute time. I made good time and found my hotel very easily. I checked in and went about my “first night ritual”. After dropping my bag in my room, I grabbed my purse and my TomTom and headed back to my car. The first order of business is always to find the clients’ office. When I booked my hotel, I noticed it was only a couple thousand feet from the address my client provided. I could walk. I may walk. It is about a block away.

The second order of business, upon ascertaining that there was, indeed, a small refrigerator in my room, was to find the closest Whole Foods and buy a few items for my breakfasts and lunches for the next couple of days. I take great delight in shopping at different Whole Foods locations. I don’t know why, exactly, but I do, and I “check in” on Facebook, if for no other reason, than to keep a record for my own purposes. I think it would be cool to be able to claim to have visited EVERY Whole Foods location. Not likely, but cool. I bought Greek yogurt with honey in it, organic blueberries, organic raspberries, a small wheel of Brie and two apples for my lunches, a split of sparkling wine, a split of Zinfandel and a couple bottles of water. Oh, and at the register, impulse buy, two small squares of dark Peruvian chocolate. I made my way back to the hotel and loaded up the refrigerator.

Before leaving home, I made reservations for dinner at a French restaurant in the same town as my hotel. I use Open Table to make my reservations, even though I usually eat early and am always by myself. In other words, I don’t usually need reservations, but, when you use Open Table, you earn points for every reservation you make. You can then redeem the points for gift certificates that can be redeemed at any participating restaurant! I’ve almost earned a $100 certificate, I’m just a few meals away!

When I got to the hotel, after my Whole Foods trip, I pulled up my dinner reservation on my phone to get directions, only to find that the French restaurant was downstairs, in my hotel! Excellent! And it was! A flight of three French red wines, striped bass, quinoa and grilled vegetables, supposedly only 195 calories and for dessert, because it was only supposed to be 90 calories, fresh berries gratin, flambéed. I skipped appetizers, soup, salad and sides, thankfully, that was the most filling three hundred calorie meal I ever ate. I think the French must count calories differently than we do. Or is it the “French paradox” again? How they eat like they do and look like they do, I don’t know. Actually, I do. If you haven’t read “French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano, you should. Hopefully, you like leeks. I love them. I eat them every day.

After dinner, the ritual continues; I iron all the clothes for my entire stay, drink more wine, some of the Zinfandel, confirm the time training begins in the morning, set two alarms, each, on both of my iPhones, and make sure all the files are ready on my work computer. Then I busy myself with something entertaining for the rest of the evening like duncing around on Facebook, texting my Sweetie, reading, watching the YouTube channels I subscribe to, or, actually, pretty much what I’d be doing if I were home and everything that needed to be done was, in fact, done.

And that was my Tuesday. It is Tuesday, right?

 

My usual breakfast; organic Greek yogurt, made here in Napa, with local, organic honey and some organic blueberries. And coffee.
My usual breakfast; organic Greek yogurt, made here in Napa, with local, organic honey and some organic blueberries. And coffee.

 

We "had" to use up the champagne before it went flat or something.
We “had” to use up the champagne before it went flat or something.

 

This. Is. Lunch.
This. Is. Lunch.

 

The view from my hotel room.
The view from my hotel room.

 

A flight (three two ounce pours) of French red wines at Bay223 in Redwood City, CA.
A flight (three two ounce pours) of French red wines at Bay223 in Redwood City, CA.

 

My "195 calorie" entree at Bay223 in Redwood City, CA.
My “195 calorie” entree at Bay223 in Redwood City, CA.

 

My "90-calorie" berries gratin, flambeed, at Bay223 in Redwood City, CA.
My “90-calorie” berries gratin, flambeed, at Bay223 in Redwood City, CA.

 

 

 

 

Buzzing Through the Friendly Skies

So far, this has been a long haul. I’ve been away from home for work for nearly two weeks, and more than two to go. I’ve been making noise about travel being taxing and tedious and tiring, but in the end, you know, and I know, I must like it or I wouldn’t continue doing it. I have plenty of other options, career-wise, but this is a great opportunity. For now.

Today is a big travel day; Newark, New Jersey to Los Angeles in a single flight, then a short flight to Sacramento where, if the airline gods are working with me today, I will have enough of a layover to meet my son, pick up an item I left with him for the next leg of the journey, re-pack my suitcase from the trunk of my car in the economy lot, perhaps have some lunch, maybe even a beer. Then I’m on another plan for Portland, Oregon and, eventually, Anchorage, Alaska. It looks like about six thousand miles and I will have been awaking and in some sort of motion for over twenty-four hours.

In my conversations with people over the course of this trip, and there have been many, because I’m chatty, like that, I have heard nothing but complaints about air travel. The delays, the cancellations, weather woes, airline woes, luggage woes. Road warriors love to compare notes on airlines and travel trauma. I have commiserated a little, I do have my share of stories. And as this day approached, I tried not to worry. The weather forecast for Newark predicted thunderstorms up until about the time I was to board my flight, which would be a valid reason for a weather delay, throwing the first of four flights into a figurative tailspin. I don’t usually like coast to coast flights, I prefer a stop in the middle, O’Hare or Denver, perhaps Houston, where I can get off the damn plane and stretch my legs, use a bathroom I can turn around in, drink a mimosa with my breakfast, etc. But, with so much riding on good connections today, I figured I could endure a six-hour flight to make it across the country without the chance of a weather delay or mechanical complication in the mid-west. Oh, coach, or even “economy plus” for six hours is a stretch – not.

As the week wore on, I kept hoping to see the “complimentary upgrade notice” arrive in my email inbox from United. It usually arrives a day or two before my flight and is almost like winning the lottery. I spoke with some of my co-workers earlier this week and they all mentioned they just weren’t getting as many upgrades as they used to, and, believe it or not, they have even more annual miles than I do (they vacation abroad, I don’t. Yet.). On my trip east a couple of weeks ago, I got upgraded on three of three flights with United, my airline of choice. Okay, so they were red-eyes, but it was much appreciated and Scarlett misbehaved with free red wine from coast to coast. Today, a weekday, hence a business travel day, I figured I wouldn’t stand a chance. And, I never did receive my “complimentary upgrade notice”. I was doomed to fly economy plus for six hours. However, when I checked on some details with my flight on the United iPhone App last night, I noticed a little green checkmark in the lower right hand corner of the screen, it read “upgrade processed”. I DID get a first class upgrade, for free! Joy! I didn’t want to jinx anything by gloating on Facebook, so I just expressed my silent praise and gratitude and pushed that positive thought energy towards the weather gods. Who, apparently, got the message. I arrived at the airport under gray skies, but no rain, and the clouds were high. The predicted thunderstorms seemed either to not have materialized, were over with, or were yet to come.

With a long trip, and time to shop in New York, plus working with two different clients, teaching a total of six different classes, all requiring different training materials, and one class a considerable number of props, I was quite overburdened with stuff. Stuff that would not fit into the two suitcases I brought. I considered shipping some stuff home U.S. Postal Service Flat Rate (love), but didn’t have time, or the energy, to hunt down such amenities in New Jersey where just getting gas is a major fiasco. In New Jersey, you can’t pump your own gas and must wait for the single attendant who is servicing twenty cars on no less than five islands, then warily hand him your American Express card while you eye the prison tattoos on his neck. My solution to the excess crap; buy another suitcase and pay to check the third. I don’t do carry on, plus I already have my fifty pound laptop bag with two laptops, Kindle, iPad, nuvi navigator, digital camera, helmet camera and all the peripheral cords and cables necessary for sustained operation of said devices, and my purse, also stuffed to capacity with all required to travel the six thousand miles and survive without home/hotel amenities for over twenty four hours and manage to meet my boyfriend at the final destination looking smashing. A third checked bag was a necessity, and could, actually, be expensed as part of my trip. I found a small suitcase at Target in Jersey, one of the Brunswicks, I think. I hit them all by golly, South Brunswick, North, New, Old, First, Last, Middle, Forgotten, Unknown, and one named Charles, maybe, I think, or not. If it was a Brunswick and it was in Jersey, I drove through it yesterday. I paid an extra ten bucks for a suitcase that had four “spinner” wheels, I consider that a requirement, I don’t do a tip and tote, you can’t slalom with them like you can with the spinner wheels. Can you imagine three roller bags, and the backpack and purse as described above? I must have looked like a circus act, or a very well accessorized gypsy. I somehow managed to get all of this luggage to my room, in two trips from the rental car, then stayed up until 1:00 AM packing everything very strategically. Sometimes my tendency to organize deprives me of life’s necessities, like sleep. My alarm went off at 3:30 and I was up, ready and trying to figure out how to get all that luggage, now heavily loaded down, downstairs to catch the shuttle to the terminal, in one trip. Somehow I managed, and even got it all to the terminal and to the “priority” check in line. My first class upgrade also got me my third bag free! And no thunderstorms, yet.

When I reached security, I was directed to the “Premier” line, which is cool, and, frankly, expected. When I got to the premier line I was directed to another line. I found myself in a security screening line where you don’t have to take your shoes off, you don’t have to remove your laptop from your bag, you don’t have to remove your cardigan. You just throw your crap on the conveyor and stroll through the “old-fashioned” X-Ray machine. I didn’t know this until I was half stripped and I was told to put my shoes back on and put my computer back into my bag. Right?

I found Vino Volo closed, so my dream of a mimosa before the flight was squelched. I got a coffee at McDonalds and went to my gate to wait for boarding. As I waited, I received an email from United stating there were likely to be delays in the northeast due to extreme weather. I glanced out the window, my plane was where it should be and the clouds, though gray, and moving in the wind, were still pretty high and not too dark. Weather gods? Work with me.

Boarding time came and went without a hitch and here I sit, in first class, and in my preferred aisle seat, no less. I was handed a menu, and actual paper menu, by the flight attendant. They didn’t have those last week. Last week, on my longest flight between San Francisco and Chicago, where breakfast was offered in first class, our flight attendant, who had the demeanor and hospitality of an army drill sergeant, brusquely listed the two choices off and you had roughly a half a second to state your decision both loudly and clearly before she walked away assuming you wished for nothing. This week, the flight attendants, in their new and updated uniforms (saw that in an email from United earlier this week, too) have been very gracious and hospitable.  I opened the menu and was reminded of a menu my dad took from one of his United flights to Chicago for a Schwinn Bicycle function back in the 1960’s. I always marveled at it when he brought it out to share, an actual menu with food choices and beverage choices, from an airline. Those were the days, when flying was a real treat. Today, it has become a necessity and is more like the Greyhound Bus. Until today. A paper menu, with choices for breakfast. And, much to my delight, on the drink menu, mimosas! I’ve had four. I’m a little embarrassed to ask for another, I think I can survive without. And I just was offered a snack, I chose the Toblerone chocolate. And this after my breakfast, which, by the way, was also much improved over last weeks. Same menu items, better prepared and much better presentation. Last week’s first class breakfast gave me a first class stomach ache, and all that goes with it, that lasted a full day. I swore I’d never eat that stuff again. But I did. Every bite. And it was so much better.

So here I sit, buzzing through the friendly skies, a couple more hours left in the first of four flights for the day, on three different airlines. I am loyal to United because of all the airlines, they’ve treated me the best. I know everyone has their own preference, for their own reasons, but I have always appreciated United for reasons I consider important; extra leg room between first class and coach for a small fee, or for free if you have status, free entertainment on many flights (used to be on all flights, but the merger with Continental has left some marks). I also appreciate being given the entire can of soda instead of twenty ice cubes and a splash, I can refill and enjoy the entire twelve ounces if I choose. All these little things add up and I feel like they’re really trying to earn my business; last week’s flight attendant and breakfast being the only recent exception.

I can only hope that all the good travel jou jou thus far today carries me through the remainder of my journey. I don’t really believe in “jinxing” things, but I did consider holding off on writing this article until I got where I needed to be, but then, I won’t have the time or the wherewithal to write. So, here I am, gloating, or tempting fate, but at least the longest leg of the journey has been champagne and chocolate infused!

A menu on an airplane! Just like the "old" days!
A menu on an airplane! Just like the “old” days!
A menu on an airplane! Just like the "old" days! Mimosas!
A menu on an airplane! Just like the “old” days! Mimosas!
A menu on an airplane! Just like the "old" days!
A menu on an airplane! Just like the “old” days!
First class breakfast, upgraded presentation.
First class breakfast, upgraded presentation.
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!
Mimosa!!

Scarlett’s Letter June 6, 2013

Travel day. Up early and off to the airport in Salt Lake City. Based on a conversation with my man on the phone the night before, something about airport food and powdered eggs, I set out to prove that in “most” airports, given enough time and money, you can find really good food, and, in fact, many local hot spots will have a restaurant situated at the airport. Salt Lake City is no different.

The co-worker I was traveling with is new to the company and to travel. Sadly, he does not have status or priority, or anything, and it is painful to watch the airport experience for the less traveled. True, when I fly certain airlines, out of necessity, I don’t have status or priority, but I make up for it with arriving even earlier than usual. The security lines at Salt Lake City this morning were outrageous, and I could see that my co-worker was a bit stressed. I flew my usual airline and he flew another, so I bid him farewell as he headed to the long line to get his boarding pass (which I would have printed at the hotel, for free, the night before. Just sayin’, we can avoid a lot of stress with a little advance reconnaissance). I strolled right up the blue carpet at my airline (priority line), plopped my suitcase on the scale, printed my boarding pass (I had an electronic one, but usually grab a paper one, too, while they adhere the bright red “priority” tag to my bag before slamming it unceremoniously onto the conveyor). Not thirty seconds later, I was headed back to security, which looked like a line for the main attraction at an amusement park. Again, off to one side, was my line, priority access. I was the only person in that line. I was through security in another thirty seconds, no lie. My co-worker hadn’t even reached the ticketing counter for his airline yet. I felt bad. For a minute, because his flight left an hour before mine, so I had all the time in the world, now.

I found a restaurant in the airport, Market Street Grill, a popular Salt Lake City restaurant with an additional airport venue. I prefer taking airport meals at the bar rather than sitting at a table all “loner style”. As is my custom when faced with a long day of travel, I like a mimosa with my breakfast, if at all possible. So, that’s what I had, a mimosa, to accompany my first cup of coffee for the day. I perused the menu and found grilled salmon, two eggs and choice of sides for $12. I ordered that and it was fabulous. I was nearly done with my mimosa when the bartender asked if I’d like another, he said he was almost out. Scarcity creates demand. I demanded another mimosa! And a moment later, one of the wait staff came up to the bar and the bartender said “sorry, I’m out of mimosa’s, ask them what else they’d like”. Preferential treatment = bigger tip! Well, my $12 breakfast ended up being $50 with the two mimosas, the coffee and the bigger tip. It’s all good, though. It was the only meal I’d be expensing and my daily limit is $55.

Then all my good karma kame krashing down. A delay out of Salt Lake City to San Francisco. But, after two mimosas, who cares? I did finally make it to San Francisco only to have to ride some shuttle bus across the tarmac and under the airport in a dark, dank tunnel, to some obscure gate in the bowels of some long, forgotten terminal. It was almost Stephen King like, creepy. Another delay. We were finally allowed to board the tiny propeller plane that would buzz us over to Sacramento, but sat on the tarmac for an hour. The flight was only twenty minutes, so the whole thing was pretty ridiculous. But, I made it.

Other than my breakfast, and the priority lines, the highlight of my day were the Audible and Kindle acquisitions I made while waiting for delayed aircraft. An expensive but entertaining and enlightening way to kill time. And money. The rest of the day was uneventful once I got home, I shopped for food for the week and read and relaxed. Not bad for a Thursday.

The most amazing airport breakfast of all time - Market Street Grill at SLC
The most amazing airport breakfast of all time – Market Street Grill at SLC