The tour of Costa Rica was fun, but the trip back on Friday was bad. Our flight to DFW was diverted by bad weather to Shreveport, Louisiana, where the plane sat on the ground for 5 hours, then back to DFW. By the time we made it through customs (including secondary inspection for carrying food), it was nearly midnight, and all connecting flights had either taken off or been cancelled. The AA rep announced that vouchers for available hotel rooms nearby had already been exhausted.
I called David Richey, thinking it was 10pm for him in California, so he could check Hotwire for someplace with available rooms (although it was 1am for him in Vermont). I called 3 places he found, and finally the 3rd one answered, and they had plenty of rooms, 30 minutes away. A rental car for $50 until Sunday morning sounded better and more flexible than a 30-minute taxi ride. When we arrived in the car-rental line, the agent announced that 1-way rentals to nearby states were not available, and people behind us asked about San Diego, to which the answer was "Maybe" -- I hope things worked our OK for them, because highway closures to Albuquerque were mentioned in the newspaper.
On our way to find the hotel in Dallas, we passed a big clump of other hotels, so we tried the Best Western, which had a fine room for $56, breakfast included. I hadn't brought a cell-phone charger, but my phone had been off most of the time, since I didn't have service in Costa Rica anyway; I didn't trust the battery when it claimed to be fully charged. After 20 minutes on hold (with the hotel room phone), American offered to fly us to Sacramento on Monday, January 1, but we could be wait-listed for San Francisco.
The next morning, we were confirmed on an evening flight to SFO, so we visited a public library, where we used our 1-hour limit on the internet to check email, then the art museum and the sculpture center in Dallas (but we didn't opt for the 45-minute wait to get into the Van Gogh exhibit). After lunch, we headed to the AmericanAirlines C.R. Smith Museum, but it was closed until January 3. Instead, we visited the historic Stockyards district in Fort Worth; I don't ever need to go back (although they did have quaint shops selling western wear, and later, when the rental car shuttle bus showed a promotional video of Ft. Worth, I recognized the signs for several nightclubs and steakhouses).
At the airport, everything was late by an hour or two, and we tried for stand-by on 2 flights to SJC. I think we were 17 and 18 out of 30-some on the stand-by list for the first SJC flight. On the next one, we started at 2 and 3 out of about 20, and the gate agent said it looked like 3 people had either already missed their incoming connecting flight or were on flights that wouldn't arrive before our boarding time. Unfortunately, our SFO flight was about 20 minutes before the SJC flight, so we had to choose a bird-in-the-hand vs. 2 stand-by. Then the agent told us that people with higher priority had joined the list, so we hurried to the SFO flight, which was otherwise unremarkable.
Our bags were checked to San Jose. At SFO baggage claim, we had to wait for bags to finish arriving before they'd take our information. Then, after midnight, we caught a shuttle van home to Milpitas, and were in bed by 2am. At 9:30 the next morning (Sunday), the baggage delivery service called to say the bags would arrive between 12 and 4 (but actual arrival time was 10:30am), so we started doing laundry.
On my way down the 2 steps into the garage, my knee started hurting. It didn't hurt to walk, but I couldn't bend it and bear weight. I tried to favor it, and I took ibuprofen to fight inflammation, but by Monday night it seemed to be getting worse, and I couldn't drive comfortably. I called Kaiser's advice nurse, then we visited the emergency room (since the urgent care was closed for the holiday). After a $50 co-pay, I got 2 x-rays (which don't show soft tissue, like a torn meniscus or an inflamed tendon) and an ace bandage, with instructions to take ibuprofen and come back if it's not better in 5 days. The bandage does seem to help (since I can't bend the knee accidentally). With any luck, these $50-ish things only come in threes, and we'll be safe for a while.
President Ford's death meant an extra day of delay in postal service, so we got 17 days worth of mail on Wednesday. When rfrench complains that the financial markets were closed for 4 days, I can't help wondering who it helps. I'm cynical; I think the banks and credit-card companies would love to have an unplanned day without mail delivery, because some payments will be late, and they can collect late-payment fees.
Similarly, I'm bothered by the huge bond measures that were passed by California voters in November. Bonds are a way to convert taxpayer money into interest payments for investors in the bond market. What better way to boost Big Business and wealthy investors at the expense of the average citizen?