Not me, lady, more than my job’s worth

Thankfully my bed at the hotel was so comfortable that I was never Sleepless in Seattle (sorry, couldnt resist) even with my coffee drinking habits! However, when it came to Sunday, and Seatac (close enough to Seattle) Airport, things did get a bit shambolic.

There was a good, logical reason for having the extra night in Seattle when away, the fact that on the Sunday, I could get a direct flight back to Manchester from there, rather than having to start out at a silly hour, and changing somewhere. Silly thing is, it was cheaper to pay for 1 extra night at the hotel, than the difference in air fare I could save by doing that! Yes, the inaugural direct flights from Manchester, to Seattle, and back. However…

Check in desk went fine, and directed towards the place where disability passengers needed to go, to get taken through by wheelchair. Only thing was, after about 20 minutes of waiting, they decided they werent the ones dealing with Thomas Cook passengers, and advised to go try one of the other teams, and see if they were doing it. Another said no, and I have no idea about the 3rd one, as no one ever turned up with a wheelchair, and numerous people had been there longer than me!

So anyway, after about an hour of wheelchair denial, I took matters into my own hands. As I sadly couldnt find a Davros wheelchair, or even better, a Dalek carrier (I could have exterminated a few, happily, by then), I gave up, put my brace back on (I take it off for security check, as its very like a bomb belt), and headed for security myself, as best my legs would carry me! I got there, explained I would fail the security scanner, and why, and suggested maybe they wanted to do a check in privately, as the sign suggested. They took the other option, got me to go in the scanner, and fail (the security person was laughing as she told me she knew I was going to fail), and then they did the standard pat down thing. I then moved on!

The next amusing thing was, someone turned up at the gate, and asked if I needed a wheelchair to get me to the plane! I was tempted, but passed on that, as it would be a straightforward walk to the plane, and on board, no issue. Also, he probably would have expected a tip, and I was in no mood to tip them by then! Only snag was, walked down to the passageway, then waited, and waited,…and 5 minutes later, finally got to board the plane. Thankfully I hadnt removed the brace, so I hurt, but I survived.

After that, in truth, the whole journey was very straightforward. Even more amusing when one of the stewards on board the plane remembered me from last September! Hey, I’m not really a celebrity yet, honest. Unfortunately there was a child sat next to me, who literally screamed for 95% of the flight home, making sleeping on the plane even more impossible than normal.

In truth, this end of the journey was very easy, and I’d given myself plenty of time on my advance ticket to get the train, given we’re always the last ones off the plane, so if it had been at all late, it might have been a close thing. Nope, at the station just over an hour ahead of my booked train! I was not surprised to see that the incompetence known as Trans Pennine Express hadnt improved their service as claimed, the opposite in fact, and the train about 2 minutes later than my arrival there had been cancelled! Anyway, there was another between that, and mine back to Huddersfield, so I put on my best ‘disabled old lady’ routine, and asked if he would pass my ticket so I could get the one in between, and get home a bit earlier. To my amusement, he quoted the almost infamous line that ‘it was more than his job was worth to do so’. Irony is, if I’d been 30 minutes late, he would have had to do it, condition of the ticket!

Last fun item, I’d told Eric, at home, that I would ring him when I got back to let him know I’d safely arrived back. Phone rings, numerous times, no answer! No, nothing serious, he’d just gone out on the buses for the day, and had forgotten what I’d said I would do. Men!!! Yes, I was in bed about 8.30 last night, and apart from a bout of cramp in my leg, I slept for nearly 12 hours in all. Fine now, in that sense at least.

Yes, I’m sore, but recovering. Taken a normal days meds today, for the first time since flight day out, and even now I have a mild ache, despite that. I also seem to have damaged another toe on my left foot, I only hope its not broken, like the next toe along, and just painfully sore from wearing new shoes while away. But other than that…

So thats it, for the holiday blogs for now. Crazily, the next short trip away is at the end of next week, to Blackpool, but more on that Thursday. After that, September to Inverness, and then, November, to…? Well, it will begin with F, for sure, in one sense at least! Will have to wait for a wonderful lady to fill me in on that one! So watch out for that…

OK, video. Mainly in tribute to the ‘Wheelchair Pushers’ at Seatac Airport, though I guess a member of rail staff at Manchester Airport should be included. Less so though, he was strictly doing his job, at least, which is more than the Seatac folk were!

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Taking a ride on a big wheel, and other things

Right, and so to complete the posting from Seattle scene…

Thursday, I decided that the little toe on my left foot wasnt going to stop being an issue anytime soon, so decided that was the day to ride the full length of the Seattle Light Rail, up the other extension since I was previously here, the one up to the University of Washington. I have to say that the extension at this end of the route (to Angle Lake) has been an absolute boon, as its nearer than the Airport station to here, and walk-able. Well, in perfect health, maybe, but I survived. There is one killer (but thankfully short) uphill stretch on the walk from here to that station, which I wont be missing now!

Coming out of the University station, I rather expected to be on the edge of the University grounds. Ah well…What I was very close to, was Husky Stadium, the home of the University football team. Well, seemingly in these days of glorious sponsorship, its now called Alaska Airlines Field, but will always be Husky Stadium to me! I hobbled a short distance further, didnt find anything more than sports facilities, so gave up on that idea. When I got back to the station, I did find a map, and the grounds were relatively nearby, but decided I wasnt going to push my foot by setting out again, in a totally different direction. So, defeated, back into town, earlier than planned. So I headed for a landmark with memories for me, that I knew hadnt moved, the rail station. Wrong time of day to see the Empire Builder train, though I did see a goods train trundling through the station, heading south. One of these days I will do another long distance train journey, though whether it will be the repeat Empire Builder again, or more likely, Los Angeles to Chicago (via Kansas City, please note), I have no idea. In theory, I could do a ‘Clara Johnson’ and travel by train from Oklahoma City, via Texas, to Los Angeles, if timed right, but I wouldnt put good money on that one. Requires a change in Texas, a slightly shorter one than I suspect Clara did!

After that, I headed down to the front again, and ended up seeing the city from on high again, this time from a giant wheel, hence the title of the blog! The last time I did one of those was the London Eye, with my mother, and that would be about 25 years ago! This time, it wasnt just one turn around the wheel, but 6, but then again it was a lesser radius, which probably explained why! Blonde moment, I realized eventually that I’d only looked in 1 direction for about 5 turns, so turned to take in the other side, and that was when the wheel stopped at the bottom lol! Ah well…

Yesterday, day time at least, was relatively quiet. Went and did the holiday shopping for others, and also found myself a new (much needed) handbag, that certainly looks vintage, even if it clearly isnt! I also found a gorgeous dress in another store, very 30’s, but a bit pricey for me (about $60, plus tax, however much that might have been), and was only a medium size, so I talked myself out of it. Hindsight to that, I discovered I wasnt quite as impoverished as I thought I was, so I decided to go back today, and see if it actually fitted, or not, and probably buy if it did. But no, someone had already beaten me to it, not surprised, it was gorgeous. Macy’s did also have some nice period dresses, but with them you’re talking over $200 each, plus tax, so didnt even consider it, way beyond my purse!

Yesterday evening saw the return to Safeco Field, and the Mariners, this time, all went far more smoothly. I also have to thank Melissa for the Goody Bag (not that she will see this) that was provided too. Must be a lucky mascot, mind, as I saw them win twice! Hobbled back to the Light Rail station just in time for a train to pull in empty, and run back from there, to Angle Lake. Still got my commuting skills, got a seat, no idea how!

Today, beyond the failed shopping trip, was the farewell tour. I didnt go right down to the water today, its a steep route down, and more critically, up, as I discovered on Thursday, so settled for a seat at the top of the steps, and looked out over the water from there for a while. Then back to the Light Rail, the ride out of town, and for now at least, the final farewell. In theory, if nothing changes in my life, I’ll be back in 6 years time (my post retirement trip), as this place will be my stop off point to Alaska. In reality, the way my body is currently falling apart, I wouldnt put good money on being in strong enough health for that, even with breaks en route, but we will see. Thats one thing I have realized, west coast trips really are going to be a no go, very soon, if not already! There will be 1 more, even if I have to drag my shattered body to LA, it will happen at some point! But Seattle…?

Tomorrow, I fly back home, back to work on Wednesday, blessed with a bank holiday this week, which enables me to do it this way. Covering as Team leader again for that week, should be interesting, once I’ve caught up on work emails at least! 2 weekends from now, is Blackpool! Then, as far as I know, thats it until a few days away in Scotland in September, couldnt afford more at present, anyway! Especially as, maybe in November…? You’ll have to wait on that!

Right, video time. Big clue in the blog title, absolutely! Live performance, nearly 50 years old, now I really feel old!

Search for the hotel room for yourself

Well fine, I have finally come to the decision that the back will (probably) survive the flight to Seattle, and back in May, so have started the process of transferring money to cards to allow me to pay for everything. Fine, I might have left it a couple more weeks, but Thomas Cook tell me there is a sale on to Seattle, so fine, it has to be done! Always was on a budget for these things, but even more so now I’m only able to work a 4 day week. A fact which also means this will be the only US trip that I will pay for this year! So yes, only trip lol! ūüėõ

The amusing thing, when it came to hotel rooms, was the discounted rates available at the Choice Hotel group hotel I’ll be staying at. As a member of their scheme, I get a discount over those that dont belong, which is fine, we need some incentive, lets face it! And no, I’m never going to stay enough to get free nights lol! The thing that ‘annoyed’ me slightly, was the fact that I can get my discount for a standard queen/king bed room, but nothing if you need an accessible one! Fine, I can almost certainly get by without one, and will have to now, but I must admit I looked for one, as the extra help in the bathroom at least might have been handy, given the state of my back, let alone the room more designed for someone with some mobility issues.

Maybe its the norm, I dont know, as of course its the first time I’ve ever looked for such a thing! But no, I’m not paying $17 a night extra, for 8 nights, just on the vague chance I might need that! I guess the number of access rooms are more limited, so not offering them for discounted rates is due to that, but it concerns me for others, who might need it, are on a budget, if they cant get rooms for the same price as people with no health issues.

OK, disability rant over, though I might yet write to their customer services dept, and ask them why, and see what answer I get, hmm?

Fine, video time. M People fitted for my other blog video, so I took the lazy route in finding this one. As so often, clue is in blog title!

Why couldnt it happen to be me?

Every so often, in my reading, I come across a story that amuses, or tickles me enough that I end up using it in a blog. Tonight is one of those occasions!

http://192.155.80.152/MonasMakeoverPaladin/index.html

(Firstly, let me say I know this is fiction, but for the sake of the blog…)

So fine, this creaky old lady wants to know, who wants to be my William? I assume it would work (in time) equally well on a nigh 60 year old, with damaged back, so…? Oh please, I could even live with the increased libido (anything would be an increase with me!) if I could feel half as good as that again. I know, at the moment I couldnt even look at a gym without my back complaining, but after a few of those pills… Hey, I’d probably be a natural blonde lol! Yeah, I guess I could even live with the female harem lol!

Maybe, given my past life self, I could have the supplements that turn me into the dancer type, rather than a gym bunny? I must admit, it would be fascinating to know life as Clara did, but now, short of something like that happening to me, my days of being a dancer are long gone! Mind, I think she took all the dancing skills, but fine, I’ll have to live with that now!

One thing a few classic movie fans might note is that yes, I’d have been even more amused if it had been William, and Myrna. Yes, think about it, lol…or try Google, it will probably give the game away!

So fine, unless anyone wants to provide me with a few of those supplements, I’ll stick to trying to work out if this old body of mine will survive for 8 days in Seattle/Seatac next May! PS If anyone reading this can, or knows someone who I can use as a ‘buddy’ on that trip, I’d appreciate it. No, I dont want anything more than a contact number, which I hope I wouldnt need. But lets just say that I need something brought in, because the back has locked up, or somewhere I can just relax for a couple of hours, to allow the (Seatac) hotel staff to do their thing, I’d be grateful. Shouldnt need it, but just in case, once or twice, to know someone is there, on the end of a phone?

Fine, I know, but no harm asking, I guess?

Video time. A bit of a variation on the blog title, but I doubt Mona was saying this. Me, I’d love it to be me, but anyway…a little vintage live Abba

Walking on the ‘milky’ way

Oh fine, if that doesnt give you a clue to the video, nothing will! A tale of getting older, and cutting back, so call yourself warned.

When I was young, or indeed while still into my 20’s, I used to walk miles on my days off, quite literally. Yes, in those ancient (facetiousness factor) days, it was nothing for me to just walk out on a Sunday morning, walk 4-5 miles or more, have a bite of lunch, or at least a drink, when the weather was fair, and then walk back again. In truth, if I wanted to go far, on a Sunday, back then, in Somerset, or Dorset at least, and didnt drive, you had to walk, there was no Sunday bus service at all! So I did.

Its fair to say that over the years, my walking has got a bit slower (though some at work might not believe that), and maybe a couple of miles each way was enough, but I kept walking, when I could.

But yes, now, since my back went wrong, I’m now finding that my limit, in 1 go, is down to about a mile, or just under! How do I know this, you ask? Well, according to Google Maps, the distance I walk in Bradford, from the Bus Station, to work, is approximately 0.8 miles. And yes, I’m beginning to ‘feel it’ at present when I near my destination. So in truth, not much more, which is why I’m using a mile as a guide, and I might have problems nowadays. I know, I was about 25 then, I’m 60 next year, with osteoporosis, but its still a blow to the ego.

Will it get better, will it get worse, who knows? I suspect that its more likely to be the latter, than the former, so I’ll settle for stability at least. In truth, any other year, I could book my holiday for May already. I just about have the funds, or will have after pay day next week, I know who I want to fly with, I know where I want to stay, but…its a me issue!

The thing about staying in hotels, is that they expect you to go out for the day, each day. Hopefully, fine, it wont be an issue. Equally, if you can tell me, that in an 8 day stay, there wont be at least 1 day where the body is suffering a bit, I’d love you. It might be true, but given that 2 working days in a row is about my limit at present (Holiday time would not be as hard on me, physically, to be fair), assuming I can get out for several (or more) hours each day of my stay, hmm? There is, to be fair, an apartment option, but that would mean getting provisions on arrival (using a UK credit card, in the US, not always easy online), and I suspect I might not be up to that, after a long flight. So the hotel would be better, now.

Oh, and then there is my own determination, and budget. In theory, the hotel offers a shuttle to and from the airport at all times, so I could use that to get the train into town from Seatac, but it wouldnt get me back, anyway. In fact, I could do a flat 0.7 mile walk to a station, which would be fine at present, but then, and each day…?

So yes, I’ll leave it a while to make my booking, just to see how far I might be able to walk by then. I will make the call by February, and see how I am by then, is the plan. Its not just that of course, it is the length of flying time (its direct coming back, but via LA getting there, adding several hours) as well, so we will see.

In truth, I probably ought to have a Plan C, involving either the East Coast of US (shorter flight times), or somewhere in Europe, but I’m trying to avoid working on thoughts like that at present.

But yes, getting old sucks, lol!

The video, a live version of the blog title!

One big change

No, I havent suddenly developed cleavage that would make a basketball seem tiny or anything, thank goodness lol! Actually I’m talking about Seattle, where I will be flying to on Saturday.

I suspect in fact that there are probably a lot more changes than that, since I was last there, the Sonics scooting out of town for Oklahoma being one obvious one! And the local WHL Ice Hockey team has also scooted out of town, though only to Kent, and still calling themselves Seattle anyway! I suspect a few shops will have disappeared, new ones arrived, and all that, though still plenty of coffee shops I suspect lol!

I remember from my first visit, a massage place in the Pike Place Market which was still there the last time I was in town about 4 years ago, I wonder if its still there? That was my first ever massage, and my back has been grateful for it ever since lol!

But no, the change I’m talking about is my daily route from the hotel (I always stay near the airport, habit, plus the fact they are cheaper than downtown) into central Seattle. Since my last trip, the light railway has been completed, and I’m really looking forward to trying it out. Judging by the film I’ve found, its nothing exciting, just something new for me. And alright, by the end of the week, I’ll probably be longing for the old bus route again lol!

I’m looking forward to seeing the city again, though I suspect it will be a while this time before I go back again after this, as I find it harder year by year to do really long flights, and the West Coast is about 50% or more again as opposed to East Coast destinations, and the body really is beginning to object to matters like that. Add on the flight boredom, and the extra jet lag involved, and you get my drift. Mind, as I can make a case for Wichita, Kansas¬†being East Coast…on the grounds its only an hour or so¬†extra from Chicago, well…thats not until September 2013 anyway lol!

So granted, this film of the light railway will have you saying, been there, done that, and indeed so have I, many times. But it will be a first in Seattle, thats for sure. First journey on it, heading to see the Mariners play, that will be nice. During the rest of the week, downtown, thats for sure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KmEwqK-QQQ&feature=related

3 weeks from now…

I will be sound asleep, it will be 4.51 am in the morning, so I certainly hope I am at least. I have no idea if these things time date, so lets just say that in my current time zone, at the time I started typing this, it was 12.51 pm. Well everything permitting I will be at least, its only 2 years ago that a certain Icelandic volcano ruined all those plans for me, so never assume, I guess?

Yes, I’ve been counting down towards this holiday for a long while now, I might have had breaks from work in that period, but havent had a trip away from here since that memorable trip to Boston last September. And when the NFL pull their finger out, I’ll book for this years trip to New England as well! Definitely looking forward to that, it has to be said.

But for now, its Seattle to look forward to, I wonder how much has changed in the 5 years since I was last there? 2 obvious things, the Seattle Sonics are no more, they are now in Oklahoma City, and seemingly doing quite well there too. The other big change will be getting from the airport area, where I will be staying, into downtown Seattle. Back then, you rode a bus into town, a decent service, every 40 minutes or so (midweek, daytime), that took, yes, a while to get there. Now there is a light railway into town which I’m looking forward to trying out. What else has changed, no real idea,¬†will be interesting to see when I get there.

It is a city I love, and if money was no object, and working in the US was an easy thing to do, I’d love to settle there and work. But yes, comparing Seattle to the likes of other places I’d love to live and work (Wichita, Rochester, Albany, and several in New England), its an expensive place to live! Probably cheaper than San Francisco, but is that saying much? Why do I love Seattle? I guess its because the climate is similar to here, maybe? Also, the people seem friendly, easy going, and generally a great place to be.¬†It has to be said that the only one of those things that Boston or Toronto fail on is the weather one, lol! I would comment on the other 3, but as I have never visited one, and the other 2 were only visited nearly 25 years ago, well I have nothing to go on there!

But no, unless you have a need to know, or your name is Kate, or James, I’m not saying where I’m staying at Seatac lol! But if you do have a need to know, then feel free to ask. This is my last planned west coast trip for the foreseeable future, not¬†because I dont love the area, I do, but as my body ages, the journey time is just getting too long for my body to really enjoy. So it will be much further east for the foreseeable future, though some might say that Kansas isnt that far east, all the same. But the other 2 planned trips for the next 20 months are definitely much more easterly than that!¬†I do hope to get back to San Francisco again some day, and maybe at some point another return to Seattle, but they will definitely not be as regular as they have been. Thats why I wanted 1 more trip to Seattle before cutting back on them. But I certainly hope the old body can hold up to East coast trips for a good while yet.

Well, unless someone wants to solve the whole need for me making Transatlantic trips of course, lol! ūüėČ