6 April 2010: Warmer weekends

College chums David I.S. and Dexter V.H. didn’t visit the Boston area two weeks ago as each had hoped to at one point. In addition, I didn’t have time to run Shard for Sara F. & Josh C.’s group near Rhode Island, and although I didn’t get to the Pax East gaming convention or I-Con genre entertainment show, I’ve been busy enough lately.

College crowd

At work, I’ve been juggling the usual editing with my first virtual trade show, testing a new invoicing and calendaring system, and looking ahead to conferences. I was lucky that the heavy rains didn’t affect my commute too much.

On Saturday, 26 March 2010, Janice and I drove to Hartford, Connecticut, for the Sugarloaf Craft Festival. As usual, we bought more food than art, and we had a hearty
lunch at a Cracker Barrel. I also browsed through the comic books and role-playing games at That’s Entertainment and Borders Books in Worcester, Massachusetts.

On Thursday, April 1, we went to the Route 128 station to pick up Amtrak tickets, but all the trains between Boston and New York had been canceled because of flooding in
Rhode Island
. Interstate 95 was also obstructed. We got back in my car, turned around, and drove down to Virginia to see my family, fighting both Boston and
Washington, D.C.’s rush-hour traffic and getting rear-ended at a stoplight in New Jersey on the way. Still, we made decent time.

Janice and I stayed with my brother Peter, who recently acquired a Nintendo Wii. Although his wife Kelly had to work the next day, we enjoyed the sunny weather with nieces Ava and Lili. We browsed the shops and ate lunch at Madigan’s Waterfront in the historic town of Occoquan. On Saturday, we went to the Reston Zoo, which Janice and I had never been to before, even when we lived in the area a decade ago. We had lunch at Uno’s in Reston Town Center.

That night, Janice and I went to Corbin A.Y.’s cookout and informal reunion of alumni from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Corb and his wife Andria (whose birthday was Sunday) were gracious hosts as always, and their daughter Maia was calm and cute. I enjoyed catching up with Ben P.S., Steve A.L. and his son Nathaniel, John Z.G., Dana B., and Steve M.R., even though several spouses and children were unable to attend. We chatted about work, politics, relationships, genre entertainmentand of course, gaming.

My parents joined us for mass on Easter Sunday (Janice went to a nearby Lutheran church rather than the crowded Catholic service). Kelly’s mother Maureen arrived in
time for the Easter egg hunt and Peter’s grilled steaks. We played with our nieces and fought with Nerf N-Force Marauder swords before reluctantly heading home.

Unfortunately, traffic was even worse at the end of the holiday weekend than it had been driving south, taking us nearly eight hours to traverse a distance normally
covered in five. Most of the volume was in Maryland and southern New Jersey. We
stopped overnight at the recently remodeled Courtyard by Marriott in Tarrytown,
New York
. The remainder of Janice’s and my trip went smoothly, and we stopped
for lunch at the Olive Garden in Natick, Mass., before dealing with errands at
home. I’m still catching up on work and e-mail, but I plan to blog more soon.