Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,

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Bonus time

Getting back to Ithaca at almost midnight has its disadvantages, but one nice advantage yesterday was that I had nearly the whole day to spend with wedding folks, including the bride and groom! A couple dozen of us had brunch at the Marriott at almost noon, at which I sat next to Mike, one of the groomsmen, a much better opportunity to get to know him than Friday night's apartment-hanging-out had been. He must've been too zonked on Friday or something to show his wild and bubbly nature.

Now, I've commented on amazing hotel brunches before, but what impressed me about this one wasn't the crab's legs or lobster (there weren't any) or filet mignon (nope), but the reasonable price for a surprisingly broad array of delicious food. A lot of the usual breakfast stuff, including fresh fruit and pastries, made-to-order omelets and waffles, but also stuffed french toast that reminded me of Andy's (this one was blueberry instead of strawberry). There was a carving station with fresh roast beef in addition to the chafing dishes of chicken and fish, as well as delicious salads (the chef told me they were his grandmother's recipes, especially the antipasto salad), a cold cut tray, and a large platter of smoked salmon. Lox on a buffet always impresses me. Dessert was excellent bread pudding with Jack Daniel's whisky sauce. Mmm. For all this, they charged just $14.95! The $9 or so at the Ramada in Ithaca (where we'll be again for Watkins Glen Weekend brunch) is really cheap, but this brunch buffet at most of the nice hotels I get to are substantially more than this. A similar (but lesser) brunch buffet at the Hunt Valley Marriott, for example, is $25 or so.

After brunch, we all got checked out of the hotel, and I was convinced to join Joost, Susan, and Mike on their excursion to show Mike the area's huge Mr. K's used bookstore. He was in heaven! The three of us left him there to go in search of some blank CDs so I could burn the weekend's photos to disc for them, and for videographer Dave, who might be able to use a couple in the video he'll put together.

We then spent a couple of hours at Susan's parents' place as they opened wedding gifts, and Erin (Sandy's girlfriend) and then Joost's mom took turns writing down a list so thank-you notes could be properly personalized. Let's just say they're going to need a bigger kitchen! This was definitely more fun than sitting at the airport for three or four hours, and I got to chat a bit more with family members. I really ended up being able to spend an enormous amount of time with Joost and Susan... thus the subject of this post. :-) I'm reminded of the weekends of Les and Dee's wedding and Wade and Linda's wedding, at which each couple spent loads of time with friends.

They got me to the airport about an hour before the flight, and I was happy to be able to plug in my laptop and get online with their free wireless. Caught up on a little Fleet business and chatted a bit while waiting to board with the handful of people for the flight to Pittsburgh. I don't think there's any food service at the Tri-Cities airport, or if there is, it's not near the gates. I didn't want to bother going back through security, so I figured I'd wait for Pittsburgh. We got in a few minutes early, again just in time for me to order some food at the Oyster House before they closed their kitchen! Had some fried oysters, cole slaw, and excellent clam chowder.

I finished Wil Wheaton's new book, Just a Geek, on the flight to Ithaca, while taking notes for an interview. It's a longer, deeper, hardcover version of some of the same concepts from Dancing Barefoot, but with more of a look at his recent acting career (or lack thereof). I can kind of understand what the uncomplimentary EW reviewer thought he saw, but I think he missed the point of the book.

Got home around midnight, and turned on the heat! I don't know whether it was 48 as my car said, or 39 as angelah217 said, but it was autumny enough outside to require heat inside. I really need to find instructions for this thermostat. I don't need the house at 72 degrees most of the time, and all I can figure out how to do is lower the heat for a few hours of "bypass," after which it goes back to its usual program.

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