On Friday, I sold my 90 Nissan Stanza to a mechanic at the Nissan shop for $400. With that, I bought a vacuum cleaner, a stereo, three floor pillows, five Brita water filters, and lunch for two. There's still enough left to get the craft table I want.

I learned to drive in that car. Sigh...

I bought a car on Saturday. I have my very own red 97 Honda Accord EX. Last night, Jon and I drove down I-35 singing along to the B-52s with the sun roof open to the cool, post-rain night air. It was the most fun I've ever had driving in Austin.

I like my car.

Woo Hoo! Spent last night in my new apartment, got up at 6:45 this morning, and arrived at work at 8:05! And I don't feel like I need to kill anyone (I don't have to drive on IH 35 anymore). There's a millipede issue, but I plan to tell the management about that today. And we've got a whole nother room. Yay!

The Reunion Tour was a lot of fun. We didn't get to spend quite enough time with anybody, but that's preferable to feeling like you spent too much time with them, right?

Tuesday, July 4

Still in Austin, we attended my friend Dave's fajita barbecue party. Jon was thrilled because he got to fulfill his life-long dream: float in a pool under a clear summer sky with a margarita on his tummy. Dave made guacamole from scratch, and that was fantastic, too. It was a good way to start the vacation.

July 5 - July 7

Flew into Philadelphia and took a shuttle to Grandma Sandy's. On Thursday, she finalized the sale of her house to one of her tenants, becoming a tenant herself, so she was practically clicking her heels together. We hung out with her and the new house owners, Marge and Ken, drinking espresso, eating brownies, and admiring Ken's paintings and sculptures. Grandma seems to be doing well, and my hug reservoir is a little more full.

Friday, July 7

Took a Septa train back to Philadelphia to see my college friends Jen and Melissa. They've got a regular menagerie: two cats, four birds, two dogs (one of whom is a stray they are trying to find a home for; I'll get the Pet Finder link from home and post it later), and they have become rather serious fish breeders, so they have about 10 tanks. Oh, and I forgot the toad. Jen and Melissa looked successful and happy, and I learned a lot about fish breeding.

Saturday, July 8

Jen and Melissa drove us up to Allentown. We saw my parents' new house, in the process of being built. Um... big. Really big. And it's got great ceilings and a commanding view of the valley. I think they'll like it. Also on Saturday, we attended a picnic at "Leandra's Grandma's" just like old times. It was great chatting with Myra, Linda, Leandra and Gene, Leandra's brother Stephen, and my friend Steve and his new wife (!!!). (One notable absense, Jerry.) That was a great picnic—it was like nothing had changed there. Well, except for the wife part. And Leandra wasn't married in high school. And...oh, nevermind.

Sunday, July 9

At this point, Mom lent me her sports car, so travelling became a lot more fun. We drove out to Brooklyn, and Faith took us for a ride in her very own plane. I was so impressed, watching my own friend flying a whole plane, all by herself. We couldn't take the long tour of the Twin Towers that Faith had wanted because we passengers were too heavy. That's okay, though. The short flight was more suited to my bravery level. Maybe next time, though. It sure was incredible to be up there.

Also, Faith looked fantastic. She told me her hair cut was from a salon in State College (Joe at Looks Hair Design on Calder Way), so I got a cut there myself, later in the week; I'm quite pleased with it (finally!). Jen and Melissa (and Anna and Tango) joined us in Brooklyn, and Faith had a friend, Christian, visiting, so we all stayed up late talking, which was much fun, of course. Christian and Jon talked tech geek to each other (Faith and I agreed this was quite sexy). And Faith's futon proved to be the best bed accomodations we got outside of a hotel.

Monday - Wednesday

Off to State College. Saw my former boss and had lunch with the old gang from the lab and the new secretary (my replacement—well, actually, my replacement's replacement). I like being a programmer. Also hung out with my old roommate, Jer, and some of our LARPing friends. I hadn't realized how good the live-action role-playing scene in State College is until I came to Austin. I miss the old game. Visited Charlie and Dave at the Creative Oasis and confirmed that they are doing well and getting ready for Arts Fest. Friends I met through Jon threw us a big picnic on Tuesday, which was awesome. People cooked really fancy stuff; I was impressed. (And Dax brought the popsicles, an essential at a Jon-picnic, of course.) It was a great party. Had an early breakfast with Catherine and caught up on all the doings of Four Quarters Farm. Seems everybody is really thriving. Also on Wednesday, I got a hair cut. I still like it, which is such a relief. Didn't manage to see Fred, which makes me sad. Sorry, buddy.

Wednesday to Friday

We returned to Philadelphia to visit with Jon's mother and also to see Jon's old pals Frank Truelove and Rick (The Odd Couple, though it's hard to figure out which one is the neat one). I saw some old photos of Jon (baby geek. tee hee) and got trounced at Chinese Checkers by his mom. She took very good care of us. Finally meeting the infamous Frank Truelove was a hoot; we talked about gaming and business, and he challenged me to find out the name of the infinity symbol (He gave me the answer on a folded piece of paper, but that would be cheating.).

Friday to Sunday

Friday we drove down to Ocean Pines, MD, which is near Ocean City, and caught up with my parents. Saturday was the Cichelli-Sweetman family reunion. Those folks are always a lot of fun, but the reunion was so short. My grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, Jon and I went out for seafood (or chicken, if you're a Sharon) and then off to the boardwalk. My California cousins, Dianne and Joan, were quite in their element on the boardwalk; we won a number of tacky stuffed animals. Sunday, my grandfather's family assembled for brunch, and then it was over and I was on my way, until the next three-year reunion.

My parents, with their his- and hers-Stealths drove me and Jon, respectively, up to our hotel in Philadelphia. We stayed at a Microtel, which was quite nice and very reasonably priced; I recommend it.

Monday ...

Weather cancelled flights, we were stuck in Houston (without our luggage!) over night, Continental did not impress me. Then my car was dead, with engine and rack-and-pinion damage, probably coincidentally, rather than because of our trip. Bleah. But, I'm back at work (they didn't mind much that I was two days late), our new apartment did not get rented in the time it was put on the market because the manager didn't get our message that our flight was cancelled, and my mechanic at Nissan got me a discounted rate for an Enterprise rental car (and all they had was a Lincoln Town Car. *snark*).