two hours between Kingston and New Paltz
Thursday, December 16 2021
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
Gretchen and I would be spending Friday and the weekend at her parents' Watergate apartment in Washington, DC as part of an excursion to bring back some furniture for the cabin. (Originally Gretchen had considered renting a truck for this task, although our replacement Subaru would be a sufficient vehicle for it.) Natalie would be staying at our house to dog sit and look after Powerful in our absence, so Gretchen and I put some effort into cleaning up the place for her. Today I went on a cleaning jihad mostly on the first floor, concentrating on the living room and any dust bunnies I saw in and around the kitchen and dining room. Initially Powerful was sleeping on the living room couch as I began my jihad, and that kept me from using the vacuum cleaner. I was using a dustpan and brush, and when I used it, some nasty powder got into my nose and induced a fit of sneezing so severe that at one point I actually retched a little and ropes of snot started swinging from my nostrils. I later asked Gretchen about this, and she told me that a week or so ago she'd accidentally shattered a bottle of Dave's Insanity Sauce in the kitchen. Evidently she'd used that dustpan to clean it up, and now it contained a dry, powdery residue of a material not too different from what goes into pepper spray.
Later someone gave Powerful a ride to his pre-biopsy covid test, and while he was gone, I got a chance to vacuum without having to worry about him.
A little after 4:00pm, Gretchen and I began our drive down to Washington. We hadn't gone far before we found ourselves stuck in exceedingly slow-moving traffic that Google was saying extended to just south of New Paltz. It ended up taking us two hours to cover the 17 miles between the Kingston and New Paltz exit, which might count as the worst traffic either of us has ever found ourselves in. After all that waiting in line, we were of course curious to see what had caused such a hold-up. When we got to the place where Google said normal traffic speeds would resume, we saw what looked like a single-vehicle accident. A tanker truck had apparently overturned and completely flattened its tank. We didn't see any evidence of fire, though there was liquid all over pavement beneath the wrecked payload.
That delay meant we were past rush hour on our closest approach to New York City, so we had little trouble with traffic for the rest of the drive.
Back before we lost two hours between Kingston and New Paltz, Gretchen had arranged for us to have dinner at a vegan restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ called Veganized. (This was the restaurant we ordered delivery from once while staying in a hotel in the area.) But Veganized was still open when we got to New Brunswick, so we went in for dinner. The place had a funky upscale vibe, with Sol-LeWitt-style wall art and framed monochrome paintings of roughly-executed figures. We were seated upstairs and ordered things we thought looked good: a tumpet mushroom/avocado sandwich with an IPA and an order of fries for me and mashed potatoes with gravy and a cutlet of tempeh for Gretchen. My sandwich wasn't all that great, and the fries were those fancy restaurant fries Gretchen and I don't like as much. But I was hungry, and it was a lot of food. As for Gretchen, she took a few bites and decided she wanted to take it to go, and ordered a to-go tempeh reuben to be devoured later in the drive.
I was doing the driving from somewhere in New Jersey all the way through Washington, nearly to our destination. Interestingly, it was so late in the day that Google descided to send us directly through Washington from east to west, avoiding the Beltway entirely, on a route that took us close to the neighborhoods I used to live in near Goddard Space Flight Center. Gretchen was freaking out a bit about how anxious urban driving seemed to be making me, and I turned over the driving to her about a quarter mile from our destination.
We arrived at the Watergate after midnight, and Gretchen's parents were both still wide awake and happy to hang out. We cut up and snacked on some challah that Gretchen had made and brought with us and I think there was also snacking on a creme brulee tart that she'd also made. Normally in such situations I sneak off and go to sleep on my own, but at some point before I did that Gretchen said that she needed to go to bed.
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