Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 10 and random thoughts.......

Today I was kind of bored. I knew it wouldn't be as fun as the last couple of days because Jeff would be in his conference all day and I'd be on my own to entertain myself, but I didn't know that a good many of the popular tourist activities in this town require good weather and are more geared to summer tourism.

The wifi in the hotel was down so I decided to go someplace where I could get breakfast and connect to free wifi. Starbucks! There were three downtown near the university. I also found a Dunkin Donuts nearby and I've been wanting to go there since we saw them in York.  I figured I'd grab a doughnut, head over to Starbucks to get a coffee, and hang out there a while using the wifi.  But there was no parking to be found near the college. No worries, I figured I could find the same set up near a suburban mall.

Not exactly. I found a nearby mall, but it was nearly abandoned and some of the anchor stores were shuttered. Perhaps I arrived too early (10 a.m.?) but there didn't appear to be breakfast options at this particular mall. I was about to give up when I spotted a Barnes and Noble. Hallelujah! They had a cafe AND free wifi - jackpot! I found a prime table right next to an outlet (because I need constant power for my lame computer). I had a peppermint mocha frappucino - so delicious - and perfect for my sore throat this morning. I also had an almond croissant to fill my belly and set to "work." I did do a tiny bit of real work on my computer but mostly I scrolled Facebook and watched people come and go. The internet worked great at first but then it got really slow so I spent a lot of time just looking around waiting for things to load. I finally got bored and decided to go to Ross across the street.

I knew I couldn't buy much because my suitcase was already bursting when I arrived here. But I found this one cute top so of course I had to buy it. It's super thin and will roll up and tuck right in! No problem! But then I found this buttery soft blanket. It was so rainy and cold out today, I envisioned myself wrapped in this blanket next to the hotel room window, reading a novel and watching rivulets of rain rush down the windowpane. So, of course, I bought it. I have no idea where it will fit on the trip home but that's what husbands are for - to make room in THEIR luggage for your expenditures when you're bored in a small town. Ha.

I finally got hungry for lunch so I left Ross and headed back to Barnes and Noble. I didn't see many restaurant options around the area, and I wasn't feeling adventurous driving a rental car in the rain. I ordered a pizza - the description said it was "handcrafted and hand-stretched dough" topped with fresh ingredients. The picture looked great, too! Unfortunately, it was a glorified frozen pizza. The cheap kind. With three dime-sized pieces of pepperoni, a few crumbles of sausage and watery sauce. And it wasn't even very warm. I was so hungry I ate part of it, but threw the rest away. In another one of my poor food decisions, I also ordered a large vanilla cupcake. Oh, and an iced mocha. So, I cut the cupcake in half - certainly I did not need the whole thing after eating the pizza! But, guess what? I ate the whole thing! I immediately regretted it and I had a stomach ache for two hours after. Bad, bad decisions.

I headed back to the hotel at 3:30 because it was already starting to get dark. I'm such a baby when it comes to 1. driving in an unfamiliar town, 2. driving in the dark in an unfamiliar town, 3. driving. I just want someone else to drive me places.

Soon, Jeff returned from his conference. He informed me he would be attending a dinner but that I was not invited. I'm kidding - he actually asked if I could come to the dinner and was told NO so he said we would just go get dinner on our own and he'd skip it. But, being the benevolent soul I am, I told him to go ahead and network and I'd get room service or venture down to the restaurant by myself. I also secretly thought mean things about the company for excluding spouses. Jeff went on his way and I went to dinner on my own where I enjoyed two adult beverages, crab cakes, salad and ice cream from the Penn State creamery. Who knew they had their own creamery?

I got back to the room and the wifi was out again. It took a half-hour to shut down my computer and start it back up again and get connected to the wifi. In the meantime, my cell phone carrier sent me a text informing me I had used 40mb of my roaming data and would be limited to 50. Great. I still have two more days in this wifi wasteland. So, I attempted to connect my phone to wifi with limited success. Why can't wifi just be free and everywhere, all the time?

The best news: while I was eating dinner, a high school friend of mine saw a post on Facebook showing I was near Penn State and she messaged me that she lives 3 hours away and now we're trying to connect sometime in the next two days! How cool would that be? I have not seen her for 30 years. We were best friends our senior year of high school - and also the only two new seniors at our Catholic high school. We were inseparable the whole year and then we graduated; I moved to Washington and she went off to college and we never saw each other again. We were out of touch for years before we reconnected a few years ago on Facebook. I hope our reunion works out because it would be a highlight of this trip to see her again!

Tomorrow I think I will venture to a nearby town that is said to have some nice antique stores. Mountain Man is really pushing the antique stores, which I do not understand because we are flying home so what can we buy really? His response? Powderhorns. Of course. He also thinks if I just drive randomly in any direction I will run into Amish people and become best friends with them. I don't think he understands this at all. He had me listen to Weird Al's "Amish Paradise" this morning. I seriously think that's his only reference to the Amish way of life.

Also? I have only encountered ONE public restroom with seat covers. I don't know how this is relevant here, but I believe I did title this one "random thoughts." No seat covers in the Baltimore airport, at Gettysburg, Antietam, in any restaurant we've encountered. Why? Is there a shortage of paper? Do people just not use them in this part of the country? Come to think of it, there WERE seat covers at Barnes and Noble, but only in one stall. I do not understand this.

So, my day can be summed up this way: too many carbs, not enough walking. Also, tomorrow I need to venture farther afield. And I hope it stops raining.

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