Saturday, November 04, 2006

The OC in One Day

I flew down to John Wayne early Monday morning catching a 6:40 am flight out of SeaTac on Alaska. The line was long at Qdoba so I didn't have time to grab one of their decent breakfast burritos. The Starbucks line was long, too, and I usually try to avoid the homogeneity of Starbucks. So I stopped at Dilettante Chocolates & Mocha Café, across from Starbucks in Pacific Marketplace. I ordered my usual 20-oozer latte and a cranberry scone. The scone was soft and so unsconely uncrumbly. It sucked, but I ate it anyway.

The plane was full and I had a middle seat. At least on Southwest, I can usually score my coveted window seat 20F (or 20A) by checking in on-line and scoring the "A" group boarding pass. At least I got in a lot of pleasure reading over the two hour plus plane ride.

The last time I flew into John Wayne was a few years ago (I can't remember the exact year). It must have been not too long after 9/11 because I recall National Guardsman patrolling the terminal with M-16s.

The site I was visiting for this project was a large industrial/warehouse building located in northern Orange County. It was totally vacant but in its former life had been a carpet factory and most recently occupied by an aerospace company. Other consultants were running around the place, some I knew well, others I was meeting for the first time. I spent the better part of the day working my way around the property from the roof, to the inside, and around the outside. I collected samples of building materials for asbestos analysis, looked for indications of mold growth, stains, spills, and other indications of environmental problems. The place was swiss-cheesed with soil borings, some were hollow-stem auger borings and others were direct-push probe borings. Someone had characterized the site very well. But I had none of the data in hand.

I finally wrapped up my site work around 4:30 pm, finishing with a review and drive around of the surrounding properties. I didn't have enough time to review building permits at the city. I had wanted to finish the day with a walk around Upper Newport Bay, but the days are too short this time of year and when the sun goes down in these southerly southern California latitudes it gets dark quickly. Picture the sun diving into a pool. In Seattle, the sun dives into the pool at a low angle, not quite a belly flop but more a racing dive. In southern California, the sun dives almost straight down.

I was starving having milked that soggy scone for all it was worth for the whole day. I decided to head over to Costa Mesa to see if that sandwich place was still there at 17th and Orange that I used to stop at after a day at the beach (Newport Beach). Sadly it's a dry cleaner now. But Chester Drawers was still there tucked in the corner of that neighborhood shopping center, a great little spot with beer, burgers, dancing, and shuffleboard. The clientele going in was young and beautiful, just like it was 20 years ago when I would hang out there with my Orange County friends. I'm not so young and beautiful anymore, so I grabbed a sandwich from a nearby Panera.

I checked in early for my non-stop flight home to Seattle, which as it turned out was canceled. The ticket agent was having a bad day and so it made me have a bad day. Being nice comes easy for me and it usually results in reciprocating niceness. When people are not nice I can be just as not nice or even more so. Not getting much help from the Miss Not Nice, I went over to another to another ticket agent who was very nice and pleasant, who booked me on a flight stopping in Oakland then on to Seattle.

I had a window seat but it was already nighttime, which did make for beautiful city light views. I sat next to a father and his five year old daughter. She was a delightful and intelligent child. They were returning from a trip to Disneyland.

I finally walked in through the door at home around 12:30 am. I scrounged for a little snack food, crawled into bed, kissed the wife, rolled over and fell asleep.

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