My Birthday Weekend

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This past weekend, which I consider my “birthday weekend” by best friend Neil flew in from Indiana.  For those that know me, I like to track the flights of my various friends, especially if they’re flying out to see me.  Whenever Neil comes in, when the plane is crossing over the border to western Pennsylvania, I leave for the airport.  The past two times I was there before or just as the plane lands.  This time since it was rush hour I was in the typical I-287 bottleneck.  About 3 miles from the airport I get a text from Neil saying he’s on the tarmac.  I try to call him but of course for some reason my car didn’t feel like seeing my iPhone on that drive.  Needless to say, Neil was waiting for me.  Driving back, somehow I missed the turnoff for route 1&9 and ended up on the Turnpike.  This turned out to be a happy, $1.10 accident since the drive back felt a lot faster.  We got back, had some snacks (cheese and crackers and some hoer d’oeuvres).  We chatted for a while and then went to The Den which I was curious to check out.  Neil had a few beers, being the driver, I only had one.  I took a little video from the club (see video below) we went home at around 1:30 AM.

Friday was a pretty open day since we had the club at night.  I let Neil drive my car (he likes it) and then we went to Perkins for brunch.  Afterwards we drove to Port Reading where I grew up.  I showed Neil my childhood home and gave him a tour of Port Reading and Woodbridge.  We drove down Main Street and went to Woodbridge Center.  We did some clothes shopping (Neil picked out some very nice shirts for me) and came back and watched 17 Again.  In the evening we went to The Stress Factory comedy club.  We got seats right at the stage (our table was a Ms. Pac-Man video game machine) and saw Tommy Davidson who was quite funny (and shook Neil’s hand after his performance).

Saturday was our trip to Philadelphia to the Franklin Institute.  Despite driving in a storm that was to give us the equivalent of the entire month’s rainfall in three days, the 75 minute trip was uneventful, with the exception of having to drive a few blocks to get back to the museum’s parking lot.  We got tickets for the special exhibit, Body Worlds 2.  This exhibit was absolutely great.  We also saw an IMAX movie called, “The Human Body” which was terrific.  For lunch we had Philly cheese steaks at the museum (too rainy to go out to find them elsewhere).  I wish our drive home was as good as our drive to Philadelphia.  Our first sign of trouble is when we crossed the Ben Franklin Bridge back to New Jersey.  The road we were supposed to take that gets us back to the New Jersey Turnpike was closed.  The GPS in my 2009 Honda Accord never skipped a beat and took us onto I-676 and a few slightly flooded side roads and got us onto the Turnpike somewhere near Marlton, NJ.  We were cruising up the Turnpike in the worst monsoon you could imagine but since there were no cars we were going at an even 65 MPH.  Then we got to one mile before exit 6 and we stopped…for three hours.  We moved two miles in that time period.  It later turned out there were debris on the roadway that shut down the Turnpike and caused a three mile backup.  During this time Neil got productive.  He did some banking, did a lot of research for AT&T U-Verse and scheduled an install for his new place.  He tried to cancel Comcast, but it is too early in their system to do so.  We finally get free of the traffic jam just to find that most of the roads in Piscataway are closed due to flooding.  I took a back route home which, luckily wasn’t flooded.  On a drive that should took 70 minutes, we finally get home four hours later.  We had a pretty good dinner at Pizza & Pasta which was a two minute walk for us.  While we had planned to go to The Den again that evening, we couldn’t due to all the road closures.  We watched The Watchmen instead.

Sunday was another open day.  We went to the diner next to the Menlo Park Mall for breakfast and then we went shopping.  Neil got some really nice clothes and sneakers and I got myself the most expensive (and most comfortable) pair of jeans I’ve ever owned.  We saw Alice In Wonderland (not in 3D) which Neil had seen before but was willing to see again.  We both thought it was a great movie.  We then went to Best Buy and Neil got Final Fantasy XIII.  For dinner we went to the brand new Olive Garden in my town of Piscataway.  We went back home where Neil proceeded to play FF XIII for the next 5 hours.

Monday was “so long for now.”  I drove Neil to the airport where we had a fast food breakfast.  Gave Neil a hug and at 10:37 AM said goodbye.  I look forward to seeing him again in Indiana and checking out his new apartment sometime in June.

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