Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Road to Cleveland, OH

The last day (June 24, 2015) that Bob and I were visiting our Sister Patty and her Husband Dan in Lancaster, MA started with Patty already on her way to Pittsburgh to take her granddaughters Amy and Emily back to Lancaster, MA for a week's visit.  I spent my morning trying to watch The Rhode Show in Dan and Patty's bedroom, but the signal was erratic as the station was the CBS affiliate in Providence, R.I.  I also tried to access the Internet on the Smart TV in the loft.  It would have worked perfectly, but Spotify was my test case.  Scrolling to the bottom of the screen to find the Web Player function did not work, and I couldn't find the Spotify App on the TV (In happier news, Spotify came to our Smart TV, which was bought in May 2016, at the end of November 2016.).  After two failures, my success was enjoying Dan's homemade Golden Raspberry Jam (By the way, I have not found Golden Raspberry Jam in the Cleveland area.).

It was soon time to go.  Thankfully, most of my packing was done the night before.  We packed everything except the Shoes that we had bought at the New Balance Outlet Store in Wrentham, MA (They arrived in Cleveland when Patty and Dan came to NE Ohio in August 2015.).  Dan then took Bob and me to the Logan Express Bus Terminal in Framingham, MA.  Dan looked around the Terminal before saying goodbye to us.  We boarded the bus to Logan Airport in Boston.  Once again, the bus fare was paid in cash.

The airport experience started off smoothly. Check-in and Security were not problems (In Cleveland, there were questions about my CPAP, but they were quickly resolved.).  As we headed to our Gate, we looked for places for my lunch. Bob had eaten back at the house because Dan had advised us about price gouging at Logan Airport.  Bob probably had a sandwich.

We made it to the Gate.  I decided to find more lunch options.  As Bob was watching our luggage, I searched the Concourse.  Dan was right about price gouging because I caught Burger King "overcharging" for soda.  There were some possibilities, but I was not fulfilled, so I headed for the other Concourses.

This turned out to be a big mistake.  I found doors marked "Ticketed Passengers Only."  There were Checkpoints where I had to show my Boarding Pass. Eventually, I ended outside the Security Zone, so I had the pleasure of going through Security again.  Thankfully, it went smoothly.

I reluctantly headed back to Bob.  After telling my story,  I ended up at U Food Grill, one of the possibilities from earlier.  I had a Chicken Burrito.  It fell between Taco Bell and Qdoba in size and in ingredients.  Bob might have had a bite.  I probably shared my soda, too.

After lunch, which was around 3:00 P.M., we waited for the plane.  The plane ride was relatively smooth.  I may have enjoyed some Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.  I don't remember what Bob had.

Once we reached Hopkins Airport, I called Maggie to pick us up.  Unfortunately, instead of calling our house, I called her house, but the mistake was corrected. During the ride to get some take-out food from Arby's on Snow Road in Parma, we talked about the trip.  Maggie talked about our now deceased cat Morgan. When we came home, we ate and talked more about our trip.  Eventually, we called Patty and Dan to tell them that we were home.  Patty mentioned that her Granddaughters' Happy Meal toys were accidentally thrown out on the plane.

In conclusion, we had a great visit.  I survived without my light jacket, sweater, or the cash that our brother Joe gave me for the trip.  I spent most of the morning that we left scrubbing the carpet.

Two goals for our next trip are a visit to the Racino in Plainville, MA that opened on the day that we left for home, and trips to Wegmans, Tops, Roche Bros., and Donelan's.  The last three visits complete the Grocery Decathlon.  The other stores that comprise the Decathlon are Big Y, Hannaford, Market Basket, Price Chopper, Shaw's, and Stop and Shop.

Of course, there will be a report if the trip happens!!

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Road to Bolton (MA)

June 23 was a quiet day for some of us.  Since there was inclement weather in the forecast for later in the day, Patty decided that we would go to the Bolton (MA) Library before lunch.  Bob joined us on the adventure.  This was the first visit for all of us.  The library was quite nice for a small town.  It was on two floors.  It had been expanded from the original building.  We bought nothing from the "ongoing" book sale, but Patty picked up something for her granddaughters, Amy and Emily, to share.

We came home briefly.  Eventually, the three of us and Dan Sr. went to Michael's Bridge Diner in Lancaster for lunch.  I had a Lobster Roll.  Like Pizzeria Uno, they followed the traditional "cold" route.  It was okay, but I learned that I prefer the hot route. I also learned that the Lancaster Building Code once required that the light switch was required to be outside the room.  You learn a lot when you travel.

After lunch, Patty offered to drop Bob and me off somewhere.  Unfortunately, Wegmans (Northborough) and Roche Brothers (Westborough) were too far away, so we all came home.  Patty did laundry and other chores because she was headed to Pittsburgh early the next morning to pick up her granddaughters to bring back to Lancaster for a week.  I did some packing and relaxed.

Around 4:00 in the afternoon, a tornado warning was announced for Norfolk, Bristol (?), and Southern Worcester Counties.  Thankfully, the weather co-operated, so we were able to go to Outback Steakhouse in Leominster for dinner.  Dan Sr. had suggested The Old Mill (Westminster, MA), but I had coupons for Outback.  I had Steak that was a little spicy for my tastes, but the conversation was interesting.  Patty and Dan Sr. asked about my cooking habits. I mentioned Lo Mein that I had purchased at Big Lots.  I may have also mentioned the Kettle Corn Chips that I picked up at Burlington Coat Factory because I had a $10.00 Voucher from the Grand Opening of its Steelyard Commons (Cleveland, OH), and the shirt that I purchased was just less than the voucher value.  Dan thought the Big Lots purchase was amusing, but he confused the aforementioned store with (Ocean State) Job Lots, a similar store in name and merchandise philosophy.

After dinner, we went home.  Bob and I could have made our Bob's Store debut since it was nearby, but it was late, and Patty was getting up very early.  As for the tornado warning, there was a small tornado that did not appear to cause significant damage in the affected areas.  It rained while we were in the Outback, but it had stopped before we exited the restaurant.

The night ended as some of us watched The Interview via Netflix.  During the movie, Bob and I offered our goodbyes and thanks to Patty as she went to bed.  This day turned out to be interesting, but it will pale in comparison to the next day. Details will be in the next Post.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Road to Clinton (MA)

June 22 was a quiet day during my vacation at my sister Patty and her husband Dan SR..'s house in Lancaster, MA.  Bob and I finished Patty's pizza from our meal at Uno Chicago Grill on June18.  We also enjoyed some of the leftover pizza from Sal's Pizza (Milford, MA) from the night before.

After lunch, we went back to Aldi in Leominster to pick up some supplies for our great nieces Amy and Emily's visit two days later.  Since there was nothing that we needed, I suggested that Bob and I could visit the Tractor Supply behind the Aldi.  The store wasn't that exciting, but we noticed that the cat food that we feed Morgan was priced about the same as it is at our local Marc's (Parma, OH).

After Tractor Supply, we returned to Aldi to help Patty with the grocery shopping.  We looked for Frozen Lima Beans that was going to be the centerpiece of that night's dinner.  Aldi does not carry Frozen Lima Beans.  Patty had never found Frozen Lima Beans at Aldi.  I regularly buy canned Lima or Butter Beans at Aldi in our area.  Patty was probably looking for frozen.  Also, she is not a fan of Lima Beans.  I later remembered that the Sweeneys (at least the ones related to me) are not into electric can openers.

After Aldi, Patty visited Digital Credit Union in Leominster to take care of some banking business.  We then went back to Hannaford in Clinton to look for Lima Beans.  Patty realized that she needed to purchase her Megabucks ticket for the next seven drawings.  She asked if I minded if I picked up the ticket for her.  It was not a problem.  When I walked to Customer Service, I noticed that they had a Self Serve Lottery Machine.  I had exact change, so I was going to try it.  I discovered that I needed to scan a driver's license (It said nothing about State IDs.).  My (Ohio) State ID would not scan.  I then discussed the situation with the clerk.  The ID policy was to deter underage gambling.  Ohio should do something similar with their Lottery machines.

I then looked for Frozen Lima Beans.  The only ones that I could find were Hannaford Brand Lima Beans.  I bought them.  I then told Patty about the Lottery Machine.  She didn't know that the machines could handle Megabucks.  She thought that they were for Scratch (Instant) Tickets only.  She also didn't know about the Driver's License Policy.  We then came home and relaxed. 

After relaxing, Patty cooked dinner.  It consisted of the Perdue Breaded Chicken Patties that we didn't have for our supper on Saturday because Sbarro was open at New Haven's Union Station.  Multigrain Sandwich Skinnys, Tomato with Mozzarella Cheese and Caprese, (On September 21, 2015, I learned that this dish is called Caprese.) and of course, the Lima Beans accompanied the Chicken.  The food was delicious.  Amy and Emily called during the meal.  Dan JR. and/or Laura were not part of the conversation.  Ice Cream from Aldi was Dessert.

By the way, Patty served the Lima Beans that we had bought that day instead of the ones that we had in the freezer because they were Baby Lima Beans.  When I was dishing out my Ice Cream, I discovered that the Lima Beans in the Freezer (from Market Basket) were also Baby Lima Beans.  In any event, I hope that the Lima Beans in the house during our visit have been "enjoyed."

We then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Road to Medway, MA

June 21 started out with heavy rain, but by the time Dan SR. and I headed for Immaculate Conception Church in Lancaster, MA for 10:30 Mass, the rain had died down considerably.  For the record, Patty and Bob were not "up" for Mass.  We entered through the front door of the church, which led to the back of the Church.

Mass started about eight minutes late.  Before Mass, there were some announcements.  The Church was not "super-crowded!"  Despite the open spaces, a group of six in the pew in front of us had five people sharing a kneeler.  FR. Hultquist's homily discussed the "biological family" and the Charleston, SC Tragedy of June 18.  I could have fallen asleep, but I didn't.  I also wish that I had taken better notes.

One interesting highlight is that Dan SR. was "drafted" to take up the Collection by his friend Tom Kennedy (Not the Legendary Game Show Host).  He was once a regular "Usher" before he and Patty switched to the Saturday 4:30 Mass!  Another interesting detail is that no wine was provided at Communion time.

Although Mass started late, we were out of there before 11:30 A.M.  Dan SR. drove me to Cumberland Farms on Main St. in Lancaster, so I could pick up Newspapers of Interest.  I only picked up the Sentinel-Enterprise, (Fitchburg-Leominster, MA) which cost $2.50, because Amy Gould (from the "Casino Posts") said that she would let me look at her copies of the Telegram-Gazette (Worcester, MA) when she was finished with them.  I did not discuss this with her this time.  I like looking at the Price Chopper ad because apparently they do not offer the online version which is a "reproduction" of the print ad.

After Mass, we ate lunch.  Bob and I had Meat and Cheese sandwiches, Caramel and Mint Brownie samples, and Cola.  The brownies were delicious.  Amy had told Patty before we went to her house that we could have the brownies.  I had peanuts as well.

After lunch, Patty, Bob, and I went to Kohl's (Me and Bob) and Target (Patty) in Leominster, MA.  I had suggested that we go to the Kohl's in Milford, MA because we were going to be in nearby Medway, MA that day, but Patty wanted to go to Target.  As it turned out, Target Milford was not that far from the Kohl's that I had requested.  In any event, I picked up a watch that was marked down about 30%.  Bob also had a 30% off coupon from Kohl's that was expiring that day.  The watch cost about $15.  Since we were headed to Amy and Dave's that afternoon, we did not visit any other stores.

Not long after we came home, we headed to Medway, MA to celebrate Father's Day with Amy, Dave, and their dog Caesar.  We had Pizza from Sal's Pizza, a local chain with a branch in Milford, MA.  Dan SR. "jokingly wanted Anchovies, but we ordered a Thick Crust Ham and Pineapple Pizza, a Thin Crust Margherita Pizza, and a Thick Crust Meat Lover's Pizza.  Amy made a salad with Spring Mix Lettuce, Tomato, Spinach, Yellow Peppers, Cucumbers, Feta Cheese, and Croutons.  There were a number of Salad Dressings provided.  I used Brianna's Homestyle Real French Vinaigrette Dressing.  Dinner was delicious, but I can take or leave purple/brown lettuce because it is bitter.

Dessert consisted of Ben and Jerry's and/or Haagen Dazs Ice Cream, Trader Joe's Fudge Sauce, which was heated, HomeGoods Blue Sprinkles, Essential Everyday Whipped Topping (in an Aerosol Can), and Peanuts (I skipped them because they weren't unsalted, but I used everything else.).  I selected Ben and Jerry's Dulce De Leche Ice Cream.  Dessert was delicious.

Dan SR. then opened up his Father's Day Present which was some sort of Alcoholic Beverage.  Bob and I gave Dave an early Birthday Gift Card that was for Olive Garden and its Affiliates.  Dave was very grateful.  The U.S. Open Golf Tournament was also watched, but mostly by me.  Dan SR. and Dave who play golf were both unaware of the timing before we saw them.  Thankfully, we were home in plenty of time to see the fantastic finish when Dustin Johnson three-putted from 12 feet, giving the title to Jordan Spieth. 

This day was very memorable.      

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Road to New Haven, CT

On June 20, since the Hilton Garden Inn did not offer a Complimentary Continental Breakfast, we ordered Breakfast from Fresh Food Market, Deli, and Grocery, which was near the hotel.  Although they offered Free Delivery to our room, Patty decided that we would pick it up!  While Bob was preparing for the day, Patty and I walked over to the store to pick up our food.  I had a Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich because they were out of Lox (Salmon).  Patty had Pancakes.  Bob had an Omelet.  Either Bob or Patty had Bacon as well.  I can't vouch for the Omelet, but the Pancakes, Bacon, and my Sandwich were appetizing.  I enjoyed my Orange Soda originally from Aldi with my breakfast because I didn't drink it the night before.

After getting organized and having our luggage held at the hotel, we walked down to the One World Observatory where we had 11:45 A.M. Tickets that were purchased Online.  Since we were early, I was curious about a complex across the street named Brookfield Place.  Since there was construction, Bob and I went to the left and headed for the back of the complex.  An unexpected pleasure occurred.  We had a view of the Hudson River behind the complex.  We then entered the upscale mall.  No stores "excited" us, so we went back by the Hudson River.  This time, we clearly saw the Statue of Liberty.  We then discovered that it would have been easier to go to the right of the complex.  We then re-united with Patty.

In a light drizzle, we entered the line to enter the One World Observatory.  Once inside and past Security, we headed for the elevators.  The evolution of the World Trade Center was depicted as we rode to the Observation Deck.  We then walked down two floors to view New York City from well past the 100th Floor.  It was a cloudy day, but the scenery was adequate.  It wasn't as exciting as the Empire State Building at night, but it was okay.  It was crowded but traffic moved at a steady pace.  Besides the view, there was a tour guide who amusingly educated us about New York City.  Bob and I then visited the Gift Shop, but we left empty-handed.  We also checked out the dining options, but we deemed them overpriced.

Since we were way early for our 3:45 ticket into the 9/11 Museum, Patty wondered if we could exchange our ticket for an earlier time.  We were able to enter the Museum at 2:00 P.M.  It was quite crowded.  There are a lot of artifacts and reminiscences.  Visiting the museum took us about four hours. 

Since we were hungry, we found a small counter with a limited menu that sold sandwiches and related items.  Bob and I split a Roast Beef Sandwich that cost about $11.  We each had Boylan Craft Cola.  Patty had Coffee.  We then finished our trip inside the museum.  Bob picked up a Coffee/Tea Mug with the One Surviving Tree from 9/11.  I was willing to "contribute" for the "Deluxe" package, but Bob decided that the Mug was enough!

A couple of times during the day, we visited the original Memorial Fountains.  Security was not needed to show our respects for the lives lost on September 11, 2001!  Admission to the 9/11 Museum was not needed to view the fountains.        

After the 9/11 Museum, in another light drizzle, we headed back to our hotel to pick up our luggage.  We then took a train to East 53rd St. and Third Avenue.  Unlike Tribeca, we saw chain establishments.  Alas, most were closed for the day.  We made it to Grand Central Terminal.  We were going to find a place to pick up food, but we discovered that a train to New Haven was arriving shortly.  I should note that the train was waiting for both parts of the commute.  It wasn't the "stampede" of past years. 

The train trip had a few highlights.  I transferred between train cars to use the restroom, but only when we were stopped at a station.  Bob and I enjoyed the Potato Chips from the day before.  Patty was not interested in them,  A few stops from New Haven, the train was delayed to allow some passengers to make the train (Details were vague on this development.). 

Once we reached New Haven Union Station, Bob and I discovered that Sbarro was still open. (For the record, Dunkin Donuts and Subway were also still open.) We each had a slice of Pepperoni Pizza and Ginger Ale.  The beverage came from the Refrigerated Case because the Soda Machine was apparently turned off for the night (It was not clearly communicated.).  I don't think Patty picked up anything.  By the way, if there was nothing open at Union Station, Patty told Dan SR. to make these Breaded Chicken Patties that they loved.  As it turns out, they were served for Monday Dinner.

We then headed for home.  It was a little after midnight when we made the house.  If we hadn't exchanged our tickets at the 9/11 Museum, another night in a hotel or motel would have been a possibility.  I would have enjoyed Hartford, CT Television.  It was nice to be back home.

The next reports will involve quieter days, for the most part.