But really I feel pretty good these days, and had no issues packing for the trip. Road-warrior travelers know the new rules for engagement - you are permitted ONE carry-on bag (I use a rectangular gym bag that holds a lot and takes hardly any overhead space) and ONE SMALL personal item = an enormous laptop bag crammed with all kinds of useful stuff. After years of backbreaking luggage lugging, I finally bought a nice set of wheels (Concorde II) to cart the stuff around, and that's allowed, too. Got loaded up and headed for the airport parking lot. Much to my annoyance, the area nearest the terminal (where I usually park and walk from) was permanently sealed off and empty of cars - gone forever. The airport has implemented a ginormous parking lot with three zones: Red, White, and Blue. But because locals are TOO STUPID to remember what color zone they parked in, the airport authority now routes every bus to EVERY SINGLE stop. What used to be a 5 minute bus ride or 10 minute walk is now a 20-25 minute tour of remote parking. Very annoying. Fortunately I had gathered some intelligence on where to park and minimize the hassle. Still took 13 minutes to get to the drop-off point, with ZERO WAIT for the bus. Would have been over 25 minutes had I missed that bus!
I breezed through the Black Diamond Lane at security (for expert travelers) and made my way to the B concourse. Oddly, there were no United flights of any kind listed on the terminal monitors. I found a United agent and asked what was up. "We changed our schedules on all flights today, and because it's Sunday, the city won't update the monitors." Having lived here over 10 years, I have learned to (usually) shrug such things off. Fully loaded regional jet was on time to Denver, and I had a first class upgrade on an ancient 757 for the long leg from Denver to Dulles. The odd arrangement of seats meant that only one of the two could put their briefcase under the seat in front. The window seat was taken, along with the briefcase space. So I unloaded everything and made do. My seatmate turned out to be a decent guy named Shawn, and we alternated between small talk, reading, and watching the truly awful inflight movie: Spiderwick Chronicles. Shawn watched it as a pre-screen for his kids, and he agreed with my assessment. Arrived in DC a bit early, and schlepping carry-on bags around the cars, airports, and aircraft, was easy and pain free - as was walking great distances through airports. But the night after arrival I had very intense bladder and anal sphincter pain (weird) when anything in the intestines moved near the bladder – about 30-60 seconds per episode. Even though it kept waking me up and I had codeine, I am too stubbornly drug-free to take it for anything except constant pain. It got better Monday as I walked around, but bad again Tuesday night. But by noon Wednesday it was nearly gone. I figure the movement of things around the abdomen had a delayed reaction, and doing the exercise was probably a healthy and necessary thing.