Tuesday, June 21, 2022

June 8, 2022 - Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Today, since I have completed 10 days of isolation since my positive test on May 28, 2022, we are cleared to travel.

We had breakfast in the 2800 Restaurant – Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Bananas (this time) and Ellen had the Avocado Toast. 

We are all packed – it was relatively easy since we wore the same clothes the entire time in the Hotel. 

We had lunch in the restaurant – they only had one tuna sandwich left (supporting the hypothesis that the tuna was indeed purchased for us) and Ellen had that to go (she ate her avocado toast for lunch) and I had my final Beyond Burger.  I don’t know where they get their Beyond Burger but it is perfectly prepared – I ate the whole thing.  We have not been ordering fries since we get a pound of fries.  The tuna will be dinner at the airport.

Ellen waiting for our Ride to LAX

Our driver arrived early for our 1:20 PM ride to LAX.  He showed up in an Escalade SUV (he said the ride was $100). We checked out and chatted briefly with the desk staff – I also thanked the waiters for their help during our confinement.

The ride to LAX on the Harbor Freeway (110 Highway) took about 30 minutes.  The AA app said we needed to go to Terminal 4 but our driver insisted that it was Terminal 5.  I told him that we would get off at T-4 and it turned out to be the correct place.  Check in at the kiosk was quick and we left our bags at the Bag Drop.  We went upstairs to the TSA Checkpoint and were met with a backup.  Don’t know why but after several minutes we started to move.  I suspect that some folks were slow in getting their bags on to the conveyor belts to the X-Ray scanners (initial rodeo syndrome).  FYI – not a lot of mask wearing – I am wearing mine.

Our gate – 47B – wasn’t that far away and we had about two hours until our 4PM boarding time.  I decided to get an iced coffee at Dunkin and it cost $5.96 (they charged $0.99 for the mocha squirt).  That’s three times what I pay for the same drink back home.  And the irony was that the drink wasn’t very good – only drank half of it.  Pricier than ORD.

Our flight, AA2276 arrived from Chicago (I couldn’t see it from the gate).  About 50 percent masks at our gate.  We boarded a few minutes late because the flight had come in a bit late.  We are in 16E and 16F – Exit Row – middle and window.  I don’t usually get these seats but they were comfortable and I could actually look out the window (I was in the middle).  The woman on the aisle worked the entire flight and she was average size so everyone had their space.  I could get out easily (only had to do that two or three times on this flight). 

Boarding took a long time – some people were confused about where their seats were and some people hauled a huge roller board on to the plane late in the process and then had no place to put it.  The flight attendants on this flight did not appear to be as helpful in getting those overheads filled and closed.  We pushed late – in fact, a first class passenger was in the bathroom when we started to push back.

The flight itself was uneventful – couldn't see anything on takeoff because the marine layer was thick; it was nice, however, to able to see able to look out the window on this flight.  Usually, we are aisle across and the person at the window has the shade down the whole flight.   

We had the tuna sandwich for lunch and it was great – I had decaf coffee (easier on the throat) with the sandwich.

Flight time was 3 hours 30 minutes (I watched the Women’ Softball Series on the AA app).  We got into Chicago around 10:30PM.  Our bags came off the carousel quickly but I had already tried to schedule an American Taxi.  The app told me that there were no cabs at ORD and I should try again at 1:30 AM – WHAT?  I called 303 and used phone prompts to set up a taxi – we were lucky to find one – Taxi #8973 was at the airport. I called him and he said he would be there in a few minutes – another call and he would be there in a minute and he WAS.  The ride was $45; when we left on this trip, the cab ride to ORD was $35; when I tried to schedule with American Taxi, the quote was $40 and now it was $45.  Hard to debate fares when it is past midnight and you want to get home. 

We did get home and discovered that our mail from the last three weeks was not there.

We both survived our COVID experience and we were home – that was the important part.

June 7, 2022 - Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Slept well – no coughing – symptoms are almost all gone – just feeling wobbly as would be expected.

I took a final antigen test and this time, the positive line took a while to develop so from a qualitative view, the amount of antigen is decreasing (but still there).  Ellen is negative. While the antigen present might represent non-infectious virus, I am still going to wear a mask for the next few days just to be sure.

Went to the restaurant for breakfast – I had an absolutely terrific Belgian Waffle with Strawberries and Blueberries and coffee.  Ellen had the Avocado Toast and took half of it back to the room.  Our breakfast.

Live now at 10:36 AM.

The weather is great outside, so we are reading on our favorite couches on the restaurant patio.  I should mention that the restaurant staff regularly disinfects the tables. 

Today, we also took a walk to the outskirts of the hotel complex and got a nice look at Cabrillo Beach and another marina completely filled with boats.  

Here's the big picture.

Yet, in all the time we have been here, we haven’t really seen any big boats pull out of their slips.

We had tuna sandwiches for lunch in the 2800 Restaurant – again, I think they bought some tuna just for us (there is no tuna on the menu).  It’s very good.

More reading in the afternoon and just taking in the fresh air. 

Our final dinner in the restaurant consisted of the Cajun Pappardelle (no chicken) for me and the Salmon Piccata for Ellen.  Our last meal was just like our first meal.  The pasta again was wonderful, and Ellen liked her salmon (the salmon was excellent especially since it had capers on top - I love capers). 

We stayed down in the lobby and hung out at the couches in the back.  I am still wearing my mask when I’m near people indoors.

Watched some more HGTV on our TV – still not a lot to see.

June 6, 2022 - Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Had the best night in a long time – I don’t believe I coughed last night (I did not take the cough medicine). 

Ordered pancakes and eggs for both of us and it was very good again.  Perfectly cooked and hot on arrival.

Now live at 9:50 AM.

We were informed by Reuben – the man in charge – that, if we completed our isolation, we could go down to the restaurant and order off the menu.  So that’s what we did for lunch. 

It was a little warm on the patio, so we ate at a table in the corner – I am still trying to be careful and wear masks around people.  The scientific consensus on behavior once out of isolation is not yet there so I decided to err on the side of caution.

I had a Beyond Burger and Ellen had a tuna melt for lunch.  They were both as good as the items brought to the room but it was nice to be in a different environment for lunch.

We stayed down in the dining room on the remotely located couches until the shade appeared on the couches outside.

While out there, we met another couple from Queen Elizabeth, who also completed their isolation and were having lunch on the patio.  They told us there were other hotels in the area that also were housing guests from the ship.  So this has been quite an effort for Cunard and they have done a terrific job of keeping things safe and organized.

While we were chatting with the couple - they were from the UK - a group of Ospreys (vertical takeoff planes) flew over - I tried to get a photo but they were too fast - that dark dot in the center of this picture is an Osprey.

We decided to walk down the path fronting the Marina.  I got an iconic - not at sea - picture of Ellen against the railing.

While out there, I received an email from Metro Services regarding our pickup on June 8 to LAX – they are coming at 1:30 PM, which is perfect timing for our flights later in the afternoon.

Late in the afternoon, we watched the Navigator of the Seas depart for its four-day voyage to Catalina and Mexico.  

It may be the only ship currently using the San Pedro Port.

For dinner, we were back in the dining room and I got Pete’s Fish and Chips, which were really good, and Ellen got the Salmon Piccata, which was a bit saltier than the room version (I tried to help by help by eating the capers on top of the fish).  We got some cookies from our terrific waiter, Chuck, to take back to the room.

As I said earlier, isolation has been all about the Women’s College Softball Playoffs – the girls are fun to watch – a lot of skill (I could never even foul tip a softball fast pitch). They seem to have a good time in good or bad times.  Although, there was a lot of crying when Texas beat OK State to go to the Finals against Oklahoma.

There is nothing on this Cable System so a little reading at the end of the evening.

June 5, 2022 - Day 7 – COVID Isolation San Pedro – Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Here's where we are relative to this part of Southern California.

Another night of coughing – two doses of cough syrup didn’t much help.  The cough is not bad during the day but at night, whoa.

We tried something different for breakfast – instead of ordering one of the items on the menu, we wrote in pancakes and fried eggs.  And that’s what arrived this morning.  The breakfast was perfect – it came warm and fresh.

We shared a tuna melt for lunch.  The food continues to be good.  The portions are so big that sharing is a good option.

After lunch, we went down to the restaurant patio to sit and read and watch the boats and people.

I took a great panoramic shot of all of the boats in this huge marina.

It was pretty warm and we were on a couch against the building so we were shielded from the constant breeze.  I was down there for over an hour and then I had to go back to the room – Ellen stayed down a little longer.  It was nice being outside.

For dinner, we shared a Cesar Salad and Fettucine Alfredo – I ordered this pasta without peppers but it came with no veggies at all – I really like the mushrooms.  Have to be more specific next time.

The evenings are long because after reading, there is nothing on TV – I am continuing to watch College Softball.

The coughing has been getting better each day.

June 4, 2022 – Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Even with drugs, I was still coughing last night.  Sleep was intermittent.  Any sleep is good sleep.

We both had the scrambled eggs and toast today.  Have to admit that I am getting a bit tired of that for breakfast.  Maybe, something different tomorrow.  Our food delivery guy was about 30 minutes early this morning, so we were barely up when he knocked on the door.

I am now reading a new book in Robert B. Parker’s “Jesse Stone” series – I’ve seen all the TV movies with Tom Selleck (they are wonderful – there just weren’t enough of them made).  “A Stone’s Throw” is the 20th in the series (I read what’s available from the library and sometimes out of order) written by Mike Lupica. I can visualize Tom Selleck saying the dialogue and it feels like the Jesse Stone I’m familiar with.  I also recognized Mike Lupica as a well know sportswriter.  

I started to follow the Women's College Softball World Series – UCLA is still in the mix but Oklahoma is the team to beat.  I like watching the women play because no matter what happens on the field (e.g. homerun or error), there are high fives all round.  They do not take themselves too seriously but they really know how to celebrate.

We both ordered a scoop of tuna on a salad for lunch – the tuna was very good and the salad needed more dressing but no one was hungry afterwards. 

Today is a big day – after rereading the isolation instructions sent from Shoreside Support UK, I had passed through Day 5 post diagnosis and my (our) symptoms had improved; therefore, according to the CDC Guidelines, I could leave the hotel room (not the hotel) and walk about the facility.  Like prisoners being paroled, we donned our masks and headed outside.  

Doubletree Hilton San Pedro
The Sun Feels Good

It was a little chilly out there but it was great to be walking.  I was a bit wobbly but I did manage to stay with Ellen as we checked out the Marina and the office building adjacent to the hotel and then walked back (a fair distance) to the entrance of the Doubletree Hilton.  I felt like I’d climbed a mountain when I got back to the room so my immune system (and all those interleukins) battling COVID are still generating fatigue (and gently reminding me to take it easy) .  Hoping that that will slowly go away in a few days.  The main symptom is still the cough, which we both have.

A lot more reading in the afternoon.

We watched “The Kenny Rogers Farewell Concert” on PBS as a change of pace.

June 3, 2022 – San Pedro – Fair – mid 70s


Had a cough filled night.  Seems like the cough is the last symptom standing.

I did a rapid antigen test and it lit up so quickly as positive that it scared me (the T line went red as soon as the liquid got to the spot - no 15-minute wait time necessary) – while the reaction was spectacular, I expected a positive result since it is Day 6 since the initial positive result on board.  Some people clear the antigen slowly – a lot of the reactivity might be due to dead or inactive viral debris.  I am still wearing a mask around the hotel even though I've completed the CDC mandated five-day isolation period.

Heard from Shoreside Services in the UK about our flights home.  They are on June 8 not June 7 as the agent originally calculated.  They are on American, but they are late flights getting us home near 11:00 PM.  I got us seats just in time as the plane was nearly full.  I put us in Cabin Extra seats (exit row – middle and window) – there were no aisle across seats of any kind and these were the only two seats together.  Any later and who know what seats we would have had.

Once again, it was scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. 

I am trying to finish “Cheap Shot” and will do so today.  I picked up a non-Spenser Novel from the library.

Instead of Tuna Melts, today, we share a plain tuna sandwich with lettuce and tomato and a Cesar Salad.  I liked the non-melt version better.  Since tuna is not on the 2800 Restaurant menu, I am thinking that the kitchen went out and got some tuna for us.

Read almost the whole day.  Live now at 3:25 PM.

I ordered some COVID fighting items from our neighborhood Walgreens on their website and it was delivered by Door Dash in less than 30 minutes.  It was much easier with these items than with prescriptions.  That’s the first time I have used Door Dash – kind of like Uber for inanimate objects. So now we can battle the dreaded cough. 

Had the wonderful Fettucine Alfredo/Primavera (me) (I liked the sauteed veggies and asked to add that to the pasta) and the Salmon Piccata (ET) for dinner with some cross-sharing going on.  They do make the best pasta here and they cook the noodles perfectly and sauté the peppers, onions, and mushrooms perfectly as well.

We watched Scott renovate some fancy vacation rentals on HGTV and then some more reading.

June 2, 2022 – San Pedro – Fair – mid 70s


Slept OK (the room is really quiet even though fellow QE COVID folks are living next door).

My symptoms are a bit improved – cough is intermittent and ribs don't hurt when I cough.  No fever and no aches and pains. Still wobbly and weak.

We both had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.  The food continues to be very good.

I checked on that last med over the phone with my doctor’s office.  They are supposed to call me back.

Worked out something different with the kitchen for lunch – tuna melts – that would be nice.

The Tuna Melts arrived on time and were really good – and a nice change.

I got word from my doctor’s office that the last medication was sent to the Walgreens in Harbor City.  I emailed the Metro Shore Services group and told them.  In about an hour, the medicine was at the front desk and soon in my possession.  Now that is customer satisfaction.  The bill for the 10 pills was $1.60.  Amazing.

We ordered Fettucine Alfredo and Salmon for dinner - this pasta was a true Alfredo - not spicy just creamy.  It was wonderful.  Somehow, the kitchen also sent up some cheesecake for dessert.  Who knows how because it was not on their menu.  

The long day continues.