I hadn't even fully unpacked Monday. I spent the morning running a few errands, like getting the mail restarted and buying groceries. When I got home, there was a message on my office line voicemail to call my sometimes employer. When I did, I was asked: "Want to go on a service call?" One customer's system was completely down. I checked on flight availability and such, and discovered that I could get to DC that evening, and the airfare was only $256. Amazing. A few clicks later, and I had flight, hotel room, and rental car all set up before 1 PM. The flight would leave at 7. This gave me about 2 hours to wash clothes and pack before getting back on the road.
The flight was uneventful, although I did have to do some jockeying to get a window seat after Northwest changed aircraft and put me in an aisle seat with no window anywhere nearby to look out of. I need to look out a window occasionally when flying, or else I get airsick. I got to the hotel room and settled about 1 AM Eastern.
I got to the customer site about 11 Tuesday. After waiting 30 minutes for my escort to come get me from the lobby, we got up to the machine room and I went to work. A bit of debugging proved that the system was completely dead. At this point, I asked where the box we'd shipped with the spare parts was. They finally found it two and a half hours later, after I got back from lunch. The problem was either a bad motherboard or power supply: when I pulled the power connector off the motherboard, it had a distinct burned look about it. I swapped both just to be safe, and the system came right up and worked fine. I boxed the spare parts back up and got the customer to ship them back to the office, then left.
Wednesday was another travel day. I left for the airport about 11, and got there just before 12. (It was about 40 miles to BWI from the hotel.) After the usual security bullshit, I got a roast beef sandwich at Roy Rogers (it was cold) and then waited at the gate for the flight.
There were lots of soldiers at BWI, either coming home from Iraq or getting ready to return. I made a point of telling as many as I could (without being a nuisance of it) thanks for being there. They seemed pleasantly surprised, for the most part, and some told me how much it was appreciated.
The flight home was uneventful and blessedly screaming-kid-free. The drive was as long as ever, but I did make it home in time to eat dinner with Paul.
Hopefully, I'll get to stay a few days, at least, before going out again.