I’m not saying today was ‘bad’ by any means of the imagination – things just…didn’t go the way I’d planned.

Things started out well enough – slept late, had a nice Cafe Mocha at the Panera across the street from the hotel…that’s where things started to fall apart. Jessa ended up on cleaning duty (something about her boyfriend and a big party last night), so I was left to my own devices for the afternoon, but we’d meet up for dinner. So I said to myself, “Self, I think I’d like to go to Alcatraz this afternoon.” I grab the directions off the interweb, and I’m off!

Except for one problem. The directions I got from the tour company don’t account for the modifications CalTrans (those bastards again – You’re on my list, CalTrans!) made to the west approach to the Bay Bridge. And it turns out that the Harrison Street exit – the exit I was supposed to use – doesn’t exist anymore. Darren likes to call me the ‘human GPS’, but even I’m not THAT good. So I promptly got lost in downtown San Francisco. (Full disclosure: I totally, utterly forgot that Avis had given me a map of the city, and that it was sitting on the passenger seat of my rented Taurus. D’OH!)

Eventually I found my way to Pier 39 and got to the ticket booth for the Blue & Gold Fleet. And quite literally the MOMENT I get to the queue, there’s an announcement that all the remaining tour of Alcatraz were sold out – oh, and to come back tomorrow. (“Sorry, Mr. Client Man, I WAS going to come up and meet with you, but the Alcatraz people told me to come back tomorrow…”) Then Jessa calls and tells me that dinner’s out – she’s got a crippling migraine. So far, I’m 0-for-3 on the planning front.

I have lunch at the Boudin Bakery (mmmm…fresh sourdough…) and wander around Fisherman’s Wharf for a few hours – did some window shopping, did some people watching, shot a bunch of photos, stared out into the bay. In the end, I still did something I wanted to do, which was see more of the city than I did last time. Time to fly the “Mission Accomplished” banner.

At this point, it’s about 5:30pm PST. My new boss is flying in at about 10pm, and rather than have him take a cab (expensive), ride the BART (time consuming) or rent another car (unnecessary AND expensive), I’m picking him up at SFO when he lands. I decide, for the hell of it, to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge – mainly so that I can say “I’ve driven over the Golden Gate Bridge”. Very shortly after crossing the bridge, tho, I realized that this was, perhaps, an incredibly stupid decision, as I’d entered a section of the 101 completely shrouded in darkness. As I pulled off the 101 in Sausalito to collect my thoughts and figure out my next move, I remembered the map on my passenger seat – and realized that the 101 goes nowhere useful to me. So I end up backtracking, paying the toll to go back across the bridge ($5 – still cheaper than ANY of the Hudson River crossings), and eventually make my way back out to Concord.

I upload my photos into iPhoto (I’ll post them on Flickr when I get home – or maybe tomorrow night when I’m killing time in the airport), relax a bit, and go to grab some dinner – only to discover that everything around the hotel is already closed. Remembering a wrong turn I made back in October, I headed over to Pleasant Hill and had my first Fatburger. (Sorry, Jack in the Box, but you’ve been deposed.) I head out for SFO with plenty of time to spare.

…and the whammy strikes again. (The ‘best laid plans’ whammy, not the “Press Your Luck” whammy.) There was a phenominal car wreck on the westbound Bay Bridge that closed two lanes, so it took me a lot longer than it should have to get across. (But it was a really cool wreck.)

And that gets me to this moment. My boss has been deposited in his room for the evening, and tomorrow we have our meeting with the client. And then it’s back home, where I make the horrific realization that it’s December 15 and I haven’t done any shopping yet. (Think of that as a ‘coming attraction’.)

Update: The whammy is prolithic, if nothing else. I was supposed to have breakfast tomorrow with one of my readers at a local college, but she’s had a family emergency. So, to recap, I’m 1-for-5 on planning. It’s a good thing I can’t be sent down to the minors. If there’s an upside, tho, it’s that I’ll get to sleep later. Silver linings, as it were. Nite!