A Problem with my Varna Trip

It often happens in the summertime that trackwork on the railroad that runs across Massachusetts affects the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited; and when that happens, the Boston cars deadhead to New York and get turned in Sunnyside.

It turns out that that affects the penultimate leg of my return trip from Varna, Bulgaria.  I’ll now be on a bus from Boston to the Albany-Rensselaer station where I’ll board the 449 sleeper.  That’ll be minimally acceptable, and not Amtrak’s fault.

But I’d rather ride on a train.  I stopped by the St. Louis Amtrak station this morning and asked the ticket agent to change my reservation to a business class seat on Regional train 171 to New York, then a coach seat on 49, the New York section of the Lake Shore, to Rensselaer.  He said that Amtrak’s reservation system wouldn’t give him 49 as an option, which made no sense to me because I can see it when I do my own query on Amtrak’s website.

I just thought of another option that I’ll try to get tomorrow morning:  171 as above, then a business class seat on train 291, the Ethan Allan Express.  If he can’t find that either, then train 235, one of the Empire Service corridor trains, will also work.  We’ll see…

We once had a ticket agent named Jeannine (sp?) who had worked for Amtrak for quite a while and really knew what was going on.  I’d bet a dollar to a doughnut that she’d have understood immediately what I wanted and given it to me lickety-split.  Unfortunately, all of the folks currently behind the ticket counter seem to be newbies who know less about the railroad than this passenger does.

I Have Cancer

Well, I’ve done it:  I’ve given myself cancer.  (I’ve treated my body very badly over the years, and so I have no one to blame but myself.)  I had a biopsy on Wednesday; and although I haven’t seen the official test results yet, the pulmonary guy who did the procedure told me that it’s a virulent form of cancer, but we caught it early.

I won’t be doing anything about it until the end of next month.  I have a trip to Varna, Bulgaria that starts in a couple of weeks and includes some train rides on this side of the Pond and a meeting of the ISO standards comittee for the C++ programming language…basically the only thing that’s keeping my otherwise retired brain active.  It’s all bought and paid for, and I really really don’t want to miss it.

I’ll have no clue what I’ll eventually want to do about the cancer until I meet with a surgeon and a cancer specialist, which I hope can happen in the next couple of weeks, to find out what the treatment will be like.  My current guess is that I’ll opt for being kept as comfortable as possible while I kick off.  I’ve had a pretty good 76 years so far, and there’s nobody who depends on me for anything.  We’ll see…

Update as of 2023-05-26:

My appointment with the surgeon isn’t until the end of next month, so I guess decisions about the cancer treatment aren’t all that urgent, and I’ll definitely be going to Varna.  I’ll probably start rambling on about the trip on day −1, Tuesday, the 6th.