I'm supposed to be in LA right now. For the past month my pal Toshi and I have been planning for me to fly out there and have couple of days of beer, terrific mexican food, maybe a ball game and both the Lord of the Rings and Matrix trilogies.

But no.

Thanks to a massive cluster on Delta, the flights i was to nonrev on, either a direct or doing the dreaded Atlanta connection dance of fire, wide open for these many weeks were now oversold. Paying passengers took it up the ol' poop chute. They shot standbys on sight.

"Granted," said my travel agent. "You could get to Atlanta, but you may have to spend the night there. It doesn't look good for you coming back, either."

She stayed up late calling out to the gates on the off chance that the first flight out to Atlanta would look good, but finally came to bed with the grim update. "If I were you, I wouldn't go," she said. This from a girl who thinks it looks good for us when the flight is over by five.

So I called Toshi the next morning with the lousy news. "We'll try again in a few weeks."

Bummed, of course, but in a way it was a huge relief. This whole month has been a full-on blur: overtime, school, travel, communicating with my family through e-mails and phone calls.

In fact, when I was getting out of work clothes and in to baggy shorts and a favorite T-shirt, RunningHammer came in to the bedroom.

"You going onna aiwpwane?"

"Not today, buddy." Peel off socks.

"You staying home?"

"I'm staying home." Pants on the hanger, shoes in the closet. When I turned around, I heard his tiny bare feet pounding through the hall. "Daddy's staying home Daddy's staying home!"

SweetFaceBoy was next, ready with CD player and headphones for a trip to the airport.

"So we're not going to the airport?"

"You're stuck with me." Step in to shorts. Pull on a shirt. "Probably for the weekend."

"Cool." Then he turned and was gone.

Vix stopped me at the bedroom door. "Hm. This will be the longest time I've seen you awake in weeks. I'm not sure what to do."

"Knowing you, you'll think of something." I gave her a wet smooch.

She wiped it off; she always does. "I feel bad, but I'm glad it worked out this way."

Heading out for my own vacation sounded nice, but a few days of doing nothing more than sitting in my own backyard and reading a book and playing with my family somehow feels like a much better deal.

"Yeah," I said, hugging her around her waist and retaliating with a quick peck. "Me too."