This also is one of the most expensive LJ posts in history. This Internet phone thing I'm sitting at is claiming it's 25 cents a minute and that would mean an hour is $15 (not bad), but we'll have to see how it pans out on the credit card....
At least the keyboard is better than the kiosk I was at in Cleveland.
I've had lots and lots of adventures since last I posted. I noticed when I was on very very briefly Saturday that some of you commented to my previous post. I'll have to get back to you later (which, surprise surprise coming from me lately, I was planning on doing :) ). However, this internet phone has decided that the content on my journal can not be viewed. I also tried to view the journals of a few of you guys and your content isn't allowed either. Shame on us! ;)
I finally did get to Baltimore on Friday 7 hours later than I was initially supposed to. The next flight they could put me on after my missed flight was at 4:40, and that kept getting delayed until 6:45 or so.
But upon arrival Amy and Sandy found me, though they had gotten incorrect arrival info from Continental, but luckily only by 15 minutes. So I wasn't waiting long in the 30 degree weather. They then took me to a great Mexican restaurant (MMMM Mexican!) and the rest of the evening was uneventful as I caught up with them and got the tour of their house. And got to touch Amy's belly! She's always been such a tiny thing and it was neat seeing her pregnant.
I discovered Amy and Sandy (at least when they didn't have to go to work) are extremely mellow about getting up in the morning. No one who knows me well will believe this, but I was up before them making myself tea and doing puzzles in the puzzle mag I'd bought at the airport the day before. (I'm totally stuck in Final Fantasy). I don't sleep well with my lamictal, and my body needing to take it in the morning actually gets me up around 7:30 or 8 naturally.
Later in the day we went to Amy and Sandy's baby shower hosted by a friend of Sandy's. The house was INCREDIBLE. These people must be well off. 5 bedrooms, a playroom for their little girl that was, no exaggeration, bigger than my kitchen, living room, and dining room combined. The master bedroom suite (with his and her bathrooms) was bigger than all 3 bedrooms in my house combined.
And great food, very cool people there for the shower. Highlights include me holding a 3 month old baby for awhile, SO CUTE, named Mason. And hearing and telling labor stories, most hilarious was the one where the water broke at home and the lady proceeded to shower for the hospital. That's normal enough of ccourse, but when the labor pains already got really bad in the shower, she still insisted on getting completely ready for the birth. As in full makeup, CURLING HER EYELASHES!!!, finding her pearls!!!, etc. She almost ended up having the baby in the car. She probably would have but her husband finally forced her to leave before she had totally finished.
By the time we were totally done with shower it was pretty late in the day, so we went back to the house and I helped out with moving furniture around the nursery, giving baby advice, and giving them the suitcase full of clothes and toys I had brought.
The next day we had another mellow morning, and then we went on an early lunch to G & M, "the best crabcakes in Maryland". I totally believe it. I had an intensely good crabcake.
Then we drove over to Fells Point despite the temperature dropping rapidly. I am a HUGE fan of the television show Homicide: Life on the Streets. The building where the show was filmed, and the bar where many scenes took place, are across the street from each other there. Sandy took my picture in front of the plaque on the building that says Homicide was filmed there, and also in the bar where I made sure to have a beer. I also bought for myself and my dad each a pint glass that had The Waterfront's name on it. Amy tried to get me to also take a picture in front of the part of the building that said "Police Station" from when the show was filmed, but I was already really cold and just wanted to get to the car. I regret that now but luckily I'm not too sentimental so just being able to say I had a beer at the Waterfront and having the pictures I DO have will be good enough.
The thing about the whole Homicide thing that was great was that I finally got to do it! The whole Kim insanity last year had actually brought me to Baltimore, albeit just the airport, but of course there was no time to visit the Fells Point area. I had many years before promised myself that I would visit the bar etc. the first visit I had to Baltimore...so it turns out it was the second but that's OK.
We then had an had time to go to Babies 'R' Us before I had to go to the airport, so we drove there so Amy and Sandy could exchange some stuff from the baby shower.
By the time we got out of the store, TONS of snow and dropped temperature. We drove back to the house, made sure the flight was on time, and then went to the airport. Amy and Sandy made me promise that if the flight didn't go out I would call them and have a place to stay for the night.
So...half hour delay worried me because my connecting flight was QUITE close to the initial arrival time. I went up to the gate podium and asked if it would be OK. "Dayton? Yeah we checked on you guys connecting to Dayton. That flight is delayed too and your gate is really close by anyway. Don't worry."
We embarked on the plane, and sat for a good half hour before taxiing ANYWHERE. Then the pilot announced that we needed to get de-iced (which, you know, is a good thing so the plane doesn't crash, but). THEN we finally left about an hour and a half late.
Arrived in Newark. The whole delay and flight process I'm not so secretly hoping we miss the connecting flight so I can go to the city.
And indeed. The connecting flight was NOT delayed. It left a half hour before I arrivved.
I went to the service desk and explained my plight. (I tried first to call a family friend in the city -- NYC for those who don't know where Newark is -- but she wasn't home). The first flight home was at 6:45 AM. I asked where I was staying that night and was told that problems with connections due to weather did not get put up anywhere.
I explained about the Continental Rep telling me it was OK, that the connection was delayed, that I DID have somewhere I could have stayed in Baltimore. I then said, "Let me tell you about my Friday..."
The customer service rep gave me a night at the Howard Johnson, a voucher for dinner, a voucher for breakfast, and a voucher for lunch at the airport. She originally set me up for the 6:45 flight because that's what they do, they put you on the most timely flight out. But I told her that I had a disability that had me on medication where there was no way I'd make it back to the airport by 5:30am. That IS somewhat true, but I was definitely stretching it. My secret plan was to make it to the city in the morning. So my flight is at 2:35pm today. I hope.
While waiting for the shuttle, I was standing next to an old lady in a wheelchair accompanied by airport security. Suddenly the security agent turns to me and says, "Are you going to the Howard Johnson? Would you mind taking care of this lady and making sure she gets in ok?" I was REALLY surprised that some stranger out of the blue would be entrusted with something like that, but I did agree. So for a short time I was the companion of Jenny from Glasgow, 83 years old, who had gotten screwed due to delays out of her international flight back home. HER next flight wasn't until 10pm the next day!
The shuttle arrived and we all started noticing we were not going to the Howard Johnson. We kept asking where we were going but the driver and the other guy didn't really answer us. They dumped us off at some hotel I didn't catch at the time, and we all were like, "Wah?", but showed our vouchers to the front desk and were ushered right in.
It took me quite a while to catch on I was at a Sheraton. $250 a night! The room was HUGE. The mattress was awesome. In the meantime, I had some trouble using the phone to call Bob, so I kept dealing with the front desk. Finally the front desk guy asked me to come down to use my credit card so he could activate the phone. I did and before he punched my number in he suddenly handed the card back and asked, "How many phone calls are you going to make?" I answered one, and he waved it off and said, "Just go ahead and call."
"Um, it's going to be long distance...?" I said. "No no that's OK." All of that gave me the impression this was going to be free. And the thing was, I was totally willing to pay but I wanted it through a phone company on my credit card, not through the hotel because I knew THAT was going to be exorbinant.
OK, so I called Bob (still thinking I'm at a Howard Johnson, so that's what I told him), and then after talking for 20 minutes decided to go to dinner.
Ick, the food was so-so. I didn't want to pull out my credit card for a couple of dollars, and I was out of cash, so before ordering I said to the server, "I am SO SO sorry but I can't tip you and here's why." He was totally cool. But then I found McDonald's gift certificates that I had in my purse, so I gave him $3 in certificates, and my $1.50 in change from my purse. Hehehe.
I took my ambien, took a great shower, turned on Law and Order, and totally fell asleep. I turned off the TV sometime during the night. Then I woke up around 6:30 AM and couldn't get back to sleep. What I should have done was get up that instant, get breakfast, and get my ass into NYC.
But no I really WANTED to sleep more, so I tried (and failed).
Once I got up I saw this white piece of paper inside my door. It was a $25 charge for the phone call!!!
The reason I was good at my tech support job is that I get what I want (usually, anyway). And I can totally be a chameleon in order to accomplish this. For instance with the Continental service rep yesterday I was bold and confident, laughing about the situation and grinning, "C'mon, you can save me being a Continental customer with this." But with the taciturn front desk guy this morning I made sure to use my most Southern Ohio accent, baby doll voice, and innocent "The airline put me up and I was just calling my family to let them know what was going on and the front desk employee last night and I had a complete misunderstanding. Oh please help me."
He didn't say a word, frowned a bit, but crumpled up the phone bill and waved me off.
By the time I had truly awful breakfast food (which my voucher didn't even cover the full amount bleh) and checked out it was around 9:30/10am. I knew theoretically I COULD have made it to the city for an hour, and part of me really really really really (get it?) wanted to...but I knew if anything went wrong I'd be cutting it too close.
And yet still, after wandering around the airport for a half hour, I went to the service desk and tried to change to the next flight out this evening so I could go into NYC for a bit. Because seriously just to look up into the buildings and see all the people would have made me cry with joy. But the lady was NOT pleased about my request. She said to change the flight would be $25. That, on top of the freezing weather to walk in, and the either $28 dollar train or the really cheap but complicated Bus/train transfer, convinced me to just walk around the airport some more, find this internet phone, and write about my adventures. (Still expensive but at least doesn't possibly make me miss my flight or make me cold).
So here I am, probably wasting the same amount of money, at least for the train into NYC, writing this. *Laugh* Oh well, it's something to do and I did want to make sure and post my adventures.
But hopefully no more adventures from this point on. And now it's been almost an hour writing this and I need to pee anyway.
And wow, if we can swing the money, before I travel again I am SO getting a cell phone. ;)