Published: September 22nd 2007March 19th 2007
Here's a shot of the Parka I left in Seattle
If today is any indication, I expect to have a terribly fun time this week dealing with Alaska Airlines. The schedule I have is unforgiving and Alaska hasn't exactly proved itself "reliable" in the last few weeks. It's really not fair to blame today on them but I'm going to anyways. I just feel like they've earned it.
This trip started out with the obligatory "change your flight every day" phenomenon. The leader of our team called me last Thursday and asked me to move my flight from Monday to Sunday. We have been signed up for 6 cities in two weeks, capped off by $500-600 change fees for all my flights. Sunday was no good for me at all...Michelle was in San Francisco with a couple of her sorority sisters and wouldn't be back until Sunday night around 6:00 PM. In addition, we had countertop installers coming in on Monday morning to install granite counters in the kitchen and bar area. But the truth is, I really didn't have much of a choice. Having few alternatives, I asked the parents to kick in and watch my son Anthony on Sunday. Because the only flight still available on Sunday was an early morning flight with layovers and plane changes in Portland and Seattle, it meant I really had to drop him off Saturday night. Being great parents in addition to being enamored with Anthony, they agreed to bail me out.
I set up all the flights for the week (at least one a day) and went over to their house for dinner Sunday night. We had a wonderful time and Anthony was a doll. He took a bath in the kitchen sink, his favorite place, and then essentially went straight to bed at 8:30 without any fuss. I spent a couple of hours more over there talking with them and re-programming their remote control and then headed home around 11:15. When I got home I had a message from the team lead (why he called me on my home phone and not my cell phone I'll never know) saying to move the trip back to Monday. So I stayed up until nearly 3:00 AM trying to re-book all my flights and finally crashed out.
I spent Sunday doing chores and errands to make it easier on Michelle in my absence. The counters has just been knocked out to replace the tile with granite, but the installation would take place during my trip. So I picked up a new garbage disposal and faucet for the new kitchen sink and counters (almost everything was destroyed during demolition as they warned us it would be). Sunday afternoon, I went over to Mom and Dad's, helped put the Christmas boxes back up in the loft and grabbed Anthony and Jaisa, my sister. Once we had dropped off Jaisa at her place, we went home and got there about 30 minutes before Michelle did. I spent the evening talking to her and helping finish the last few chores around the house. I had to disconnect the range so they could install the new granite countertops and turn off the gas (not in that order). This morning we removed the kitchen cabinet drawers and stacked them up in the living room and then finished packing.
But I digress...I left out for the airport. I got there without incident, checked in, and got something to eat. Headed through security and then boarded the plane. This is where my luck kicked in again. After we had all boarded and the door had closed, a 26-year old girl sitting across the aisle and one row up from me fainted dead away. There was a lot of commotion, the stewardesses -- I'm sorry...flight attendants -- ran down the aisle, grabbed the oxygen, and asked if there were "any doctors onboard." It was straight out of a movie. I'm just thankful that they weren't asking for pilots :) A doctor / passenger helped her out, they opened the doors, and police and medics came aboard. 20 minutes of evaluation and they took her off the plane. She was woozy but fine and she walked off the plane slowly under her own force.
Now the waiting game commenced. Another 30 minutes of craziness as they inventoried everything and passengers spread rumors about the "seizures" and "heart attack" that didn't occur on our flight. Finally, the pilot made an announcement. Because the incident had occurred on the ground, they were required to refill / replace the portable oxygen, file paperwork on the incident, file paperwork on why they cracked the first aid kit and what had been removed, had to request a waiver to proceed with a "less-than-full" first aid kit, remove her bags, and load the bags of a standby passenger taking her place (did I forget to mention that the plane was entirely full?). The pilot indicated that we would take off as soon as he finished the bureaucratic paperwork that weighed as much as our airplane. An hour later, we finally got underway. Now I have about 20 minutes to catch my next flight. Although there is a complication.
When I returned from my last trip, I ended up stuck in Seattle overnight. So I looked up a friend of mine, coincidentally named Anthony as well, and hung out with him. When I left Seattle the next day I forgot that I had put my cold weather parka in the trunk of his car. So now I get to run out to baggage claim, pick up the jacket, go back through security and try to catch my flight. Will keep you posted...this is not going to be easy.