I don't know if I can blame my current screwed up sleep schedule to shifting from Eastern to Pacific schedules, or more from going from vacation back to work, or if the various hurdles of navigating the airline system just plain wore me out.
I've uploaded some pictures HERE, and I'll jabber on about it beneath the cut.
I woke up at 4am, which wasn't quite enough time to shower, get dressed, finish packing, have breakfast, and get to the gate on time. I probably could have tightened up one or more of those, but I ended up skipping the last one. Poor planning. I spoke kindly to the gate agent at the next gate over, who asked "oh, was security bad?" - no, it was all me this time. You could have delayed the flight for 15 minutes, and I'd have been delighted, but that's OK.
So, he set me up with an 8am SEA->ATL flight, and two possible flights from ATL->ILM. Turns out the first (a standby ticket) was oversold, so there goes that. They were offering incentives for people to get bumped to a later flight, and lost track, so at one point the gate agent called me up to the counter. I was excited, because I was hoping I'd get a seat on the early(er) flight. Just in time, however, she recalled that this other guy standing 2 yards away from her had a confirmed seat on the flight, so clearly he got preference. Thanks for calling me up to the counter!
While waiting for the next flight, they kept changing the gate. Apparently "gate change" is now a verb in Delta's lexicon. "Attention passengers, that flight has just gate changed to B27". I guess when I get worn out, I attack people's syntax. I bounced through 4 gate changes. Along the way, I got a phone call from the monitoring service who react to my alarm system's random gyrations. Seems there was motion inside my house. Sweeeet. Except that there's a windstorm going on back home, so maybe it's a false alarm. Ah, right. Like the last few false alarms that happen when the windstorms mess with the power lines, which cause the alarm system to freak out. They still haven't fixed that, I guess. I left a message for my neighbor to take a look at my house, just to make sure. I forgot to leave him my cell phone number, so he didn't get back to me by phone, instead leaving me an email that I didn't check until I got back. Short version of the story (too late), everything's fine. But hey, if you want air travel to be more trying, add worrying about intruders back at home. Guaranteed to work.
All this time, I'm leaving Keely text messages about when I might or might not get in. At some point, I set my watch to the wrong time zone, which I noticed was different than the clock on my phone, but I figured the low-tech watch was more reliable than the spooky action at a distance communication device. Hilarity ensued.
On the upside, I got a bunch of Catch-22 read as I was waiting.
I eventually landed, something like 8 hours late. Well, that's an adventure I didn't need, but it's behind me.
Not much happened. Which is part of the point of the beach. I hung out with folks, walked along the beach, took some pictures, let the sea air fog up my lens, giving a Cybill Shepherd look that I wasn't really going for. Then a road trip to get fudge, where we discovered a chick whose superpower was to measure out one pound of fudge by eye, accurate to the hundredths place. Everybody else was in awe, but I told them to shut up, lest The Company come and run tests on her.
Note to The Company: I don't know anything. Stop bothering me!
Some departures (too soon!), some arrivals (welcome!), and more lazing around. A trip to Captain Root Beer's Hall of Foam ended in disappointment, as the Captain had relocated to South Carolina. Marshall, Christina, and I bounced around a bit before landing at Crabby Mike's, who was happy to serve us food that we could eat.
That evening, the "Clue" themed costume party. I checked off much of the various partygoers' cards, and ended up sharing the last bit of (meta)information with Marshall that the folks holding the last two cards were probably holed up downstairs being less social than the rest of us. Shortly thereafter, Marshall correctly identified the killer. Yay me, for having the knowledge but being lazy about executing on it.
More lazing around. Another ill-fated trip, this time to the mini-golf place. I suspect it was closed for the season, which probably saved them a few bucks every week.
More people bid adieu, and a skeleton crew went out looking for food that we could eat. Mixed success on that score - I had a perfectly passable salmon almondine with horseradish. Several others struck out either at the table or later on.
More departures. Cleaning up and Tetris made for a low-key day, even by beach standards. Checked my GMail account to see if anybody was desperately trying to offer me money. No such luck.
Ok, my time to depart draws nigh. I pack everything away, and it all seems to fit so much better this time around, which seems suspicious. Laura drives me to the airport, with some crazy amount of time to spare. I'm sitting at the gate when they announce that the plane I'll be getting on is delayed on its way in, but not to worry, because the weather problems will be delaying all flights, so don't worry about connections.
I miss my connection.
They give me a voucher for a discounted rate at a hotel in Philadelphia and some meal vouchers. I poke around the concourse, looking for food, but find nothing of interest. I read through the text of the hotel voucher, and they assure me they can't be held responsible for weather issues. I guess not, but it seems like they could have held my flight something like 15 minutes. This time that seems reasonable.
I hop on a hotel shuttle, and realize it's the wrong hotel. The shuttle driver is happy to drive me to the right hotel. ("You help me, I'll help you" - ok, I get it, you want a healthy tip. Good thing I stopped at the ATM.) I chat with a cute chick in the elevator who is also stranded. Afterwards, I kick myself for not inviting her to share a table downstairs at the hotel restaurant to hang out and chat.
This time, getting up and going at 4am is no problem. Getting to the gate on time is easy. I'm stopped for "special screening" as I go through security. Really? I'm already cranky that the airline stranded me overnight. Extra security doesn't make me happier. Maybe they're right, though - after enough crazy jerking around, some people can't take it anymore, so best to make sure they're not carrying 4 ounces of shampoo on board the plane.
Somewhere in the hazy shifting nightmare that was Philadelphia, I finish both Stephen Colbert's book and "Catch-22". I get started on "The Art of Detection", a Sherlock Holmes-related murder mystery by Laurie R. King.
I get "to work" around 11:30, which is impossible to pin down to my personal body clock - my alarm had gone off ten and a half hours previously, and I often wake up around 8am. So, call it 7:30pm? Great time to start work for the day. Still no email offering me cash or prizes, but a few messages pestering me to get in touch with somebody about a job interview. Not the company I'm most excited about (think computer game consoles, big screen TVs, and portable cassette players from the 80s), and I'm bleary, so I defer on getting back to the guy.
Work is falling apart without me, which is somewhat reassuring.
My TiVo hadn't begun cannibalizing perfectly good shows to make space for crap, but I'm certain I've got several hours of Daily Show / Colbert Report reruns to delete.
At the end of the day, the guy who I was hoping would leave me employment-related email called me and apologized that he didn't have anything official yet, but by mid-day Thursday. I assured him that it was fine, the jetlag left me in a totally bleary state that I wouldn't be able to process anything that day anyway.
I nod off watching "Heroes" on TiVo, so I decide to take a nap. I wake up after a good 6 hours of nap, and finish off "The Art of Detection". That makes 3 books finished in a week? I can't recall how long I'd have to go back to count the previous 3 books I finished.
And here we are. I've been ostensibly "at work" for over an hour now. I've uploaded some pictures. I really need to get into the habit of turning the flash on or holding my hand steady - many of my party pictures didn't turn out at all.
It's a beautiful day out today.