79th: Be not apt to relate news if you know not the truth thereof. In discoursing of things you have heard, name not your author; always a secret discover not.
(this won't change now until I
Today's Search Engine queries:
AT BUSH'S MERCY
12 November 2004
I'm at the mercy of Bush.
That would be Bush International airport in Houston.
I have always adopted the notion that traveling days are going to be hell, so you might as well relax, accept whatever happens and bring a long book. I'm very glad I have that philosophy today.
It was going to be so easy. Get on the plane in Sacramento, change planes in Houston, get off in Baltimore, meet Roz, go home and go to bed. No problem.
It was pouring rain this morning and again, wimp Sheila wouldn't go out in it and when I walked out with her, she bounded out into the back yard like Bambi onto the meadow and then came hightailing it back into the house, ears flat against her head.
Walt drove me to the airport around 9:45 and, after a stop to get some money, I arrived about 10.
Continental's computerized check-in is very easy and it took me roughly 30 seconds to check in and check my bags.
Then and endless line to go through security, but still getting througn in enough time that I could stop by the bookstore and see if anything caught my eye. I had brought Michael Crighton's "Prey" to read, but I found that James Patterson's latest, "Big Bad Wolf," was now out in paperback and I decided to buy that.
I settled myself in at the gate and started to read, while the rain pelted down outside.
At the appointed time, we were called to the plane and boarded. This is el cheapo to end all el cheapo seats and that means, of course, I got the middle seat, which I didn't mind so much as I felt sorry for my seat mates. I'm the kind of person that they groan about when they see her coming down the aisle and pray "please don't let her sit next to me!"
It was a full flight and once we were all wedged in we thought we were going to take off. But we didn't. We waited and waited and waited. Finally the captain came on and informed us that there was a leak in the oxygen mask in the cockpit and that they needed to have that fixed and we would take off as soon as the simple repair was made.
And we waited and waited and waited.
Finally the pilot said he was going "downstairs" to check on the part, so he turned on the air conditioning, 'cause it was starting to get a bit warm in there, despite the cold weather out side.
We continued to wait.
He finally came back on the speak and said that they had to send to San Francisco for the part and that it was being driven up even as we spoke (it's about 2-1/2 hours from the SF airport to the Sacramento airport under good conditions--and it was still pouring outside.
He announced that we would be able to leave in about an hour (yeah, right) and that those who wanted to get off the plane could.
By this time it was 1 p.m. and we were all getting hungry. I went down to the food court (not realizing that Continental was giving out vouchers for food) and bought myself a pizza and then tried to call Walt.
It cost sixty five cents for the call and I gave him the number and told him to call me right back. Only apparently you can't call pay phones any more. At least you couldn't call this one. He tried twice and it rang once and then stopped.
So I called him collect and explained what was happening. By this time it had become apparent that there was no way I was making my connecting flight to BWI and Continental had said they would put us all up at a hotel if we missed our connecting flights.
I asked Walt to call Roz and tell her what was going on and asked him to give me her phone number so I could call her myself when I knew what my new flight would be.
I should add that at some point in the last couple of months, I have lost my cell phone, so I was relying on pay phones.
I went back to the gate and settled in to read "The Big Bad Wolf."
In time, the guy at the gate (nice man named Pratt--I must remember to write Continental and compliment the pleasant way he handled things) now said that the part would be flown up from Los Angeles and that it would be "at least 4 hours" before we would leave.
Now I found an Internet machine and sent off a couple of e-mails, including one to Walt telling him of the change in plans. It was $4 for 10 minutes on a dial-up connection. VERY frustrating.
Back to the gate to read some more and then I heard some people saying they got $12 worth of vouchers. Well, heck, I should at least get SOMETHING free out of this, so I went to get a voucher but they only gave me $4 worth, which is fine because I wasn't hungry, but I treated myself to a fancy caramel macchiata at Starbucks, something I have never had (not worth the $4, IMO).
Once again back to the gate only I could see that I was getting very close to the end of "Big Bad Wolf," so I went back to the book store and bought a Ken Follett, then back to the gate.
They finally let us on the plane, but the part still hadn't arrived, though it did fairly soon after that. The one good thing about this little inconvenience was that one of my seatmates--the guy on the aisle--had made other arrangements and so he was no longer there and I was able to move over so both the window lady and I had more space.
The flight itself was uneventful, save for being pretty bumpy. Continental advertises that they still offer meals for customers. Well, yeah, sorta. I had some kind of nebulous pocket sandwich, a very mealy apple and a bag of Fritos. I guess that's a meal.
I watched Hidalgo, a movie I never would have watched otherwise (they gave us headphones rather than charging $5 for them) and it was surprisingly good.
When we arrived at Bush, we were sent to the Sheraton Hotel for the night. Now, I must mention that I got stuck in Atlanta once. I don't know what airline I was flying, but not Continental. Those guys were great. Friendly, apologetic, and gave each of us a little kit with essential toiletries in it.
The Continental rep was surly (memo to self: write letter about surly attendant) and handed us slips for the hotel, but nothing else. I am here with no toothpaste, no deodorant, no clean underwear or sox and I'm going to be pretty raunchy when I get on the plane tomorrow. (The hotel shop was closed when we got here so no chance to buy anything.)
I have a $10 voucher for breakfast in the hotel, but my plane leaves around 7:30 and I have to leave here by 6 at the latest, and the restaurant doesn't open until 6:30.
So I'm not really a happy camper.
But I'm here and if I can figure out how to work the alarm on the clock, I'll wake up in time to catch the shuttle to the airport. It is probably a mile from the front door to the Continental concorse...and I'm not kidding! They did provide ground transportation for us, which I almost didn't take, figuring I could use the exercise, but we drove and drove and drove and drove...and if I have to walk that tomorrow, I'd better allow half an hour just for getting to the plane.
Oh yeah--and I went to use the computer and my mouse no longer works. I loaned the machine to a friend and I don't know if she had problems with it or not, but I hate using the track ball on this machine, so I'm defiitely not a happy camper.
Now to see if I can even log on to post this!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Hey, when you're stuck in an airport all day, you don't get much interesting stuff to photograph!