I'VE HAD BETTER DAYS
1 October 2005
I had read the same page three times and I still didn't know what I had read, but I was trying to be nonchalant. I was trying to ignore the pitching and tossing of the airplane as it lurched through the turbulence. I was trying not to think about the look on the flight attendants' faces when they rushed the beverage cart back to the gally and strapped themselves into their seats.
I was trying not to think about all the airplane tragedy movies I've seen, not to think about the opening episode of Lost, and wondering how bad it would have to get before those little masks dropped from the ceiling. The man across the aisle from me gasped as we hit a particularly big bump.
Eventually things began to calm down again and I stopped sweating. The beverage cart came out again and started up the aisle when suddenly there was an announcement that we were making an emergency landing in Albuquerque.
We had left Sacramento earlier and flew to Phoenix, which is the hub for America West. Why we had to go to Phoenix before we could fly to Milwaukee I don't know, but we did. Fortunately, we didn't have to change planes.
When we hit the turbulence, we were about 2 hours out of Phoenix. We wonder if the plane turned around to head back to Albuquerque because we hit more turbulence and the beverage cart was quickly returned to the galley once more. It was a tremendous relief when we touched down.
But of course it was midnight and we were in New Mexico, where none of us expected to be, and we had no plane to get to Milwaukee. A plane came from Phoenix in only two hours. The problem was that we had not been able to pick up any dinner in Phoenix because our time on the ground was so short, and because of the turbulence they had never gotten to the food service on the plane yet. At the time we landed in Albuquerque, all the shops and restaurants had closed. "Dinner" was a small bag of Fritos (that we split) and a package of cheese crackers with peanut butter. I figured at least we could still get food service when we got back on the plane.
But, no. They had no food service, so we just came on through without food.
We arrived at the airport and took a cab to our hotel, where we checked in. They graciously extended our reservation by a day. "You're leaving tomorrow, right?" the clerk said. We showed him our reservation where we had been confirmed for four nights. His brow furrowed as he contemplated the fact that the hotel was (he said) already booked. But we had irrefutable proof of a reservation.
We had originally had a room with two queen sized beds and he said he would "upgrade" us to a "nicer room" with a king sized bed. He beamed. He was being so nice to us. (I've since seen the first room and it is twice the size of our "upgrade.").
It was now after 5 a.m. and we took our keys and trudged off to the elevators, only to be called back by the desk clerk, who had just discovered that the room he had assigned to us was already occupied. He gave us keys to another room.
We went up to the 4th floor, walked about a mile down the deserted hallway to our room, put the key in the door, opened it and surprised the hell out of the guy who was standing there getting dressed.
So back to the front desk for the third time, got assigned yet another room. I sent Walt upstairs to check it out before we moved all the luggage again. This one seemed to be legit, so we hauled the luggage upstairs. I sat down in the chair in the room and was asleep almost instantly and didn't wake up until 8:15 a.m.
We connected with the others (Ellen, Tricia and Mary) at breakfast and are in the middle of a lovely day, which I will describe tomorrow. They say that our room is "wired for internet," but I don't have wireless and there is no way to connect my laptop without having to contort my body so I can type while sitting in bed. But the one good thing is that there is a "business center" with free unlimited internet access.
Now to post this and see if I can't get a quick nap before we go out for dinner.
We are in Milwaukee. It was touch and go there for awhile, but we are here.
PHOTO OF THE DAY