Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hope my luggage hits the jackpot!!

I spend the previous few days in the Washington D.C Metro area for a meeting, I still enjoy going there any chance I get.  The week was uneventful until Friday.  I spent the morning at the Pentagon ("That funny building with four walls and a spare" Col Sherman T. Potter, 4077 MASH) and got back to my hotel room with plenty of time to finish packing and get to the airport for my return.

I planned to get to the airport 2 hours ahead of my departure time so I wouldn't be rushed.  I got there to discover there were no lines anywhere.  I got to the gate almost 2 hours before my scheduled departure.  The good thing was I had enough time to get lunch, still a good day.

We boarded the plane, pulled away from the gate, and headed for the runway.  Then the plane stopped.  We had a short delay (1.25 hours) while we waited for the weather around Atlanta to clear.  I started making some calculations and determined I would not make my connecting flight to Montgomery.  No problem; I never pick the last flight into anywhere just in case.  I figured my luggage wouldn't make the flight either so there was nothing to worry about.

When we arrived in Atlanta, I checked the departure board and discovered my flight was delayed.  This is good since I now do not have to do the "O.J. Simpson" through the airport to get to my gate.  I took a leisurely stroll, called my wife and told her my new arrival time.  The closer I got to my gate I started to get concerned.  The place was packed with way too many people.  Notices on the screens alerted people to gate changes, flight delays, and other flying maladies.

My flight left on it's new scheduled departure and arrived at more or less that time it was supposed to.  I wandered over to baggage claim and spent the next 15 minutes watching other people pick up their bags and leave.  Sadly, I was not among them.  I shuffled over to the ticket counter and got in line with other sad-faced people.  I learned that my baggage was "delayed" and they would deliver it to me as soon as it arrived.  I was given a pre-printed brochure with a code written on it to track my bags.  

I didn't receive a call last night so I checked on my suitcase this morning.  Here is what they had to show me;

Delayed Baggage Status

Passenger Information

Passenger Last Name:
File Reference Number:
Delivery Address:

Baggage Status & Delivery Information

Bag Tag Number:
We have located this bag at Las Vegas, NV (LAS) airport and are scheduling it to be on a flight to your final destination. 
Please check back again for the delivery date and time of your bag.

I hope they wait until it hits a big jackpot before they send it back. Although, I do need my uniforms for work on Monday.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Lost? or Just Not Where I Need To Be?

On a recent trip to Mobile, AL I had a discussion with my wife; what is the difference between being lost, and not being in the place you need to be?  To defend my case, I enter the following exhibits into evidence.

Exhibit 1: Colorado Springs, Colorado May 1989

We were on our first cross-country trip, moving from Michigan to California.  We thought it would be a good idea to stop at Peterson AFB to fill up the gas tank and get a few supplies for the remainder of our trip.  It was such a long drive from the freeway to the base that I decided to take a shortcut back.  Long story short, I finally stopped for directions.  This was only after an hour or so of driving around Colorado Springs trying to find an on-ramp.  Clearly, I was lost.

Exhibit 2: near F├╝ssen, Germany November 2006

We decided to take a family vacation in Bavaria, and drive.  It was only supposed to be about a 12-hour trek, including a stop at Ramstein AFB for gas and a meal.  I'm sure you're thinking, AHA!!, that is where you went wrong last time.  Unfortunately, that was not the problem.  The problem occurred when the sun went down and the snow started falling as we started driving in the Bavarian Alps.  Our maps weren't very detailed, and we ended up on a narrow winding road that was not on the map.  We really enjoyed the peaceful drive down the valley to a beautiful village; it looked like a Thomas Kincaid painting.  Couldn't say for sure if it was in Germany or Austria at that point, we were so close to the border.  Anyway, we made our way back to a main road and I stopped at a hotel to ask for directions.  Left turn from their parking lot, over the bridge, make an immediate right.  From there we followed the signs for Garmisch-Partenkirchen and arrived safely.  Again, clearly I was lost.

Those clearly are examples of what it is to be lost.  I didn't know where I was or how to get to where I needed to be.  One thing that might have helped was a Yooper Compass.  It is a snuff can with a mirror in the lid.  It doesn't show you where you are or where you are going, just who is lost.  This brings us to the event that sparked the discussion.

Exhibit 3: Mobile, Alabama February 2009.

We thought it would be nice to drive across the opening of Mobile Bay on our way  home.  We got on I-10 heading east and settled in for a leisurely drive.  We saw the Battleship USS Alabama, and miles of wetlands.  As we reached the other side, my wife looked at the map and told me which road I needed, to get back to I-65 and our way home.  I saw the sign for the exit, made a note of it, and proceeded to drive past it without exiting.  About 8-10 or so miles later we came upon the next exit and made out way back to the correct exit and took it this time.  Shortly after that, my wife told our daughter we weren't lost anymore.  Usually I accept being told I am lost, but only when I am truly lost.  This time I knew exactly where I was and how to get back to where I wanted to be, and even got there without getting more lost.  Clearly a case of not being in the place I needed to be.

The defense stands.