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Trip summary - RonO's Ramblings

Dec. 4th, 2007 09:11 pm Trip summary

I recently returned from my first of two trips to Boston this week. This one was the work trip

I left on Sunday after the DucKon meeting. However, this was only the last in a long string of events. I got up with my first alarm of the morning (I usually sleep another half an hour after this), showered and dressed to work tech crew at the church. However, instead of my black dress shoes I put on my black crocks over black socks and hoped nobody would wonder about the red strap.

During the rehearsal for the first, traditional, service I started seeing an aura and thought I might be getting a migraine. So when I got a break I rushed out to the car and grabbed some advil and the got a coke from the vending machine. This arrested the migraine and I was able to do all three services without problem.

After church, I met Tara and Derrick, who missed second service and went do Sunday School instead of third service. We went over to Ghingas Grill in downtown Wheaton for lunch and then headed down to the DucKon meeting. We were a bit later than I like to be, but the meeting hadn't started. The meeting was short, and I had time to kill before I needed to leave for the Airport. I said goodbye to Tara and Derrick before they headed home and then left about 4:30 or 5:00 to catch my 7:30 filght.

I followed the directions to the parking garage I use, which said to take I-88 to I-290 West to Lake to Mannheim. It didn't take me long, but I had forgotten what that part of Lake and Mannheim are like, especially after dark and when it is raining or snowing. I got parked and got on the shuttle to the airport. When I got there, I was able to check in without too much problem, and confirmed that I was still waitlisted for my upgrade to first class (I figured this was as good a time to use them as any). I made it through security easily and found the gate. However, there was still a lot of time before my flight, so I doubled back to the Chili's -- assuming that I wouldn't get upgraded and needed dinner. While I was eating at Chili's I saw the person I was traveling with (since I was seated against the ropes with a nice view of the terminal walkway.

When I got back to the gate, we got the announcement that our flight was going to be delayed because the flight crew was on a delayed flight. Finally about an hour after the flight was scheduled to depart, they started boarding. But, just before that they called me and informed me that I'd been upgraded. I got on board and sat in a seat in the first row and waited for the crew to arrive so we could leave.

We finally left about 90 minutes late. The flight was a bit choppy, but not too bad. I did get a second dinner (and ate it since I had points to spare for the week and possibly more than I had first realized -- I never actually figured out Sunday beyond the in-my-head estimate).

We arrived in Boston just after midnight. After retrieving my luggage we got the shuttle to the rental lot where my car was, for once, still waiting. We then drove to Lowell and got checked into the hotel about 1;15 in the morning. I settled in and went to sleep fairly quickly.

The two days of meetings went pretty well. I was able to meet some of the key players on that team, and have a better idea of how to solve our immediate problem, and have confirmed that other problems exist, but might not be nearly as bad as we feared. The only odd thing about the trip was discovering that I had a very wrong mental picture of one of the people on that team. Somehow talking to him on the phone, I pictured someone about my age (and height). Instead I met a guy who cannot be much more than 30. I guess he was hired by the company we acquired as a fresh graduate in about 2000, and worked his way up the start-up and into a position that became a more senior position than he would have had by spending his whole career at Motorola.

We still have some battles to fight, but we should be able to deliver to the upper boss what he wants -- just not what the manager in Lowell wants to give him.

We left the office this afternoon a bit after 3, expecting a 6:00 departure. The drive from Lowell to Logan wasn't bad, and we got the car dropped off and to the terminal a bit after 4. When we got to the ticket area, we discovered that the 6:00 flight was delayed. Since I'd been upgraded again, I decided to stick it out, but my companion was going to try for the earlier flight. After taking off my coat and stashing it in my bag, I went to the special kiosk to check my bag -- having gotten a boarding pass that morning. However, it would not let me check in. So I went to customer service, who informed me that the flight was delayed indefinitely, and that he could get me into coach on the 5:00 flight. I decided that I'd rather not wait (but with a picture of exchanging a first class window for a coach middle seat) and let him rebook me. The only problem was that just as I went to lift my suit case onto the scale, the handle popped off. We got the damage noted (so I wouldn't try to claim it as damage by the airline) and I headed for security. Just outside, I checked my watch and the boarding time. Both were at 4:30, so I rushed through security -- or tried to except I got behind a couple of people who were not fast at getting their coats, shoes, laptops etc. ready for screening. By the time I got to the gate, the plane was mostly loaded. I got on and found my seat -- a window seat in what turned out to be an empty row.

However, the overhead bins near my row were already full. I briefly tried putting my ONE bag under the seat, but decided that it left me without enough leg room. So I finally went and adjusted stuff in a bin a row or two forward and got my bag stowed.

The change also caused a few other problems. First, rushing to the gate didn't give me an opportunity to get anything to eat, drink or to visit the restroom. If I'd been in first class, I would have been fed, and wouldn't have needed to eat, but on a two hour flight the only things available in coach are pretzels (which I ate even though I don't really like them) and soft drinks. But I had to wait until we were airborne and level before I could rush to the lavatory. I was then trapped for a while behind the drinks cart before I could return to my seat.

The flight itself was fine. When we left Boston it looked like it would touch down about 6:30, leaving me with a chance of getting home and eating in time to make my 8:30 seminar at the Karate School (about 1/4 mile away). But due to the weather we were delayed in landing until nearly 7, and then took an extra long time to get to the gate.

I was listening to the ATC channel most of the flight, and I was starting to feel sorry for the guy at O'Hare who was trying to get the landed flights to where they wanted to go. It seemed like all of the pilots were listening about like third graders and I was surprised that he wasn't yelling.

I suspect that I'll be working from home tomorrow since the weather looks like it will be an ugly commute. (A lot of people in Lowell worked from home on Monday for a similar reason). I should be heartened, I only have two days left this week, and one of them will probably be short due to the department lunch. Then I get another flight to Logan and SMOFcon. Hopefully these flights won't have as much drama.

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