Thursday, February 03, 2005

Beginning of Trip and a Survey

15˚F – Yup, that was the temp when I walked in today (Wednesday). I think it was 17˚F yesterday. Darn friggin' cold! That's all I have to say. And my brand new scarf from New Orleans is not toasty warm in 15˚F as it was in 45˚F. I still love it, but it's a wuss scarf compared to my others, but then again NO has wuss weather compared to Detroit's.

There's so much to tell about my week away, but I don't know where to begin. I could begin with how hectic my Friday was as I hadn't even started packing and I needed a new bathing suit. I left work right at 2:00 (I was in at 5:30, so don't worry I didn't cheat the company) and went straight to Mervyn's [once I walked home to my car – I did not pass Go (i.e., go into the house) or collect $200 – I got right in the car and headed off] and tried on their lame collection of bathing suits. No luck, so I went to Target where I had pretty good luck and got two new suits. I was looking for some other sundries but, as always, my Target did not have what I needed. I find all sorts of stuff there I don't need, but rarely have luck finding exactly what I went for.

After Target I went straight home and got moving on the packing. Thursday night I had packed up my knitting so that I would not be tempted to sit and knit. It took me forever to pack as I was not sure what to take with me. We were going to have two Formal Nights, two Semi-Formal nights, a smart casual and a casual night for dinner, at least in theory. I did take a break from packing to meet up with my friend Martha for drinks and some food though. She was in town for the weekend from working in Mexico – she picked a shitty weekend to leave Mexico and come to Detroit, though, that's all I have to say!

Friday was a bitterly cold day with temps near zero Fahrenheit (if I remember correctly) and then Saturday we got the actually predicted amount of snow (a foot). I wouldn't have left the house at all if I hadn't had an airline ticket to NO to catch a ship to warmer climes. As it was, I got up around 5:30 and was all ready to go by 6:30, including the last minute packing (deodorant, make-up, etc.). And for once, the bloody weather forecasters were right. The boatload of snow they predicted was actually happening. You know, I wonder when Michigan will figure this winter thing out. Mountainous amounts of snow on Saturdays are NOT appreciated!! Why can't we get it on a workday???? Not that my company ever closes. What we do is much too important to mind risking our employees lives and cars in a little bit of snow. NOT!

Saturday was an interesting day, to say the least. We got to the airport and since we had all checked-in online the day before we just had to check our luggage in. It was done quickly and relatively easily and we all made it through security although my knitting bag got pegged and had to go through the scanner a second time, and I think Suzy's and Amy's knitting bags also got an extra look. However, they didn't catch the tiny scissors in my travel sewing kit. Of course, that wasn't as bad as last September when I went to Vegas for the Champ Car race. I had the paring knife in my carry-on and they didn't catch that. Makes you feel all safe and warm and cozy inside doesn't all that Security!

Well, it's now Thursday and I haven't posted in quite a while, have I? Today's walk-in-to-work-weather was supposedly 20˚F, but it seemed colder. Have I mentioned that I'm tired of being cold? I thought the trip had warmed me up sufficiently as the walk into work on Monday hadn't seemed bad, but I guess it was just warmer. Ah, winter in Michigan.

Back to Saturday, long story short, our 9:27 a.m. flight never took off. We got on the plane late (thanks to a mechanical problem that caused it to be late coming in from LaGuardia) and then sat on that blasted POS plane for five hours as NorthWorst lived up to its name (and reputation, at least here in Detroit, and probably in Minneapolis). We had to get de-iced. I was cool with that since I could see ice formed on the wing, but the damn de-icing machine ran out of de-icing fluid halfway through so it took twice as long as it should have, and then we found out that our brakes froze up during the de-icing process. And for some reason the plane to our right also had brake problems and even though we had been there first (I don't know why, but I'm a firm believer in First Come, First Served, but that's apparently just me), the mysterious "they" decided to work on the other plane's brakes first. Theirs come unstuck and they take off. We're next, or so we think. They work and work and work on our brakes and then we all hear and feel this HUGE thunk and we think we're golden. Ah, but we would be wrong. Because now we have to go through de-icing again as we had been there so freaking long. *sigh* And that means they turn the plane off (read: no air) so that the plane doesn't suck the vile smelling de-icing fluid into the plane (it smells like when you add windshield wiper fluid to the reservoir, but no matter how careful you are you spill some and then it's piped into the car because you have the heater going) which it does anyway. The second de-icing is finally finished and the pilot announces that we'll be taking off soon. We had a bunch of cynics on the plane though and they expressed their disbelief in no uncertain terms. Well, they were right. A few moments later, the pilot comes on and informs us that the control tower had to be evacuated due to smoke or some such thing (turns out some jackass spilled cleaning solutions and caused fumes to go throughout the control tower). The air traffic controllers had to run (they were probably actually driven there) from the brand new tower to the old one and the entire airport was shut down. Talk about good times!!!!

When the tower finally re-opened, the pilot informed us that due to FAA regulations we had to go back to the gate. He said it was because any plane that sat on the tarmac for so many hours (we were out there for FIVE, count them FIVE, hours with no food or liquids) had to return to the gate. I think it was more along the lines that the flight crew is only allowed to "work" for 8 hours and the trip to New Orleans at 2 hours would put them over the allowed time limit. So, we turned around and went back to the terminal where we had to wait an additional chunk of time for a plane to leave a gate as we had no assigned gate. People were quite edgy by this time, as there were a total of 30 people on that plane trying to get to the same cruise ship. To save you the tension, I'll tell you outright, we didn't make the ship. It sailed without all 30 of us (plus another 70 or so from other flights and locations).

You like how I'm making this long story short??? Okay, I'm really going to now. After much hassle and many cell phone calls (Julie is the master of cell phones – she had two going at once – BRILLIANT!), we got on a plane to New Orleans (as that's where our luggage was already (supposedly, but Julie saw it being put on our plane) and it finally took off a mere twelve hours after our original flight was due to take off. The issue of catching up with the ship had been taken care of by the lone nice NorthWorst employee and Julie's dad was the Hero of the Day and got us rooms at La Quinta about 15 minutes from the airport where Suzy and I collapsed and went directly to bed while the others needed food more than sleep. I think I was asleep five minutes after I crawled into bed.

I'll tell you all about Sunday in my next entry, but I'll just say it was a good day in NO. And it didn't hurt that we found out (much after the fact) that the Day at Sea that we were missing was cold and rough with 15 ft. waves and lots of seasickness.

My brother sent me a survey, so I'm inflicting yet another one on you!

1. What time did you get up today? 4:45 am (this was Tuesday)

2. If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be? Martha, since she's abandoned me and gone to Mexico for 8 months.

3. Gold or silver? Silver, of course!

4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Shrek2 (unless you count Mr. 3000 on the cruise ship last week – it was in a theatre.

5. What is/are your favorite TV show(s)? M*A*S*H, Sports Night, MacGyver, The Pretender, Highlander: The Series

6. Who would you hate to be stuck in a room with? I shall plead the 5th.

7. Who inspires you? Clarity

8. What is your middle name? Marie

9. Favorite ice cream? Crème de Novi and Mother Lode

10. Butter or Plain popcorn? Real Butter, not that butter semi-flavored grease you get at the movie theatre.

11. Favorite color? Black

12. Favorite sandwich? PB & Lettuce

13. What characteristics do you despise? Passive aggressiveness

14. Favorite flower? Gerbera Daisies

15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation where would you go? Sweden, Spain, Egypt, Peru, Mexico

16. What color is your bathroom? White

17. Where would you like to retire? Somewhere warm

18. Favorite day of the week? Friday (although when Martha isn't in Mexico, I really like Thursdays).

19. What did you do for your last birthday? Had a birthday party thrown by friends, went to Chicago to see Super Diamond, went to the bar with a bunch of friends (I believe in celebrating for at least a week).

20. Where were you born? Livonia, MI

21. Favorite sport to watch? Champ Car and hockey

24. What fabric detergent do you use? All Free

25. Coke or Pepsi? Vernor's

26. Morning person or Night Owl? Day Person

27. Who sent this to you? Michael, my favorite little brother

28. What are you reading? Justine by Lawrence Durrell and The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer

29. Favorite movie? Sliding Doors, Ever After, most anything by Alfred Hitchcock

30. George Clooney or Brad Pitt? George Clooney is definitely hotter! And as far as I know has never hooked up with Angelina Jolie which is a non-starter in my book!

31. Favorite Food? Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Veggie Mushroom 'n Swiss burger from Red Robin. Ethnic wise: Mexican, Indian, Sushi.

32. Favorite clothing store? Chico's and Mervyn's

33. Favorite adult beverage? Guinness

34. Favorite art to buy: Stuff with an ancient history trend to them, i.e., Egyptian and/or Pre-Columbian.


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