Saturday, December 17, 2005

Worst trip ever

I sit here in my hotel in Israel wearing the same clothes I wore on the 15th when I left Minneapolis and the hope I will see my luggage tomorrow so that I might actually wear a different set of clothes. I found out on Tuesday that I needed to go to Israel to attend some training. I told them that it would be fine as long as I get back on the 22nd to drive down to Texas for the holidays. So, I booked a flight for the 15th at 10:50 AM to fly to Newark and then take the 3:50 PM flight to Israel.

What I didn't count on was the lady on the plane that had the panic attack. When I checked into the flight I saw that they had seated me in first class, which was a great surprise. It turned out that it was even better than I thought because had I not been moved, I would have been sitting right next to the lady who had the panic attack. I am sure she is nice and all, but why get on a plane without being heavily sedated if you know you have a fear of flying? At any rate, we pushed away from the gate and that is when I heard an odd sound coming from behind me on the plane. A stewardess rushed up to the overhead bin above my seat and was saying something about getting oxygen. I moved over to the empty seat next to me so that she could stand on the seat to get the oxygen out. I then heard the sound again and realized the sound was someone vomiting. Great. Luckily, the motion sickness medicine I take keeps me fairly out of it, so it didn't bother me too much. But, we had to pull back up to the gate, have the paramedics come in and check her out and then cart her off. Then the cleaning crew had to come steam clean the carpet. Needless to say, we were very late leaving the gate. I only had an hour between my arrival and my departure anyway, so I started thinking that with a 3 hour flight as indicated by the booking, there was no way in hell I was going to get there on time. The pilot said the flight would take a little over 2 hours, so I then had some hope. The hopes were dashed, though, when it took a very long time to de-ice the plane.

So, I got to Newark with about 5 minutes to go before my flight to Israel. However, I was in Concourse B and the flight leaving was in Concourse C, which means you have to take a little train. Also, you have to go through security again when you go from one concourse to another. So, by the time I got to the gate, the plane was gone. The flight at 10:50 PM was oversold, but I was put on standby just in case some people might not show. The flights to Israel are always very full, so I really had little hope. So, I killed about 7 hours at the airport, which isn't very fun. They called my name after all the passengers had boarded the flight and gave me a boarding pass. Right then, though, a passenger from a late connecting flight walked up and they asked me to give the pass back to give to him. I waited a little more and they called my name again. However, another passenger from a connecting flight walked up and they told me nevermind. I was wishing they had held my earlier plane like they seemed to be holding this one. Then, they officially closed the flight and I had to wait in a very long line to try to get on a flight the next day.

The bad news I got at the counter was that the first flight I could get on was Saturday and that I could come Friday and sit and do the standby thing for the two flights there. I got that set up and then I went to baggage to try to get my luggage. The lady there informed me that the baggage office was closed and that I couldn't get my bags. I then went to the Northwest counter to try to get them to get me a hotel. They called a bunch of places they partner with and all the hotels said they were full. They told me that if I found a hotel, I could call a number to be reimbursed for that stay. So, I called my travel agent who found a hotel and I got into the room at about 2 AM that morning. The travel agent said to call her the mext day so that she could see if she could get me on a flight.

Luckily, it was something she could do. She found some seats they had set aside and she made me a reservation. However, I didn't officially have a seat and the tickets were first come, first served. So, I rushed to the airport and luckily got a seat. I figured it would be smooth sailing from there, but it was not. We got on the plane, but they lost the auxiliary power to the plane, which is something they use to start the engine. So, they kept trying to find another power source to get it started and could not. It took about 2 hours before they finally got started and we were on our way. I got into Israel at about 11 AM Israeli time. Just to add a little fun to my traveling, they decided not to put my bags on the flight. Great. So, I go to the counter and they tell me they are still in Newark.

Now, keep in mind, I have been wearing the same clothes since the 15th and today is the 17th. I haven't put on any new deoderant since the 15th. I did get a chance to brush my teeth the morning of the 16th. They say that the bags probably won't be here until tomorrow. However, as I was typing this up, the bellhop just came to my door with the luggage, so they must have put them on the later flight. Finally, some good news.

Unfortunately, with all my travel problems, I didn't get in on time to make my trip to Massada today. Tomorrow I will go into the office (their work week starts on Sunday). Hopefully, my return trip starting Tuesday night doesn't hold any surprises. I get in at about 9:30 AM in Minneapolis on Wednesday morning and we will go home, let me drop off my clothes and then get in the car to head down to Texas. That assumes all goes well.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Reindeer Run

It snowed, oh boy did it. We took off at 9:30 am and the snow just kept falling. It was really hard to run, surprisingly hard. On the ground it was slush which made the road slippery. No traction what so ever. I couldn't get the lift off, or push off that I needed and it frustrated the heck out of me. So every step was light and cautious. Going downhill was downright scary and uphill was of course, grueling.

The people factor was something I hadn't considered. I didn't like being passed up over and over and over again. Obviously we all run at different paces and it was to be expected since Carrie and I were close to the front when we started. But man, it got to be irritating. There were so many people that we opted to move over off of the street and onto the less plowed trail, just to escape the crowd. Many people brought a dog to run with which is cool in theory but not so cool in reality. Poor doggies must've been stepped on a lot and they must have been so confused. There were too many people and much too much snow for it to work. I would like to take Maggie there in the Springtime, just the two of us sans Race. I wonder how she'll do.

I was tempted to stop running and walk several times but I didn't do it. I really struggled during the last mile. The air was so cold that my lungs still ache. But I kept going and I'm proud of myself. I would like to do a few more 5K's before I move on to a 10K. I want to do a better time. Carrie slowed down for me and we finished together at 41:25. I can do a 5K at the gym in 35 minutes so that was a slow 5K but the terrain was hellish and the crowds made it hard to get a good time. In fact, we finished amongst many, many other people. Jason ran an amazing 24:00 minutes. He said there weren't many people finishing with him. He agreed that it was extremely difficult to run in the snow. Especially as it was falling. You can't tell by his time though. He really kicked ass!

Next time, we'll wait until the temperture is above 20 degrees and when it isn't snowing. But it was a lot of fun. There were many people in costume and you could hear lots of jingling bells and folks were singing Christmas songs. It was cool. What is even cooler is the fact that I did it. I ran.