Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Texas Flood

In case you’re unaware… The weather in Texas is WACOE! As I arrived in Austin on the first week of March with ALL Flights into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) being CANCELLED due to an amazing accumulation of seven inches of SNOW! But NO, it weren’t over yet, as my flight to DFW would also be cancelled two weeks later due to Tornadoes/Thunder & Lightning storms. SHEISA!

When I arrived on March 6th at 10:30PM (Central time) it was a chilly 35 degrees f, yet by Friday (3/14) it was 94f, which broke a 44yr old record. The following day (when we were supposed to be in Washington DC) it had cooled all the way down to 86f while we were busy traversing the streets of Downtown Austin.

Yet by Tuesday, March 18th, the temperature had plummeted back down to 42f as there was a monstrous Thunder “N Lightning storm with heavy rainfall… As I kept waiting for the lightning to strike the house, as this was the same storm cell causing havoc at DFW!
(And that’s ALL of the weather report for now!) )

Howdy Y’all,
Hope you didn’t think I was finished with the blow by blow report of my most interesting TEX-ARSE Road Trip… But my adventures of trying to get home weren’t over by a long shot and thus, here’s the skinny on the comedy of my attempt to return home early from Austin, Texas…
Originally I was scheduled to return to Seattle on Thursday evening with Mary Ellen, but after she’d been invited to go to the Palenque ruins in Mexico and visit the Pyramids with friends, I decided to revise my return flight home to Tuesday, March 18th, upon paying the requisite $100.00 fee to do so,

Well! At least I thought so…

Having badgered Clyde to make sure he got me to the airport on time for my Tuesday departure, we had a leisurely lunch of Catfish ‘N Chips prior to departing for the nearby airport, which I’d asked to be dumped off there by noon.

Deciding to park in the parking lot we drove past the entire length of the adjoining Check-in area and were bemused to discover that the parking lot was completely full with orange construction cones blocking the entrance… As Clyde muttered “Son ‘O a Bitch!” Hang on; I’m gonna back-up… Huh? Thus Clyde proceeded to reverse the entire length of the roadway against oncoming traffic in order to drop me off at the Check-in area… As we’d simply come to a complete halt, while Clyde waved surprised motorist past us… SHEISA!!! (That was fun)

Temporarily parking outside the American Airlines counter, Clyde took me inside to stand in a horrendous line for check-in… Telling me he’d be right back, after he parked the car. (Somewhere)

Having barely moved forward in line, as I stood there alone with white cane in hand an overly curt gate employee simply ignored me and when I finally reached the next Airline employee, she asked me: Are you traveling alone sir? ) Uh DUH!) Where are you traveling to sir? I’m sorry all flights to DFW are CANCELLED… But I CANNOT do anything to help you sir since I don’t have a confuzer… You can stand in line (awhile LONGER_ and see if the counter agents can help you reschedule your flight? Next, please.

Then Clyde arrived, telling me he’d just gone and moved all of the orange cones and been followed into the “Full” parking lot... Having told him what I’d learned, Clyde scampered off to investigate further, returning to tell me that ALL flights to DFW were indeed CANCELLED. And I found it highly amusing that they’d given Clyde a TINY (4 X 6) piece ‘O paper with American Airlines 1-800 Number to call and reschedule your flight on. (Which I’d overheard the man in front of me saying he’d been on hold for 25+ minutes) As I DON’T know what was worse; NOT Having been given one while standing in line or being expected to be able to read the TINY piece ‘O paper; but, I digress…

SHEISA! After standing in line for one hour with NO help from any American workers and Clyde finally returning after having been given the scrap ‘O paper just mentioned… I pulled out of line since Clyde needed to return to work for his afternoon school bus run,

Pulling up to the Parking lot’s check-out gate, the attendant informed us that we were two minutes over the )30/60 minutes) “FREE” Parking time and that’ll be $2.00 sir… To which Clyde tried explaining to the hapless attendant just HOW FUCKED The whole Parking lot fiasco was… I’m sorry sir, but that’ll still be $2.00…

To which Clyde refused to pay and simply drove forward into the barricade… HITTING it with his trusty ‘Ol Buick, which incredulously made the metal barrier rotate upwards as we sped away!

Later that evening after Clyde brought the cell phone home Nelie helped me call American to reschedule my flight to Wednesday, of which I should have known better, even having questioned the connecting flights time as the Agent had scheduled a very tight connecting flight for me in Las Angeles… (Do yuh smell another Rat here?)

Having woken up at 5:15AM to the sound of the next door neighbor’s crying baby girl… Nelie made me lunch while I had breakfast, before waking Clyde up to drive us to the airport.

Arriving at 6:05AM, Clyde simply dropped the two of us off (NO Parking lot shenanigans today!) and continued on his way to work… Yet, while checking in at American, I should have smelled a RAT as the American check-in desk jockey informed us she could NOT seem to print me a boarding pass for my Alaska flight and I’d need to check in with them in Los Angeles. (LAX)

Since there were very little Airport lines at “OH-DARK 30,” Nelie & I breezed thru security and arrived at my gate by 6:30AM for my 8:50AM departure.

Trying to listen to the final segment of the book on tape I’d previously picked-up at the library seemed almost futile over the din of the passengers, the endless boarding announcements, the monotonous leaving bags unattended security notices, overly loud “MUSE-AK” (Although it was good to hear Los Lonely Boys being played) and the uninspired airport cleaning crew worker Vacuuming, as the vacuum cleaners extension chord was dragged across my foot for several moments as she vacuumed all around me…

Then I overheard the woman behind me saying that our flight had been DELAYED to 9:40AM… Oh FUCK!!! (Here we go again, eh?) So, I decided to go to the check-in counter @ 9AM to find out what was going on since they had NOT made any announcements over the PA system. (Since everybody can SEE what’s going on…) Asking if I’d make my connection and that I didn’t have a boarding pass for my LAX flight. The flight agent tried vainly to remedy the situation. Although she was able to upgrade me to the front of the cabin in order to get a jump start on trying to get off of the airplane, she still couldn’t get the confUZer to cooperate and therefore I was still minus one boarding pass…

We left approximately at 9:40AM, almost one hour late and the pilot told us we’d be cruising at 30,000 feet in order to minimize headwinds while turning’ up the boost on the ‘Ol Super “Dooper” 80’s (MD-80) turbofan’s in order to see if we could make up some lost time as several people on board had tight connections… (Hello McFly!!! Why’d you schedule the connections so tightly, eh?)

Our three hour (cruise?) flight to LAX was fairly none descript as you know you’re on a really OLD aeroplane when it don’t have a single STINKIN’ video screen in the entire cabin… As the pilot’s voice announced triumphantly; Ah-Hah! Ladies & Gentlemen from the flight deck… We’ve made up eight minutes at the last navigation time check point and we’ll be landing at 10:45AM and arriving at our REMOTE parking spot by 10:50am.

Did I mention the remote parking stall? Apparently American’s Terminal 4 was under renovation and we’d have to park out in the boonie’s and catch a shuttle bus to the terminal to make our connections as things were currently under construction… (Are you getting the idea yet that I should have stayed in Austin until Thursday!)

Of course we were far from done with the frivolities of American’s PATHETIC attempt’s to get back on schedule from yesterday’s flight cancellations… As the pilot announced; “Folk’s it looks like our attempts to arrive early are for naught, as there’s currently another airplane parked in our stall…” So, we’ll have to sit on the tarmac until 11:05AM before they can find us a spot to park in. SHEISA! I ain’t gonna make my 11:26AM connection BASTARDOES…

Of course we trundled about the tarmac of LAX (Four lefts makes a circle…) for several minutes before finally reaching our “REMOTE” location. As the lady next to me said there goes Terminal 4, perhaps we could drop you off?

With the forward door opening at 11:20AM and the passengers being asked to let ALL of us POOR sods with connections to disembark first I gathered my belongings and made my way to the stairway where I was met by a very friendly and proficient ground personnel to assist me to my connection. She escorted me down the stairway onto the tarmac towards the waiting shuttle busses and asked me where I was going? (And I just hadda do it, eh?) Well, I’m supposed to be catching an Alaska flight@ 11:26AM… Oh you’re definitely NOT going to make that flight sir as we headed towards the first shuttle bus.

Before I’d gotten off of the OLD McDonald’s Aeroplane… You know the company that bOringZs had TAKEN over in 1997, OOPS! I mean it was a MERGER, NOT a takeover… HMM? That sound’s vaguely familiar to me, but I digress once again…

Thus, I’d completely relaxed over any attempts of making my connection and was NO longer in any hurry, thus I started laughing to myself when the shuttle bus driver came to a complete halt to let a Lear jet cross in front of us… Why aren’t you passed on the tarmac by Lear Jets everyday? We then continued our circuitous route around several parked aircraft before disembarking.

Next we stood inside a shelter with an airline agent to monitor passengers before hopping aboard shuttle bus number two and driving past more parked Aeroplanes… Then we got to board our third and final shuttle bus, complete with a driver trainee and trainer in the front seat.

My very friendly (Black) female ground worker named Keesha asked me if I did much traveling. Then she and the trainer Leroy started chit-chatting and she said we were coming from Terminal 8, but there ain’t NO Terminal 8! Leroy stated, since it says Terminal 7 on the outside… To which I commented to Keeshaa, didn’t we come from Terminal number nine; You know Number Nine? Number Nine, Number Nine?

Pulling up to Terminal number two I noticed that we had to back up in order to not run in to the parked jet aircraft and Leroy said to the bus driver trainee Latesha you’re doing a really good job and I’m gonna tell somebody… As we’d been driving past all sorts of different airlines parked out on the tarmac, before arriving at Terminal 3, where Latesha loudly called out my stop while Leroy said why are you calling that out? These people already know where we are… (Being the only two passengers on the bus)

Feeling like having some fun as we departed, I said because she’s trying to be nice to me… Which got a round of courtesy chuckles. At the front door I asked Latesha if she was stuck with him all day before thanking her… Then a quick jaunt on the tarmac to a flight of stairs to get inside the terminal since Keesha wasn’t allowed access to the elevator, before finally Arriving at the Alaska gates.

Can I help you sir? Yes, I was supposed to be on Alaska flight #501. That flight has already left sir. (I had to say it, you know!) Keesha guided me over to the Alaska courtesy desk where I explained my situation and the lady printed me a fresh boarding pass for my connecting flight to Seattle.

Of course my flight was leaving from a slightly different gate in regards to where I was sitting. Heading for the check-in desk the lady said; Come straight ahead sir, OOPS! Hang on a second there’s a giant post in your way. While trying to pre-board, I was asked to hang on a second as there’s a problem with your seat… The kind gentleman gate worker asked me how’s it going. I replied “Splendid!” To… which he said my day’s going pretty good too… Everyday I wake up is a good day!

Then I was assisted to my new seat on the aisle, one seat from my original locale, where I managed to take a cat nap before we started making our descent into Seattle over Olympia. We landed 25 minutes early and I was the very last off the plane in order to make sure I had assistance to baggage and the shuttle Express after I’d been asked if I wanted the flight attendant to help me off the plane or could I walk by myself?

I had another pleasant female assistant take me all the way to the Shuttle Express check-in desk where I received another surprise! As the fare had been jacked up another $8.00 (Thanks to our continuously RISING gasoline prices!; Butt DON’T Worry, I’ll refrain from my usual comments upon the total manipulation and collusion of the Oil $heisters until my next post)

Thus, exactly 12hrs after waking I was back in my exquisite apartment. Home sweet home, eh? And Tuh-Duh! I even managed to manipulate the VCR correctly as Y’all know how my ‘Ol School machine is stuck on the ORIGINAL Daylight Savings Time change… KNOTS (Back off Sir Maxxum!) the new “Juan, eh?” Thus I was able to catch all of the previous week’s action Down Under in Melbourne, as I finished watching all six hours of Australia “Just-in-Time” before the Malaysian GP on Easter Sunday… Aye Karumba! The life of a Wurldly Jet Setter, eh?

Special Thanks to Nelie for her wonderful Hospitality and Kudos to Mary Ellen…