Monday, December 29, 2008

CO

So, I have had all sorts of traveling delays, as you may or may not know. Here is my adventure from the latest delay. So due to a lot of unfortunate things, I ended up staying in a hotel on saturday night in Milwaukee so that I could fly out early sunday morning. There was probably going to be snow in the morning, but I was just going to go for it, and hope for the best.

So I'm hanging out in my hotel room. Getting caught up on sending emails. Watching some weird movies on the tv. Giving myself a haircut with my new scissors (not the sewing ones!). All sorts of highly important and entertaining things. I finally went to sleep, only to wake up at 1am with a horrible headache. Normally I don't get really horrible headaches, so I didn't know what to think of that. Also, I was feeling pretty horrible and did not even want to get up to rummage around for some ibuprofen. So I guess I was lying awake for over an hour. At some point in there I remembered this story I had just heard about a friend whose house had very high and very unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. So I got a little panicky and was sure I was going to die from CO poisoning in this hotel in Milwaukee. That was enough motivation to get me out of bed in order to open the window. I also got some ibuprofen. Two hours later I woke up, with my headache gone and my room absolutely freezing.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Still Matching My Poster

Okay so, let me just tell this tale of my never ending ability to completely suck at traveling.

This tale begins friday morning. I get up nice and early, and put on my nice shirt that I decided I would wear for my poster presentation. I made this decision long ago so that I could pick the appropriate colors for my poster, because it is a proven fact that if you clash with your poster people are less likely to want to talk to you.

I check out of my hotel, luggage in hand, and walk to the corner where the shuttle bus picks up. I have plenty of time and am pretty proud of myself for sticking with the plan thus far. I wait for the shuttle. No shuttle comes. I see fellow conference attendees with their poster tubes in hand just walking to the conference center. I was only about eight blocks away, but I just really didn't feel like wheeling luggage through the streets of San Francisco. Well eventually I hit the fifteen minute mark, and realized that if I was going to make it on foot I needed to start walking. So walk I did.

I made it to the conference center with enough time to check out the luggage checking booth. There was like a mini airport station set up where you could check your luggage for a fee of $10. I had heard a rumor also, that they didn't charge the airline fee of $15 to check a bag either. So pretty much, if this was true I was saving $5, and not having to deal with luggage all day. And guess what, it was true! This was nearly the highlight of my day.

The best part was that the line was not very long, so I had ten minutes to go over to the other building and hang my poster up and get ready for that to start. I had kind of planned on being at my poster between 8 and 9, and then taking a small break to get coffee and food, and then going back from 10 to 11. I ended up talking to various people, practically without any breaks, from 8 to 11:30, when I hastily departed for lunch.

I got back from lunch, took down my poster, and replaced it with one of my regular letter size versions that I had printed up for people to take if they wanted, which was probably the funniest thing I had done in awhile. I booked a ride on the SuperShuttle which was nice because they picked me up right outside the door of the poster session.

At the airport I soon learned the importance of checking your flight status before you leave. My flight was delayed 1.5 hours (the exact time of my layover in Minneapolis), because we were waiting on an aircraft to arrive from some place with horrible weather. When I arrived in MSP I ran clear across the airport to try to make an impossible connection. I had 4 minutes, and it took me 10 minutes. Even if I had made it in 4 I think I would have been too late. The two people at the gate were amazingly nice, even though I was amazingly angry. I was labelled a "distressed passenger" meaning that since the delay was technically weather related they could only give me a discount on a hotel, not a free hotel. They also gave me a voucher for a $13 dinner and a $5 breakfast. Thanks a heep.

So I called the number they gave me and booked a room at the Park Plaza, which was $60, because I really wasn't keen on being one of those people who were getting mats to sleep on from some closet in the airport. The Park Plaza also had a free shuttle service, so I called them up and the man said a shuttle was on its way. Well when I booked the room, the woman said it was a 9 minute shuttle ride. It was said with much confidence. I waited ten minutes, along with a bunch of others frantically trying to find the appropriate shuttle, when I hear this woman say, "Is anyone else going to the Park Plaza?" From there I managed to find myself agreeing to share a taxi with her and this other man, which would cost us $10 each. Fine. Apparently this woman's delays were not at all weather related, so she got a free hotel room. I was pretty jealous but also pretty tired. We are in line to check in and this woman says, "I could probably get a room with two double beds and then you won't have to pay for a room." I say, "really? That would be great!" And that is how I ended up sharing a room with Zina, the med student at McGill who is currently doing her residency and had a horrible time with their physics exam.

And let me tell you, it was pretty spectacular to wake up maybe three hours later to catch the shuttle back to the airport and still be wearing the clothes that match my poster.

I got to the airport and promptly spent my $18 of food vouchers. I had to buy an assortment of pastries, because apparently a bag of coffee beans doesn't qualify as 'food'. Whatever lady.

I finally got on a plane this morning, and I could start to see the end of this traveling ordeal. Until they decided the plane was broken, and we would be getting on a new plane. So we all get off this plane, walk ten gates to where a working plane is, and board the plane. again. Surprisingly enough it did take off. It even landed in Appleton, which was my destination of choice. And my luggage made it too. And over thirty hours later, I'm still matching my poster.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

looongest roaaad eeever!

Just kidding, longest day ever, that is a fact.

I got up early this morning after a late night of contra (love) and then packing. Let me tell you, packing simultaneously for Wisconsin weather and California weather is not an easy task. I did two suitcase upgrades before all of my stuff fit properly. By that point I had extra space and started reconsidering some of the things I had ruled out, but then I decided I should go to bed.

I slept on the bus to Boston, waited for my plane, slept on my plane, got to Minneapolis, got delayed two hours due to weather, finally got on (and slept on) the next plane, circled around waiting to land in San Francisco, landed, taxi to hotel, hotel.

Highlights:
I flew clear across the country today! That is over 3,000 miles my friend.
I think our plane got struck by lightening, which is a normal and perfectly safe thing since its a metal box and all, but it was still remarkable to see the flash and hear this boom (and hear a woman, faint of heart and mind, cry out in fright) at the same time!
I got on the ground and had a message from my dad saying the plane that crashed in Philadelphia was not him.
A man in the airport told me a taxi would cost $45 and he had a limo for $40 if I could wait a little bit for him to find one other person to share the ride. I denied this offer. I don't really know why. Probably to prove that he is a liar and a taxi only costs $37.
My hotel has a Bose speaker that I can listen to my ipod on.
My hotel also has fancy rosemary mint shampoo, and I just am so excited to take a shower in the morning.
There is a Kinko's directly across the street.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

back home

Friday we packed up a lot of our equipment, and I hit the road on saturday. The rocket integration is not completed, but my advisor is there overlooking things now so that I can have some time to do work at home.

On the ten hour drive back I listened to the same radio station the entire time. It was very good. It was a station that plays only music for hip kids. I called it my ten hours of musical education. I heard a few songs I recognized. I also heard a lot of songs that I have come to recognize and like in these past five weeks of being spoiled with xm radio. In an attempt to figure out what these songs were I was writing little snippets of the lyrics on the back of my maps. I haven't yet looked at it to see if I will be able to decipher the writing, but hopefully I'll get a few out of it.

Last night I got home, took a shower, and went to sleep. The saddest part about my return was that I forgot that the hot and cold directions of our shower knob were switched. In fact I'm still a little suspicious that it somehow got changed while I was gone, because I really just don't remember that. Then, I woke up this morning and didn't know where I was. That has only ever happened to me if I am staying in a hotel, and now it has happened in my own home, how sad. But aside from that, I am so so happy to be home.

Monday, December 1, 2008

final week (hopefully)

Today, December 1, marks the one month point for time spent in Virginia.

Last night, I was sitting in my paradise, watching gilmore girls and sewing, when, all of a sudden, a siren starts sounding. The siren was reminiscent of the tornado warning sirens we used to hear in Wisconsin. Tornado on Chincoteague? Not likely, but maybe it is a warning for some sort of other severe weather? Also, if it was a tornado I was pretty much out of luck, seeing as how the house is up on stilts and there is definitely not a basement. I checked weather.com and there was nothing to take note of, so I have no idea what was going on. For all I know it could have meant the wild ponies were running rampant on the island.