Monday, June 30, 2008

Feel the heat

This morning was the first morning that after arriving to work I thought “It is already hot out.” It was already over 90 degrees at 8am. Today was the 26th day of the daytime highs being above 100. Today was the third day in a row of temps going above 110 and we have a couple more days of these 110+ temps in store, but we will stay above 100 for the highs for quite a while. Also the humidity has been pretty high as well, it is currently 17%.

In other news, Dawn is currently in El Paso, TX and should arrive tomorrow. I am very excited.

Friday, June 27, 2008

She is driving the truck west

Yesterday Dawn closed on our house in Virginia and today started driving west. Since my mother-in-law took the girls to her house outside of Atlanta yesterday, it was just Dawn and the dog as they drove to Atlanta today.

I really wish I could have been there to have loaded the truck and to do my part of the driving. I can not thank my parents and Cindy enough for all they have done to make the move possible on the Virginia end.

Meanwhile, I am packing up my room and will put most of my stuff in storage tomorrow. I am going to have only the essentials I need for the next two or three weeks on hand as I stay with friends and await Dawn’s arrival.

I am hopeful that we will find a house that we both like very soon. It has been hard to find a house for many different reasons; however, when Dawn and I can do the search together I am willing to bet it will go faster and better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The journey back to Arizona

Warning: you will find a reference to OJ Simpson and derogatory remarks about Delta Airlines in this post.

On Sunday I was supposed to fly back to AZ. I had setup to get updates on my flights via TXT messages from and I get one saying that my flight is on time and good to go. I leave the neighborhood that I have lived in for the last nine years and also grew up in for the last time, or so I thought.

So we get to the airport and in broken and incomplete sentences, I am told that my flight 6:35pm has been canceled. When I ask what will be done, I am told that the 6:35pm flight is full. Now I am confused and trying to avoid getting angry. After much arguing, after all how can my flight be both canceled and full and if it is full - I have an assigned seat so why can I not get on it, I finally figure out what is going on. The Atlanta flight is full, my flight to New York is canceled, and both were supposed to leave at the same time. I have no idea why she was telling me about the Atlanta flight. But what was even funnier was that I kept asking “do I at least get a ‘sorry’?” and she would shake her head and tell me either the flight is full or canceled, depending on whatever was on her mind. Finally, she gives me a seat on a flight to Atlanta and then to Phoenix for Monday morning, and I never got my “sorry.”

I monitored my flights from home and discovered that it was such a mess at JFK that my flight from there to PHX was 2.5 hours late. I would have arrived at Sky Harbor after 2am.

So we try again Monday morning and the ticket agent was a much friendlier and happier person. Despited the fact that as I walked up she was informed that the flight to Atlanta after mine was canceled and that my flight’s plane was being downgraded. I find out later that my plane was supposed to be a 70-passenger jet, it is now a 50-passenger jet, so a bunch of “volunteers” were sought to skip the flight. I should have taken the $400 Delta Dollars and changed flights.

We land in Atlanta at least 30 minutes late and I had only a one-hour layover to start with. The stewardess asked who had less than 30 minutes to make a connecting flight and almost half of us raise our hands. She asked everyone to let us off the plane first. Eventually the plane pulls up to the concourse after what seemed and eternity and I make my dash off the plane. We are so far out that they have to shuttle us to the end of Concourse E and the shuttle would not leave until the everyone was off the plane. So much for the dash off the plane.

As we are on the shuttle, one of the guys makes an OJ Simpson reference. There was a Hertz Rent-A-Car commercial where he did his football moves running through an airport and jumping over bench seats. I was ready to replicate that run. So I dash off the shuttle and run up the stairs and discover that I am at gate E-36 and I need to get to B-34. I run down to the center of Concourse E and then run right by the tram since it is not there yet and I thought I could out run it. I get to Concourse D and I did beat the tram, but not enough to keep running so I wait for it and get on board. When the doors open when it gets to Concourse B, I dash out and up the escalator. I plow through the concourse and get to Gate B-34, no one is there. I can’t breathe. I see a gate attendant at B-36 and ask her to get me on that plane and oxygen. I tell her where I just ran from and she sends me to the main ticket counter back at the middle of the concourse. I decided to take a detour, I fall to the floor.

Yes, I did blackout for a few seconds. I had my water bottle in my hand and I barely got it open and started drinking it and trying to breathe. The idiot gate attendant does NOTHING. I hear someone behind me yell for medical help and an older gentleman with a cane and eye patch checks on me. I never see or hear the IDIOT DELTA GATE ATTENDANT. I get up and stumble to the ticket counter. I do remember on the way back apologizing to the cleaning lady who was mopping the floor in my running path for almost knocking her down.

I get to the ticket counter and I am still light headed and my legs are really not happy with me. The agents tell me that I am on standby for a flight later that night and have an assigned seat for a Tuesday morning flight. I tell them that is not good enough. They send me to the wall of phones saying that they might be able to get me on another airline. I sit on the floor while on hold letting them work their magic. I finally end up on a US Airways flight that leaves in an hour. So they do the paperwork I need and send me on to gate D-21. When I leave the counter, all of the folks who were on my flight had caught up to me and were trying to get their flights fixed - so at least my run got me ahead of them.

After standing in line for a while at the gate, I finally see the ticket agent only to find out that no one has communicated to him what is going on and he was afraid he just gave my seat away. Good news is that I still had a seat, bad news is that Delta did not give me the correct paperwork. At least there is a ticket counter a few gates down, so I stand in that line for a while and I am still a bit light headed. I get to the Delta counter and the supervisor tells the agent what to do, despite the fact the agent said she did something different last night. I go back to the US Airways counter and wait in line and guess what, I still do not have what I need. BTW, they are now boarding my flight. So I run back to ticket counter jumping a row of bench seats like OJ did in that commercial and I cut the entire line, before there was an attempt to kill me I turned around and said “they told me to come to the front of the line if there was a problem, and they messed up so here I am.” This time the Delta ticket agent did what her gut told her to do in the first place and walked it over to the US Airways counter. He checks everything off and I asked if I had time to go the restroom - I did.

So I get on the flight and I had a pleasant flight home. Except that US Airways no long gives out free pretzels and peanuts and I was not in the mood to buy a meal on the plane.

Here is the biggest surprise of all, my luggage made it with me. Even better, my roommate was down the road waiting for my call so he could pick me up.

I was very glad to be back in AZ.

As for the rest of the gang, it looks like Dawn will start driving this way on Friday. The girls will fly from their grandmother’s in Atlanta a few weeks later.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Back in Arizona

I am finally back in Arizona and I have many nasty things to say about Delta Airlines.

But I need to go to bed first.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

You are NOT cleared for takeoff

I should be writing this somewhere over the country, but New York’s JFK Airport was apparently backed up by severe weather. They pretty much cancelled all in-bound flights that had not taken off starting at 6:30pm, my flight was scheduled for 6:35pm. At least we were not sitting at the airport waiting for something to happen since they made this decision by 4pm. So I will try to fly west again Monday afternoon, this time via Atlanta.

On Thursday we took a trip to Sandbridge in the southern part of Virginia Beach. It was cold (high 70s) and windy for this time of year. The little trip to the oceanfront was a well deserved break after all of the packing and boxing we have been doing.

On Friday, we celebrated my birthday at the place where everyone can be a kid - Chuck E. Cheese. We finished cleaning out the attic and my work bench on Saturday and afterwards I took Dawn to a seafood restaurant called Catch 31 on the Virginia Beach resort strip (great restaurant).

My sinuses have been driving me crazy and I am sure all of the smoke from the fires in the Great Dismal Swamp that is still smoldering has not helped. I was looking forward to some sinus relief and had pretty much said my goodbyes to everyone and everything (at least all that were possible). So being turned away at the airport was a bit of an emotional strain, but at least I get one more night with my family here before everyone finally is together again in Arizona.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Touring Tidewater

Dawn and I spent the day visiting folks at ODU on Monday. We did not get around campus as much as planned, we were only able to stop by to see folks in Special Education and Distance Learning. I had a great time surprising folks with the thinner me. When we got back we found a nice little sticker on our “for sale” sign.

We spent a good part of Tuesday packing and then today I went to Jamestown with my mother and the girls. Dawn needed the time off to study for a final for her summer class, so I figured it was good day to let her have the house to herself. I had never been to the “settlement” side of Jamestown, I had always been to the US Park Service version that also contains a museum and archeological digs. It was a very nice experience and we were able to tour replicas of the fort, ships, riverfront and Powhatan’s village. They also have a real nice museum that has been updated to include all that they have learned over the last several years, including the not so good things as well. I have put a couple of pictures up the site.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lindsey’s Dance Recital

One of the reasons I picked this week to go back to VA was because it was also the weekend of Lindsey’s dance recital.

Lindsey has been dancing for nine years now and this was her last dance recital here. In addition, she had earned enough credits and passed the exam to be a Junior Graduate of the dance school. Before I moved out to AZ, we had been planning and hoping that I would be able to lose the weight to wear my kilt for her when I escorted her on stage to get her award. As you can tell from the picture, I achieved that goal.

I feel bad that I missed Alexia’s graduation from Barbizon School of Modeling back in May. However, I am looking forward to helping them pack and move to AZ so I will not have to miss things like I have the past four months.

Recovering from the fiesta

Despite the fact the temperature was 20 degrees cool than in AZ (upper 80s versus 106 in AZ), the weather was nasty. The humidity was about 68% and I could feel it. We ended up having the festivities indoors mainly because of the smoke that had inundated that area from the two wildfires south of us in North Carolina and the Great Dismal Swamp.

There were a lot of folks there that we have know from so many places over the years. We had a great time seeing everyone yesterday and wish we could have spent more time talking to everyone.

One of the highlights for me was seeing everyone’s shock at seeing my new look. For the record, I have lost just over 45 pounds since leaving for Arizona and I have taken six inches off my waist. I did this through eating better through portion control, eating right for my blood type, and a lot of exercise.

Another highlight for me was to finally be able to hold my niece. She is just over three months old and I have no idea when I will see her again.

I need to thank a lot of folks for making the fiesta happen. Dawn and the girls, Cindy and Sandi, Randy, and my parents.

Since my camera stayed in my pocket the entire time, I was unable to take pictures. I am hoping that folks can upload photos from the party to my Fiesta Photo Gallery.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cleared for takeoff

The suitcase is packed and I am heading to the Sky Harbor. Next stop Virginia. Well, actually it is JFK in New York and then Norfolk. But you get the point.

I am really looking forward to seeing Dawn and the girls, the rest of the family, and friends. If for some reason the spam filter and/or internet ate your invite to the party on Saturday, please email me and I will let you know the details. Things start at 3pm and I can give you directions.

We would like to see everyone, but there is a lot to do as well. I have to make up for lost time with Dawn and the girls and that comes first. I do plan on swinging through ODU on Monday. There are some things that I need to do around the house to get it ready for closing (yep, we have accepted an offer to sell it) and of course packing so that Dawn can drive west. So if you want to stop by and see us, the best time is Saturday, June 14 at 3pm.

Time to take off, see ya!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Another reason why I bike to work

I noticed that gas prices in the neighborhood went above $4 a gallon yesterday. The price has been going up so often that they do not even put the ladder away anymore. I am so glad I decided to commute by bike.

So far I have driven my car just over 1,000 miles since mid-February

Updated: June 6, 2008
The price for unleaded gas jumped to $4.15 less than 24 hours after this picture. A lot of gas stations near here are at $4.15 now.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Another reason why I like living our here...

I just stayed up to watch the end of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. The hockey game went into the third overtime, which means I would have been up to 1am if I was in VA. But out here, it is only 10pm.

Imagine that, sporting events that end at a reasonable time at night.

I am looking forward to Game 6 on Wednesday.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

New ASU Pictures

I have added some more pictures of the ASU campus.