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post #377
bio: rich

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that week

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The weekend that almost wasn't, but then was

The weekend that almost wasn't, but then was
Two Sundays ago I was speaking to my mom and she mentioned that my dad's birthday was coming up and my brother and his wife were coming up for the weekend to celebrate. That night, I decided that it would be really fun to fly down and not tell them we were coming - all surprise like.
So, I bought some fairly reasonable last minute tickets and we planned on flying out Friday night (3 days ago).

It's amazing we got there
This is how my Friday afternoon went. Our flight was supposed to leave at 7pm from Newark airport, which meant we had to take a car or bus or train out there. We decided on the bus and that Mrs. Robot and I would meet at Port Authority at 4:30 for the 4:45 bus.

4:10 - I leave work. Walk outside and somehow quickly get a cab.
4:15 - hmmm, traffic is bad
4:20 - Traffic is really bad
4:25 - The driver turns around and says, "Something happened on 8th Avenue - I think the street collapsed, but the traffic is really bad. You might want to just walk it."
4:26 - I get out on 42nd street right across from Bryant Park
4:30 - Madly walking
4:33 - Still walking
4:40 - Get to Port Authority. No Mrs. Robot. Buy a ticket assuming she's already at the bus area.
4:45 - Mrs. Robot shows up and we get to the bus area as the bus is pulling out. No big deal, we'll take the next one at 5:15.
Plenty of time.

5:00 - Look at all the pigeons INSIDE the building
5:10 - OK, the bus should be here soon.
5:15 - Hey, where's the bus?
5:20 - Exscuse me - but where's the friggin'bus?
5:25 - OK, if the bus doesn't show up soon, we are missing our flight. [This will be the first time we realize that there is a really good chance that we will miss the flight]
5:30 - The bus is in the building.
5:35 - The bus is finally there.
5:36 - We get on bus.
5:45 - Bus leaves but traffic on 8th Avenue is really badů due to Godzilla attack or something.
5:50 - Bus enters Lincoln tunnel
5:55 - Still going slowly through tunnel
5:57 - Boy I hate this tunnel

6:00 - Literally, I may get sick if I have to look at this tunnel anymore [thinking "there is no way we will make this flight"]
6:08 - Finally onto the Jersey turnpike.
6:20 - Arrive at airport. Stress level is really high (since the flight is for 7). We run up to the counter: "TheBusWasLateAnd OurFLightLeavesAtSeven AndWeNeedToGetOnThatPlane!!"
Counter lady: Sorry, flight's closed. [third time that I think, "no, really - we are not getting on the plane"]
We look sad and ask to make sure - she calls the gate and no one is answering the phone so they give us these gate pass things to get through security.
And tell us to run.
"No, really. Run."
6:25 - The line at security is literally a mile long. I run up to a guard and blurt my story and he lets us cut in line. I rudely just barged in, while Mrs. Robot politely explained to the people what we were doing.
6:26 - Through security, I take off running for the gate that happens to be (I looked at a map later) the farthest gate from the terminal entrance.
6:27 - Did I mention that I have cold? An hour or so before I had taken some sort of anti-histamine to help with the "cold + ear pressure" thing you get when flying with snot in your head.
You know how some of these drugs say you can get dry mouth? Well, take one, and then run through an airport like a smirky OJ Simpson.
My mouth was beyond dry. It was pretty amazingly dry.
6:30 - I get to the gate. It's desolate. [thinking "we really missed the flight"]
The woman says, "Oh, this flight's been changed to a different gate". Holy crap - I about lose it.
"But, no worries, the flight's been delayed 45 minutes"
6:40 - Mrs. Robot and I, both now out of breath and possibly about to have an asthma attack or heart attack or stroke or just vomit from the stress, arrive at our new gate - which, you will probably already assume, was on the opposite side of the terminal as the one we were just at.

The ticket lady, after making calls and punching computer keys, hands us a ticket. Flight leaves an hour late, but we are on it.
Stress vanishes.
Enjoyable flight.
At airport we go to the wrong car rental place and have a big laugh ("Avis? Where'd I get Avis from? We never use them").

The "was" part
Parents were surprised.
Here is the funny part: The following things happened on Saturday - things that if you had told me were going to happen, say 5 years ago, I'd think you were mad.
1. The whole family plays croquet in the front yard (which is plagued by little mole hills).

2. Mom wins the second game.

3. Before dinner, we sip Dom Perignon and nibble on shrimp. [note: no one is rolling in money, but you know, I got that work related thing with Dom so I get it for cheap]

4. While listening to Belle & Sebastian

5. Causing one of my parents to say, "They have beautiful voices" and "They remind me of Simon and Garfunkel".

6. My father has to be dragged off the computer after he found out that there are games on computers (he has barely ever touched a computer - ever).

Good times.

No Ear Aches
I have to give a product recommendation here.
Now, I mentioned that I had a cold Friday, and we were flying, which we all know is a really bad and uncomfortable combination. I bought these crazy earplugs that help reduce the pressure during take-off and landings - and they worked brilliantly.
If you are a snotty flyer, I totally give these things the robot seal of approval.

Here are some: EarPlanes

you had a better experience with EarPlanes than I did. I often get ear infections from pressure (swimming/planes) i used these from SF to NYC with a stop in Chicago. i moved it slightly when i was sleeping on a pillow and caused a rush of pressure to my ear, which then caused it to bleed .... there was no nurse in Chicago. I had called my doctor and went from the plan to the hospital in NYC and got a nice ear infection. I will never use earplugs for planes again.
»k ||  3/15/2004 ||  11:02:12 AM
flying gives me gas
»stinky ||  3/15/2004 ||  11:22:57 AM
hmm. these you only wear during take off and landing. they slowly allow the pressure to change, which I think is the key.

blood, eh? yuck.
»:r ||  3/15/2004 ||  12:12:23 PM
just reading this made me super stressed out--i feel your trauma!!
glad you got home to play croquet, a greatly under-rated sport.

»bunka ||  3/16/2004 ||  1:31:17 PM

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