Monday, June 11, 2007

Getting to Kalamazoo

So I'm training in Kalamazoo this week - and yes, that's really a place. I thought the same thing when I got the training request. :) It's in Michigan, about halfway between Chicago and Detroit. My absolutely wonderful friend Colleen, Tammy and Holli live around the Detroit area and made plans to drive cross-state and meet me for dinner. I only had to get there.

Well, let me just tell you how I got there. First off, I took an 8:00 am flight out of Dallas, set to arrive in Chicago then change connections to Kalamazoo for an arrival at 12:30 pm EST. Plenty of time to hang out, talk, etc. So an 8:00 am flight out of Dallas, requires me being at the airport 7:00 ish and leaving my house 6:00 ish, so I was up at 5:30 - ugh. AA in their infinite wisdom, was allowing 35 minutes in between flights, so I knew everything had to go perfectly.

It didn't.

First off, in Dallas the GPS system on the plane wasn't working properly so they called in a mechanic to look at it. Mind you, they said to us that they didn't need it to fly, but we sat an additional 40 minutes for nothing anyway. Then we made up some time in the air, arrived in Chicago and my connecting flight was leaving in 10 minutes. So the gate agent tells me to run and I can still make it. Now, I am not exaggerating in the least on this one - I ran at least a mile - across O'Hare airport, pulling a carryon suitcase and a bag with laptop, etc on my shoulder. RAN - a MILE!!!!!!!???????

When I got to the gate, my flight was already gone and the gate agent says, we always close the door ten minutes prior and back those flights out. So technically speaking, by the time I'd deplaned on the original flight, my connecting had already left but they told me to RUN? My asthma kicked in like nobody's business and it took almost an hour before my breathing was somewhat normal. But hey, I had time, right? After all, the next flight wasn't until 1:45. So I spent 11:00 to 1:45 trying to breathe again then had lunch.

I boarded the connecting flight a bit late, and it was one of those tiny planes where you're all squeezed in their. It was a short hop, which would have been fine if we'd just hopped, but noooooooooo. We sat at the gate and waited and waited and finally the pilot told us that the ground crew had a shift change and we had to wait for the new people to get to work so that they could back up the plane. Hello!? You let people just leave shifts without people being there to replace them. How utterly stupid is that?

Then they send us to the farest runway at O'Hare, and since O'Hare is the size of Rhode Island, that's pretty far away. So I'm thinking, Thank God, we're finally going to leave and the pilot comes on and says "Well, now that air traffic control has sent us to the farest runway at the airport, they've decided to redirect all traffic and we have to go to the other end. So we traveled - 30 more minutes - to the other side of the airport before we could take off. So I pull out my cell phone and call my friends and tell them I could have walked to Kalamazoo faster. The attendent tells me I can't talk on my cell phone and I tell her that we're not moving anyway and quite frankly, not being able to talk on my cell phone is the situation I'm dying to be a part of.

I turn off phone and crank up the ipod. The people in front of me and behind me had screaming kids - waaaaayyyyyy too old to be acting that way in public and the woman behind me had an infant that had a stinky diaper when we got ON the plane. Hello!!!!?????? Just because you think your kid's poop doesn't stink doesn't make it so. Can we have a public hygiene moment - PLEASE?

So I finally arrived in Kalamazoo around 4:00 - a mere 4 hours after I should have. Then Mapquest sent me the wrong direction out of the airport and my five minute drive to my hotel became a scenic tour of Kalamazoo. 20 minutes later I finally arrived at the hotel ready to collapse.

But I made it to dinner with my friends - had a FABULOUS time - and a bottle of champagne! So all's well that ends well. The only bad part is I have to fly back out on Thursday - I'm scared.


Kimber An said...

Great book trailer, Jana! I'm really looking forward to UNLUCKY, which I think you've been extremely lucky with so far. Ironically enough.

Jaye Wells said...

Oh man. I don't know how you deal with all that traveling. My blood pressure was going up just reading this. For Hawaii I'd deal with the delays, but Kalamazoo?

Tori Lennox said...

Ye gods! I hate flying. I'm all for going back to the glory days of rail travel.

I've had to run to catch a connection. Thought I was going to have a heart attack. I made the connection, though. Barely. Not an experience I ever care to repeat. Not that I could right now anyway. *g*

Holli said...

Okay, it was crazy getting there, but wasn't it worth it?!!
Had an absolutely GREAT time seeing you again. Life doesn't get much better than sitting around with friends, talking life and writing, drinking champagne and sharing four sinful desserts...

Anonymous said...

We are sorry that you had such an uneventful trip.:)
Mom & Dad

Tammy said...

I for one, am SO glad you made it Jana - it was a GREAT evening

Jana DeLeon said...

Thanks, kimber!!! I can't wait for everyone to read UNLUCKY too!

Jaye - I have to admit, sometimes I run out of patience. Yesterday was definitely one of those days. But for the most part the traveling is all right. At least I have plenty of writing time. :)

tori - the running was definitely the worst. Not my usual fare. :)

Hi Mom - I see you finally posted a comment!!!

Holli and Tammy - It was a fabulous time!!!!! I am sooooooo going to miss you girls at RWA. Start saving for SanFran now!

Wendy Roberts said...

Jana, puleeeeese fly out my way and I'll make sure it's uneventful. I don't know how I'd make sure of that but I'd do it somehow LOL. I'm jealous of your dinner date.

Oh and there's a book trailer?! :0 Off to look...

Jana DeLeon said...

Wendy - we so rarely do Canada. No one wants to pay for the expense so we usually train the few clients we have there by webex. Are you close to the US anywhere driving distance wise???? I'll definitely put in a request for any trainings that come up in that area if that is the case.

I posted the book trailer a couple week's back on my blog. If I ever get the time and figure out how to do it, I need to make it a permanent post here and on my website. :)

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