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Life is not about getting to the destination, life is what happens to you on the way there. 

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I dunno if I will ever check a bag again.

I wrote the following post in an e-mail to a friend at work telling him about my nightmare of a trip yesterday. I left out the part where I was surprised in the bathroom by Margaret about 4 days early while I am far from home and TOTALLY unprepared (men just don't want to hear about that - especially from co-workers) so yeah, my day was worse than I described below. But - enjoy. it's funny to look back on but I sure do hope to never feel that kind of dangling panic and *lost-ness* ever again.

The scenario? A trip to a client's office to teach them about the software we produce. There is a very narrow window of time where I can be at the office. The plan: Fly out in the morning, spend the afternoon at the office, go to a hotel for the night, spend the morning at the office and fly home in the evening. What REALLY happened? Read on.


You know how my shoulder bugs me sometimes? Well, it's worse when I travel. I think it is related to lifting and tugging of baggage. Well this morning started out bad (still didn't ahve air conditioning at home and I had overslept slightly so i skipped breakfast) I figured I would spare myself the agony and check my suitcase, let someone else lift and tug it around and then pick it up at my destination, move onward to the client's office and teach a fantastic class. Easy peasy right? You couldnt be more wrong. The flights went well. I didn't hack a lung and scare anyone. There was no turbulence.... No crying babies (but a couple cute ones) We even landed early at Philly. I figured I would get something to eat after picking up my bag and then make my way to the office. It sounds good so far, but.......

I made it down to the baggage claim without much trouble but then I spent an hour watching bags on the merry-go-round. Round and round they go, where's my bag? Noone knows. Finally a Delta representative tells me that what I see is the end of the bags. There are no more.

My jaw just dropped. Dumbfounded I ask her "There aren't any more? Can you check?" She assured me that was the end of them. I got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach and I kind of lost it at that point. My maps are in that bag, I don't know where I am going. I don't have the client's phone number. I don't have my toothbrush. I DONT HAVE MY CLEAN UNDERWEAR - you never travel without clean underwear! She saw all this going through my ind and quickly moved to calm me down. I was ushered into a line so that I could file a lost bag claim. 30 minutes later I have been assured that my bag is not LOST, it is merely DELAYED and THEY DONT KNOW WHERE IT IS YET. Um, hello - that's lost?

I made some near hysterical phone calls - first to my husband who calmed me down and told me to just go to the clients office and then reminded me I could call work to get the phone number and name of who I am going to see. Um, yeah, forgot about that because MY BAG MAY HAVE BEEN STOLEN OR DELAYED INDEFINITELY AND I DONT HAVE CLEAN UNDERWEAR ANYMORE. I called the office slightly less hysterical and Marty helped me locate the client's phone number so I could call and explain why I was now two hours late and I hadn't even left the airport yet.

The client was not pleased. Matter of fact they may be inquiring about a refund for half the fee they paid because I will only be able to spend half the requested time with them. AAANYway..... We decided that I would just go to their office and do what I oculd inthe time remaining. I went outside to wait for the shuttle to the car rental place. Fortunately I remembered I had a rental reserved at Budget. The Budget shuttle was a long time coming. When I finally arrived, I discovered they would not take the only credit card I had with me (a debit/visa) so I had to walk "next door" to a rental place that could take my debit. I say "next door" because in theory it was next door like two football fields laid end to end can be said to be "next door" to eachother. The buildings were closer than that but I was not about to clamber over chain link in my dress clothes. I waited about an hour at the second place for them to locate a car for me. They had no airconditioning. There was no breeze. I had no maps so I made them give me a GPS device for the car to get me where I needed to go as I had addresses but no way of getting there. By this time - it was 5pm and I still hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch yet.

THANK GOD for that GPS device. With no maps on me and no idea how to get where I needed to go the GPS was a pleasure to have. A drop of security that was badly needed. We really ought to buy one of those and pack it into the laptop bag for trips that require car rental. REALLY - we should.

Rush hour in Philly is quite interesting. An amazing amount of people walk and Philly has real trolley car that run on cables and tracks in the road. They bob and sway like cartoon cars. The architechture is fantastic. I saw a lot of it while stuck in traffic. Did you know they still made corner street lights? I forgot that those existed and didn't notice a couple of them. Let's just say thank goodness I didn't kill anyone. I finally made it to the client's office at about 6:45pm and he promptly took me to the hotel and got me checked in. I recieved a phone call while I was parked at the client's office - they found my bag. Seems I would have clean underwear tonight after all. Of course they are going to deliver it, but it might arrive at midnight. Would that be okay? You know what - midnight sounds fine to me. Just get it here.

As I was checking into the hotel, I noticed a clown in the foyer. A real gosh darned live clown. It was the perfect topper to my day. If you ever played the game called The Sims, you might understand the reference. If you haven't, let me explain. In the Sims, you control a virtual human. When bad things happen to the human, they get sad. Too many bad things and the clown arrives to "cheer up" your Sim. Well, lots of bad things today and there was my clown. I have a photo to prove this - don't get any funny ideas. It's on my cell phone I will show it when I get back.

Right now I'm sitting in the hotel room, sweaty and stinky, waiting for my clean underwear, and finally eating the first meal since last night's dinner. What am I eating? A Philly Cheesesteak of course - and it's delicious. After a day like that - something had to go right.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Karry, enjoyed your phone call, but Roy was not listening to all of it so I printed off a copy so he can read it. (any way... think he did not hear all the gorey details). He thinks you are a very strong person and a person who knows what she wants... all good qualities. He says that you are very much like me. I don't know if you think that is good or not... but I do. Take care, love, MOM

9/10/2006 09:40:00 AM  

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