“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

First things first.  The house (otherwise known as “Our further adventures in home non-buying”) has some tiny little issues:

  1. Much older than the claimed, or I am no judge of construction styles.
  2. Because of #1, in need of much updating – on top of which, previous owner was a smoker, so every stitch of carpet would need to be stripped out before I will put my son in the house.
  3. The previous owner had either died, was incarcerated, or was incapacitated. Because the house has been vacant a year and everything is exactly, EXACTLY, as he left it.  Pipe in the pipestand.  Bills on the desk.  Clothes in the closet.  Cans of food in the pantry.

That’s just a little creepy.

The lot was nice, though.

But not nice enough.

And now, the business trip from hell.  Otherwise entitled “How I made a series of assumptions that all proved faulty at one time and conspired to ruin my good nature.” 

Or, possibly “Why I should staple my cell phone to my hand.”

Assumption #1:

How much traffic can there really be on the highway at 5:30 am?

“Lots” is the unexpected answer.  Even worse,  lots of TRUCKS.  Big trucks.  Big trucks that do not like to move over when you have to get to the exit lane.

 Which led to my arrival at the airport only 40 minutes from my flight departure.  My arrival, that is, at long-term parking, which, in turn, led to my mad sprint to the check-in Kiosk to check my bag and pray that it made it on the same flight I was going on.

Assumption #2:

Just how many people can there really be in the security line for a 7am flight?

Much like my misassessment #1, the answer is “Many”.  Many being businessmen with laptops, lots of electronics and lace-on-shoes.  Net result?  By the time I got to the security gate, they were calling the boarding for my flight as I was divesting myself of shoes, coat, briefcase and phone. 

Or, well, everything except that last bit.  I stood there, barefoot and frantic, with my hand to my waist, trying to divest myself of a phone that had somehow already divested itself of me, somewhere between the car and the security gate. 

The businessman in front of me took pity on my desperate moans, and asked me if I needed to call someone, and I woke my husband up at ten minutes ’til 7am, on my way to the gate, to tell him he had to make the 45 minute drive to the airport to look, in the pouring rain, for my cell phone.  Oh, now that’s a sure fire way to guarantee future domestic felicity and warm marital feelings.  At least he wouldn’t miss me as much while I was gone.

Assumption #3:

I will call my husband from the Atlanta airport during my stop-over and check the status of the prodigal phone.

Has anyone reading this tried to find a working payphone lately?  And tried to make a call without a calling card?  Even in a major airport?  Let me stress this – DO NOT MAKE THIS MISTAKE.  Staple your cell phone to your hand if necessary.  The pay phone would not take my credit card number (who the hell actually carries change anymore?), even after entering it EXACTLY according to the directions voiced by the sultry mechanical operator on the line.  Which led to being transferred to a less-sultry-more-surly actual human being (the human touch being somewhat overrated in this particular instance). Which led to being charged the “Operator Assist Rates”.  Either I am a completely incompetent dialer, or this is a total scam.  Either way, I am a moron.  There was a $16 charge to my credit card for the thirty seconds necessary to ascertain that my mobile had gone the way of the dodo.

So, my first stop upon arrival in Knoxville was to take myself to a Cingular store, where my luck began to change.  The cute salesboy behind the counter was kind and helpful, and not in that smarmy sales-guy kind of way.  He was genuinely sympathetic, and told me yes, if I paid a modest upgrade in my data plan, that I could recieve the $100 rebate on the smartphone I previously owned and not have to pay full-price.  He was so nice I asked him if I could pay for the upgrade and use the $100 toward a better, slightly, more expensive smartphone.  He said yes.  It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. 

With the new phone.  What WERE you thinking?

But alas, this is was only fate conspiring to lead me down the primrose path.  When I arrived at my test site, I found my study was progressing in an unexpected way.  “Unexpected” in my profession rarely means anything positive.  And I wasn’t beating the odds this time.  After a few back and forth phone calls (which required me to stand in the pouring rain in the middle of a cow pasture in order to have a phone signal – did I mention I was in RURAL Tennessee?), the necessary adjustments (and increased budget) were approved, and I was on my way back to my hotel for dry clothes, food, coffee, and mindless TV.

Assumption #4:

When you reserve a month in advance, with a credit card, and are a frequent business patron of a hotel (inclusive of being a member of their “Priority Club”), you actually get the type of room you reserved.

Otherwise entitled “My delusions of my own self-importance are shattered.”

I always rent a single room, King-sized bed, with desk.  I work in my room.  Since rooms are generally uniform in size, if you squeeze two queen beds in them, there is no room for a desk chair at the desk, and you end up with two standard-issue uncomfortable hotel chairs situated at the ends of the desk, sandwiched between either the television or the wall.  All this to accomodate a completely over-adequate expanse of bedspace.  At 42, I am too damned old, creaky, and grumpy to work crosslegged on the bed with my laptop.    When I walked into my room, what did I see?  Two beds.  For one me.

So I took myself back down to the desk, and explained to a kid less than half my age that there had been a serious error on his part.  Which, after a quick glance at my face, and my reservation, he allowed that there had been.  But, there were no more King beds to be had.  That’s too bad, I said, because I would hate to take my business three exits closer to Knoxville from now on, and miss seeing his youthful face every three weeks.   Would I consider a handicapped room?  Did I have a choice, really?

So in exchange for workspace, I had to forgo my nice warm nightly bath in favor of a shower in  seated position due to the presence of a very large bench in my spartan shower stall.  Life is full of little challenges.

But the fun doesn’t stop there.

When I arrived at the Tyson Airport to check in for my return flight, the Attendant at the check-in desk waived me away from the Kiosk – “Atlanta or Cincinnati?” 

“Cincinnati.”

“One moment.” <tap, tap, tap…> “Ma’am, the connecting flight through Cincinnati is indefinitely delayed.  I don’t have an estimated departure time.”

I looked at him.  Balefully.

“One moment, ma’am.  I think I can reroute you through Altanta.” <tap, tap, tap…> “Yes, there you go, I’ll take your bag, and here are your boarding passes.”

“Which gate, and when?”

“Gate 5, departure in ten minutes.”

So, for the second time, in less than 48 hours, I boarded a plane out of breath and in stocking feet.  One of these days I will actually try flying with shoes on.

Assumption #5: 

Since I was rerouted to an earlier flight, I will actually get to see my son before he goes to sleep!

Did I mention that my flight from Atlanta to Little Rock was delayed?

Life just LOVES me.

April 16th, 2007 at 12:37 pm
6 Responses to “The summing up”
  1. 1
    Sarah Says:

    At least you got to go hit people this weekend, right? Surely that helped a wee bit…

  2. 2
    Kat Says:

    Superglue is imminently less painful than staples. If you keep it out of sensitive areas. That is to say, away from areas other than your hands.

  3. 3

    Oh my goodness. That sounds like the trip from hell. The good news is that it’s over!

  4. 4
    Sheila Says:

    I’m so glad you decided not to buy that house, it sounds like the beginnings of a really scary novel.

  5. 5
    Peregrine Says:

    Last trip I took, the planes got smaller every time I swapped ‘em out. From a regional jet, to a littler regional jet, to one I generously call a puddle jumper, to one that I had to bend over to walk into (and Moose would have had to walk on his knees), and that involved crossing tarmac to get to and from terminals because it was TOO SHORT TO REACH THE JETWAY!

    I hate flying.

  6. 6
    Gerbil Says:

    (said placidly)And THAT is exactly why I left any semblance of a job that would require me to travel EVEN ONCE during the year (most especially anything involving hosting a trade show which is a whole ‘nother circle of hell altogether) and am now a lowly secretary, overlooked by all but so much happier.