I actually woke up at 4:30 when the alarm went off. That's about the last thing that went right for about 14 hours. It took me an hour to get my stuff together and get on the road, and then I was coughing so hard that I had to stop at a convenience store to spend way too much on a bunch of single-dose sinus medicine packages. Still didn't help much, but at least I didn't feel like I was hacking up my respiratory and skeletal systems. I got to the airport around 6:30, then put the parking stub in my wallet, got my suitcase out of the trunk, and realized that my wallet was missing. It took me about 15 minutes to find where it had fallen under the seat. Then I had to wait for the stupid airport shuttle to show up, and I got to the counter barely in time to check in. I think they'd just closed the terminals and reopened them for me. Just then, a woman showed up wanting to board the same plane, and they turned her away. I was THAT CLOSE. Note to those who hate waiting in airports: nothing gets you past the interminable line at security like "My flight's about to leave, do you mind if I get ahead of you?" I ran off without taking my laptop with me, but I remembered at about the same time as the people behind me started calling me back. Then, despite the urgency of the situation, I still had to wait ten minutes before they even started loading the first class passengers. And half an hour after that, people were still standing in the aisle and somehow completely failing to stow their baggage and find their seats. The flight attendants had to use the PA to ask them to freaking sit down already. It was that moronic. By the time we finally got to Phoenix, I had about 25 minutes to make my connection... from the far end of the A terminal (fortunately, it has two ends) to about halfway down the B terminal. That was quite a run on my already aching legs (stupid seats), but I made it, got my seat assignment, and sat down to wait for another delayed flight. I was making a lot of progress in my GBA games. Then the gate showed a different flight, and I was worried that I'd missed the boarding process completely, somehow. Actually, the flight was canceled. The good news is that I was near the front of the line when it formed at the next gate while the airline searched for alternate flights for everyone. (I won't mention America West by name.) I got a seat on a flight through Las Vegas three hours later, with a two hour layover, so I sat down to find something to do in the meantime. They also told me that they couldn't reroute my suitcase because I didn't have a baggage claim number. I changed my rental car reservation, contacted Andrew to let him know about the change, then talked to Mom until the airline announced something about "Makatinez, party of two, flight to Cabo San Lucas." Obviously not me, but then, everything sounds like your name when it's as mispronounced as mine is. So I spent the next hour or so waiting in a line to ask where to go to see if I'd been paged. I hadn't been, as I began to suspect when they failed to repeat that message ten times as they did every other message. So I bought myself a pretzel and waited for the flight to Vegas. The airport at Vegas was pretty cool... there was construction around the men's room, but the waiting area was full of slot machines. Then it was just a short flight to San Diego (by the time they served drinks to my row, the captain was already asking them to collect the empty cups for landing), and I went to look for the baggage claim office. And there, on the next conveyor belt over, was my suitcase. Finally, things were beginning to turn around! Getting my rental car was pretty smooth, and I got upgraded to a Hyundai Sonata somehow. And then I had to drive on California roads. The less said about those, the better, I think. I got to the hotel, checked in, got my government per diem rate approved, and made plans to meet Andrew at breakfast and follow him to the base tomorrow. Still have to arrange the modalities for San Diego Comic-Con, but I'll get to that tomorrow. I also never got around to eating a meal... I had a breakfast sandwich and a pretzel with cheese sauce. Good thing breakfast is a buffet.
And even though it's two hours earlier here than it feels like, it feels like the time that it actually is here, which worries me. I'm going to shower and get to bed and probably wake up, very tired, long before the alarm goes off. That's why I brought books.
Oh... the Lemony Snicket series is highly recommended. I love the sarcasm and humor. Ditto the Slayers novels - it's the same story as the anime, more or less, but the prose captures a new side of Lina's personality... her comedy is not as unintentional as it appears. And as the news shows the storms going through the lower Midwest, I'm glad I got out of there when I did. The turbulence on all those flights was worth it.