The first to return Harry Potter

This was amusing to me so I thought I should blog about it. For the Barnes and Noble store in Pembroke Pines, I am the first person to return their Harry Potter book or so the salesperson says. I bought one earlier today because the ones that my wife ordered hadn't come in yet. Well to our great surprise they did come in today so I returned the one I bought. They didn't question it but if they had I'd have to point out that its quite difficult for any normal person to read the whole book (which is over 700 pages) in only 5 hours. I'll probably read it later tonight or something after watching my Saturday evening TV of course.

More travel woe’s

I would have to say that work-wise this was the worst travel experience yet. Since I fly around the country for a living I’m sure I’ll have even more stories to tell in the coming years which should entertain people if they bother to read the ole blog.

Anyway, I was all set to leave from the little regional airport in Michigan like I always do, turned my craptacular car in (Subaru Forrester) and then noticed that the security area was closed off. I looked at the screens and they said everything was on time. I went over to the ticket counter (the airport is so small its less than 100 feet away) and inquired what was going on. The ticket dude (who pulled like triple duty as the ticket agent, the gate attendant, and doing stuff on the tarmac) said that the flight from Detroit had been delayed and they expected a 7:30PM take off.

OK, no sweat, 7:30 will still give me half an hour to get to my other gate in Detroit so I can catch my ride home. 7:30 arrives and the plane just arrived and started to get people off. OK I think I can still deal with that, it’ll be really tight but I think I can still make it to my gate in time. The flight of course is quite un-eventful until we actually land. Due to some snafu or whatever you want to call it, the gate that my plane was supposed to use was occupied. Sounds like a simple problem right? Put the plane in a free gate. The pilot comes on and says that Detroit is experiencing heavy traffic in Michigan and there are more planes coming in than taking off to avoid some sort of storm. Pah! Like I care, just park the stupid plane so I can get on my way!

Here’s the kicker, 45 minutes later I’m still on the same plane, still parked on the tarmac and no closer to the terminal. I saw a couple planes park next to mine and then leave to go to gates but for some funny reason mine was still sitting there eating jet fuel and pissing everyone off. At this point I’ve checked with the airline and lo and behold my flight left without me. Luckily I work for one of those ultra huge companies that have their own travel agents so I call them up and ask them if there are any flights out to Ft. Lauderdale that night. Because of my incredibly good fortune so far, there are no other flights out and most of the flights for tomorrow are booked solid. Since I had this funny feeling that I was already re-booked on another flight, I told the travel agent I would call back if I needed further assistance.

After finally getting off the plane, I just saw a sea of people in terminal C which is the smaller terminal in Detroit, terminal A was my destination and I decided to head to my gate to see what the deal was. Being impatient, I decided to skip my gate and go to any gate to see what could be done. The kind gate agent at A74 (this is ALL the way at the other end of the airport from terminal C) just printed out my boarding pass for this morning and said I’d be on the 7:11am flight. I asked her what about hotel accommodations since it was mechanical/maintenance failure at the gate and not the weather. She told me to go to Gate 41/43 and wait in line to see if I can get a voucher for a hotel. I decided to take the nice train that they have in terminal A to Gate 41/43 and the line was HUGE! Obviously I’m not the only schmuck stranded in Detroit because the gates were all fouled up and there was no where to park the jets. I took a look at the line and calculated how long it would take me to get to the front and after coming up with about an hour or so to two hours, I determined that all the hotel rooms will be gone by then. I decided to phone my boss who said to go ahead and book a room and charge it in, just not to go to some $300 a night place since I’m waking up at 5am anyway. Ahh gotta love the travel agent! I call them up and get a spot at the Crowne Plaza right by the airport.

I decide to go down to the waiting area for the shuttle and see another sea of people calling up hotels trying to get a place to stay. Luckily I have my confirmation number on my phone so I have nothing to worry about. The first thing I noticed is that the DoubleTree where I normally stay in Michigan is WAY nicer which is kind of sad considering I’m in Detroit. The second is that room service is way over priced. I paid $18 for five pieces of coconut shrimp and a Sierra Mist. If I wasn’t so hungry I wouldn’t have spent the money but as it is, it was 11PM and a man’s gotta eat. Alas I only have five hours to sleep but normally that should be enough. But the tale doesn’t end there……………

Ahh this morning! I get up, stretch and get ready to head out. There are bunch of people heading out at the wee hours of the morning as well but thats not surprising considering the large amount of people stranded. I decided to take the 5:30 shuttle to the airport so I could get there early and also because I have no idea what the wait times are like in Detroit for security. Surprisingly I breeze through security and head for my gate which is all the way at the end. (A55). So far things are going pretty good. I’m a bit hungry but no matter, I’ll be home at 10AM right? WRONG!! As we’re on the plane and after we push off to actually get under way, the pilot comes on the PA system and says that they’re having some technical difficulties starting up the right engine but its nothing to worry about, they’ll just pull in and have the maintenance guys start it up from the engine compartment instead of the cockpit. Hmmm that doesn’t sound like just a little problem, what if the stupid engine cuts out while we’re in flight? I’m not too confident that the Airbus A320 can stay up in the air with just one engine. As luck would have it yet again, they tell us the plane is busted after about 15 minutes and we’re forced to de-plane. Yay delayed again!! The flight attendant tells us to go into the terminal and to a new gate so we can grab the next plane that comes in. Hmm doesn’t sound too bad except the next plane doesn’t come in till around 8:30! They also have to taxi, get to the gate, de-plane, clean, inspect, re-fuel, and re-board everyone. Estimated departure time: 9:30AM.

At this point I’m starving so I decide to use up some more cash and get some breakfast which wasn’t all that bad. Kind of like the BK breakfast sandwich that I like. After wolfing that down its about time to board and take off. The rest of the flight is quite uneventful except that I was sleeping when they were handing out drinks and snacks. So now I’m at home working from my home office writing up my blog. This has to be one of the longest entries ever but I felt I couldn’t leave out details, this was one trip to remember!

A strange freebie at the ball park

Tonight I went to the Class A Great Lakes Loon’s game near my client site. The game was pretty good and the stadium was awesome. The stadium itself was brand new and the teams weren’t that bad although I’ve seen better in Class A (Tampa Yankees) but at least the home team homered twice. I didn’t stay until the end of the game though but thats alright, the tickets were nice and cheap and I’ll probably go to another game. The only thing that was really weird was the gate gift at the end of the game. And the gate gift was………………………… a loaf of bread……………….. yes thats right I now am the proud owner of a loaf of bread. Since I haven’t received my Diamond Status with Hilton yet I don’t get my free breakfast at the Double Tree so this will do until I finally hit it.

All I need now is some free butter and I’ll be all set!

Ahh Tea!

Yesterday I bought some tea from Teavana and I have to say that its really good stuff. I bought two different types, one is called the Rooibos Tropica and the other is the Rooibos Key Lime. They’re mixed with some other teas to get a pretty good taste and I’ll probably buy more when I run out. I also bought their perfect tea maker so I can always get a great cup of tea. I know its pretty cheesy but I thought why not, I bought my dad one and he loves it. Maybe I’ll get some crumpets to go with my tea……..

The last of my 20’s

This month I’m going to be turning 29. Seems a bit depressing considering I can only call myself a 20 something for another 365 days or so. Next year I hit the dreaded 30! I’m thinking of getting lasik so I don’t need my glasses anymore, I think that would be a really cool gift to myself, the gift of sight with no glasses. Then I can start buying cheap sunglasses like everyone else. I’d do the contact thing but it just didn’t feel right when I tried them.

The other option is to get a car or something to soothe myself for turning 30. Although thats a bit on the expensive side and the thing will do nothing but sit in the FLL garage most of the week or the garage here at my house.

Only 19 days to go, the Amazon Wishlist is updated though 🙂 Just look for stuff with the highest priority, thats what I want for my 29th B-day.

The Soaring Eagle Casino

This past week I went to the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant MI. It was quite the interesting experience. it felt like a much smaller version of Foxwoods. I didn’t play that much while I was there, just a slot machine and at least i was able to come out $2.00 ahead.

The real reason that I went was for the buffet that was there. it was prime rib night for only $20.00 so of course me and some of the people that I work with went. that right there is an unbeatable deal. I stayed a little while longer after dinner to watch some of my co-workers play things like black jack or roulette. Maybe one day when I have some extra money to burn I’ll go ahead and try one of those games out.

Only one thing bothered me about the slots at that casino, they didn’t take coins. I had a whole stack of coins in my pocket but I couldn’t even use them since the machines only took dollar bills. I guess that’s the direction gambling is going in. I’ll admit it certainly makes things easier for the casino because they don’t need to lug around heavy sacks of coins everywhere when they empty or refill the machines. Maybe I’ll go back to the casino later on since it was a pretty good time.