That’s right (You’re not from Texas)
The names have not been changed to protect the innocent, the accounts are real and if I have learned one thing over the past week it’s that everything IS bigger in Texas. (Mostly the big black hole of travel mishaps!)
Last Sunday I flew to Dallas Texas for a work conference with Scott. Don’t know what the hell we were thinking but in some delusional moment we thought it would be a great idea to take the 6:00am flight out of Cincinnati to Dallas. We were wrong people, very very wrong.
I set my alarm for 3:00am, left my house at 4:15 rolled into the airport check-in just before 5:00am meeting up with Scott and heading to security which was on auto pilot it seemed. Didn’t have to take my belt or shoes off, didn’t even empty my pockets or do much of anything else other than manage to make it through the Star Trek looking whirly machine where you raise your hands up in the air like your back in high school at a Bon Jovi concert. Scott did have it a little harder than I did, they took a swab of his hands because apparently he screams “I could be a deviant” at 5:00am.
Our plane was little more than a sardine can with wings, and that is being generous. It was one of those jobs were you have one row with just a single seat then the other side of the plane has two seats but only one side has overhead storage compartments. You can not convince me that IKEA does not design these planes. I checked one suitcase and had my small sling bag as my carry on. (Please note my boot for my torn Achilles tendon was packed in my checked bag.) It was a good thing I checked the boot because aside from the fact that I was told not to wear it on the plane because it limited circulation, there was not one spare inch I could have given up. Poor Scott who was in front of me had my knees in his back most of the flight. We took off in beautiful weather and as the sun hit the horizon I was able to snap some amazing shots, relaxed (though most of my lower extremities were already numb) I was hopeful this was going to be a great flight. Bring on Dallas!
There are two kinds of pilots in the world. The ones that are like listening to a baseball broadcast, they tell you every detail of what is happening from start to finish, throw in a joke and a good bundt cake recipe to boot. Then you have the other kind of pilot, you don’t hear from them at all, not sure who or if anybody is really up there in control of anything. We had the later experience, and after our scheduled two hour flight was hitting the two hour thirty minuet mark and we were bouncing around like a little kid on santa’s knee with no word from the flight deck (isn’t that how they always identify themselves? This is Captain Fancypants from the Flight Deck…) I felt that dreaded black cloud of travel settle in.
We did manage to land without incident, we apparently flew around a storm system (mostly) and managed to land just before they called a ground halt at the DFW airport. Our colleagues on the flight after ours were diverted to Tyler Texas. Fun. As Scott and I de-boarded the plane we had one mission and mission only which started with a Star and ended with a bucks. We found one like a miracle as soon as we walked off of the jetway. Not thinking we stood in line behind about 10 people then we noticed there was one lady behind the counter taking one drink order at a time, then washing her hands, then walking over to make the drink and well…hell no. We kept moving, it would be dinnertime before we got our damn coffee. Luckily there was another Starbucks well staffed on our way to baggage claim. Ah, baggage claim which in Dallas is located on the lower level of the Mojave desert. Hot, gross and not a soul in sight, well except for the dozen or so people waiting for their bags to spit out on the silent and motionless conveyer belt…which looked like this. Every once in a while someone was having a brilliant laugh somewhere as the red light would flash and the conveyer would being moving and we would all wait and stare and we would stay frozen for five minuets waiting and nothing would happen, no bags would spit out….then it would stop. Heartless bastards.
And it would stay like this for two hours! That’s right we waited two hours for our bags to come out and finally we heard a poor man who was about to lose his mind say he was going to find someone and figure out what was going on. Like the stealthy beasts we are Scott and I were up and on our feet following quickly behind. (Okay I was limping and barely keeping up because my foot was already killing me.) We managed to get the low down, because of all the weather and ground stop they were not letting the crew go out to get the luggage. The man gave us a number to call and they would have the bags delivered to out hotel. Perfect. Not really, we called and it was a long drawn out process of questions and info and if they could have taken a DNA sample through the phone I think they would have done it. Finally we are headed to grab a cab that will take us to our hotel, the Gaylord Texan Resort. (and NO, I am not making that up) Scott being the gentleman he is gets in first and scoots over to the far side, I notice the window is down but to be honest didn’t really think much about it. I thought more about it when Scott got out of the cab and the whole left side of his ass was sopping wet. I tried to get a picture to post, but he shot me down, fair enough but I had to try.
We proceed to the lobby of the hotel, me limping and Scott a little bottom heavy on the left side to check in. Only one room is ready and it’s located on the far south end of Uzbekistan. Holy mother of God was this hotel big. You think I am kidding?
We walk the 27.2 miles (not really) to check in at the conference and headed to our sessions. Which were actually amazing, it’s a conference all about ticketing and customer service with arts organizations all over the world. Seriously that part of the trip was pretty terrific! Back to our story. We check in every hour or so because we have no luggage which means I have no boot (aka Beyonce) and I am walking all over the place and my heel hates me, like deep rooted hatred with each step I take. We hit our final session, no luggage, get Scott checked in and ask if they can change my room in Uzbekistan closer to the conference area of the hotel, which they very kindly did. No luggage. We eat dinner and network with peers. No luggage. It’s 10:30pm at this point, Scott goes to the bar by the front door to watch for our bags and I go to my room where I filled my trash can with ice and stick my cranky foot in hoping to stop the screaming of the Achilles.
At 11:40pm I get the call. The luggage had arrived.
I place it lovingly on the rack and unzip the sides open the top to discover everything is sopping wet, which seems to be a theme! I unpack it all and drape my clothes strategically around the room until it looks like a campsite. Who cares I have Beyonce back and clean underwear that is really all that mattered.
Now things were going along just fine for ONE whole day. Mostly because we only left the hotel to go to an event arranged by the conference which we were bussed downtown to visit the Meyerson Symphonic center and to have dinner. It was lovely. The next day was the only day of the conference that did not include dinner, so Scott and I, Julie and Teddy (all peeps from the Opera) decided to take a cab to dinner venturing west of downtown at a place we wanted to try. Seems easy enough, right? We go to the valet they send a cab right over and in no time we were on the highway headed to downtown and approximately seven minuets after that we blew a tire and ended up on the side of the road with smoldering tire permeating the vehicle and smoke wafting all around us. Really?Are you f&#$ing kidding me universe! In the end no one was hurt and it was only 104 outside, could have been much worse. (we could have been back at baggage claim!) Didn’t take very long at all till we were all pretty slap happy. (or high on fumes, take your pick)
They sent another cab for us with four working tires and we called the restaurant telling them our story of woe (I think they knew we were not lying cause they could hear the cars whizzing by us as I tried to speak) who responded very sweetly telling us “Be safe and when you get here we will take good care of you.” and they did. It was a much needed treat with great food and amazing company. If you are in Dallas check out the Stock and Barrel Kitchen Americana You won’t be disappointed!
The rest of the trip was pretty uneventful regarding mishaps, though Scott and I were both nervous about what might happen on the flight back, we thought about making sure the hotel had rooms available if needed but in the end it was a pretty easy flight back home where I had three very happy dogs who were glad to see me. I say it often, but it’s pretty rare you fine a co-worker and friend who you spend a lot of time with day after day and who is also an amazing travel partner. Scott is a very, very good egg, soggy behind and all!
In the end Lyle Lovett says it best…
“You just tell ’em you’re not from Texas
That’s right you’re not from Texas
But Texas wants you anyway.”
Back to our regularly scheduled blog posts very soon! 😉