Thursday, November 02, 2006

Goats, clowns, and diverted flights, oh my!

This past Halloween, my friend Laura asked me to come out to Florida to visit her and her family. Her daughter Abby was old enough to go trick-or-treating this year, which meant candy for me, too. And we Youngs never turn down free food. I planned to leave Friday after work and stay until the day after Halloween.

My trip didn't start out well. After parking my car in off-site parking and getting on the shuttle, I realized on the way to the terminal that I had left my cell phone in my car. When I got to the terminal, I learned that my flight had been delayed for 45 minutes, so now I needed my cell to let Laura know I'd be late. On the plus side, I now had plenty of time to catch a shuttle back to my car and pick up my cell.

The flight finally took off an hour late. Naturally, there weren't direct flights to Tampa, so I had a quick stop in Dallas. And of course, the Dallas-to-Tampa flight was delayed as well. Another call was made to Laura.

Since the second leg was longer, I had to make a pit stop during the flight. I found a lavoratory that was marked Vacant and opened the door. Unfortunately, it was already occupied by a man sitting on the toilet. I'm not sure why he didn't lock the freaking door, but there he was. I apologized and started to close the door when I realized he was actually fully dressed. He was just trying to use his cell phone during the flight (which is a no-no), and he was trying to be sneaky and hide in the bathroom. Apparently, he was soooo important that he couldn't wait another hour to use his cell on the ground.

Laura was nice enough to be at the airport when I finally arrived at 2:00 AM Saturday morning. The rest of the night and most of the morning were spent sleeping. Saturday night we all went to a haunted house and out dancing. We ended up at a club that played 80's music, so I was in my element.

On Sunday, we went to a fall festival at Laura's church. Abby dressed in her clown costume (like JoJo from JoJo's Circus) and really enjoyed the pony rides. I got to make a new friend, shown below.

On Monday, Laura's work was moving to a new location. She works for the Deaf and Hearing Connection of Tampa, and they were moving the administrative offices to a new location. I didn't do any heavy lifting (I was on vacation), but I did drive the U-haul.

After Laura and I picked it up, I drove it to the old location so that it could be loaded. When I was in the parking lot, I stopped so that I could back it in. At that time, a car parked in a parking spot to my left decided to back out. He then proceeded to back into the driver-side door and dent it. Yes, I tried honking at him, but since he was deaf, it didn't really do much good.

When Laura was talking to him (via sign language), he told her that since the sun was in his eyes at the time and he couldn't see me, he decided it wasn't his fault. Apparently, the noon-time sun prevented him from seeing a big orange truck. The police had to be called so that a report could be filled out naming him as the one responsible for the accident.

Since that was so much fun, I didn't go to work with Laura on Tuesday. Instead, I spent the day in my PJ's sick. I felt better later that afternoon, and Abby and I got to play in the back yard.

That evening we took Abby trick-or-treating, mainly to all her relatives on her dad's side of the family. They were nice enough to offer me some candy, and I was nice enough to take it.

The next morning, I had my flight from Tampa to Dallas, and then from Dallas to Austin. During the flight to Dallas, the pilot announced that the weather was bad in Dallas and there was a "line" to land, so planes were having to circle around waiting for their turn. Since we didn't have enough fuel to circle that long, our flight was being diverted so that it could refuel and continue on to Dallas. As luck would have it, we were being diverted to Austin.

Since Austin was my final destination, they asked if I wanted to get off when we refueled or did I want to continue on to Dallas. I believe my response was, "Duh!" I had checked one bag, so I was going to have to come back to the airport later that night to pick up my bag, but that was a small price to pay for getting home a couple of hours early.

We didn't have a gate, so I actually got to de-plane down the rear steps. I tried to get them to let me slide down one of the emergency landing slides, but they didn't go for it.

Maybe next time.