The plan was for me to fly to Omaha and meet my coworkers for an event Thursday night there. Then Friday we would drive to Des Moines for our weekend event. Apparently United Airlines and Mother Nature did not approve of this plan. When I landed in Denver, I had a voicemail on my phone from the airline informing that my connecting flight into Omaha had been cancelled due to the massive amount of snow that fell overnight. Okay. Whatever. So I stood in line at the customer service counter for about half an hour. When it was finally my turn, the rather unpleasant lady there told me that I had been re-booked on a later flight. I wouldn't be arriving in Nebraska until evening at best. I would definitely be missing the event there, if they even still had it. At that point, I really had no good reason to go to Omaha. So I asked the lady if I could fly to Des Moines instead, since I was going there anyway. She got all excited saying how that would free up a seat on the already overbooked Omaha flight. Fantastic.
Then I mentioned my checked luggage. Her face immediately turned sour again as she said, "Well your luggage is going to Omaha." I asked her if she couldn't get it re-routed to Des Moines or something. Ms. Cranky Poopypants gave me this preposterous look and said, "Oh no. There's no way I can do that. You're going to Des Moines, but your luggage is going to Omaha." I reciprocated her preposterious look and replied with, "I don't think so." She got all huffy with me and proceeded to check me in to my later Omaha flight. Meanwhile, these people next to me were having the exact same conversation with another customer service person. Except their person was saying "Oh, no problem. I'll call down and have your luggage re-routed." So I stood there looking at them for a minute and then asked the mean lady again if she was sure she couldn't re-route my luggage. She shot lasers out of her eyes at me and said "I already told you, I can't send your luggage to Des Moines. Your luggage is going to Omaha." I bit my tongue instead of hers and just stood there giving her my best "WTF?" look while kinda motioning toward the lucky couple next to me.
She typed on her stupid keyboard for a few more minutes and then started to give me my boarding pass for the stupid Omaha flight. Just as she was handing it to me, she looked at her screen, stopped, and said "Actually, yeah, I'm going to send you to Des Moines." I gave her a skeptical look and said "What about my luggage that you insist on sending to Omaha?" She said, "Oh yeah, I can re-route that." I just said "Cool." I didn't want to say anything that would cause the crazy lady to change her mind about where my luggage and I were going. Then she got this urgent look on her face and started moving a little faster. She said "Okay, here's your boarding pass. Your flight is boarding right now and your gate is on the other side of the terminal, so you'd better start running over there." Not really thinking, I took off running like an idiot and got to the gate just as the last passengers were boarding. I got on the plane and as the flight attendant started her safety talk, I realized that I would probably not be seeing my luggage for awhile.
The uneventful flight landed in Des Moines on time. I went to the baggage claim area not so much to get my bag, but more to tell the guy to call me when it arrived. I was still pissed off at the crazy lady. If she hadn't dicked around with this Omaha business for 15 minutes before finally calling to have my bag re-routed, then I probably would have had my stuff. I took a cab to the hotel and checked into a room. Right about the time I was checking in, a nasty little storm blew in. I thought I had everything covered. I had my computer, I had work to do, I had books to read. I would just hang out in this room until the next day when my coworkers would arrive. But after about an hour, I realized that I was going to need to eat dinner. Normally that wouldn't be a difficult thing to do, but I had no car. The hotel didn't have a restaurant. The closest eating establishments were several blocks away and with the blizzard going on, walking that far was not an option. I managed to find a pizza place that would deliver despite the unfavorable weather conditions. I just had to resign to the fact that there was pretty much no way I was getting any beer to go with it. So I ate, hung around, and tried several times to get an updated status on my luggage with no success.
The other girls were supposed to drive in from Omaha on Friday morning. I was looking forward to a) having company and b) having transportation to the airport to pick up my luggage which had arrived. The airport wouldn't be able to deliver it until around 3pm, and that wasn't going to cut it. As usual, shit didn't happen like it was supposed to. Julie called me and said that the interstate between Omaha and Des Moines was shut down for the whole day. Bad news. Luckily, I was able to get ahold of the guy in town we were working with. He came and picked me up and took me to the airport to get my luggage. I was pretty happy to get to take a shower and put on clean clothes. We needed to start setting up for our event. Julie had left the trailer with all of our stuff in it in Des Moines, but she had the keys to it with her in Omaha. So we had the guys at the shop cut the locks. This ended up being completely unnecessary. The girls were apparently pretty determined to get the hell out of Omaha. They ended up finding a smaller highway that wasn't closed and took that to get to Des Moines. They made it to town safely and the rest of the day went pretty much as planned, surprisingly enough.
I wouldn't say the rest of the weekend was uneventful, but the stories worth telling would be best told in person. We did our stuff Saturday. A rather large and boisterous group of us went out Saturday night. Again, there are some good stories there, but I'll leave them out for now. We did go through some of these bad boys:
Tomorrow we'll drive back to Madison for what I'm sure will be an interesting two weeks or so. Before I go, I have two more items of interest: