Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Missing a flight

This doesn’t really have to deal with The Simple Farm at all but thought I’d share the mishaps of my day as I tried to make it to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a business meeting.

I’m not sure how I got booked for a 6 am flight out of an airport two hours away from where I live but I did. OK, I do know and it’s my own fault. I booked the dang flight. I think it was $100 cheaper than the 8am flight so my more practical side won out.

Being a somewhat frequent flier I thought I could cut it close and be there an hour early and all would be well. If I actually made it an hour early I would have been fine. However, I made it only 45 minutes early and there is a strict one hour cutoff on all international flights so that was a problem.

Let me back up. Here is why I was late. Being the procrastinator I am, I started packing at 11 pm last night and didn’t get to bed until after midnight but I was ready none the less. I set the alarm for 2:30 am and thought a second or two then added a few more minutes until it said 2:40 am. Still not satisfied I added a few more until it said 2:45 am. Surely I could get dressed and out the door by 3 am leaving me a hasty two hour drive to the airport.

2:45 am came with a roar and I jumped out of bed, got dressed, and bounded out the door with my suite case in hand and my non confirmed airline ticket in the other. I tried checking in online the day before but the silly check in process said I needed to verify passport documentation with the ticket agent. I haven’t had to do that forever but thought it wouldn’t be that long. Just a how-do-you-do and I’d be off through customs.

Then I realized my truck had a 22 rifle and a shotgun in it so I have to clear out the arsenal which I took back to the house. Running back to the truck I realized my wallet wasn’t in the truck like I thought it was so I headed back into the house to find it. Ringo bounded out the door on my way in. He wanted his goodbye hug and he doesn’t really sleep anyways so I wasn’t all that surprised.

Looking around the house I realized I was in trouble. Couldn’t find the wallet anywhere. Then it dawned on me, I left the wallet down at the house we are building, which was five minutes away. Not far if you are going down to work on the place but awfully far if one has to be to the airport in less than two hours.

After promising Milly not to speed I ran out the door and sped all the way done to the place, found my wallet, and headed out to the airport. 3:19 am.

I cut a bit of time off the trip, let’s leave it at that and I pulled into the Park and Jet at 5 am.

************side note-I love the park and jet by the way. It’s really close to the airport and the shuttle takes you right to the terminal.

**************

I jumped out of the truck and flagged down a shuttle.

Flying on the shuttle I saw I was the only person on the bus. Bad news as that means the last shuttle has just left. I mentioned to the driver that my flight leaves at 6 am and he kindly informed me that passengers should always arrive two hours before their flight leaves. I made some lame excuse about being two and a half hours away from the airport and pleaded with him to dog all the other people in the parking lot. He was a kind soul and picked up one other passenger and finally gave in to my puppy dog eyes and headed to the airport.

The other passenger started chatting and I told him I had a six o’clock flight and he was kind enough to let me know I need to arrive two hours before my flight takes off.

All this time I’m thinking I’ll be OK. 5:15 am and I’m at the airport. If I had a boarding pass I’d be fine. I walk in the door and remember why I always check in online before I get to the airport. The was lines and lines of potential obstacles. I ran up to a airline helper and mentioned I had a 6 am flight and wondered if she could help me.

“Oh, you have to get to the airport two hours before your flight leave to make it. There is a hard cutoff on all flights one hour before your flight leaves and we cannot do anything about it”.

I’m thinking REALLY two hours. I had no idea.

I go the kiosk and try to check in and sure enough, the kiosk says “You need to be here two hours before your flight leaves” right on the screen. It wouldn’t give me a ticket.

I go over to the ticketing lady and ask her to help. Once again I get the “You have to be here two hours before your flight leaves” scolding and I sit at the counter for a half an hour while she figures out her new system.

*********Why is it that everybody gets a new system without telling their employees that a new system is coming. Maybe that’s just the universal excuse for when you don’t know how to use the system.*******

Honestly, it was a half an hour. I watched my flight slowly creep towards leaving.

I have a couple of choices but the gist of it was I had a confirmed flight now heading to Denver at 7:30am and a flight from Denver to Minneapolis leaving at 9PM at night. That’s a twelve hour layover.

I got through customs and security at 6:10 am so in all reality if they would have given me my stinking boarding pass I would have been 20 minutes early and could have boarded with time to spare. It would have been perfect timing if I would have had my boarding pass.

Instead of going through Chicago like I originally was ticketed for I head to Denver with some of the people I talked to in the Kiosk line who had gotten there two hours early for their flight.

When I got to Denver I checked out all flights to Minneapolis and saw a flight leaving in 45 minutes. Speed walking the length of the Denver B terminal I got to the Minneapolis gate as see it’s a full flight.

I also saw there was nine other passengers waiting on the stand by list for the flight so my hopes were fading.

Undaunted, I thought I’d try my puppy dog eyes on the ticketing lady and asked if any standby people could get on. I didn’t dare mention I missed my flight because I wasn’t two hours early and simply relied on my good looks and charm.

That didn’t go too far but the lady did say if I paid an extra $75 I could get on this standby list and there was a good chance I could get on. I haggled a bit and made her laugh a few times so before forking out the dough she kind of smiled and winked at me letting me know she’d help me out.

I looked up at the standby list and what do you know? My name made it to the top of the list somehow. Amazing what $75 will do for a fellow.

After getting the ticket in my hand I was in good spirits and decided I better pay back some love and started being nice to anyone that needed help. I met a lost couple from Saskatoon and helped them get seated together on the flight. Another lady was sitting in the wrong seat next to me when someone else came on the plane. I joked with her saying “You were just trying to sit next to me weren’t you.”

Another lady and her two kids weren’t sitting together and the girl was crying. I negotiated with the people around to get them near each other.

That’s not like me. I’m usually a grumpy travel companion. I put headphones on and close my eyes. I don’t even play music but think the headphones keeps me protected from having to chat with anyone.

And I’m landing in Minneapolis 20 minutes before my original flight was supposed to land.

All I can say is “I’m glad I didn’t get to the airport two hours ahead of time.” Think of the poor crying girl and the lost Saskatoon couple that would have been lost without me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

There are trees on the prairie

I know most of my pictures don’t show a tree in sight but if you look really carefully you can see far off clumps of trees off in the distance.

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We snuck down to the river bottom and were surrounded by trees. I told you there were trees around here. stairs 017

We’ve been picking Saskatoon berries this past couple of weeks which are usually found in the river bottom.

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I think it’s sad that you can see my belly when I take a shot of the milk bucket I am using for my berry bucket. Alas, that’s what happens when one eats all the berries instead of putting them in the bucket.stairs 021

Back to the treeless upper world. Our garden is coming along. This is the first time I ever remember growing good lettuce. Too bad the tomatoes are non-existent once again this year.

We have grand designs of planting 1000’s of trees but in the mean time we are settling for our occasional romp in the river bottom until we get time to do the tree planting properly.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

It’s a hard job but somebody has to do it

I went to a conference last week for work and went through the regular sleep deprivation, terrible diet, and down right loneliness for the family and cows.

Can you guess what type of conference it was?

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Milly thinks I just have fun and live the high life of hotels and parties whenever I’m away. I admit I do have fun but when it comes right down to it I’d trade it all in for my morning milking routine and daily time with the kiddies and wife.

I did see Deepak Chopra live and he was very inspiring for the few minutes he was on stage. I think I read a book or two from him in the coming months. (Maybe I’ll wait until winter. Summer is crazy hectic.)

Came home to the stairs mounted but not much other stuff done on the place. I’ll post pictures some other time. They are looking nice but I’m too lazy to get them right now. I still am making up for everything mentioned above.