Friday, February 20, 2015

Planes Trains And Automobiles 2015 Edition

This is my random ongoing thoughts as Winter Storm Octavia wreaks havoc on the Southeast. Right now I'm on a plane to Atlanta with a delayed flight awaiting me there. I'll have to find a way to hole up for the night - oh boy!
It started as a family visit to Folsom. I was happily leaving behind what was looking like an extreme cold snap. That cold snap will likely be referenced by my fellow East Tennesseeans as the Blizzard of '15. In California, I enjoyed near record highs in the 70s wishing I had packed more shorts. Via Facebook I was reading on just how bad things were in the South.

"Wow, I had great timing. While the East is getting blizzard conditions, I'm here in Sacramento experiencing a possible record high for President's Day weekend (72 for the high). Nice to be hanging out in shorts and a t-shirt."
Once I saw the forecast for the night I was to return (-3!!!) After some debate, I knew it would be wise to reschedule my flight. The first open flight was to be Friday! I took it thinking that the storm would have passed and it would be just a cold flight home.
"OK there's a distinct possibility my flight to Knoxville will get cancelled tomorrow. My connecting flight is in Atlanta which looks like it will work. Not ever having this happen before, what are my options? Should I take the flight to Atlanta from Sacramento and then change my flight to Knoxville for when all this ice goes away? I would guess that Delta would then have to put me up for a day.
Should I reschedule the whole trip instead? It's pretty hard to leave this amazing weather right now."In the mean time, I enjoyed time with the kids and even got to see my Alma Mater, UC Davis. That was great that even though it has changed and grown, it still had that peaceful feeling I loved. I actually got emotional thinking of all the good times and especially the great lifelong friends I had from there.

Chem 194

Toomey Field - aka The Toom. Great times and memories there.

The Quad. 

Rumors of Hart Hall's demise are greatly exaggerated.

My old apartment. The home to our world famous dance parties!

Friday arrived and the weather, although better is still very rough in Knoxville. I got an email telling me that my connecting flight from Atlanta to Knoxville has been delayed until Saturday morning. My Facebook reactions:
"Agrh!!!! My flight to Knoxville from Atlanta is delayed until tomorrow morning. But my flight to Atlanta from Sacramento is still good for today. Thoughts? Do they put you up for the night if this happens? Provide food? What's the best option and what should I ask for from them? I;'m going to get a call back within 30-60 minutes. I do need to get home and this is getting crazy! Give me your thoughts..."
Sadly, the story I'm getting right now is that my carrier (Delta) doesn't not provide for lodging when a flight is delayed by weather. So currently it looks like I'll be sleeping in the Atlanta terminal.
Some personal reflection halfway through this. First is how emotional all of this is. Seeing family, reminiscing about my college years, and having my schedule change constantly has reminded me of how far God has taken me in this journey of being more like Christ and how far I have to go. Emotions for things that I would just stuff down are now coming to the surface. It's good, but deep in both pain and joy. Anxiety is still a battle for me. My coping is far better in that I can feel it recognize it and get back to the rational but it's still a struggle. Finally, I'm starting to embrace the adventure. Life is full of it when we choose to live the uncharted life. I think there's a need for me to let go and be comfortable being uncomfortable. So I may end up sleeping on the floor at the airport  - I'm learning to be OK with it. I'm warm and relatively safe. God is with and I will find a new way to trust in Him here. More to come...
Made it to Atlanta and tried in vain to get on an early flight to Knoxville. It was booked solid. So I decided to rough it meaning I'm going to sleep at the airport and just "rough it" for the night. Overall, Delta has been helpful considering the circumstances and this is probably a once in a lifetime occurrence where weather was on the extreme side. I do wish they would have offered a hotel - oh well. I did eat a very tasty Chicken Pesto Panini from Atlanta Bread. I also got a cool overnight kit for my trouble. My good friend John was going to talk to me while I wait for the next morning to come. Great guy!
My overnight digs.

This long trek deserved a cold one and catching the tail end of the East Coast NBA games.
It's now morning and my flight may once again be delayed. The crowd here is cooperative but clearly sleepy. My night was periods of sleep with interruptions. Sleeping on the ground was very difficult (hard floor) and the seats were cramped to sleep on. It also got quite cold overnight. Not a great night and I'm sure I have more sleep to catch up on.
After circling Knoxville for 20 minutes we ended up returning to Atlanta! Yes, they needed to refuel and the flight was cancelled. The state has blocked 75 at the border so renting a car is out. Luckily they added another flight so I'm now waiting for that flight and will hopefully arrive at 12:07 PM. God is really teaching me patience.
Last update: the flight did work out, but it took over an hour to take off because they lost the check luggage! The flight attendant was nice enough to start handing out food and drinks (including alcoholic ones - a lot of people appreciated that). Getting to Knoxville went smoothly and a gentleman who lived near me gave me a ride home.
I thought that would be a relief except for one thing: my water line broke during the sub-zero cold!