Kansas Trip (Christmas with Mom)

On Christmas Eve I worked for a few hours, then went home and grabbed some lunch before Doug picked me up to go to the airport. I went through security, then flew to Denver, had dinner, and took my next flight to Kansas City. As I got off the plane, there was only one way to go, and it was outside of security, but I still had another leg to catch. I started to look around, but the lady got my attention and told me I’d have to go out and back through security somewhere else. So I found my correct gate and waited for my plane. There were threats of delays, but we made it out on time; all three of us. The plane was a tiny 19-seater Beechcraft 1900, and there wasn’t even a door to the cockpit, so I could watch the whole flight through the front windows. I’ve flown in little Cessna’s before, but this was my first time seeing the cockpit of a jet in action, and it was a really interesting landing.

Mom and her boyfriend Mark picked me up at the airport. He handed me a piece of Jehovah’s Witness literature, and we shared a bit of an awkward moment. The drive back to the house was pleasant, and we arrived a few minutes before midnight. We had some cheese and crackers and talked and traded presents, and went to bed at about 2am. The next morning was Christmas. We put together an island for the kitchen, and I had fun with the construction. For dinner mom made turkey breast, meat stuffing, and a fruit pie, and I helped. After we ate, we had the pie and played Scrabble. I started off strong with ‘choroid’ on the first play, using all my letters and giving me a 70 point lead that only barely edged out mom by the end. In the second game, I wasn’t as lucky and despite some really good words, I couldn’t pair them with points, and ended up losing. Still, it was fun.

Wednesday we went to the Oz Museum in Wamego and the Cavalry Museum on Fort Riley. I got a bunch of corny pictures at the Oz Museum. Thursday was a quick tour through the diminutive Beach museum on campus. We got some memory for mom’s computer (I had been working on it each night to recover from her blue-screen on booting, and had gotten it working, only to discover that she only had 256MB of RAM, nowhere near enough) and I installed it. Checked in for my flight in the morning and was all set to get up at 4:30, until we looked outside and saw it snowing heavily.

On Friday morning, I checked the flight status and saw that it was delayed from 5:55am to 9:50am, which had my first leg leaving after my second leg left: not good. I called United and had them book a later flight, but the best they could do was to get me out on Saturday night. U.S. Airways was the leg that was delayed, so I called them, too, and they managed to get me on a flight at 2:20 out of Kansas City, which would have worked out great. We got to the airport at 8:30. There were a couple people in the army being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and they wanted the flight to be canceled so they would have a couple more days in the states before going over. They got what they wanted; the flight to Kansas City was canceled, leaving me without a way to get to my Kansas City flight. Fortunately, there were three other people in the same situation, so I suggested we carpool over there. We had about 4 hours to make the 2 hours drive, so I wasn’t too concerned. I looked at the price of renting a car, and split among four people wouldn’t have been bad at all. One of them had a car and volunteered to drive, though, so we all hopped in her car and drove to Kansas City together. It’s a small world, and we each found people that we have in common, which was pretty cool. Once we arrived in Kansas City, I went to the ticket counter to get my tickets, and found that… my reservation had been cancelled. I had a confirmation code, an e-ticket, I thought I had everything I needed. And yet, the folks at the Delta desk said U.S. Airways had cancelled the ticket, and the folks at the U.S. Airways desk said they hadn’t and that they had no idea what had happened and that it looked like the best they could do was to get me out Saturday evening. The United counter said the same thing. So I was essentially screwed. Nobody could get me out, I had a reservation that obviously didn’t count for anything, and they weren’t even willing to pay for my hotel because the delay was caused by weather. So I found a hotel that was cheap and close and got a room for the night. There were no restaurants for miles, so I ordered some chinese food and was sorely disappointed with it.

Saturday I caught a ride to the airport well in advance of my flight. I went to the Delta counter to check in and my first confirmation code didn’t work at the automated check-in, which was odd since I had set my seats only an hour before using it. Fortunately I had a code from United, and that did work but wouldn’t give me seats. I decided to see if there were any earlier flights I could get on, and the lady at the counter was very confused about my flight status. It turned out I had two reservations and that that was a real problem. She took care of it for me, and I had my seats. After a bit of lunch, I went through security and waited for my flight. It was, of course, delayed. I arrived in Salt Lake City and had some dinner, then went to my second flight, and it, too was delayed. I was able to hook up my cell phone to my laptop and stream a movie over Netflix, which was pretty cool. I finally arrived in Pasco at 10pm, 32 hours after I was originally supposed to. Ugh.

I had a good time with my mom, though, and it was nice to see her.

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