12 hours in Florida
3:30 a.m. came in my small apartment yesterday morning just as it does every morning. Normally, if I see that time on my phone it means that I am up way late, either lost in thought or too many Miller Lites. But this was different. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ startled me as both my alarms we telling me it was good morning time. After a brief second of "why the hell is this happening" running through my head, I realized the snooze button and I weren't going to have our normal date as we do most days. No, the plane to Florida was going to leave with or without me. So I drug myself out of bed, made some coffee, showered and waited for the cab. It never came. I called and they said they didn't have me on the books, but would get someone out as soon as they could. Don't worry about it was my reply. I loaded the clown car and headed to the airport.
You know it rained for a total of 7 minutes yesterday morning? Want to know how I know that? Because when I parked in the red, long term, lot at Port Columbus it was not raining. But as soon as I removed my bags and secured the car, it started. For seven minutes I got very wet as I used my coat to protect my laptop bag. Just before the shuttle pulled up to get me, it stopped. So far, not the most enjoyable of trips. I boarded the plane about 20 til six, and was wheels up just a few minutes later. Why I had a layover in Atlanta was beyond me, since a direct flight would have been only 2 hours. But even with the stop, I was in Orlando by eleven.
I had never been through that airport before. And after yesterday, I hope never to be again. Sure, the Hyatt hotel built in to the main terminal is nice, as is the mall on the main floor. Disney stores, Sea World gift shops and even a Harley Davidson spot make it a unique stop indeed. But logistically it is a nightmare. From the time I got off the plane, it took 90 minutes to get out. Baggage claim was a 20 minute walk from where the shuttle dropped us. Then the rental car counter was in another terminal all together. And even after I had keys in hand, it took another 25 minutes to get out of the garage.
When I got to the office, I called Matt to let him know I was there. That's when he dropped the bomb on me. While I was in the air, the project I was brought to town to work on had been postponed. He told me I could stay for the weekend or book a flight home. It was sunny, 80 degrees, and plenty to explore. But there was no question what I should do - go back home and spend my weekend with the boys. I emailed our travel office and asked them to get me on the first plane home.
As it turns out that flight wasn't scheduled til 8:15 pm. So I stayed at the office in Orlando and helped out with a couple of small tasks, go to know my colleagues there, and headed to the airport about six. I wanted to see what I could pick up for the boys while I was there, and didn't know what security on a Friday night would be like. I got my ticket and was informed by the agent that the flight was pushed back. As I looked at my phone that said 6:30, I heard her say we wouldn't be leaving til 10:20. The next three and a half hours I wandered about the terminal, picking up t shirts for the boys, a little monkey for the little monkey, and of course the magnet for the fridge.
Once aboard I looked forward to a little sleep on the plane. A light passenger load meant I would probably have space to relax. As the last people came on, I took notice. A young mom with an infant and a three year old. Out of ever row on the aircraft, they chose to sit next to me. The young boy immediately struck up a conversation with me, telling me about his books and his toys. He reminded me of the boys, so any disappointment I had quickly went away. His mom thanked me as she had her hands full with the baby, and I told her about the guys. About an hour into the flight he fell asleep, leaned up against me. I took the opportunity to sleep myself, as I had been up almost a whole day and needed to be awake for the drive home. We touched down in Columbus about 12:30, and were off the plane soon there after. I was home and in bed by two.
I slept in until 10, then went and picked up the boys. We went to COSI with Purple and her girls, then back to her house for dinner and a visit. It was a much better day than yesterday. Tomorrow we have another great day planned, much better than being on a job site 1000 miles away.
Good Night All.......................