Monday, December 29, 2008

Back in the Saddle

So after a nice holiday break, it's back to work for me. I do have to take a chance to document the glories that traveling in the upper Midwest in winter entail though (as well as just my general travel misfortunes).

On Christmas Eve, boyfriend and I had to get up bright and early so he could drive me up to Baltimore to catch my 6 a.m. flight. I was a little worried as we had left a little late and I had 15 minutes to check in before the cut-off time, and there was a huge line at the counter. Luckily, United was actually on the ball, and they asked if anyone had to check in for the 6 a.m. flight to Chicago and I got to go to the front of the line. So I was all set to go to the security check-point, and I walked around the corner and was a little shocked at how long the line was. I don't think I've ever had to wait more than like 15 minutes to get through security at BWI, but the line was much longer than that, so once again, I went into panic mode and thought I would miss my flight. Luckily, they were once again on the ball, and got everyone through very quickly. A little too quickly, but I didn't find that out until later. Once I was all settled in on the plane and ready to be home, they were going through the usual pre-flight announcements, how to buckle your seat belt, etc, and then they got to the announcement about shutting off all your electronics. My heart skipped a beat as I realized I didn't remember putting my computer back into my back. A quick check later, it was official. I had somehow managed to leave my laptop at the security checkpoint. Awesome. Who does that? I thought that God was telling me I'm just not meant to own a laptop, ever. After a stressful ride home, which fortunately included a smooth transfer in Chicago, I gave the TSA lost and found at BWI a call. Luckily, they had my laptop and we set up a meeting place and time for me to get it back on my way home on Sunday.

The rest of my time in the great white north was quite nice and not too eventful. It was good to see family and oddly enough, all of my relatives have been popping out babies lately. We haven't had a lot of young kids at family gatherings in a while, but I felt like half of the people there were under the age of like 5.

It seems like I never go to the movies except when I'm home in Michigan, I'm not sure why. Anyways, I went to see Marley & Me with my parents on Christmas day, and it was a pretty good movie, which happens to be about a dog that destroys everything. My parents' dog Emma, on the other hand, is a fairly well-behaved golden retriever who tends to spend her days sleeping. We get home, and I go into my room, and notice a brown spot on the carpet. Before your mind goes there, I will explain that my brother and sister-in-law had given me a cake mix in a cup thing, so it contained a bag that had all the dry ingredients for a cake. Emma decided to go through my belongings and thought that it would be scrumptious to eat flour, sugar, and cocoa powder, so ended up all over the cream-colored carpet in my room. My mom wasn't too thrilled with her dog at the moment, and it was quite ironic that she decided to eat it while we were watching that particular movie. I also saw Slumdog Millionaire, which is a really good movie.

I was a little nervous about making all the connections on the way back home, as there was a winter storm on the way. My flight out of Traverse City was at 6 a.m., which was supposed to be before the storm hit, so I thought I was probably ok. I checked in and was surprised to see that they changed my second flight though, so I had a layover of 3 hours instead of 1 at Chicago, so I wasn't too happy about that. Not too mention that interrupted my meet-up time with the TSA Lost & Found. At 6 a.m., when we should have been taking off, we still hadn't boarded and they made an announcement that they needed 5 people to give up their seats because we would be overweight otherwise. Finally, about 20 minutes later we were finally able to board, and we ended up being about an hour late. Good thing they switched my flight time. :) I called the lost and found from Chicago and explained about my flight and the lady said that I should just come to the TSA coordination center instead of her meeting me somewhere, in case I got delayed again or whatever. So she gave me directions to go up a hallway that was marked "Do Not Enter" and to knock on a door that said "Authorized Personnel Only". It sounded like a quick trip to getting apprehended and detained by the TSA to me, but I figured I would see what happened when I got there. I arrived in Baltimore on time and set off to find this securely guarded mysterious room. After seeing about 3 possible "Do Not Enter" hallways in the location she told me to go to, I decided maybe I should ask a TSA person, just to be on the safe side. Unfortunately, he decided in his head I really should go to the Lost and Found office, which was closed and why I needed instead to go to the TSA coordination center. Another TSA guy said he was headed that way and he would take me there. I had to wait outside the "Do Not Enter" hallway (which wasn't any of the 3 I thought it would be), while he went and checked. I was given the go-ahead, and after signing a bazillion papers, I got my laptop back.

Moral of the story: Always, always check to make sure you have everything after the security check-point to avoid looking like a moron who leaves expensive electronics behind.

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