At The Mercy Of The Weather gods

One night trip to NY and back.

Last Night. 3 hour delay. In hotel at 1 AM. 4.5 hours sleep. Perfect set up for a big Monday morning meeting.

Today. Flight canceled. At airport by noon. Rescheduled for an 8 pm flight which undoubtedly will be late.

On standby. Will try to get on one of the flights not yet cancelled. Earliest departure time would be 5 pm.

I must have done something to really piss off the weather gods. It is January and there is not a snowstorm. Just a little rain. Why that would cancel flights I do not know.

Have learned to pack extra underwear and socks.

Get That Flu Shot!

Contemplating getting the shot doesn’t count. Being at a client site on the day they are administering shots to the people you are working with doesn’t count. As proof, just two days before I came down with the seasonal flu I did both.

To put things in time perspective that would have been Thursday October 8. By Saturday my body was telling me that something was wrong. However I attributed the tiredness and the achy feeling to my workout– these have been so infrequent that I just figured it was all due to being out of shape. By Sunday the combination of aches, pains, fever and congestion worse than a Chicago rush hour made me realize that it was the flu. If only I had taken the 45 minutes to go to our company clinic. 45 minutes seemed like such an inconvenience. Or better yet if my company had made flu shots available at my work site more than the two days I was traveling on business. As it turned out the 45 minutes would have been a great investment.

Speaking of business, while clients can be very understanding of your illness on a personal level (rest, go to the doctor, take care of yourself were consistent comments) that does not mean that their work product can be late! So Monday with fever raging I was working at home trying to delay what I could and think well enough to deliver on all that remained.

Then to add to my personal pain, literally, I coughed. This was one of those violent, retching body shaking, come out of nowhere coughs. You could hear the sound of the tendon in my lower back rip. It ripped even more when I coughed again 2 minutes later. I now had screaming level, constant pain in my lower back. It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to breath.

By this time I had time for one, and only one doctor appointment. I had to choose. internal medicine for the flu or orthopedic for the back. No contest. I  made an afternoon appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. Fortunately no disk damage. I left with prescriptions for steroids, muscle relaxers and narcotics. If  I were to take the latter two there would be no driving or even thinking straight. I skipped the narcs so I could work and because I have an aversion to excess drugs.

By the next day the fever broke and the constant pain left. However for the remainder of the week I had bad cold symptoms, could not stand up straight or walk stairs without pain and was exhausted all of the time.

Next year I take the flu shot and as soon as it is available I am doing the H1N1 vaccine. The pain/time trade-off makes it worth while.

I’m Losing It

Actually for about 20 minutes it was completely lost.

First my eyesight, my hearing and my memory. Now I’m losing my mind.

After a brutal work week I slept for a couple of hours this afternoon. Then I needed to rally. Too many things to do that cannot wait. Officemax to pick up some last items for D before he takes off for college. Then to the grocery store to pick up a few things. I am about to get into the checkout aisle and I reach for my wallet. Not there. “What do you mean its not there” the left side of my brain screams to the right. Have you checked every pocket. Of course I have, twice. Where the hell can $200 in cash, all my credit cards my license and every piece of I.D. known to man wrapped up in an overstuffed brown leather package be?

I run to the car. Maybe I absentmindedly put it in one of the OfficeMax bags. No, damn it. I race across the strip mall to the Max. “Anyone leave a wallet?” I frantically ask the 16 year old cashier with the bad highlights in her hair. No.

I race back to the car to look again. Then back to the grocery store. Did I drop it in the cart which I had now abandoned for 15 minutes. Not there. on to the service counter. Anyone bring in a brown wallet. I must have looked like a total crazy person because the woman behind the counter could not pull all of the stuff out of the lost and found drawer fast enough. Still nothing.

A few memory cells kick in. I DID HAVE IT IN THIS STORE. I had pulled a shopping list from it. I was at the Pepsi display. Quick to aisle 10. Damn it, damn it. Not near the Pepsi. I race to the few other areas of the store I had been. At this point I have passed into that region beyond panic. Visions of some schmo buying expensive things with my credit cards and cash flashed before my eyes. It was the weekend and I was going to have to cancel my credit cards and we are to take my son to school in two days. ARRRRRRHHHH.

One last look in the Pepsi aisle. Wait, what is that on the four foot high stack of cartons? My wallet of course. Laying open for all to see. Maybe you had to be looking for it. Everything was there. Well almost everything. The money, credit cards, driver’s licence, etc were there but the shopping list was gone.

So you decide. I am I some unfortunate schlemiel or the luckiest guy in the world? All I know is that I am glad I found my wallet and my mind tonight. I hope neither disappears again too soon.

Spring Blues

March 29 ???

March 29 ???

What is it with Chicago weather? Spring officially arrived a week ago. And yet…

First on Saturday I sat for 2 1/2 hours in 30 degree weather watching my son’s home baseball opener. It took all 5 layers of clothing to keep me warm through seven innings. Too bad the game went eight.

Then we wake up Sunday to this.

Technology Workaround

My wife has been home with the flu and it has taken her voice. She had something important for me to know while I was at work so she sends an email. No big deal. Then I get a text asking why I did not reply to her email. Text back, “because it did not show up.

She does it again. Another text. Same reply. She tries my GMail account. still nothing. By now she is not just sick but fuming. I send an email to her hoping that she can just reply to it. Nope.

She is not in the mood and I do not have the time to walk her through various potential fixes. I call. Does the Internet connection work. Yes, she says in that small flu-voice.

OK. Here is what we will do. Go to 48facets and put the email in the form of a comment. Works. Respond. Rerespond. Communication happens. Problem solved.

Later on I am home and I get a text. Not a usual occurrence. It is my wife. She is upstairs. I think in the prehistoric times of my youth we used to use a bell. I kinda like old technology.


Auspicious Beginning

Heading for an island in the Caribbean. Slowly, very slowly.

Got to the airport 2 and a half hours before the flight as requested by the United in order to get things moving on time. Spent some time in the airport lounge and then headed for the gate.

The plane boarded on time. We found our seats and settled in for the remaining 40 minutes until flight time…or so United said.

So how did I spent the next 2 hours? Sitting in the same seat. With the plane still at the same gate. Just sitting. If you want to get the general feeling of what we were going through find a hard chair, place it about 3 inches from a wall. Sit down. Count to 1,000.Repeat. OK that is enough to get the gist.

Once again United discovers new and novel ways to delay a flight. The pilot announces that he is a replacement pilot. Since he is going out of the country and flying back the next day he had hoped for a room to sleep in. United had been working on it for 5 hours to this point. The plane was going nowhere until the pilot has a room. Over an hour goes by after this announcement. We are still sitting. The pilot comes on a few times with updates mainly saying that the United is working on it, that it is hard to get a “cheap” room during high season and that he is sorry. So are we.

Lots of kids on this flight. The natives begin to get restless. More time goes by.

Finally a room for the pilots. At last we can leave. Right. Uh, not yet. It seems as if 3 pieces of luggage still needed to be loaded onto the plane. Another 30 minutes.  Pilot comes on. Learns that it was really 60 pieces of luggage. But now we are ready to go.

Well, not quite right. The jetway is stuck. Not to worry, mechanics from the City of Chicago—which instead of the airlines operates select jetways including B18— are on the way The jetway gets repaired and pulls back from the plane.

AWAY WE GO.  Right into a line of 15 planes.

Stay tuned. I am sure the rest of the week will be much better. I don’t have to fly again until next Saturday.

I’m Dreaming Of A White…Sand Beach

A white Christmas is guaranteed here in Chicago. Plenty of snow covers the ground. If the temps stay in the 20s like today I won’t mind it too much but Winter has hit with a vengeance here in the Midwest.

Over the last week, starting Tuesday December 16, still officially autumn, we have had 3 major snowstorms and most days the temps have been single digits–some with a minus sign. The first snow came during rush hour and my 45 minute commute took over 3 hours followed immediately by an hour of shoveling snow.

The second storm was accompanied by high winds and single digit temperatures. The storm last night also hit at rush hour but apparently I was one of the few idiots still working. The driving was challenging, where was my dog team and sled when I needed it, but with few cars on the road the commute only took an hour and a half.

It is only December with months of winter to go. Yes I am ready to get away to warm weather and sandy beaches. Something like this.


In the meantime I will settle in my warm house, light Hanukkah candles, and sing Hanukkah and Christmas songs. Here is one of my favorite Christmas ballads.

(BTW. Der Bingle first sang the song White Christmas — written by Irving Berlin, a good Jewish boy– in the movie Holiday Inn not in the copycat movie White Christmas. A common misconception. One story claims Berlin wrote the song in early 1940 while sitting poolside at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona. Another says he was in his home in upstate NY. I like the former story better.)