Unlike the previous blog entries on the convention, this one about the trip back to Ottawa is going to be in a different format. Here's the journal entries that I manually wrote, with a few edits here and there, as this day was a jumbled and confused mess in a lot of ways.
August 20th, 2012
I woke up this morning after last night's fun this morning, and don't feel too bad, although I think I have a sore throat. Don't tell me I've caught con crud. :( When I got out of bed this morning, the left hip and upper leg are hurting pretty bad; I think I may have aggravated the bulging disc. Nuts! :(
I've already shaved with the disposable razor and showered, and looking in the mirror, I did a decent job of shaving, but it's not perfect. Ah, who am I kidding? I find shaving a chore, and to be honest, can one ever do a decent job shaving with a disposable razor? No miracles in that regard, but it will do to travel home today. Don't want to be scruffy when I go through U.S. and Canadian Customs later today.
While spross shaves and showers, I'm making these notes in the journal, and I'm going to stop now and finish doing the packing of my suitcase and the stuff that's still on the counters and in the drawers. Oh, and pack the dirty laundry, of course. After six, almost seven, days away, I'm looking forward to going home, but we'll see how things shake out there this week, of course... Anyway, back to the last of the morning ablutions, and some more packing. Then breakfast, hopefully, as I'm quite hungry.
I'm sitting in the JW lobby at the moment, talking to a fellow from Edmonton. spross and I went down to breakfast, and I checked out the steel-cut oatmeal. I found it a bit too gruel-like, but when I talked to the servers, they actually were kind enough to have the kitchen make up a small batch of oatmeal for me that would be somewhat thicker. I had an omelette with cheese, lox, onion, spinach, and mushrooms and it was quite good, and then a small bowl of oatmeal. Good, fortifying breakfast for the day ahead.
I went back upstairs to brush my teeth and finish off the rest of the minor packing that needed to be done, and then headed downstairs to the lobby and the main desk to pay the hotel bill and check out. It was an easy, painless process, no surprises in the bill, but I found out that the room keycard would only work for 15 more minutes. I dashed back up to the room, finished the last-minute packing that I needed to do, cancelled the bellman and luggage cart that spross had ordered earlier when we were down at breakfast, and then after a "Goodbye, room!" and making sure nothing was left behind, took everything down to the main lobby, handed in the keycard, and have been sitting here for some time.
Talked with the fellow from Edmonton that I mentioned earlier, and have just finished up this bit of the journal entry. The sore throat persists, and weirdly, I've started sneezing somewhat.
As noted earlier, I had decided that spross and I could take our stuff down to the lobby around 10:30 am, and we sat and chatted with a fellow from Edmonton. We chatted about what we had done at the convention, and I got to hear about some of the other stuff that was going on at GenCon from him that I had missed out on. Oddly, he'll be onb our flight to Toronto with a bunch of others from Edmonton as well.
At around 11:00 am, spross and I took a limo to the Indy Airport (it had a flat rate of $35, which was a better deal than taking a taxi to the airport, and it was much more comfortable). The trip to the airport was roughly 10 minutes, as there wasn't a lot of traffic at that time. We got to the airport with no problems, got our boarding passes for both legs of the trip, and checked in the bags and stuff. The usual. No muss, no fuss. We headed through the Food Court to the Security area, but decided to have an early lunch (after all, we'd eaten early breakfast, so...). We ate at the Naked Tchopstix, where I had the chicken teriyaki and beef nagato with some white rice and a bottle of water. The food was tasty, but not hot temperature-wise. After I'd gone to the bathroom, we proceeded to the Security area.
The line-up was too bad at the Security section, and going through the process was simple enough. I get nervous about having to take all the stuff out of my pockets and take off my shoes and belt (especially since my pants don't stay up with the latter off), but they made the process painless. The only problem I had was that the older man behind me was rude, making various nasty suggestions as I was too slow about the process for his taste, since I couldn't bend over properly because of the back pain. I managed to regroup with spross's help, and we made our way down to the Gate area. As of this writing, 12:50 pm, we still have around 2 hours or so before the flight. Time to read a bit more of my read-in-progress, Christopher Moore's Fool.
I've been sitting here reading the book I'm in the middle of - well, not strictly true, I started the book on the first day that we arrived at the con, but only read about 12 pages or so during the course of GenCon, and have already read over 100+ pages today so far here - waiting for the flight, and they still haven't called for passenger boarding, despite the flight being due to leave at 3:00 pm. I think there's something wrong with the plane, as I've seen people going up and down the boarding ramp, and there may have been a mechanic among them. I had a bottle of water and 1/2 a banana/walnut muffin. I've definitely got con crud, I think. I've got a very sore throat, and have been sneezing all day long. Merde! :(
I was right. We're still sitting in the Indy Airport; the plane has mechanical problems. We don't know if the flight will go out or not, but spross and I rebooked the connecting flight we were supposed to have at 6:10 for the one at 7:45 pm. The way things are going, I don't think we're going to make that one, either.
The problem with the aircraft has still not been fixed, let alone determined, and so I don't know if the flight to Toronto is even going to happen at this rate. They say the mechanic will be here soon, so we're supposed to know something around 4:30 pm. We may still be able to make the 7:45 connection to Ottawa, I hope. I went to the nearest pay phone to call home and let them know, but I dialed the wrong service (it cost me $0.75 to do so) and so didn't manage the call; got a bit huffy and pissed off at the operator, and spross could tell I was angry when I got back to the flight lounge. For the moment spross has gone to call home. He's been a bit edgy the last half hour or so, but we'll see what happens. In the meantime, figured I would just update this journal a bit.
We're still sitting in the Indianapolis Airport. They're still working on the problem, though the mechanic finally arrived, and we have to wait another 25 minutes to find out whether we'll be heading for Toronto or not. I've almost convinced myself that we'll be sleeping over tonight in Indy at the airline's expense. I'm not happy about it, but spross has actually gotten angry about the matter, though I didn't help it when I was talking about the stuff about staying either in Indy or Toronto overnight, depending on whether this flight leaves and whether we can make the last connection flight in Toronto tonight. Here's a photo of our grounded plane.
My philosphy is that the mechanical problem can't be too bad, since the plane's still here at the gate off the flight lounge. As long as the plane is at the gate in question, there's a good chance that they'll fix it and we'll get to Toronto.
We've just learned that the flight to Toronto will be leaving around 6:50 pm tonight. Finally. The mechanic fixed the problem, whatever it was, but they had to wait to get approval from Air Canada in Toronto on his repairs (since he was contracted, not an airport mechanic, I guess) before they and the mechanic would okay the plane for flight. At least they have our interests at heart.
spross has been in a pretty annoyed, foul mood during the last couple of hours, and he finally actually shouted at me (something I've rarely, if ever, seen him do.) I think it has to do with the idea of staying another night in Indy (which was a possibility the airline folks mentioned on the PA at 5:50 pm) or even in Toronto, if we miss the connecting flight. I've been trying to stay calm and keep a civil tone myself, except for a couple of instances, but I'm worried inside that we won't make the connecting flight to Ottawa; it's going to depend on when we get to Toronto, and how long it takes us to go through Customs and rebook the connecting flight. This flight delay is nothing new, I've experienced them before, but it's a first for spross. Wonder if it'll turn him off flying. Frankly, I just want to get on the plane, and leave the U.S. at this point.
We're currently sitting in the flight lounge in Toronto International Airport, waiting for the flight home. The flight from Indy arrived in Toronto at 7:55 pm. We took the long walk through Customs and it was relatively painless. We reclaimed our baggage, but by this point, I was seriously stressed out by the lack of food, and was having a serious case of the shakes. It made me suffer a severe panic attack when we were waiting in line at the ticket agent's to get the flight rebooked for the 10:30 pm flight to Ottawa. We got the boarding passes, had the luggage tagged and did the conveyer belt thing, and then went through Canada Customs. (I think I've got the sequence here mixed up somewhat, but it's been a stressful day, and I'm definitely sick with something, as I'm still sneezing.)
We went through Canadian Customs, and I didn't have any problems with the declaration and stuff, though I was still somewhat panicky. We made our way to the gate for the flight to Ottawa, and then went into a small restaurant nearby, the 912 Grill, where I finally had some food - a (fried) chicken burger and a Caesar salad, and stole some of spross's fries. The burger was not great, but it was the fuel I need. I also took my supper dose of the diabetes meds.
I just heard over the PA that the flight to Ottawa has been delayed until 10:45 pm. Just that kind of day, and consistent with things so far.
August 21st, 2012
I'm home. I'm actually lying in bed right now, just finishing up this journal entry.
The flight to Ottawa boarded around 10:50 pm, and was pretty uneventful. Because we'd had to rebook onto a different connecting flight, spross and I didn't have seats together, but I was seated next to a pleasant mother and her young daughter who were travelling from San Fransisco to see family in Ottawa. They'd travelled even longer today than I had! We chatted a little bit about stuff, I had some pretzels and Diet Coke, and then napped for about twenty minutes of the flight. Peaceful, and relaxed, but anxious to get home.
The flight arrived uneventfully in Ottawa around 11:55 pm, but it was relatively easy to take the somewhat long walk to the baggage claim, and collect our suitcases. (Note: I was so tired and bleary-eyed by this point that I didn't even notice that my check-in suitcase had been damaged, one of the outside side compartments having the zipper and part of the lining torn away. Fortunately, when I got home, I saw that nothing had been taken or was missing from that pocket area.) spross's mother was supposed to pick us up at the airport, but we wandered around outside for around 15 or 20 minutes looking for her. When she arrived, I was so grateful and relieved and the adrenalin rush of the day disappeared, and I almost collapsed into the car. The trip back to my place was uneventful, though I was feeling quite chilled, and when we finally reached my place around 12:40 or so, I saw that my mother was there, waiting for me.
After spross helped me carry the luggage into the house, we chatted for a couple of minutes and I thanked SteveR's mom profusely. After they left, I managed to carry the luggage and carry-on bags down to the lower level of the house, and unpacked a few of the toiletries. After my mother left, satisfied that I had survived intact, I took a couple of Robaxacet tablets, and had a half-bagel with cream cheese and some celery, and then went down to sleep in my own bed. I've just finished writing up this journal, so now it's time for some sleep - in my own bed.
Good night, all.
And that's it, the final entry about the actual trip to Indianapolis and the events of GenCon 2012. This was a very long Monday, due to the flight delays and the like, but I'm just glad I got home that day and didn't have to spend a night in Toronto, or Goddess help me, Indianapolis.
In any event, I'll be writing just one more post about this year's GenCon, a retrospective of sorts, some thoughts on the convention, and a pair of photos of my loot from the convention.
As always, thoughts and comments are much appreciated. :)