Flight Delayed

Today I learned a lesson: Check your flight status before you leave for the airport.

When I arrived to the airport I was surprised to see that on the departure list that my flight, United 486 to Chicago O’Hare, was delayed 3 hours. I don’t know if the status changed while I was in the cab to the airport or before I left. But, now I’m writing this from gate N10 at SeaTac wondering if I could still be at home enjoying the Seahawk game on TV instad of sitting at the airport. Needless to say, I signed up for notifications from United to be sent to my e-mail and mobile phone to ensure that I’m kept up to date with my flight’s status.

I broke a sweat, but I made it

I’ve made it to my hotel in Chicago, but it wasn’t without a little stress along the way.

Saturday afternoon I made the decision to have a cab come and pick me up at home around 10:30a for my 12:20p flight. I figured that an hour and a half should be enough time at the airport to check my bags (I already had my boarding pass), go thru security, get lunch, and board my flight. My cab ride was fine and it got me to the airport at the time I thought it would. However, when I entered the airport it looked like a zoo.

My first thought was “Thank God I printed my boarding pass”. The line to print out a boarding pass looked at least 45 minutes long and it was wrapped out the door the the departure drop off. So, I headed to the line for folks who had their boarding pass, but needed to check in their bags. I had one bag to check since I’ll be gone a few days short of two weeks. I got in the line thinking I’m in good shape since there were only two people in font of me. But, this line quickly caused me to panic.

There were two kiosks that were available for people to check in their bags with. When I arrived, they were both occupied. One with an older couple and another couple who looked like they had no idea what they were doing (I saw them start over at least five times). As 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes passed, they didn’t have their bags checked. They were still trying to figure out how to work those kiosks. This was driving me nuts, since I knew that I had very little time to waste. Finally the older couple gets their bags checked and the first person in line goes ahead. He is in and out in a matter of minutes. The next fellow in line goes up. He looks to be just out of high school, or in the early stages of college. Even he can’t figure out the kiosk.

Luckily, a NWA rep ushered me to another machine and I get my stuff taken care of. My total time spent using the machine, maybe two minutes. I even got the chance to change my seat to an exit row. But, even with that good news, I have to stand there and wait 5 more minutes because the woman manning the two kiosks at her station can’t multi task. She is too pre occupied with a pending credit card transaction for an overweight bag to put my one tag on my one bag and let me go. So, I stand there, ask her politely if she can help me as I only have one bag and my boarding time is quickly approaching, she acknowledges me, and continues to wait for the credit card transaction to complete.

After I get my bag checked, I make my way to security. At this time It is around 11:25a and boarding for my flight starts at 11:40a with a 12:20p departure time. I overhear someone ask how long the line takes and the agent says about 30 minutes. I start sweating bullets and ask if there is anything she can do to help me since the line is so long. In more or less words she says no and I walk away before she finishes, since I’m going to end up back in line anyways. I knew asking was a long shot, but I figured what the hell.

Watching time tick by I finally get through security and I begin to book it to the tram that leads to the S gates. I’m the last one to make it on the tram and I have a little bit of time to catch my breath and put by laptop back into my bag. Because, once I got my shoes back on, I grabbed all of my stuff and ran.

Once the tram made it to the S gates, I booked it up the long ass flight escalators and ran to the gate. I arrived as I heard “final boarding” from the gate agent. I hand her my ticked and I’m in. At this point I am sweating and thinking I need food and water, but I’ll have to wait for the cart service and one of those $5 box lunches. But, as I enter the main cabin, it might as well have been a sauna. So, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that I wasn’t baking sitting on the plane. Apparently, one of the APUs that starts up the engines, which lets the plane be cool, was busted and they needed an electrical truck for assistance starting the plane. No worries, I’m already sweaty.

Finally, the engines turn on, cold air hits my face and I can relax in my exit row seat. All is well.

The rest of my trip was thankfully way less uneventful and now I’m at my hotel room trying to see if I can get to sleep at a reasonable hour for tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes.

First Business Trip

Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Chicago to visit my Test Team for the first time. This trip will also mark my first “official” business trip with Avanade and my third trip to Chicago. I have been to a couple of Fly Back Friday’s but, I don’t really consider those business trips since it’s really an internal meeting for the region. I’m excited to go since it’ll be first trip related to client work, but I’m also looking forward to it since I’m breaking it up with vacation in between to Minnesota.

My schedule has me in Chicago Sunday night to Tuesday night, flying to Minnesota Tuesday night and staying there until Monday early morning. Then I’m back in Chicago for Monday until Thursday evening when I head back to Seattle. It’ll be kinda weird to be away from Seattle so long, but I am looking forward to the vacation break that I’ll have in between. The last time that I had off for vacation was when Jamie and I went to Washington D.C. in March for five days.

It will also be strange because currently Jamie is in London and Germany, and she’ll beat me back by a couple of days. So, when I get back she’ll be here, which will be nice since we’ll have not seen each other for over two and a half weeks. But, luckily for us there’s technology like Skype and IM to keep is in touch with each other.

But, when I’m in Chicago, I hear that the Taste of Chicago will be going on, so if I have the time I may have to go and check that out. Then when I get to Minnesota, the Taste of Minnesota will be going on, and I’m sure I’ll be going to the Bite of Seattle too when that’s in town… lots of food festivals to go and enjoy, I can’t wait.

USB Key Lost and Found

Yesterday afternoon was a whirlwind of meetings. From 1pm until 5pm I was booked solid in four different meetings. I was going from room to room and building to building at Microsoft. Usually this isn’t a problem, but yesterday was a big day. It was the day that the system requirements, which I am responsible for were to be sent out to be signed off by the business. And when I say “by the business”, I mean that 25 people have to all say “yup looks good to me!” Somehow in the moving from room to room I had removed my USB key from my pocket and left it somewhere in building 40. I didn’t realize that I was missing it at the time.

Fast forward to this morning and I’m in the process of gathering the items from my “pile” of stuff that I use everyday. Wallet, check. Phone, check. Keys, check. Chapstick, check. USB Key, uh…. where that thing?

After I have the items from my pile the next part of my morning routine is to check the traffic and my e-mail on my phone when I am leaving for work. When I checked my e-mail I noticed a mail from Trevor, who is also working out at Microsoft on a different project, asking if I was missing my USB key. Holy Crap! Yes! I quickly replied in my car (I was parked in my driveway) and sent it off. But, minutes later I realized I had only sent my response to Trevor and not the rest of the folks on the thread. Doh!

Once I arrived at my desk, I cracked open Outlook and read the thread. It’s actually pretty amazing how this got linked back to me.

A very nice man finds my USB key in one of the two conference rooms I was in yesterday in Building 40. He e-mails somebody he knows to ask her if it is hers. He asks her because he saw a folder on the root of my USB key that is jamiey.net. Her name was Jamie Yu… jamiey. Go figure, she happened to be missing a USB key as well. Since it wasn’t hers, she decided to visit jamiey.net to see if she could get any info about who it might be. She finds out that Trevor’s name is listed as a friend on her site and she looks him up in the GAL. Next, Trevor is brought into the thread. It’s not his USB key, but Trevor includes me since he knows I spend quite a bit of time on that side of campus. Now I enter the thread and see that my missing USB key was found. Sweet!

When I couldn’t find it this morning I figured that I had thrown it in my bag and that I’d look for it when I got to work. Needless to say, this was a awesome surprise when I checked my mail this morning. After loosing my digital camera on the plane back from my brother’s wedding, you wonder if people return things that are found. This was a huge thing to me to have this returned to me. Not only is there highly confidential information on this USB key, but somebody thought to take the time to seek out it’s owner. That’s the part that really impresses me. Needless to say I am extremely thankful and now there’s a “HELP_IM_LOST.txt” file on the root of my USB key now.

No Fly Back for Ryan

The project I’m currently on out at Microsoft has had new work presented to us and we need a prototype developed by Monday. Seeing that the remaining members of our team were going to head out to the West Region Fly Back this weekend, we found out that we wouldn’t have time to get the prototype done. This left us with the only viable option: not attending fly back. I’m kinda bummed, but when you work in a client driven business we are there to meet the client’s needs and that’s what we’ll do. We’ll have the prototype by Monday.