Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Sleep Deprivation

The effects of sleep deprivation are not pleasant, especially when traveling through the holidays on business. As I have grown older, I have a lower tolerance and increased sensitivity to beaurocracy and stupidity. Maybe I've started to grow a little inflexible, but this kind of job will do that to you. I'm going to hit the magic 300,000 miles this year, which is a record for me. Getting there was not without its costs. This week, I had a long trip into Des Moines, and then another trip into Houston. Traveling during a holiday week is the first step down the road of insanity. There were a lot of families slowing the lines, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I arrived in Des Moines after midnight, and had to do a lot of "catch up" work, which only allotted me about 2 hours of sleep. After that, I had to catch a late flight into Houston (arriving at 1am), due to the cost of the flight, which caused me to have a grand total of 45 minutes of sleep before I had to start getting ready at 5am. I'm not sure how I was able to function, but I got through both days. It's a good thing I have an "auto-pilot" setting. Even with that, I don't recall too much of the last couple of days. Maybe that's a good thing. Another horriffic trip starts again on Monday. Later.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Delay In Dallas

The journey is sometimes more memorable than the actual trip itself. Earlier this week, we had a few weather issues which grounded me in Dallas on the way to New Orleans. It was one of those classical trips in which I started out at 4am, as you can see by my previous post. My connecting flight in Dallas was missing an airplane. In fact, the airplane got diverted to Sheveport, and couldn't take off again. So, they decided to get a plane from Little Rock to take us over, but, as you know, there is always the staffing issue as well. We were missing crew. This caused the flight board to move from 3:35 to 4:15 to 5:00 to 6:00 to 5:35 to 6:25 to 7:35 to 6:00 to 6:25 to 7:00 to 6:45. This was, as you can imagine, a bit unnerving for all the passengers. Well, we did take off, eventually, but there was another problem -- It was no longer a 50-seater. They got a 37-passenger plane, and 13 people were bumped. I wasn't one of them, though. We had another problem, also. If we didn't take off by 7:30, the crew's time would expire, and none of us would get there. Anyhow, it was a mad rush to get to the plane in the downpour, and get everyone situated in order to take off just in time. What an adventure! Later.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Battle Stations

I spent yet another all-nighter preparing for the next trip. Considering that the flight is out of LAX, and it is at some unreasonable hour in the middle of the night, like 7am, I decided that it was only appropriate. From the work perspective, I'm nowhere near ready to go. Don't get me wrong -- I'm almost packed, and I have most of my paperwork together, in preparation to leave for the airport. Even being up all night did not quite get me ready for what I needed for this week. I'm still backlogged with some tech work. I'm also not really mentally prepared to get on that airplane in the darkness of the night, once again. But I guess it's time for me to get back onto the playing field. Now, as I was saying earlier -- onward to New Orleans and Nashville! Yet another all-week trip begins once again. All hands to battle stations! Later.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Crash Landing

For every thing there is a first time. This week, I actually called in sick. You see, I think I got some bad curried tuna or something in Sacramento. I was scheduled to be in Dallas for the rest of the week, but instead, I got to stay at home and get some rest. It takes a lot to get me off the road. Granted, I felt like something from Alien was going to burst out of my gut. After all, this is the first time in over a decade that I called in sick, and it is the first time that I have had to arrange alternative coverage for an appointment. I'm usually pretty resilient, and travel while sick, dying, or zombified. I'm feeling much better now. I guess there's a lot to be said for getting some rest. Onward to New Orleans! Later.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Undulations Of Sacramento

I'm sure my friend Nancy will appreciate this post. I recently returned from Sacramento, and I ran across an unusal sign in a residential neighborhood -- Undulations Ahead. Now, being the inquisitive type of person that I am, I was wondering what exactly that meant -- undulations. The dictionary defines undulations as 1. A regular rising and falling or movement to alternating sides; movement in waves. 2. A wavelike form, outline, or appearance. 3. One of a series of waves or wavelike segments. Sounds like something that happens in -- well, you know. Anyhow, I was wondering what was so special about this neighborhood to have several warning signs about undulations ahead. Are people really that more prolific in this neighborhood than any other neighborhood in the rest of the country? Then, it suddenly occurred to me. There were bumps in the road. Why couldn't they just have said bumps ahead? Wouldn't that have been simpler? Only in California. . . Later.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Just Let Me Burn

Just when I thought there would be nothing to write about on my trip to Sacramento, I had another fire alarm incident, sort of. You see, despite the connection through Phoenix, and the flogging at Long Beach security yesterday, I kind of assumed it was just going to be another one of those normal travel days. Anyhow, when I arrived in Sacramento, I got a cab driver who didn't really speak English. I had no idea if he was taking me for a tour of the town or to my hotel. At least I got there in one piece. After I checked in to my hotel, I decided to go right to sleep. After all, it was around one in the morning. Around two in the morning, the smoke detector started to beep intermittently. Given the fact that I am one of those vertically-challenged individuals, I decided to stand on a chair to disconnect it. I was figuring that I just wanted sleep. They could just let me burn for all I cared at that hour. After figuring out that the smoke detector was connected to wires in the ceiling, I decided to call the front desk and got another room. Well, I just got home in time to go to Dallas on Wednesday. I'm off again. I must be, in order to do this job . . . Later.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Stringing Along

Once again, it's all about security. It's amazing. After a quick unpack and repack job, I went back to the airport for yet another flogging, less than 12 hours later. At smaller airports, you practically have to strip down to your underwear in order to pass through security. This time, as I was putting my belt back on, it got caught in one of the plastic trays that go through the x-ray machine. Unfortunately, the TSA agent decided to gather the trays with my belt buckle stuck in between the trays. As my belt was halfway on, and I was stuck to the tray, she decided that was the appropriate moment to stack the trays and move them, dragging me across the counter with them. Not one of my finer moments, to be sure. Well, at least it was a short trip. I returned home, just in time to go out again on Sunday. Until then. Later.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Back In Time

The temptation here is to sleep. After all, it's about 1:30 in the morning, and I just got back home. The good news is that I can sleep in my own bed. The bad news is that I'm scheduled to go to Phoenix tomorrow, I mean, today, then to Sacramento and various other locations on Sunday and beyond. Under normal circumstances that would be just another day in the life. This time, though, I just got back from Raleigh-Durham, and I'm noticing that the cross-country trips are really taking their toll. I got the official word that I might have some relief in sight, but even if they hire someone, it'll take about six to nine months to fully get someone up-to-speed with what needs to be done. I'm guessing that I'll fly apart long before that (if I haven't already). I should unpack, repack, and do all that other stuff, but I think I'll finish unpacking in the morning. Hope I have enough laundry for this. I just don't care any more. I'm tired. I could use some sleep. For me, this week doesn't end for at least another month. Onward to the Third Ring of . . . I mean, Phoenix. Later.