It began with a call to the shuttle company. Previously, it took 90 minutes to get to the hotel and all of the passengers had to hang on for dear life...literally. Since I didn't trust them, I called the morning of my departure to see if they were definitely going to show up as I had scheduled them to weeks ago. After many unsuccessful attempts, I finally got a a rude man on the phone. He said that even though I had made a reservation and printed a receipt and PAID, he didn't know when the driver would show up and if there was a even a seat available. He suggested I stand outside in the cold on the off chance I could catch the ride I had paid for, which is ridiculous. I ended up paying for the hotel shuttle and was quite pleased with the service.
I then arrived at the airport to find that my overstuffed luggage filled to the brim with conference freebies was going to cost an additional $90. I decided this was just too much and marched to the airport post office to unload 16 pounds from my luggage only to find out the post office was closed from 11am-12pm for lunch. I waited until they opened, rushed to remove the items from my luggage to cram into a box to ship home. When I was finished I raced to check in my luggage. I got in line and waited while the next available worker spoke on the phone. When the worker got off the phone, I put my luggage onto the scale and was told it was too late to check in my baggage and therefore, I couldn't board the plane. I was 2 minutes late - the 2 minutes it took this guy to pry himself from the phone.
Well, long story short, nothing could be done, I missed my 1 pm flight home, was on standby with no success for a 4pm flight and was stuck in the airport for 13.5 hours waiting for the 1 am flight. So here's a little synopsis of how I spent my time in the airport.
- I ate a nice lunch
- I sat around waiting for standby and occupied my time watching people prep the planes for flight.
- I shopped although I didn't see anything I wanted to buy.
- I found an area with desks and cubicles and played on the Internet.
- I rode the train, which takes you from one strip of terminals to another. It goes pretty fast and if you sit at the front you can watch the tracks and propeller artwork speed by through hills and curves like a roller coaster.
- I sat a bar forever, ate dinner and had 2 margaritas - very stiff ones I might add. It took the edge off my ordeal.
- Between 9-10pm every single store and restaurant shuts down and you are left with vending machines and nothing to do. I spent that time watching planes being prepped and some cute little bunny who apparently had a home by some barricades.
I took the 1am flight home and then add to tough out a 2.5 hour lay over in Atlanta. I spent my time there contemplating whether it would be OK for me to lay across the seats and sleep like some other people, but I am too self-conscious, so I ended up fighting off sleep.
The flight home was quick. My luggage was shipped on the 4pm flight and was the first to come out on the conveyor. I had my husband's car parked at the airport so I didn't have to wait, and I sped off to home to see my wonderful husband and daughter. Whew, what a long 24 hours.
I have lots to share of the conference. It will not be simply a summary of what I did. Instead I will tell you some of the tips I learned from each class and share some pictures. I'm leaving town for Savannah tomorrow (just a little over a day after getting home) for my annual girl trip, my mother, my daughter and me. I'm sure I'll have some interesting things to share.