Two Days of “Not Existing” AKA…United Airlines Sucks

I’ve missed you guys. I haven’t blogged or read any since Friday night I believe. There has been very little time with socializing, memorial services, and getting into trouble. I’ll deal with all three of these items this week. Today I’m going to deal with travelling. UGH!!!

I was scheduled to fly out of San Diego Monday afternoon at 3:45. It was a quick jaunt to Denver, get another flight to Des Moines, rent a car and drive an hour east and I’d be home. Just like the responsible traveller I am I got to the airport way in advance of my two hour required window. I returned my rental car, jumped on the shuttle to the airport and was there in plenty of time. I entered the terminal by crossing the bridge, going down the escalator and then turning to move toward the line for United. From my view things didn’t look so bad so I continued walking forward. And then I realized what was happening. The line for United didn’t look bad because 99% of the people in line weren’t in the terminal. They were outside, snaking down the sidewalk. Annoyed but realizing if I wanted to fly I had to stand in line I went to my place in line. The staff was giving us very little information so I called United to make sure that the flights were not cancelled. They weren’t. They were just delayed.

The line moved very fast and I had some nice people to keep my company. There was the rich southern California woman who was sending her mother home to Nebraska and kept asking me to watch her things. There was the cute boy behind her who was chatting with everyone. There was the bear, two people behind me, who spent 45 minutes explaining to the nice but dense girl behind me what the problem was. And then there was Bubba. Bubba was pissed. And he was taking it out on the world. Most of the time he was yelling at United employees on the phone. “IF YOU CAN’T GET ME HOME TONIGHT THEN FUCKING CONNECT ME TO AN AIRLINE THAT WILL””HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON IN SAN DIEGO WHEN YOU ARE IN THE PHILIPPINE’S.” “GET ME YOUR SUPERVISOR–AND HOW LONG IS A MOMENT”YES, BOB I WANT TO KNOW WHAT COUNTRY YOU ARE IN BEFORE YOU START TALKING. NEVER-MIND GET ME YOUR SUPERVISOR”. This went on for the 2 hours we stood in line trying to find out what was happening.

Finally, just as I was getting to the door and was going to be allowed in, the lady doing crowd control, came by and explained that yes I could get to Denver but I wouldn’t make my connection. Okay. At least I know something now. It’s not awful. In fact I have a choice. I can stay in San Diego, meet my friend J.S. for coffee and then go hook up with some boys, and then head to T.M’s house to hang out before bed. Or I could fly to Denver and meet up with C.T. who lives there and hang out. I decided since there was the opportunity to play with boys I would stay in town.

At this point I’m still in line. I’ve been told I can wait and deal with my ticket at the counter or I can deal with it on the phone. I call, talk to some really nice guy with an accent and set up a plan. I would leave on United Airlines Flight 718 (I remember this because it’s Brooklyn’s area code) at 8:10 tomorrow morning. My connection gets into to Des Moines at 3:00.

I get out of line and head to the rental car phones. I call three companies before I find one that’s somewhat cheap. I get the shuttle and go to get my car. I get there fill out all the appropriate forms, insurance etc. When the grand total comes it was well over $100 just for 12 hours. This is fucked. But what can I do. I have to have a car if I am going to get around.

I then head to Starbucks in Hillcrest to have coffee with J.S. We chatted for about 2 hours. Mostly about the memorial service and the psychotic tendencies of our friend A.N. We end the conversation by walking to my car and I gave her a most beautiful blue scarf that I had crocheted for her. She loved it. We said our goodbyes and then it was time for boys.

If you have been reading my blog for a LONG time you might remember a place that my friend T.M. and I call The Watering Hole. It’s a place where one goes to meet men and do things with them. Things like have sex with them. I’m not proud that I go to these places but sometimes a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. So since I had time I wandered over to The Watering Hole and had some fun. I was there for about 3 hours having a last hurrah before I go back to the Land Of Giants and No Gay People.

At home I check email. Call Enterprise to change my reservation from Monday to Tuesday. Uh-oh, another snag. They have cancelled my reservation and there are no cars for Tuesday. I’m SOL. What that means is I have to rent a car from another car rental place drive home, and then the next day drive back to Des Moines to return it and exchange it for an Enterprise Car because Enterprise is the only car rental place in a million miles of where I live. Damn…Now what am I going to do. The lady at Enterprise recommends calling tomorrow to see if things have changed. I say that I will.

So I go to bed and go to sleep. At 5:00 a.m the alarm goes off. I snooze it a couple of times and finally roll out of bed at 5:25. By 6:00 a.m. I am in the car headed to the airport. I drop off the car, get shuttled over again and get in line for United. A much shorter line I might add. I get called to be next and I go over to the “easy” self check in counter, swipe my card and am told I don’t exist. Please pick up the phone and talk to an agent. He confirms that I don’t exist. I am not in the system at all. Not only am I not in the system, there is NO FLIGHT 718 TO DENVER AT 8:10 in the morning. There’s no 718 at all. They do have a record of my reservation yesterday but that was listed as a “NO SHOW” and was taken out of the system. I’ll have to talk to a “REAL” person in San Diego.

I stand in line some more and the “REAL” person confirms that yes I don’t have a reservation, and yes there is no Flight 718, and he’ll see what he can do. So he starts looking. At first he tells me the best he can do is get to me to Des Moines around 11:00 p.m. through Chicago. I explain that’s not an option. He gets back to work. Finally what we agree to do is book me through Chicago on the flight that gets in at 11:00 but let me stand by on earlier flights and pray that things go my way and I make it earlier.

I’m rambling on, but that’s what happened. I got on the first flight to Chicago at 8:30. In Chicago I had to wait three hours but I got on the 4:50 flight to Des Moines. During this time I continue to call Enterprise where I am assured that they WON’T have cars, but to keep trying back. At around 6:15 tonight I landed. What luck my bag was one of the first to show up. I went to Enterprise and waited behind 5 people — all returning cars. Therefore I could have one of the newly returned cars if I didn’t mind if it wasn’t cleaned first. I was finally given some ridiculously large van and sent on my way.

I got home at around 7:45. There is power on my side of the street. The other side of the street not so lucky. I have no cable thus no internet…I’m at school right now. All of this is the result of a hideous ice storm that came through on Saturday. I’ll take a picture tomorrow but a big chunk of the tree that used to sit in front of my house is now in my drive way.

Through all of this I stayed somewhat calm despite the fact that I am supposed to be starting round two of my interview tomorrow complete with a portfolio review at 4:30. Luckily, they have given me the day off tomorrow and I’ll get to sleep late and then come to school and put my presentation together.

Remembering I am powerless over most of the world is a wonderful thing.

Something old, something new…

Will someone please slap me the next time I say the weather in Southern California is boring. I’m beginning to realize that I didn’t appreciate what I had. It’s beautiful here today. It’s 66 degrees outside and the there’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s an absolutely perfect day to spend with a friend antique shopping, which is what my friend T.M and I have done today. Neither of us found anything but it was still fun to look.

T.M and I began to frequent antique and thrift stores about 2 years ago. We both like the hunt for treasures although, we don’t always find anything. We discovered this common interest when we discovered we both collected different types of dishes. He collects several different types. I collect Franciscan Starburst and Franciscan Ferndel dishes.

starburstveg.jpg

It’s a long story as to how these collections started. About ten years ago I was teaching high school in Ohio and the principal of our school decreed that all items in the theatre prop storage were to be thrown away. She felt the properties room was messy and thought that throwing everything away would take care of the problem. So over the weekend she had the custodial staff put everything into the dumpsters. When I realized what was happening, I made a couple of piles of things to take home that I liked. One pile was the beginnings of a set of dishes from the Franciscan Starburst pattern. I though they were cool and I really like kitchen items from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. So I took the dishes home, put them away and didn’t think much about it. I discovered over the years that they were valuable collector’s items and I began to look for more pieces to add to my collection. So when T.M and I discovered we both collected things like this we began to make dates to search antique stores and thrift stores in the San Diego area. We would go every couple of months. Sometimes we would find things…sometimes not. But it was fun just to look.

I now have a huge number of pieces in this pattern and through a strange twist of circumstances began collecting the Ferndel pattern as well. I told you people I was gay. So today we hit one of our favorite antique spots. We both found a few things interesting but nothing worth the price they were asking. As I said though, it was a perfect way to spend the day.

Tonight we are having dinner with my friend A.C. and then going to the theatre to see a show my friends have described as awful beyond belief. The one saving grace is that there are scantily clad boys in the show…and I know some of them and they are beautiful so hopefully it’ll make it worth while.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend.

I’m in the Witness Protection Agency…so I had to move!

For absolutely no apparent reason, I decided last night to join the band wagon and switch to WordPress. The jury is still out as to whether I like it better. I do have to admit that the one problem I was having was addressed and responded to in about 7 hours. I’ve never been able to figure out how to ask Blogger a question.

So here’s my look look. My new sight. I’ll be trying to fix it up as I go and make it look spiffy.

Quick question for all you pros out there. Is there a way that I can import my blogroll without having to enter one link at a time.

Oh, and I’m feeling much better. I played with gay people tonight. And my cold seems to be almost gone. We’ll see tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend.

Maddog

I’m still a sick Maddog. I’ve come to the realiza…

I’m still a sick Maddog. I’ve come to the realization that breathing is highly over rated. Especially through the nose. If God had meant for us to breath through our nose he wouldn’t have given us other options. Right? I’m going to try and get to bed early tonight hoping some good rest will hit the spot.

In other news, I’m travelling to San Diego tomorrow. I’ll be there until Monday. You have no idea how much I’m looking forward to being around other people. I haven’t had a non-school related conversation with someone face-to-face in almost six weeks. It’ll be great to talk about politics, and movies, and drink beer with people that I know. If I weren’t sick I’d be jumping up and down with joy right now.

In Iowa news. I had another mediocre meal tonight. I’m now o for 10 in the food world. Ten meals out of ten mediocre meals. Tonight the chair of the department treated all of us out for dinner to welcome me to the department and to treat the woman who is here designing scenery for the spring show. My big question is: How is the meat tough? By my best guess, it was alive on a pig farm down the street two minutes ago. It was probably eating breakfast this morning without a care in the world and now it’s sitting on my plate covered in yucky barbecue sauce and so tough it would take 3 days to chew through it. And to make matters worse the portions are huge. I wouldn’t mind so much, if the food was good. But why make a situation worse by giving me more bad food than I would ever want. I’ve decided to give up eating out in Iowa. Maybe I’ll treat myself to Hardee’s, McDonald’s, or Dairy Queen. At least then I know what the food will taste like and I won’t be expecting more than I get.

On a better note the temperature has been in the 50’s for the past few days. Which is good and bad. Good because I was just about done with the extremely cold weather. Bad for two reasons. The first: The warm weather melts the snow during the day. At night the temperature drops back down below freezing and for the past three days I’ve ice skated home. And if any of you know me, you’d know how non-athletic I am. I’ve almost hit the ground at least a dozen times. This leads to me bad reason number two. There are no street lights to light my way from school to home. I walk home blindly lit by the passing cars or what little light spills from the living rooms of the houses I pass. Therefore, it’s impossible to see the ice on the side walk until you are already skating across it. Or even better, you can’t see the puddle in the middle of the walk until you are ankle deep in ice cold water. Both feet were soaked tonight before I got home.

Did I mention that I was going to San Diego where it’s always warm and never rains. Somebody slap me the next time I say I miss winter.

I can’t breathe. I haven’t been able to breathe a…

I can’t breathe. I haven’t been able to breathe all day. And to make matters worse, my nose is running. I finally had to excuse myself today in class to go get tissue because I could no longer hide the fact that my nose was running.

I don’t think I mentioned it but I had a job interview on Friday. I had the first interview to be hired for the full time tenure track position in Iowa. The interview went amazingly well. I don’t think I could have been more on if I had wanted to. I had all the right answers and was able to answer all the questions honestly, with the answers I think they are looking for. Of course now it’s just wait and see. I feel like the interview went well because I’m not 100% sure that I want the job. I just don’t know if living in small town America is for me. But who knows we’ll have to wait and see. But I do think that interviews for jobs you don’t want always go better because there’s no pressure. If it works out great. If it doesn’t great.

I also know that someone from my small town is reading my blog. The hit shows up every couple of days on my site counter. I continue to hope that it’s the guy that I met on line who told me he had found my blog. I would hate to think that some student of mine has found me and reading my deep dark secrets. Actually, I haven’t told any truly deep dark secrets in a while. The more I get to know all of you the more I edit myself. I don’t want you to find out what I am really like because then you won’t like me. At least that’s my perception.

I woke up yesterday with the beginnings of a cold….

I woke up yesterday with the beginnings of a cold. I attributed most of it to allergies, so I took some Claritin and after a couple of hours felt okay and I thought the worst of it was behind me. That was not the case. I woke up this morning and it was back with a vengeance. I’m congested, tired, sneezing and just feel overall like crap. I found the local pharmacy and bought some Sudafed Sinus medicine. It’s helped a little but I still feel like crap. I got home around 4:00 and by 4:15 I was taking a nap. I had thought I would sleep for about 30 minutes. I woke up to the phone ringing at 7:00. I had been SOUNDLY asleep, dreaming about school. Who knows how long I would have slept if the phone hadn’t woke me up. I will probably never get to sleep tonight after sleeping so late in the afternoon.

The worst part about the cold is that I’m a terrible sick person. I have the hardest time functioning when I am sick and like to do pretty much nothing but sleep. Unfortunately, I have a very busy week. Classes are going to take a lot of planning. In fact, one class I’m winging tomorrow, because I just didn’t have the energy to do what I had planned. I’m also in the process of doing a design for the local high school. They have a brand new theatre space and this will be their first fully produced production. It’s not a very complicated show, but it still takes work. I was surprised last Friday with the information that the design had to be completed before I left to go to San Diego on Thursday. I spent the weekend figuring out the rough designs. Tomorrow after class, I have to solidify my ideas and start drafting them. I don’t like drafting on a good day, but I especially don’t like it when I am sick. Perhaps Donnie or Digital would like to do some drafting for me? Luckily the design isn’t very complicated and shouldn’t take long to do, it’s just the reality that I have to do it.

I’m going to try and get some sleep now.

What I learned today in small town America. Audie…

What I learned today in small town America.

Audiences in a full theatre here behave just like they do in theatres in NYC. I went to see Bridge to Terabithia and the theatre was packed with screaming kids. There were at least two people who answered their cell phones and then there were the two teenagers who were eventually escorted from the theatre for throwing popcorn, farting, and disturbing everyone in the back of the theatre. For two plus hours I really felt like I was back in the big city. Just for the record the movie is not for small children. It’s really for kids 9 or 10 year olds. Unfortunately, the average age today was about 4 and they were BORED.

I also learned that unlike NYC people here don’t assume what your buying should go in a bag. I went to the Kum and Go (Insert joke here) last night and the girl looked at me like I had three heads when I asked for a bag for my things. The same thing happened today at the grocery store. Is it too much to ask that when you buy something that it can be put into something you can carry.

After almost six weeks in Iowa I’ve yet to find a restaurant in town that has decent food. Tonight I tried Chinese. I’ve heard since I got here which Chinese place is best and was told in fact that the one next to the coffee shop was excellent. I guess excellent is relative. I had the worst broccoli chicken I’ve ever had. It’s was completely lacking in flavor and I almost didn’t know I was eating. It was more than a little disappointing.

That’s it today for Life Lessons in Iowa.

I keep learning a lot about small town life. For …

I keep learning a lot about small town life. For example today I learned that just because it’s the best diner in town, doesn’t mean it’s the best diner ever. I ventured out in the fresh snow today to get breakfast out for the first time since moving here. I had been directed to the A & M Diner about 10 or so blocks from my house, so around 10:30 or so I headed over.

I wanted to take pictures but I wasn’t sure that the locals would like it much. Let’s just say it’s a DIVE! In fact, there was an entry door that led into the restaurant, except it opened up on to what looks like a large storage closet. In that room there were about 5 or so solid doors an old refrigerator some boxes and other odds and ends. One of the doors had a hand written sign that said “pull to enter.” I wasn’t sure what to expect or even if I was in the right place, but I went to the door and pulled. Inside was the seating area for the restaurant. It was a huge open space with a concrete floor, plastic chairs and old signs on the wall. At one end of the room was a Christmas tree on a stage that had been decorated for Valentine’s Day. The room was so thick with smoke that you could cut it with a knife.

The restaurant was about half full and I wandered in looking for a place to sit. I was also looking for a place I could breathe. The seating area is quite large and I kept moving all the way to the back corner. There was a booth open. I sat down and waited. Scattered around the room was thirty or so people and my guess would be that 75% of them over the age of 10 were smoking. Luckily my corner seemed to be out of the air flow. After about 10 minutes or so “Flo” showed up with a menu and water. The menu looked like it had seen better days. “Flo” went off to get me a Diet Pepsi and I began to look for breakfast. I decided on a ham and cheese omelet and a cinnamon roll. “Flo came back, took my order and was off again. I might add at this point that the most expensive thing on the menu was 6.50 I think. It was for some sort of lunch meal.

I waited a few minutes and my cinnamon roll appeared. It was huge, smothered in icing and looked great. Ah, but disappointment was soon to present itself. The roll had the consistency and taste of white bread. It was soft and mushy and had no flavor. In fact if it weren’t covered in icing it would have had no flavor at all. I ate about half of it, because I was starving and still waiting for my breakfast. Eventually my omelet was dropped off. I might start by saying that most of the ingredients were on the outside. The cheese was melted on top of the eggs and the ham was sprinkled on top of that. And it tasted awful. I wouldn’t even know how to describe it other than awful. I ate about a half of it. Luckily, it’s hard to screw up hash browns and toast so those were enough to fill me up.

“Flo” had dropped off the check with the omelet in true diner fashion. The bill was totalled but it was easy to see that the entire thing was less than ten dollars. My favorite part of the morning was that omelet was spelled omlet on the check. I took a deep breath and headed for the cashier. I paid and was out the door.

As I said I have been told that this is the best diner in town. I’m not even sure where the other one is and I have been assured it’s too far to walk. What I do know is this one is not worth the walk. If I go back it will only be to take pictures for you guys so you can see the proof of what I’m talking about.

It’s been a great day. I actually saw another gay…

It’s been a great day. I actually saw another gay man in town tonight. Before you get excited it’s not like we had sex or anything. In fact we didn’t even speak. We just kind of glanced at each other across the coffee shop secretly knowing the truth.

I discovered that one of the coffee shops in town also functions as a bar. So on Monday and then again today, I went there to prep for my classes and to have a beer. It’s been kind of nice being out where other people are and since I don’t/can’t drink coffee after lunch or it keeps me up all night, beer is the perfect alternative. So today I got to the coffee shop around 4:00 and ordered my beer and a bowl of tomato soup and got to work. It took about an hour an half to get my notes together for tomorrow. I then ordered another beer, and scanned my notes. While I had been there the place had kind of cleared out and since I knew talking on my cell phone wouldn’t bother anyone I decided to catch up on some calls. While I was on the phone… in walked Mr. Gay Man. As he walked in and to the back of the shop, he glanced at me three or four times. He settled in and I continued my phone call, but every once in a while I noticed him watching me. Unfortunately, he was with a number of other people and so there wasn’t a time for us to talk. It was nice though at least seeing someone else gay. And he was kind of cute. He was probably in his late 40’s with just a touch of grey at the temples. And he was short, and you know how I like my short boys. I may just have to go hang out there some more and see if he shows up. I’ll keep you posted.

Hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day.

Maddog’s Monday check-in on Tuesday: I haven’t po…

Maddog’s Monday check-in on Tuesday:

I haven’t posted in the last couple of days because I haven’t had much to say. There’s not much going on here and if I have one more conversation just about the weather I’m going to scream. I’ve been talking to my mother almost once a day and she can talk about the weather for 40 minutes without talking about anything else.

So what has been going on with me? I went to the movies twice over the weekend. As I reported Happily N’ever After sucked. However, I did see Dreamgirls again. It was just as engaging the second time as it was the first. The audience was more reserved and no one applauded but I felt like they were enjoying it as much as I was. Overall, it’s a great movie and it’s easy to see why Jennifer Hudson is getting the attention that she is.

I applied for two jobs last week. One was the full time position here in Iowa. The other was in Oklahoma. The job application process for Oklahoma sucked. It all had to be done on line and the catch is there is no way to go back and add documents once you process the application. Unfortunately, I didn’t‘ have electronic copies of my transcripts so I don’t know if I’ll be considered for the position or not. At this point, I’m not too worried about it. I do have a phone interview scheduled for the job here in Iowa. I have no idea what to expect and I’m not even sure I want the job, but at the very least it will be practice interviewing which I haven’t done in a while.

As for my weight this week. I gained 1.5 pounds last week. This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be but it’s still not losing. I have been eating everything in sight…well not really but too much to lose weight. It’s all out of boredom and I’m aware of this. Unfortunately, I am bored.

The one saving grace is that I leave for San Diego in a week and a half. I’m going out for four days to go my friend’s memorial service. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone as well as having some warm weather.

Have a great rest of the week.