Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Thanksgiving Break: A Pro/Con List

They say when you're having trouble making a decision, you should make a pro/con list. Well, I'm having trouble deciding how to blog about my Thanksgiving break. So let's give it a shot, in chronological order.


Pro: Going to visit my mom's family in Newport, RI for Thanksgiving. My relatives are great and I always love seeing them. Plus, it's Jill's big rollout to that side of my family.

Pro: Thanksgiving was delicious and my family loved Jill. And she liked them back. Success all around!

Pro: Was actually hungry at around 11:30 PM Thanksgiving night. Ordered online from a pizza place in town, and had to create a profile with my address. When I showed, the guy behind the counter was surprised -- he assumed the order from "Champaign, IL" was a prank. But he had made our pizza anyway, just in case! It was delicious.

Hey, this is going pretty well so far! Let's keep up the momentum!


Con: Travel home to Maryland, and am assigned the dreaded "pack up or give away your treasured childhood toys" project. I'm very sentimental and I seriously anthropomorphized my toys as a kid, so this sort of thing devastates me (I refuse to watch Toy Story 3, which I'm pretty sure would emotionally shatter me beyond repair).


Pro: It's my mom's birthday! And she likes the gifts Jill and I bought (jewelry). We're going to Morton's for dinner, too.

Pro: Jason's gift for mom is even better than mine, but I love my mom so this counts as a "pro" too. Besides, Virginia got slaughtered by Virginia Tech, so he needed the pick me up.

Con: Morton's was delicious, but I actually ate myself sick, which I don't think I've ever done before.


Pro: See a bunch of old high school friends, one of whom is now a law student and wanted my advice. Office hours practice! Also try Settlers of Catan for the first time. It was a lot of fun, even if I did get blown out (stupid ore).

Con: Have to drive up to Annapolis for an all-day professionalism course to be admitted to the MD bar. I hate driving. Even when I don't get lost. Which I did. And I had to rent a car, which turned out to be a Kia Soul. I feel like a massive tool.

Con: I just can't be trusted around food this weekend. Get Ledo Pizza for dinner, another favorite of mine, and eat myself sick again. What is wrong with me?


Con: Hey, you know what takes the sting off a 7:30 AM wakeup call? A 2 AM fire alarm! Thanks, Sheraton!

Con: Professionalism course actually isn't as boring as I had feared, but it doesn't matter because the aforementoned fire alarm means I'm nodding off through the entire morning session anyway.

Pro: Afternoon session is a little better. I teach myself to make crosswords puzzles. It's a completely different skill set than filling them in. Mine aren't symmetrical, and have some two letter clues. But they're still pretty good for first efforts.

Con: Finally done! Roll back into Bethesda at around 6 PM, and check my cellphone (no electronic devices allowed at the professionalism course). My character interviewer called. Apparently about half of materials never arrived. He tells me to look into it. My interview is at 11 AM Tuesday. FML. Frantic phone calls ensue.


Con: It's rainy and otherwise miserable. Get to interviewer's office 10 minutes earlier, wait around for 45. My flight back to Illinois departs at 2:30, so I'm a little antsy.

Pro: Interviewer is really nice, and the whole thing takes about 5 minutes. Missing materials are apparently no problem -- just have folks fax him a letter. He also says "good, you're not an idiot" when I refrain from offering "any additional positive or negative things you want the character committee to know about your fitness to practice law?"

Pro: Tell the people who need to fax things to do so, and get to the airport in plenty of time. Things are looking up! And we're actually flying into Champaign (with a connection through Chicago), rather than having to take a train for once. My excitement at this fact will turn into bitter irony soon enough.

Con: Half a hamburger and my stomach starts aching. Oh come on.

Con: Flight from DC to Chicago is delayed an hour due to high winds in Chicago. Uh-oh.

Con: Flight from Chicago to Champaign canceled entirely. Double uh-oh.

Con: Gate agent puts me standby for the next flight to Champaign, which leaves O'Hare at 6:15. Also informs me it's booked solid.

Pro: Realize that there is no way we'll actually get on the Champaign flight, seize on the brilliant idea to just bail in Chicago and take the 8 PM train to Champaign. I'm so clever. I even get the gate agent to pull our bags and retag them to go to Chicago, so we can claim them at the Chicago carousel when we arrive.

Pro: 3:00 rolls around and we're boarding the plane.

Con: 3:30 rolls around and we're instructed to all get off the plane. The gate agent, with a keen insight on passenger psychology, informs us that if she hadn't deplaned us, we would have been stuck on the tarmac for 3 and a half hours. This staves off the torches and pitchforks.

Con: Flight is delayed indefinitely. Suddenly worried that it will get in too late to catch the 8 PM train. Also find out that there is another, 8:15 flight to Champaign which we probably could have gotten on if we missed the 6:15 flight. Curse myself for having "brilliant" ideas.

Con: It's about 5 PM, and we are about to start a half hour of being "just a few minutes away" from boarding.

Pro: It's 5:30 PM, and we've started to board. Hurray! Gate agent says the boarding process will be sped up if people volunteer to gate check their baggage. Nobody volunteers.

Pro: Gate agent gets back on the mic and informs us that if we don't push off the gate by 6 PM, the flight will be canceled outright. Repeats whether anyone is willing to gate check; swarmed by volunteers. She has a very keen grasp on passenger psychology.

Con: Everyone is on the plane by 5:40. We're just sitting here, waiting, at the gate. I wish there was a big red clock giving a countdown until 6 PM.

Pro: We push off at 5:55 PM. Awesome!

Pro: Flight is pretty smooth, but on the approach to O'Hare our jetliner is getting tossed around pretty bad by the wind. Suddenly glad I'm not flying on the 23-seat turboprop that would be going to Champaign.

Con: Land at about 6:30, central time. Frantically doing calculations about how long it will take to get our bags and catch a cab from O'Hare to Union Station. Compare this to the alternative plan of getting our bags, going back through security, and rebooking ourselves on the 8:15 Champaign flight. Not only do we really only have time to pursue one option, but again grapple with possibility that my "brilliant" idea will mean we miss both the plane and the train.

Con: Waiting at baggage, bags start coming off at around 6:50. Ours don't come. At 7:10 I go up to the lost baggage counter.

Pro: Our baggage is indeed lost. This counts as a "pro" because it means we no longer have to wait at O'Hare, and can high-tail it to Union Station. I fill out a quick form telling them where to ship the bags and ask them whether they think we'll make it to Union Station ontime for an 8 PM train. Fraught glances are exchanged.

Pro: Catch a cab, tell the driver our situation. He promises he'll try, then proceeds to weave through rush hour Chicago traffic like a fucking boss. I love him right now. We get to Union at 7:45 PM, joke we could have dawdled and seen the sights. I tip nearly 30%.

Pro: We just make the train. Text that we've "made it", even though "it" means being 3 hours from our final destination.

Pro: Get to Champaign and it's almost 11. Go to the 24-hour diner for dinner. Did I mention I haven't eaten since the half-hamburger at DCA approximately 11 hours ago? Famished. Scarf down two chili dogs with fries.

Con: Feel sick again. This whole concept of food is starting to unnerve me.


Con: Get "good news!" from American Airlines. They've found one of our two bags! I'm so proud, and cannot fathom why they're bankrupt.

Pro: Call them back and manage to track down bag #2. They're both in Champaign. She asks if I want them shipped or if we'll pick them up at the airport. Select "ship", refrain from mentioning that I already told them that back at O'Hare. Am informed I'll be called when they're on the way.

Con: Phone rings in class, so I ignore it, but figure it's AA telling me my bags are on the way. Wrong. It's AA telling me (again) they have my bags and want to know if I'd like them shipped or pick them up myself. If I call them back in five minutes (which is to say, 1 hour and 30 minutes ago), they can send them out at 3 PM!

Pro: Call AA back at around 5 PM, select the "ship" option. Am told they'll get to me in about an hour and a half. We elect to stay in for dinner as a result.

Con: Get another "good news" call from AA, which is behaving a little too much like Hubert Farnesworth for my tastes. They tell me that my bags are scheduled to be sent out at 8 PM, but that it might take longer for them to get to me.

....and that's where we're at now. Good to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening!

1 comment:

PG said...

The airline employee didn't get y'all off the plane just for your benefit -- DOT fines airlines $27k PER PASSENGER if you're kept on the Tarmac for 3 hours.