Thursday, May 28, 2015

Adventures (trying) Flying

I was weeding my email when I discovered this message to my sister. The first part is a repeat post written in 2012. But I realized that there was more to the story.  Here's the full adventure. (See the header above. This blog is about my adventures as a writer - and this one is a goodie. Not while it was happening, but … well, read and see.)

Why did I go to the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier in March (2012)?  (Besides the fact that I love the place?) I attended a Writing Weekend Retreat there.

And -- I had adventures on the way.

Firstly, about the time our plane should have been loading, we heard an announcement that Philadelphia (my next layover) had a backup and we probably wouldn't leave here for several hours. (a huge storm that missed Baltimore had slammed into Philadelphia and prevented planes from taking off.) Some people left the area to go to the food court, but I was among the ones who needed to change my connecting plane (I had only a 30 minute layover in Philly), so I got in the line for plane changes.  Good thing, too, because 10 minutes later they announced that Philadelphia's delay had cleared up and the plane would load soon.

Once in the Philly airport, I raced to my favorite Philadelphia cheesesteak sub place, only to find most of that area under construction and my option for lunch was a premade salad, sub, or wrap.  hmmmm. So I went on to the area where my connecting plane to Vermont was supposed to leave from.  Surprise.  That plane was delayed for an hour because it was flying from another airport hit by storms which had delayed their takeoff.  Whew!

Well, my plans to take a slow drive from Burlington (there is no airport in Montpelier) among the beautiful Vermont mountains, stopping to visit places -- like the Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory -- had to be cancelled because now it was 5 pm and I had to rush down I-89 to get to the college by dinner time. The drive was still lovely. Wisps of foggy clouds flowed down the mountainsides and wafted in the valleys between.  I had to keep the windshield wipers working because of the constant mist.

Once at Vermont College the weekend began with a lecture about laying a foundation -- important in YOGA as well as writing. (complete with Yoga instruction) Ouch. I knew that after toting my heavy bags through two airports, plus yoga, I was going to wake up in pain the next day.  And I did.
But it was worth it. 

Saturday and Sunday at the Writing Retreat

Vermont is beautiful in March, especially when surprised by a heat wave of 65 degrees, which will go up to almost 80 degrees later this week. (The skiers expecting snow probably weren't so happy.)

Al three of the faculty at this writing weekend were fabulous, pointing out things that made us all sit up and take notice.  ( Coe Booth's lecture about Secondary Characters!) I had a consultation with Little Brown editor, Alvina Ling, who pointed out some major changes I could do to my work in progress. And the third thing I jammed into this day was a 4+ hour stretch of learning how to use my new composing software -- Scrivener. (I think I may have a bit of it figured out now)

In the evening we did readings from our works in progress.  Most of them were YA, some of them were Middle Readers (which means older Elementary and into Middle School).  I think mine was the youngest one there, and, deducing from the laughter, the funniest.  Many people did say it was also the most dramatic, but what can I say? I'm a children's librarian who loves to perform.  A quiet person with a drama queen inside of her.

Sunday was so sad.  None of us wanted to leave.  But, since I had an early flight to catch, I had to leave at 1:30, right in the middle of an interesting panel discussion of all three of our faculty -- Coe Booth, Holly Black, and Alvina Ling.  Another participant had an even earlier flight, so she joined my on my drive up I-89 from Montpelier to Burlington.

She made her flight.
Me?  not so much.

As I was passing through security, I got a call from the airlines that my flight had been delayed and wouldn't leave for an hour.  Grrrrrr.  I could have stayed longer! Then I was called up to the podium and told that, naturally that meant my connecting flight in Philadelphia would have to be changed.  Double Grrrrr.

I began getting email after email from the airline -- more flight changes.  At this point I didn't know if I were getting a connection in Philadelphia at 7 or 8 or 8:30 --
but they assured me that I DID have a seat.
In some plane.
That would get to Baltimore.

Philadelphia airport was -- interesting.
You do remember that I left Montpelier at 1:30 pm, right?
It was now 5:30 and I was only halfway home.  I picked up a sandwich for dinner (the wing of the airport that I was in was under construction and there was only one choice of food supply), found my boarding place and sat.  and sat.

It turned out that half of the people there were waiting for a flight to New York City.  And waiting.  Finally, they announced that they couldn't fix the broken window in their airplane and they were getting a different craft for them.
What about the Baltimore group?  We were asked to move to a different boarding place and would be informed as to when our flight would leave once we got there.

This was a dangerous spot to be.  It was right opposite a pastry shop in the terminal. I got myself a cupcake.  Then an almond pastry. If we were to be delayed here much longer, I think I would gain at least 5 pounds!

Oh joy!  our plane was announced -- we left after 8 pm. Landed in Baltimore and I had no problems finding my car in the long term parking lot. (where I ate the other half of the sandwich I had bought in Philly.)

I should be home in a half hour, right?
There was a traffic jam at the Harbor Tunnel on I-895 (the old tunnel).  It took more than an hour before I pulled into my driveway.

Meanwhile, Arians -- the 12-year-old had been sending me messages (which I could read while we were stopped dead at the toll booths of the tunnel.)  "Are U home yet?"  She stayed awake until I could give her a good-night hug -- at 10:30 pm!!!

Let's see.  Left Montpelier at 1:30.
Got home at 10:30.
Nine (9) hours.
I don't think that I'll fly US Airways again.
(and, I haven't)

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