Ms Darlene visits Oregon

Flying home is such a drag, especially when you're flying from the west coast to home and negotiating time zones.   It means to get home a decent hour, you pretty much have to be at the airport in Portland late morning and even with that, the possibility of landing in Baton Rouge or New Orleans can go way into the hours.  At least once, I've landed at midnight.

My company views flying a spouse to meet you as a gain because you don't lose the Friday going home and the Monday returning.  So with that in mind, Ms Darlene flew out for a long weekend in the northwest.

Originally, we'd planned on making a run up to Seattle but she said she'd prefer to see snow and mountains.  Ah ha! Mt. Hood would be just the ticket.

She flew out on a Thursday and so I took Friday off as a vacation day and blasted our way up to Mt Hood after visiting places like Multnomah and Wahkeena Falls .  Snow became very real by the time we reached Sandy, Oregon and she wasn't disappointed.   Many hotels higher on the mountain were booked solid so we booked a room at one of the lodges, just below the big ski area.  The scenery was gorgeous, especially for a couple of Louisiana residents, and spotted several deer near the lodge.

Saturday and Sunday was spent in and around the Timberline Lodge where we rode the ski lift up and gawked at the beauty like a pair of flatland goobers.

Ms Darlene has now deemed Portland/Mt Hood as her favorite place in the world and is now a Sneaux Bunny.  Bear in mind that she said the same thing about Maui, Los Angeles,  Honolulu and Carmel.  This too may pass.

Anyway, it was great and I loved her coming up for a long weekend and look forward to her joining me in another location.

After Portland, it's on to Denver for a brief two week assignment.


I don't know how I should feel about this.  Sometimes angry and past irate, maybe the word is just "disgusted".

It pretty much started last Friday, traveling from Portland to Baton Rouge when I experienced several delays and reschedulings of comedic proportions after arriving in Houston.  Originally, my flight was supposed to connect in Houston and deliver me in Baton Rouge at 8:32 pm.  I, along with others, marveled at how United Airways would cancel or rearrange flight schedules several times in an hour.  One group of passengers on another flight became so angry they began yelling at the gate attendant causing her to call security.  This in turn began to stress out a lot of other folks but we took a stoic position,  thinking the circus had now gone past anger and had evolved into laughter when our own flight began the same series of events.  Somewhere between a couple of gate changes and a half dozen new estimated departures, I eventually landed in Baton Rouge at midnight.

For my return back to Portland, I arrived at the Baton Rouge airport well before sunrise Monday morning and was presented with a flight cancellation.  It seems United didn't want to fly due to bad weather.  OK, I can accept that but they auto rescheduled me for the same flight Tuesday.  Nope, that won't do, so I went to talk to an agent.

Agent Marvin, with fingernails long enough to be considered lethal, pecked away at the keyboard and told me the earliest flight I could connect with and arrive in Portland would be at 5:15 pm to Houston and catching a 9:10 flight that would plop me down at the bewitching hour of 11:55.  Nice, really nice.  I begrudgingly accepted it and called my wife to come get me so I wouldn't have to lounge around in the airport for eleven hours.  I have to mention here, that I did check other airline flight schedules as well as speaking directly with our company travel office who confirmed I was stuck with my choice if I wanted to get there.

5:15 pm arrived and UAL greeted me with a flight cancellation but was given another flight out at 6:15.  My United Airways app began flashing me with periodic departure updates, now at 7:55, then 6:09, 6:36, 7:01, 7:23.  Our plane landed at 7:20 but due to lightening flashes in the area, the ground crew wouldn't/couldn't unload the plane or passengers so it sat 100 yards from the jetway before pulling into the gate at 8:00 pm.

I asked one of the crew at the gate if there would be any chance at all to catch the 9:10 connecting flight in Houston.  Without even blinking, he answered, "Nope!"  So here I go re-booking again for Tuesday morning...5:15 am.  I called my wife to come get me, went downstairs to collect my bag and went home.

Tuesday morning, arriving at BTR, I'm greeted with yet, another flight cancellation.  Fog, I think.  Same story but this time Marvin puts me on a 11:44 am flight to connect in Houston.  I'm still not going to get to Portland until 8:32 but that's life.

An added bonus to my morning was that the TSA found an unusual interest in my carry-on bag.  She delved deeply into it pulling out cameras, lenses, extra cell phones, a small tripod and a week's worth of socks and underwear.  Fifteen minutes later and 3 additional passes through the X-ray she hands me back my bag and a tub full of articles she couldn't make fit and suggested I repack it.

Arrrggghhhh..........disgusted and I'm not even in Portland yet.