13 December 2012

Let's Shower This Baby

I live my life for myself. There's really no other way to say it. I do the things that I think are best for me. Every now and then, something comes along and inspires me to think beyond the Danie. There are happenings that humble and scare me - because failure is unthinkable. Well folks, one such happening is upon us.

Abby is having a baby. As Abby is so much a part of me (and Tab of course) this can only mean one thing.

We. Are having. A baby.

This did not just happen. I've known about it for months. Abby called when it was confirmed. After that, her mom asked Tab & I to help plan the shower. We coordinated via e mail & text message for months, coming up with the theme, menu, guest list and games.

I'm trying to tell you the baby and the shower were all quite real before now. Somehow it just became extra real.

6 December 2012

West coast represent.
Tab lives in LA. I live in SF. We somehow meet mostly on the east coast. Abby's baby shower was to be no exception. We planned our trip perfectly (as only we could do), each taking a red-eye flight to Newark. We then booked the first flight out to Ithaca. We both arrived on time, in full California style, wearing boots, leggings & comfortable shirts. We laughed.

We charged our phones and giggled for about a half hour before heading to our gate. "Alright," Tab said, "Let's shower the s**t out of this baby." But we never made it.

I mean, we made it to the gate - it was right at the bottom of the escalator. But there was no boarding. In fact, there was no plane. There was only a counter, a flurry of business travelers, and a sign.  It read "Ithaca Cancel." Being a college graduate, I looked at Tab and asked "what do you think that means?"

Would you believe our flight was canceled? I couldn't. I didn't. Tab received a cancelation and rebooking e mail from United. I did not. To me, it was obvious. Tab was going to be left in Newark while I caught the 8:30AM flight to Ithaca. I would like to report I was sad, but instead I just said "I'm getting on this flight,"  and I marched to the counter. Unfortunately, the displaced business travelers were taking up all available space and agents. So I went to Plan B. I marched up to a gate that was wide open. I mean sure, the sign said the flight was going to Syracuse, but there were agents there and the timing was about right. It couldn't hurt to ask.

"Is this flight going to Ithaca?" - Me
"No. Do you want to go to Syracuse?" - Her

Sure. I seem unreasonable. But a check in with Tab offered "let's just rent a car" and "or we could fly to Syracuse and ask her parents to get us there."

In summation, we were stuck. We were rebooked (I eventually got the e mail) and seated together as originally planned. From there, we had seven hours to kill at Newark Liberty International.

Step 1: Find an outlet
Tab is a planner. I am also a planner, but in a different way. Tab plans events. I plan contingencies. A large part of producing is having back up plans. Over time, that became second nature. Once the plan was derailed, I jumped into survival mode. That survival depended on electricity.

While many airports have accepted the reality that access to outlets is more important than access to pay phones, that memo has yet to reach EWR. Outlets were in random places, or set up so that users couldn't sit at them. Part of me felt it was deliberate. Whatever. We found a spot. I plugged in my MacMan, used it to charge Tab's phone, and turned on my mobile hot spot. Our mobile office was in business.

Step 2: Notifications 
I sent my parents this picture, alerting them our flight was canceled, and that we had set up a little office for working. I have a feeling  they read something entirely different.

My mom replied asking me about hotels and compensation. She expressed outrage and advised me to tweet. My dad called with "what do you mean canceled?" Also "did you find something to eat," and (to his credit) "did you find an outlet?"

We never heard back from Abby's mom, and we didn't even think that was odd until her dad called me from the airport where we should have been. He was sent while she was getting her hair done. Tab and I never thought to notify them individually.  Either way, Abby's dad is a dad and he was also concerned, saying "you guys are going to be really hungry when you get here." We assured him we would be alright and rebooked pick up for later that afternoon.

The fatherly concern for our tummies was endearing. I got the impression my dad was going to call the principal and demand to know why I was left unattended. Adorable. Tab & I laughed.

We sat until we couldn't sit anymore. We just needed to be somewhere else. We needed a Starbucks. We packed up and ventured out, walking every finger of the C Terminal until we found familiar territory. We then ordered lattes and set up shop again.


OH! I should mention Tab was sick, sneezing and being otherwise wet and germ-ridden all over the place. Note the Puffs near her iced chai.


Hours passed.

We did get hungry, and decided to feed ourselves - but slowly - we still had 90 minutes before boarding. We ate. I took part in a conference call. We were allowed to board. I left my bag unattended at the mention of gate checking it, embarrassing Tab and prompting her to kick it. We laughed.

Descending into madness.
We boarded. We sat. We sighed. Tab sneezed, possibly on me. She then touched my face. We began descending into madness. We laughed.

And we were on our way.