Woke up at 5:00 AM. Went to the ATM to replenish the cash. Hopped the M104 bus to 110th and Broadway. Went to the papaya place in my old neighborhood. Managed to buy and eat two egg and cheese with a papaya before the M60 showed up. Got to the airport, again with plenty of time. Checked in and got on the plane without a hitch. Out on to the runway when suddenly the engines power down. On comes the Captain. "We'll be sitting on the ground for awhile. Bad weather in Chicago. They're not OK'ing any planes for takeoff until they clear out the backlog." Awhile turned out to be two hours, which meant missing another connection and having to think about rescheduling. I was able to land a new flight to Portland, but only after an hour of waiting.
Some guy came up to me asking for directions to the CTA (subway). The way he asked lead me to believe he was a con man. Nearly every time I've been to O'Hare I meet guys like this. Right behind him there was a sign saying this way to ground transportation.
Meanwhile back at the gate, more bad news. The flight would be late by an hour. Could this get any worse? I need a bite to eat. There's a Gino's East pan pizza place behind a sign. "Low prices have landed. Now lower food prices at O'Hare Airport." Personal pan pizza with pepperoni: $4.25. It tastes like crap. If the Superior Street restaurant serves pizza like this then Gino's has really lost it.
So the third late plane of the trip shows up. Not enough time to service it so it's a mess inside. Crumbs on the seat and some moist wad of crud wrapped in newspaper stuffed in the seat pocket. The Captain comes on the PA "Normally we'd charge you $5 to watch our bad in-flight movie, but since we're running a little late you get to see it for free." Of course that's not exactly what he said, but that's what he meant. The Man in the Iron Mask. Not bad for a plane. The meal was very bad though, even for a plane. Afterwards, the guy across the aisle spills a Diet Coke on me getting up to go to the bathroom. The final indignity came when the passenger behind me opened to overhead door and a blanket fell on my head.
Twenty hours and ten out of twelve magazines later I reach Portland. You can never bring too much reading material on a plane trip. Once I finished the second half of a book while trapped on the taxiway. Phil and Rod are there. I made it. The both of them are pretty much as I remember them, but without the Peace Corps facial hairs.
Phil and Sharon's apartment is a kid-induced disaster area with toys everywhere. Rod brought his oldest boy Steven with him. Unpacked and configured the laptop Jessi sent. It's heavier than I thought it would be. Struggled to get the thing to connect to the Columbia UNIX system. Couldn't get it to work until we read the directions.