Sunday, February 25, 2007

Philadelphia in the Snow

A Northwest Airlines flight crew waits for a crew to replace an empty oxygen tank aboard a DC-9 at MBS International Airport.

8:58 a.m.:
We had been scheduled to be in Detroit by now, but hey, that's what happens when you fly Northwest.
I'm on my way to Philadelphia with three co-workers, planning to go to a training session on JRC's new content-management system. It will take a week.
The weather has been a major concern. For the past week, it's been pretty clear that some sort of bad weather would be blasting the Midwest this weekend. It's here.
I got up at 4 a.m., and it wasn't snowing. By the time I got out of the shower, it was snowing heavily.
But we got over to MBS just fine, one time. We did our part, and the TSA confiscated my lighters, as expected. Boarding flight 1708 to Detroit was just a little late.
Then the flight crew of our aging DC-9-30 discovered a little glitch: Someone forgot to fill a cockpit oxygen bottle.
The delay here is likely to cause us to miss our Philadelphia connection.

10:20 a.m.
We arrive in Detroit. Our Philadelphia flight is to leave at 10:21. We’re at Gate A-11. The Philly flight is at Gate A-61. Yes, it’s as far away as it sounds. What are our chances?
Actually, pretty good, considering the weather. Seems the pilot of the flight to Philadelphia has been delayed by the weather. I’ve never heard an announcement like this: “Our pilot now has arrived, and we expect to begin boarding soon.”
We were supposed to be in Philadelphia at 11:55 a.m. We left Detroit at 12:10.

12:39 p.m.
There is sunshine at 33,000 feet. It’s pretty.

1:40 p.m.
We’re on the ground in Philadelphia, and it’s just starting to snow. I’ve rented a Ford Fusion, and I like it. Our destination is 40 miles up I-95.

5 p.m.
Checked into the Hampton Inn in Yardley. The place reminds me a lot of the parts of northern Oakland and Kent counties where sprawl is just creeping in. The hay fields are being converted to office parks, condo developments and subdivisions. The Ethernet connection to the ‘Net is free, and seems fast.
The town itself reminds me a lot of the Pretty Little Town where Everyone Comes Home for Christmas in the movies. Maybe it was just the way the snow was falling on the 250-year-old town, but it really is picturesque.
It has a Starbucks, right near the banks of the Delaware Canal.
I bought apples, oranges and grapes to munch on. I’ll eat my veggies.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

The Damaged Ranzenbergers

PART ONE: It began one afternoon when Kissy Missy uncrossed her legs and stood up. She didn’t realize her foot was asleep, and in her words, “It just folded over.”
Ouch. Beyond ouch.
X-Rays clearly showed it was broken. “A nice crack,” said the emergency room physician.
She’s gotten pretty good, actually, on getting around on crutches. She reports that the motorized carts at Meijer are much faster and more fun than the motorized carts at Wal-Mart.
She’s expecting to be in her hot-pink cast until at least March.

PART TWO: Katherine says she was in gym class, doing pushups. She’s not a big fan of phys ed (takes after her father), and she suddenly heard a loud “snap” from her wrist.
Ouch. Beyond ouch.
She reported this to the unsympathetic gym teacher, who believes that Our Precious Redheaded Drama Queen has a tendency to magnify every little ache and pain to crisis proportions. Well … this time, she wasn’t malingering.
Katherine was told to go play volleyball – and she spiked a killer return. Unfortunately, that spiked her wrist, too.
It turns out not to be broken, only badly sprained. The splint comes off next week.

PART THREE: “Man, I’m really getting fat,” I thought. My belly was bloating up, but the weight gain wasn’t there. Middle age, I thought.
Then Thursday, my gut started to hurt. I recalled what Dad went through when he was in his early 50s – he called them “gut-aches,” and that’s a good description.
Through the weekend, it just got worse and worse. Monday, there was no argument about me going to see Dr. Szelag. He rushed me into a gastroenterologist, who pronounced that I have become the latest victim of diverticulitis, a particularly nasty little condition that punishes middle-aged men who didn’t eat their vegetables, fruits and roughage.
The pain, really, was debilitating. Right now, I’ve missed two days of work recovering, and it may take longer. I’m on a clear-liquid diet (“Let your bowels rest”) and I’m sleeping a lot. I’m hungry. I hurt.
Whine Whine Whine.
Well, the addiction counselors say that nothing changes until it hurts more not to change than to change. Bring on the fiber, baby! I heart oatmeal! At least, I heart it more than this!