Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Believe it or not, but I think that Saturday was finally the official end of the airport saga.  Of course not many of you know that it continued on that long...  If you didn't know, let me fill you in.

If you didn't already read about my day/night on Tuesday, this will be confusing to you.  In order to catch up, please read this.

I did  end up sleeping, from about 4:30 to 6:00, when I woke up by chance just in time to catch the first bus from the airport to Broomfield.  As soon as I got on the bus, I fell asleep and woke up by chance just in time to get off of the bus to hop on the other bus to my house.  

There was slush everywhere.  It was nasty and cold and gross.  The bus driver let me off just past the bus stop because there was a mountain of snow in front of the actual stop.  I stepped off into a puddle of slush.  In my ballet flats.  That are about as far from waterproof as shoes come.  It was cold and wet and gross.  And I had to walk 3 blocks in that.

By the time I got home, my jeans were wet to the knee, and my feet had hypothermia.  If that's possible.  And I was still so so so tired.  I plugged my phone into my car charger, went inside and emailed my parents to inform them what had happened, and fell into my bad.

A few hours later, I woke up and began the process of getting my luggage and $200 back from Frontier airlines.  I don't want to get into all of the gory details, but let's say this: I made probably 30 phone calls, talked to 5 different people, spent literally hours on hold, and left lots of messages and emails.  Nothing was more frustrating, though, than trying to get in touch with baggage services.

I called and called and called and called, and they would not answer their phone.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, sounds exactly like when I lost my keys and called RTD endlessly to no avail, right?  Apparently Coloradans, along with being flaky, don't answer their phones.  After trying ALL day Wednesday, and all morning Thursday, I gave up and decided to just go back to the airport to talk to the baggage people in person.

Kenny, being the smart guy that he is, suggested that we take the bus and drink on the way.  So we did.  Nothing over-the-top, mind you, but we did drink.  I was normal while I talked to the lady at baggage services, but it took a lot of fortitude not to freak out when she relayed what she knew: Despite the fact that I had canceled my flight long before then, and the fact that I wasn't even supposed to be on the flight, they sent my bag to Fargo at 11:00 Wednesday morning.  I understand that they were probably trying to save time and money by sending all bags to Fargo on one flight, but that is really not helpful to me, seeing as how I canceled my trip.  Then, after I had given her my information, she told me that they wouldn't be able to deliver my bag.  Why?  Because I was late arriving to the airport.  Never mind the fact that the bag never should have been sent or that I had called her office 30 times trying to tell them not to send it, or even just to talk to a person...

Whatever.  Finally, on Saturday morning, they called me to tell me that my bag had come back.  5 days after I was scheduled to fly.  So I took the bus to the airport one last time and got my life back. 

And I think that's the end.  I think.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The "Fun" Continues...

And by "fun," I mean not fun.  Not even a little fun.  Not fun at all, actually.  It's a good thing I like airports.

I'm not really sure why, but I decided that because I had nothing else to do for Spring Break, I would go home to the good ol' NoDak. There was no particular reason for me wanting to go, and nothing to do there, but I felt like it.  So Mom and Dad booked me a ticket that would (theoretically) arrive in Fargo on Tuesday night at 10:53 pm, and I'd leave the state on Saturday morning at 6:10.  A short trip, but worth it.  I had all sorts of plans for the time that I'd be home, and not nearly enough time to do it all in.

My flight was scheduled to leave on Tuesday night at 7:42 pm.  A Frontier flight.  Please keep in mind that Kenny warned me not to fly Frontier, because he used to work for them.  He also told me not to buy a cheap ticket, because that only exacerbates the problem.

Suffice it to say I went completely against his advice and did both.  Yes, both. Kenny,  you can freely say, "I told you so."

I wanted to be adventurous and to save a little cash on the trip, so I chose to take the Skyride Bus to DIA.  Usually not a problem.  The forecast for here had snow in it, but it didn't sound like anything toooo major.  Pasha planned to come and pick me up at my house and drop me at the bus stop as soon as his piano test was done.  Great plan, except that at a little after 3:00, it started snowing.  Hard.  And his bus coming from Boulder was late. Very late. 

I thought everything would still be fine, though. After all, my bus wasn't scheduled to leave the park and ride until 4:51 pm.  I still had plenty of time.  Except that I didn't, because that's how late everything was running.  Along with the snow, traffic was wretched, and no one was getting anywhere quickly.  I began to run my options over in my head.  I could drive to the park and ride, but I'm not allowed to park there for free because I still have ND plates.  I had already missed the bus that came before 4:51, because it only comes once an hour.  I could take the toll road to the airport, but then I'd have to park my car at the airport and pay a daily fee.  Or I could wait.  After all, Pasha shouldn't be that much longer.

Well, he arrived at my house at 4:45.  Because that's how bad the traffic was in the weather.  He said, "There's no way your bus is making it on time, either."  I called RTD to double-check that theory, and he was right.  We had plenty of time.  Except that it took us 15 minutes to go 4 blocks in town.  Not even kidding.  It was wretched.  I called once again, and still had time.  Too much time.

The bus that was supposed to have arrived at 4:51 arrived at 5:41.  No lies.  I knew that there was no way I was making it to the airport, but remained optimistic.  Maybe, just maybe.  No.  The highway was awful.  Traffic was killer, the weather was killer, life was killer.  I had no hope.  When I arrived at the airport at a little after 8:00, more than 2 hours after my scheduled arrival time, I went to the ticket counter and said, "I was supposed to be on the 7:42 flight to Fargo, but my bus just arrived 2 hours late."  The lady made a phone call and said, "Okay, well, get going.  They haven't left yet."  

I half-ran to my gate, only to find out that we still didn't have a plane or a crew.  Whew.  Made it in plenty of time.  After about an hour, they began boarding us.  Yaaaaaayyyy!  Mom and Dad had been in Fargo for hours already, waiting for me, keeping in contact to see if/when I'd be leaving.  They were probably just as excited as I was, if not more.  

So after boarding, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And then when they tried to start the engines, one wouldn't because of too much ice built up.  So they knocked it free with brooms (high-quality maintenance there), but it wouldn't hold, so they called a de-icer over.  But before the de-icer made it over, they decided to cancel our flight.  After we had sat on the plane for about an hour, give or take a few minutes.  

Awesome.  So I called everyone and told them, and went to stand in line to talk to a gate agent.  Let me tell you how long that line was.  I can't even tell you, except that it took over 3 hours to get to the front.  And the rumor mill was grinding the whole time.  And during that period of time in my life, my cell phone died.  And my charger was in my checked baggage.  That was a problem.  A big one.  Now, I had nothing.  No way of contacting people.  

When I finally made it to the front of the line, I found my options.  I could get on a flight at 7:42 pm on Wednesday instead of Tuesday, or I could call and try to get a refund.  I decided to do both.  I'm officially checked in to leave DIA tomorrow night, one day later than I was originally scheduled for.  Which isn't so bad, except that no one knows that, because I can't call them and tell them.  And I went to go and get my checked bag to get my phone charger, but they wouldn't let me until tomorrow because there are just too many bags.  

So here I am, hanging out in DIA.  It's almost 4:00 in the morning, and I'm waiting for the first bus out of here, which leaves at 6:15 so that I can go home, charge my phone, and call my mom and the refund people.  The problem is that because my phone is dead, I have no alarm clock.  I'm afraid to fall asleep because I don't want to miss the bus.  And I have some decisions to make.  See, I'm scheduled to leave ND so early on Saturday morning that a trip my not be worth my time, unless I can't get a refund at all.  Then, I may as well go, just so as not to lose out on my $220.  Except that then Mom and Dad have to pick me up.  Again.  

What a mess. 

Someday soon, I'll tell you why I really like airports.  Just not today.  I don't like airports today.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Worst Weekend of My Life

Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but actually, I'm not.  Last weekend sucked my life.  Seriously.

Let me start at the beginning, which actually was really good, and didn't really allow me to predict how bad the rest of the weekend would be.

On Friday night, I learned that my friend Katie's friends Kyle and Samantha were meeting up in Denver in order to celebrate what is apparently famously known as "Fake Patty's."  I would liken it to Jamestown's yearly "Running of the Green," except that in Denver, there's a 4-hour parade and no one really runs through the streets getting excessively intoxicated.  Instead, they just hang out at bars and get excessively intoxicated.  Because they're cool kids, they invited me to join them.

Now, the only problem with their plan, which wasn't exactly a problem, was that they wanted to start drinking at 7:00 am.  Considering I've never had a drink before noon in my life, to start drinking that early would probably kill me.  Instead, I agreed to meet them at 9:00 am, which also ended up being a problem...  More on that to come.

So Friday night, the boy and I headed to Denver with a friend and her friends in order to go clubbing.  Please note that Raissa had, until then, never really been clubbing before, and she was a little nervous about it.  I mean... I hate dancing.  Unless I'm drunk.  And it's a part of "cultured" society that I've never experienced, so I wasn't sure what exactly to expect.  It ended up being a fine experience overall, although not something that I'd like to do all the time.  As I tell people here: I prefer trashy small-town bars.  

We were at the bar until about 2:00, and didn't get home until 2:30.  I did have a few drinks while we were out.  Nothing excessive, just enough to make me comfortable dancing in front of people who I know.  By the time I had wound down and actually could sleep, it was probably 4:00 am.  Needless to say, I probably wouldn't make it back to Denver before 9:00 am.  Instead, I got up at about 9:00, and after weighing my options, decided to take the bus to Denver.  Pasha and I had plans to see CU's most recent opera production, Don Giovanni, on both Saturday night at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:00.  In order for me to have a few drinks while in Denver, but still make it to Boulder in one piece, the bus would be smartest.

I arrived in Denver shortly after noon, and, after a bit of searching, I found Kyle and Sam.  Drunk.  I was way behind, but wasn't really ready to play catch-up.  After having lunch, I began to drink with them.  We spent some time in the Sports Column, where they totally randomly ran into the same random guys who they had been drinking with in that bar the year before.  The guys kept buying beer, and we kept drinking it. I had 3 beers-ish and one shot before we had to leave when one of our party was kicked out.  I was still feeling fine when we landed at The Fainting Goat, but by the time we left I had had 2 long island teas and was feeling gooood, if you get me. 

Kyle and Sam dropped me at Union Station a little before 6:00.  After wandering around for quite some time, I finally found my gate.  The bus was scheduled to leave at 6:02.  I looked down at 6:00 and realized that I had no keys, which also had my bus pass attached.  I searched through my purse and pockets at least 8 times, but had no luck finding them.  I had no idea if I had left them on the bus on my way down or if I had lost them somewhere in downtown Denver.  I immediately started freaking out.  If I missed that bus, then I might miss the opera, for which Pasha had bought the tickets.  In addition to really wanting to see the show, I didn't want it to have been a waste of his money.  

After thinking for five seconds, I realized if I had lost my keys that meant that I couldn't get into my car.  My only spare keys were in my house, which I was locked out of because Kenny was in the opera and was already in Boulder.  Then, I realized that I had no cash and therefore no way to get onto a bus if there was another one coming that would get me to Boulder on time.  And even if I could get cash, it would be a $20 bill and bus drivers don't dispense change.  Needless to say, I was freaking out and had no solution.  And was tired.  And was tipsy.  All of these things together resulted in tears.  Lots of them.  

I called Pasha to see if he had an easy solution to my problem.  Being the nice guy that he is, he called RTD Lost and Found and learned that if I had left my keys on the bus, I couldn't find out until Monday because it was presently Saturday and they don't catalog lost and found from the weekends until Monday afternoon.  So I was still freaking out.

I saw a cute old security guard who I approached and asked for advice.  It was at about this time that my phone started telling me that it would die at any moment.  I said to the nice man, "Excuse me?  Could you possibly help me?"  (Keep in mind that I was still crying.)  He said, "I can try."  I said, "Okay, here's my problem.  I think I left my keys on an earlier bus, and I now have to get to Boulder.  I have no cash and have a time limit.  I can't find an ATM, and even if I find an ATM, I have no way to get change."  And started crying even harder.  He pointed me toward and ATM and suggested I ask the Amtrak man to give me change, considering my situation.  He also told me to stop crying.  I followed half of his advice.  Not the crying part.

After finding an ATM and getting change from the Amtrak man, I found the next bus to Boulder, which left at 6:36.  Pasha and I had called back and forth 4 or 5 times, trying to find the fastest and most economical way to Boulder from Broomfield.  I was still crying when the bus showed up.  I asked the driver what the fare was, and successfully boarded.  And cried the whole way to Broomfield, where Pasha picked me up and very kindly produced a meal for me.  We made it to Boulder with 5 minutes to spare, and enjoyed Giovanni mucho.  That is, I enjoyed what I saw of it; I probably slept through half.

After the show was over and we had congratulated the performers, we headed to a house party.  I had had enough to drink in the afternoon, and refrained from drinking that night, but still didn't get home until 2:30 am.  If you include the time change, it was more like 3:30 am.  I had to be in Denver by 10:00 the next morning to sing for a church choir.  And I couldn't skip because they were paying me.  In short, I got about 5 hours asleep total.  Again. 

And slept through about half of the opera on Sunday afternoon.  Again.  And went to an after-party.  Again.  And had nothing to drink.  Again.  It was snowing on Sunday, and I had worn heels.  There was a secret back entrance to the house that consisted of 12 or so wooden stairs.  When it came to be time to leave, I offered to give two unsighted individuals a ride to the bus station, since I was dropping Pasha there, anyway.  I didn't want them to go down the crazy secret stairs, so offered to take my car around to the front of the house to pick them up.  I left out the back door alone and began the descent.  As soon as I hit the first step, my heel slipped on the ice, and I slid down the remainder of them, with my left leg tucked under me.  My shin hit every step on the way down, and when I finally reached the bottom, I had lost one shoe, my pants were soaked, and I could hardly place all of my weight on my left leg without assistance from any nearby sturdy object.

Thankfully, no one saw.  I successfully made it to the bus station, where I realized I didn't have my cell phone.  I assumed that it had fallen out of my pocket during my tumble down the stairs, and headed all the way back to the party location.  There, I found my cell phone on the ground.  Once I finally got to driving home, I texted Kenny to see if he was still home.  He and I had been keeping in good touch in order to know whether to leave the door locked or unlocked, or where they key had been hidden, etc.  After the opera, he had gone home to shower and I assumed he'd know to leave the door unlocked for me.

He didn't.  He had assumed that I would be at the party all night, and I didn't tell him otherwise, so I was locked out and had nowhere to go.  Except to Pasha's.  Which wouldn't have been so bad except that I had homework to do, but it was locked in my house, along with my computer and more comfortable clothes.  I had planned to do homework, laundry, and clean my bathroom, and now I couldn't do any of it.

By the time I got to Pasha's house, he wasn't home yet, and I waited in my car for 5 or 10 minutes.  I was sad.  And tired.  And frustrated.  So when he arrived, we went in, and the combination of frustration, exhaustion, and overwhelmed-ness led me to cry.  For over an hour.  Without stopping.  I ended up falling asleep in all of my clothes until 6:00 am, when I had to drive home, take a shower, do homework, and get to school.

All that was left was for me to hope like hell that the Regional Transportation District (RTD) had my keys.  When a person calls RTD, they get a message that tells them something like this, "If you've lost something on a Denver bus route, call this number.  If you've lost something on a Boulder bus route, call this number."  Okay, well, the bus I took to Denver sounded a lot to me like a Denver bus route.  So between the hours of noon (since I couldn't call until then) and 3:30 pm, I called the Denver RTD Lost & Found a minimum of 30 times, and No. One. Answered.  EVER.  I was very frustrated.

Finally, at 3:30 pm, I reached a live person.  Me: "Hi, I think I left my keys on a bus on Saturday."  Him: "Sure, what bus?"  Me: "The L between Broomfield and Denver."  Him: "That's a Boulder route, so you should call the Boulder number."  Me: "Really?  Even though I took it to Denver?"  Him: "Yes."  Me: "Okay. thanks."  

To this day, I don't understand why my keys would be at the Boulder station, but I don't care.  If they would be there, it would save me a trip to Denver to get the keys.  So I called Boulder.  "Hi, I think I left my keys on a bus on Saturday."  He asked me to describe them, I did, and he had them!  I heard the "Hallelujah Chorus" from The Messiah in my head and told him I'd be right there.

End story, right?  Wrong.

The Boulder RTD office is Downtown.  On a Monday afternoon, it's impossible to park downtown without paying, which I expected, so whatever.  I drove there while talking to Jettie, found a spot, got out, walked to the parking meter, put my money in, and went back to my car to put the receipt into my window.  While I was there, I crawled into the backseat to get my wallet out of my backpack, in case they wanted me to prove that I was me.  I locked the doors and walked away, still talking to Jettie.

Ten feet later, I let out an expletive, and started walking back to my car.  Sure enough, there were both of my spare keys in the backseat next to my backpack.  Locked in.  Because I'm that smart.  Thank goodness that I was downtown to get my keys, because the last thing I wanted to do was pay a locksmith.

In the end, it all worked out, I guess.  The process of getting it to work out was not fun...  Let's hope I start using my brain more efficiently. And SOON!  So that I no longer have such awful weekends!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Losing It

I have no time to write.  Really.  

I've officially lost it.  Seriously.  Lost it.

My brain is fried.  Thank heaven Spring Break is coming.

I'll tell you more later.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lusk, The End

When one goes to bed, wasted, at 4:00 in the morning, it's hard to get up at what I would normally consider a decent hour.  Instead, we got up at about noon, and it took Shauna and I a long time to muster the energy to roll out of bed.  Jettie, on the other hand, that hooker, doesn't get hangovers, and was up at practically 6:00 am, bright and sunshiny.  After taking 2 hours or so to get up and get ready, hungover beyond all measure, we headed out on the town to eat lunch. Thinking back on it, all we did that whole day was eat and sleep.  Awesome.

The Pizza Place had been recommended by a student of Jettie and the clerk of our hotel, so we headed that way.  Now, you can't make this stuff up: As we were walking down Main Street, one of our old man friends from the night before drove by and honked at us.  Hilarious.

The Pizza Place had excellent breadsticks and pizza, which served to soak up some of the alcohol that was still in our systems from the night before.  We also consumed large amounts of caffeine in order to make it through the day.  The food was excellent, the customer service was phenomenal, and the atmosphere (considering it was 2:30 in the afternoon) was wonderful.  We had a really great experience there.

We tried really hard to go shopping that afternoon in downtown Lusk, but the only thing that was open was the local drugstore, and their selection of Lusk souvenirs was scant, at best.  Instead of souvenirs, Shauna bought a case of water to help us make it through the day without dying of dehydration.  And somehow, even after 8 hours of passed-out sleep, we needed a nap.   We staved it off long enough to check out the end of main street that we hadn't yet seen.  We literally almost got run over by some lady backing out of her driveway (not used to pedestrians, I guess).  We found some sweet chairs outside of another hotel.  

Oh, and we got honked at.  Again.  By someone we didn't know.  Ha!

It was then nap time.  We were tired.  When we finally woke up from our nap, we decided to eat.  Again.  Supper this time.  We walked down the street to the Triangle 4, where we ordered daiquiris and were given sugar and rum.  They were so disgusting that we couldn't drink them.  Or maybe it was the hangover.  But really, it was the drink.

After a quick stop at the hotel, we went back to the Silver Dollar Bar, where the crowd was much younger than it had been the previous night.  The bartenders were sad that we were so much more mellow and that there was no hope of me drinking again.  Between the hours of 8 and 2, I had 3 drinks, and I was fine with it. 

Sunday morning, we got up and left town, leaving Lusk with memories of the crazy girls from ND.  We warned them, though, to watch out for next year...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Lusk - Part 1

When Jettie came to Boulder in October, we made preliminary plans to meet somewhere between Boulder and Medora sometime before summertime.  When Jettie plans something, it happens.  She's not one of those people who says, "Oh, hey, we should go to Las Vegas for a weekend once!" and then forgets about it.  If she says it, she likely means it's going to happen.  It therefore follows that her plan to meet somewhere between Boulder and Medora happened.
The meeting place turned out to be Lusk, WY, population somewhere around 1300.  We picked it because it's small (we like small town, trashy bars), approximately halfway between Boulder and Medora, and we thought it would have cowboys (that was much more important when both she and I were single).  I had been warned by a co-worker who had taken a similar trip once that the townfolk would either love us or hate us.  We were hoping they would love us, but expected they would hate us.
The drive took around four and a half hours, and I arrived about an hour before Jettie and Shauna.  I had a drink while I was waiting, and as soon as they arrived, we commenced drinking.  Keep in mind here that none of us had eaten supper yet.  After finishing our drinks, we left our motel and headed downtown, toward the Silver Dollar Bar, which turned out to be populated by an older crowd, in their 40's (?), 50's (?), and 60's (?), and they were happy to see us.  They were asking our names, why we were in Lusk, what we do, etc., etc., etc., while we had a drink and a shot.  When it was our turn to ask questions, we asked where we could get supper, and everyone's reply was "Fresh Start."  Fresh Start is the 24-hour convenience store.  Classy.
As we left to head to Fresh Start, already a little tipsy, a man came out of the bar after us and said, "Hey!  Where you ladies going?"  To which we replied, "We'll be back!"  At Fresh start, we had a wonderful "supper" of cold sandwiches, gas station nachos, and a jumbo cookie, all of which we ate while sitting on the curb outside of the place, watching at least 4 cops drive by 3 times each.  Literally.
Having eaten, we went to what the locals had called the bar for the young crowd, The Pub. We were not nearly as welcomed at The Pub.  People were staring, glaring, and the bartender was not nearly as friendly as the other two had been at the Silver Dollar.  We had our two drinks and high-tailed it out of there, back to the Silver Dollar, where our new-found friends were.
Much like what happened on my birthday, which is the last time that I drank with Shauna and Jettie, I don't remember much of the rest of the time at the bar.  I know that I sang a lot of karaoke, there was much dancing, much drinking, and lots of older men.  (And no cowboys.  Boo.)  I fell on my face on the dance floor when I tripped over the microphone cord.  But they loved us.  Even the bartenders thought we were a riot, and kept our drinks full for us.
At some point, the younger men that we had seen at The Pub came over, and now that both us and they were drunk, they decided they could talk to us.  I was pretty angry about the fact that they had been too good for us earlier, but suddenly wanted to be our friends.  They seemed nice enough, but not as nice as our older friends and dance partners.
They bought us drinks, Shauna got one of their numbers, and we inquired about an after-party.  This part of the night is very blurry in my memory.  Jettie tells me we were going to walk to these boys' house to play beer pong, when they drove by and decided to pick us up.  We shoved ourselves into their car, making a total of 7 of us in it.  I don't remember much, except that I couldn't close the door.  Even though the door was open, they kept driving.  I was freaking out.  Freaking out.  Why?  Well, my line of reasoning went something like this:
"Oh my gooooodneeeesss!!!  The car door is going to slam closed on my foot!  I'm going to lose my toes!  If I lose my toes, then I can't walk!  If I can't walk, I can't be a famous opera singer!  Stop the caaaaaar!"
They didn't stop the car, despite my screaming and bawling.  Yes, bawling.  Full-out crying.  When we arrived at the dude's place, Jettie and I stood outside so that she could console me.  Once she finally calmed me down, we went inside.
I was done.  I just wanted to sleep.  I couldn't sleep because I had the spins.  Bad.  I spent some time in the bathroom, wishing that I had a gag reflex so that I could get rid of the alcohol in my system, but alas, that strategy doesn't work for me.  After about an hour of mostly failed attempts, I laid on the couch and fell asleep, until Jettie woke me at nearly 4:00 am.
I apparently missed a lot of exciting stuff while I was sleeping.  Curtis, one of the boys, punched the wall.  Shane?  Shawn?  was mad because Shauna wasn't paying attention to him.  Some random girls were so angry that we were at the party that they said to the boys, "Don't you want real women?  Not some girls from North Dakota?"  (One was from SD, so I doubt that she was any better than the three of us.)  I slept through it all.
We had to walk back to our motel.  Jettie kept us going by continually telling us, "It's just a few more blocks."  Yeah, it was a bit farther than a few more blocks, but we eventually made it.  And we passed out until noon the next day...