Tag: louisville

A Crazy Day

A quick story about the struggles of air travel, from January 20, 2009


Crazy day. A tale that actually began and ended at Gate 2. The gate used by the flights going to and returning from Regan National.

I had to go to Louisville today for a couple days worth of work which I managed to finish in just less than 5 hours total time. So I turned myself around and grabbed a flight back home. Made for a nice 20 hour day with travel and all, but being at home and alone I guess is better than being in Kentucky, at all.

Almost didn’t get there though; this morning at Regan National, they couldn’t find our plane.

If you’ve never flown US Airways Express through Regan, consider yourself lucky, but then listen to how archaic this system is:

Flights all park out on the tarmac and the airport buses the passengers to and from the planes and the terminal. They have two gates from which all express flights depart, which basically just designates which bus you get on, but they release three flights for boarding at a time.

Fortunately this morning was a light traffic day, unlike the afternoon, and evening when Regan National turned into a zoo because of the inauguration ceremony tomorrow. There were only about 10 people on the flight to Louisville but we all got a tour of the departure area because they couldn’t decide which plane was actually ours. So the bus took us from the terminal, to a plane, and back… then back out to the planes, then back to the terminal… then back out to the planes…. Then back to the terminal.

In between each trip the driver had to have a face to face discussion or argument with crew, ground personnel and the gate dispatcher. He has a radio on the bus, so I still have no idea why he had to drive back and forth to discuss these things in person.

But eventually we found a plane they would let us use and imagine the surprised crew who had been there waiting for us for 20 minutes.

Ahhh… Monday mornings are the best.

And next week I start five straight weeks of work in Louisville…

I will need drinks. Lots of strong, strong drinks.

Car Troubles in Kentucky

This one, from February 12, 2009. A strange tale to offer some perspective on the issues I used to face when traveling.

This was one of the more unusual ones.


So, here is a good one.

Just when I thought Kentucky couldn’t get worse…

..on the advice of the vendor reps I am working with, they recommended staying at the Seelbach hotel – a 100 year old, legendary hotel in down town Louisville. A lot of history, now owned by Hilton and refurbished... a really neat place.

I have to say the hotel itself is amazing. A lot of old character and charm… comfortable just like any other Hilton. Good restaurants and bars inside.

But the oddest thing happened tonight.

The reps suggested I valet my car. The difference between self-parking and valet is only $4 and valet is so much easier. All good by me. I returned to the hotel around 7PM tonight and told valet I would be back in about an hour to grab the car to go out to dinner. They said, no problem, they’ll just leave it up front for me and ready for my return.


So around 8PM I went downstairs and there was my car right where I parked it. Fantastic. I approach the valet stand and ask the obviously nervous and scrambling attendant for the key to my car.

“Oh, you have the silver Nissan?” he asks.

“Yeah, I think it’s number 302 or something… the valet this morning wouldn’t give me my claim receipt so…”

He cuts me off… nervous and panicky.

“We have a problem, well, not our fault, really, but, it’s a serious problem…” he said rapidly.

“Ohhh k.. what’s the problem?”

“Well *ahem* this has never happened before… we’re really sorry... but… apparently someone broke into our valet box as stole the key for your car.”

Me *dumbfounded*.

“Uhhhhh.. ok? So… ?”

“Well, they took keys to about six cars... all we had in there. Yours is one of them.. and the other two next to yours. The van has been clicking like someone has been hitting the buttons so the police are hiding across the street watching all the cars. Your car won’t go anywhere without them seeing so that isn’t a problem… but... do you need your car?”

At this point… what would you say?

I have nothing of value in the car… and it’s a rental… so… whatever. This is more of an inconvenience than anything. But… wow.

The guy couldn’t be more apologetic or accommodating. He paid for a taxi to take me to dinner, and back. But, seriously, how does a reputable, high-end hotel in the middle of a busy downtown market district allow this to happen?


This was a first for me.

I returned to the hotel after dinner and was met by the hotel manager and a locksmith. They explained where they were – since it was a rental they couldn’t just go to Nissan and get a new fob keyed, they had to go through Avis. They asked me for my contract, which of course was locked in the car. No worries – I called Avis first and went around the phone call transfer circuit to get to someone who could handle this. He suggested there might be a spare fob in the spare tire well, or call the airport maintenance tomorrow and the might have one. Odds are, neither are the case since the car has tags from another area.

The hotel head honcho - he too was apologetic and after the locksmith broke into the car to see if we could locate the spare fob in the trunk he dove right into the back seat to dig into the trunk and find that fob. Pretty spry for his age.

No luck. The car still sits in front of the hotel.

They have all been very attentive to the situation... but…

Does it ever get more strange than Kentucky?

Part two…

Had to put some time into working this out with Avis this morning. Of course at 8AM none of the hotel management was in yet and the lackey running the valet desk was up to his ass in pissed off people demanding their cars. I had more luck dealing with the locksmith who had returned with keys for another person’s car and was checking on replacing the fob for mine.

Avis agreed to just replace the car and were bringing a new one on a flat-bed, which they would then haul out the Nissan on.

Unfortunate – I really like the Nissan. Now I’ll probably get a 1972 Pinto…

But that will wait until I return to the hotel. There is still work to be done. The locksmith was kind enough to give me a ride to the hospital – which is only about 8 blocks from the hotel. Still, on a cold morning that is more than appreciated.

I’ll deal with the rest tonight…

A Story About Me

Originally written August 14, 2008. I know you probably think this blog is entirely about me all the time anyway, but this is actually about me. I often look at my life in a big picture way, to make sense of the little things and remind myself that there is a greater plan at work.

My plan.


Self Reflections, Anyone?

So ends another visit to Louisville, Kentucky.

Although in ending this trip, I feel a sense of disappointment. I accomplished my goals to my satisfaction. Nothing tragic happened. But somehow I anticipated this trip would be different. More special? It was just another trip, and that was fully expected. Fly in, do the job, fly home. Yet the feeling that something was lost is there.

Or maybe not lost, but simply not gained.

I would expect of myself by now that I know how my life is. Things happen or don’t happen. What was I anticipating? There was nothing there and nothing happened.

Why, at this point in my life, do I still feel disappointed when nothing happens?

Part of my realizations in recent years have included this fact: I know nothing will happen unless I make it happen. Nothing risked, nothing gained. Disappointment from other people is a way of life, so why let it get me down? I haven’t allowed that. I’ve accepted this as just the way my life is.

So why this feeling now?

If you’ve read the crap I post here that I attempt to pass off as poetry, you know a basic theme is just what I have stated above; life is what you make of it. If you want something, sitting in your room wallowing on-line to anonymous strangers isn’t going to help you fulfill your dreams.

Unless your dream is to be a whinny, obese hermit with internet access.

My dreams are different and usually a bit more ambitious. What I want out of life has changed over the years, too. I remember a sixth grade project I did on what I wanted my career path to be. We had to research it, what it would take, the education required, job skills needed. My chosen profession? I know this is going to be a shock, but my chosen profession then was to be a pilot. I was going to go to college and join the Navy and become an officer and fly F-14’s, serve my country, do my duty, then move into the private sector and fly 747’s around the world.

I think that started to dissolve as I got older and realized the way the military actually worked, and the fact that I have issues with authority, question everything and am horrible at taking orders not backed by logic. So as I got older I looked in different directions. Technology was the way to go. I started doing application programming in school. Actually I started doing programming in fourth grade before the whole pilot fascination took over, but through high school I took advanced computer courses. Optional and not as popular in 1986 as they are today. My professor entered me and two classmates into a state-wide competition (Running of the Nerds, I called it) for analytical programming. I believe we placed in 2nd.

My goal was to learn, and get a good job with a company like Hewlett-Packard. Build a career, settle into life, make good money, etc..etc..

I got into college and discovered one of the requisites for a Computer Science degree was to maintain a 3.5 or better in core courses… including... calculus.

My first calculus class showed me this wasn’t going to happen. On my first exam, I scored a 12.

Out of 100.

A 12.

The curve, it didn’t even bring me up to an F-minus.

I was undeterred, and discovered psychology.

I loved it. Helping people. I was going to make the world a better place one frazzled brain at a time. One affected personality at a time. One straight jacketed psychopath at a time! But you kind of need a PhD to go anywhere with psychology, unless you want to be a social worker slogging in paperwork every day making just above minimum wage. Well, I hated school and... and... uh...

...randomness time. The woman sitting across the isle from me on this plane used to be a man. Maybe she... or... he... still is. But, wow... man hands and an adam’s apple Clint Eastwood would be jealous of. Why is this so distracting?

Anyway, I took my psychology degree and remained in my crappy, minimum wage customer service job until an opportunity presented itself. An opportunity, in technology. Doing sales for a national technology distributor. It was the mid-90s and technology was booming. The company was hiring people, 15 per month, just to staff their sales force to handle the volume.

A good job, but man let me tell you, it was not fulfilling.

I wanted to impact the world, not talk on the phone 10 hours a day. I wanted to change my community, not wear out a mouse pad every month. I wanted make a difference, not chase numbers.

I started my own business. Well, there were some big steps here and there in between but to cut to the chase, I started my own business.

And it has been doing well. For six years I have grown my business. Now part of it has me on airplanes traveling the world.

Funny how that comes full circle.

But this is more than just a business to me. It is my chance to impact the world. My chance to change my community. My chance to make a difference.

Everyone has their motives and their motion. Dena has her charitable organization helping the underprivileged in New Orleans – that’s awesome! She loves what she does and I have done what little I can to support her. Many people owe know have.

I want to make a difference, just like she does.

The paths are different, but the end goal I believe is very much the same.

My employees often seem genuinely appreciative of the jobs they have. My techs have commented they’ve never made as much money as they’re making now. Sarah works for me and I feel so much pride and happiness when she comments that she enjoys her job, and feels she is learning new things and feels a commitment towards the same company goals I have.

That is one of the main purposes of this company: to put people to work in better jobs, and in a better environment. A different corporate environment. One that gives them freedom and autonomy over their jobs. One that pays them better, offers better benefits, flexibility, more time with family and more satisfaction in life in general.

I want to grow the business, at a bare minimum to leave something strong behind for my children. Something they can take charge of as they get older and build a livelihood from. Something they can retire from and support their children with.

I’m trying to make a difference. In an old steel-city that has seen it’s economy play the wallowing hermit, complaining to the anonymous people around it and unable to help itself. My goal is to be the company that makes a difference here. To help the people and the community pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and change their future.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “The nice thing about the future is it only comes at you a day at a time.”

I take this a day at a time.

My whole life right now, I can only take a day at a time.

After all, how can I change an entire city if I can't even change myself each day? How can improve the fortunes of others if I can't even change the direction of my own life?

Some people, people very close to me, I’ve confided in them my dreams and you know what their response was?

“You’re crazy.”

“One person can’t make a difference.”

“It’s impossible.”

It’s overly ambitious, right?

If I fail, I’ll let them say “I told you so.”

But you don’t know if you can succeed unless you try. What is the worst that can happen? I fail and end up as one of the wallowing, anonymous hermits; faceless and forgotten?

Exactly where I would be if I didn’t try at all.

Hence my stance: Don’t just do as you’re told. Try to do the impossible.

Why live an ordinary life? You get one shot at this thing – one life. One opportunity. I can’t face a life where society dictates what I can and can’t do. Social norms and religious dogma feel like prison bars only designed to keep people from reaching their potential.

From getting the most out of life.

I want more than that.

I want to live, and create hope. Create it in my own... particular...

...”Idiom, sir?”


Maybe that is what I was missing from this trip. The feeling that I have created hope. If not for those around me, but at least for myself. Maybe I failed in doing that this week.

I won’t know for sure, but I know tomorrow when I wake up the future will grant me another day for me to try and do the impossible.

You Call Yourself a Technician?

Written May 20, 2008

A conversation between me and one of my technicians while deployed on a job.


While walking through 4TH Street Live in Louisville last week...

J: "Ever eat at a Cold Stone Creamery?"

Me: "No..."

J: "Oh, it's awesome. They have this stone that is chilled to like, -40 degrees, and they pour cream right on it and it freezes instantly!"

Me: "Negative 40 degrees, eh?"

J: "Yeah!"

Me: "Is that in Celsius or Fahrenheit?"

J: "Uh... Fahrenheit I guess. Why, are they European?"

Me: "..."


Oh boy....

And if you don't get the joke, tell me and I'll explain it...