03 February 2011

Improvise, adapt, and overcome

I always love a challenge.

Weather down here has been a bit chilly. Woke up to 21 degrees yesterday. Was nippy to walk the dogs, but they seemed to come alive at those temps. Something about wearing a fur coat in Texas. Cold temps in Texas have had the power company initiate rolling blackouts yesterday to preserve the grid. We showed up to the office yesterday morning with no power. Got power on at 0800 only to have it go down again at 0915. It did 3 more times throughout the day. The IT department chose not to bring the server on line only to have it get kocked off again and we don't have a back up power supply, so nothing was working. No e-mails, no documents, could not log into system, could not even hit the internet to check the weather. The company chose to let everyone go home at 1000 seeing how it wasn't going to get any better. What mad it interesting for me is I was interviewing a candidate at the time. Kinda hard to do an interview when we keep losing power but at least I picked a conference room with lots of windows. I told the candidate this was part of the test - to see how people react to adversity or uncertain situations. Finally wrapped up the interviews, did what I could given no power, and left for home to pack for my trip.

I packed up for the frozen trip to Milwaukee and kept an eye on the weather/airports. All day yesterday, Milwaukee had closed their airport for weather, so I was on edge if my trip was going to happen. My flight today was still on schedule, but it was still too early to tell. Made my plans to go forward with the trip regardless of the situation. Weather in Houston was supposed to get very bad (icy, sleet, snow?) Thursday afternoon, so things are subject to change.

Got up at the crack of early and logged in to find my flight had been cancelled. Houston was shutting down its airport in the afternoon anticipating deteriorating weather conditions but my flight was to lift off at 1100. Turns out all of the smaller jets were pulled out of service down here and the flights were cancelled. Now I had two choices: 1) take this as a sign and postpone my trip, get some rest, get better, and reschedule for later or 2) call the airline like a madman and try to figure out options. Never one to back away from a challenge (or follow the course of sanity), I pursued the latter. After about 45 minutes on hold, I finally got a live body who, inspite of the myriad of calls he was handling, was very nice & professional. Was able to move me to another flight that would get me to Milwaukee, albeit a bit latter than I had planned. I picked up a flight that took me through Cleveland to Milwaukee. Long flight, but it gets me there before dark. I'd love to postpone this audit, but we've delayed this one too long. So here I sit in Cleveland waiting on the next flight.

Actually, was a great flight up. They pulled in a second plan to handle the cancellation and it was only 1/3 full. Nice, smooth flight with lots of room and quiet. Cleveland airport is also a pleasant surprise. Typical airport, but hardly anyone here. I had lunch with only two other guys in the resaurant. No crowds. Very nice airport. Maybe it is due to the weather delays or travel time, but iIn all my travels, I've been through a number of aiprorts and this one definitely makes my top ten list. Onward to Milwaukee. Would love to enjoy a good local brew, but given my lingering illness, that might not be prudent.

Addendum:  Finally made it to hotel around 1930.  It's only a balmy 8 degrees out. 

The road goes on forever and the party never ends.


terri said...

You went to great lengths to make sure this audit happens. Guess that's why you're one of the big, important guys in the company. Hope you're feeling better. Hope it's warmer there now. (It reached 30 degrees here today.)

meleah rebeccah said...

Wow. I don't think I've EVER been in a nice /quiet / crowdless airport!