Sunday, March 08, 2009

Visit to Arizona

One of the schools that I applied to Arizona State University. They wanted to fly me out there to check out the campus. I had never been recruited before so it was odd to be in this position, I felt like a basketball player or something. It also helped to have a difference of about 60 degrees between New York and Arizona. I couldn’t resist a free trip and L. wanted to come along for the warmth and to visit a friend. They bought the ticket but it just so happened that my Mother-in-Law was flying out of the same airport a half hour later so it cut down one less trip to the airport. L., on the other hand, had another doctor’s appointment so she was flying out later that night.
They took me and the other PhD students they were recruiting to dinner with the professors. Normally eating a meal with a professor is like eating with your boss. Yes, it can be interesting but there is no way to fully let down your guard. Since I didn’t know any of these professors or had any of their classes it was interesting to talk to all of them without fear of anything. The next day we toured the campus and talked to more professors. Everyone had the same advice, the weather was exact opposite of snow, you spend the summer indoors unless you are heading somewhere specific.
The next morning we received an odd message with our checkout bill (It was $0 since the university covered it.) They were filming an “adult themed” party at the pool and we could participate with all the free booze we wanted as long as we signed a filming release. We left quickly without a second thought making sure to avoid the pool area.
Visiting with L.’s high school friends was fun, they took us to Lost Dutchman State Park for a nice hike. It was just so nice to walk around outside without being bundled up with a huge coat on. While there I also couldn’t resist going to Waffle House. Their Pecan Waffles are one of my favorites. We were unable to make it to the In-N-Out while we were there though.
The excitement happened with us trying to get home. At the last second L. decided that her friend could just take her back to the airport so I could just return the rental car. Of course between traffic and the computer crashing while I was returning the car I missed my plane. (Well in reality the plane was still there for the next ten minutes but they sold my seat to someone else already, and stuck by the excuse that the door was already closed.) I was put on standby for the next flight. I learned that L.’s flight was canceled because of a snow storm later that day in New York. I called her up and told her to head in and got her on standby too. I then planted myself next to the desk so that the flight attendant would have no problem seeing me as the first standby person. L. showed up right before they asked for standby people and we both made it on the flight. It was weird being on an airplane where 1/3 of the passengers were either pilots from other airlines or flight attendants. We found out that this was the last plane that was not canceled. When we landed in New York it was already starting to snow pretty good and from the look of it we were the last plane that was landing. (We had to wait while they moved some of the grounded planes so we could get off the plane.) Apparently every airport in the north east was closed because of the snow storm. A friend of a friend wasn’t so lucky that was flying the same day we were and ended up flying home Tuesday instead of Sunday when they got everything back to normal. I am just glad to not have a “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” moment. The moral of this story is to always make friends with the flight attendants since they can pull a lot more strings than you think.

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