Yes, I still live:)

I went to Baltimore for a two day seminar run by AHIMA(American Health Information Management Association) and I have to say, after an initial adjustment, it was pretty interesting.  I’m used to going to conferences and learning how to do things or what new technology is coming.  This was a total mental shift into theory and discussion.  I enjoyed it because I learned a lot about the industry and the direction it’s going.

Didn’t win the iPad they gave away, but can’t have everything.

I dropped my car off at the train station in Metro Park and got picked up by my current boss and my old boss and we drove down together.  Maryland isn’t that far and it seemed silly to waste all that time in the airports when three of us could go down together.  It was nice to be with both of them, but not in the office.  Got to talk about a lot of stuff and understand some of the decisions they make in a forum like this surrounded by like minds.  The conference gave me a chance to understand a different point of view about our industry apart from what can we build and how quickly.  The end part was kinda cool because I took the train home from Baltimore since they were sticking around for a CIO conference the next day.  I think I’m still a little kid in some ways because I really enjoyed the ride.

Got home Tuesday night, spent the rest of the week cleaning up a bunch of tasks I needed to before I left for Jacksonville that Sunday.  !st clue that I had bad travel mojo, my flight was cancelled and I got bumped to a 5:30 instead of 2:30 flight.  Okay, I’ll get in around 10 instead of 7, that’s not bad.  The flight out of Charlotte was 50 minutes late.  Long story short, got into bed around 1am.  Ugh.

The reason I was there was for a BI Bootcamp.  First, BI is business intelligence.  BI is taking that huge mountain of data and putting it into neat piles, grouping it all logically, and making nice shiny reports and dashboard to display it.  Pragmatic Works in Middleburg FL teaches a week long class that goes over the three main phases of gather it, add it all up, and report on it.  Lots of smart people, cool students and teachers, just a great atmosphere to spend a week in.  Learned a lot and I’m hoping to apply it to the next projects coming up.

Coming home?  Yeah, not so good.  My flight should have gotten me in around 11:30pm so I could be home get a few hours of sleep and bring Fae to her sinus surgery appointment.  Nothing major, but she was going under so I wanted to be there.

Flight was 90 min delayed from Jax to Charlotte.  I would have missed my connection.  USAir called the house and emailed me.  I was getting a call from Fae alerting me to the fact 2 seconds before they called my name over the loudspeaker.  Turns out they automatically pushed me onto another flight.  A United Flight.  Weird?  Anyway, now I’m going through DC, and I’m scheduled to land 40 min earlier than originally planned.  COOL!

Get to DC, after making sure with the gate agent that my bags got moved, and the flight is delayed, and finally cancelled.  At this point, I’m ready to rent a car and drive.  250$?  Hmmmmm.  Fae tells me to take the hotel they’re offering, and get a few hours of sleep, the 7am will get me into Newark at 8:30, I can meet her and her Dad at the surgery place and be there before she goes under.

2 problems with that scenario.  1 – the 7am gets cancelled.  2 – yeah, you guessed it, they lost my bag.

I was checking the continental.com site (yes, I’m on a 3rd airline now) and I saw the flight was cancelled.  I calmly walked up to the agent and said, “Are you aware that the flight is..”

“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t say that out loud yet, I’m trying to get another plane.”

“I’ll stand right here if that’s okay”

“That’s fine.”

So I stood there for about 10 minutes until someone came up and said loudly, “The Website says it’s cancelled!”  All hell broke loose.  Yelling, insulting, badgering, a couple of “I have a heart condition”s, just general nasty chaos.  I just stood there and said a few times, “I know this isn’t your fault, I’m sorry” and got a nod and once a smile.  It just got to the point where people were being belligerent and security was called, thankfully nothing happened.

They start boarding the 8:30 and it just gets louder.  Still standing there quietly.  I ask if it would make it easier if I backed up and got out of her way and she thanked me.  “Don’t forget about me” I said half jokingly.

So she boarded the flight, which was pretty empty and asks everyone to form two lines so she can see past the mob.  They do, and as soon as she has a clear shot at me, she points at me and motions me forward.  “Give me your boarding pass” I do, and voila, I have a seat.  I mention that the person she paged for 10 min before was standing next to me but was too afraid to push thru the crowd, so she thanks me and motions him forward and we both get on, with him thanking me profusely.  “I thought they’d eat me alive if I tried to get past, thank you!”  “Pass it along, you see someone in a situation like this, do right by them” I said as we shook hands and took our seats.

So I’m on board, hoping to make it to the surgery before it’s over, and this woman gets on, the one who had the extra screechy voice.

“Why did she take you first, I was before you on line!”

“Um, no, I was first on line, and she took me because I was polite, I didn’t shout, and I didn’t make her life miserable because I was inconvenienced.”  I actually shocked myself being so blunt, but it worked because the woman behind me who had the 2nd loudest screechiest voice said “He’s right, you’ve been angry enough, you’re on the plane, go sit down”

So the moral of the story children is – be nice to the ticket agents, it’s not their fault!

Oh yeah, I made it to the surgery just as she was coming out of it.  A week is too long to be away I have decided.  Hopefully my trips will be a lot shorter now. 🙂