Californication: United We Stand

This turned out to be one long day!

I survived…. barely!  Mr. Skipah recently returned from his sabbatical in sunny (well not so sunny) San Diego fresh off his appearance at the Dad 2.0 Summit.  Initial reaction is: 2018 in New Orleans is the next conference…what could possibly happen there!  I’m already counting down the days.

Relief!  There will be no $35.00 baggage fees for me!

First though, I had to take to the friendly skies with United, nothing better catching a flight at the wee hours of the morning in the CVG airport for a quick puddle hop to hell on earth Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  Since I haven’t flown since about 2001, to say my butt was puckered a little tighter than usual would be an understatement.  I think I had a crew from De Beers following me around that morning hoping to land something akin to the Hope Diamond.  Thankfully, they were disappointed, and the first leg of my journey went about as smoothly as one could hope for.

This is a combination of nervous energy, lack of sleep, and my entry to the United Airlines passenger of the year calendar!

I sent Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel an email last week informing him of my arrival.  When I got there, I was slightly disappointed the Northwestern University marching band and Chicago Bulls cheerleaders weren’t there to greet me.  Instead it was confusion, hustle, bustle, and enough walking to qualify for a marathon.  After 90 minutes, it was time to head out west to LAX.  Four hours later the wheels were up and I was headed out west.

I thought this was my grand entrance into O’Hare, turned out I was wrong.

What happened you may be asking yourself?  The weather was fine, however United didn’t think to have a crew available for this flight.  As a matter of fact, this would be a problem all over the country on February 8th as United had a countrywide system failure, and planes weren’t receiving flight plan info which was delaying flights all over the place.  I don’t know if you have had to sit on a plane for three freaking hours, but it sucks.  Since my budget for this trip was between shoestring and eating bread crumbs for dinner, I had to fly in the “economy” part of the plane.  I think leprechauns and imps are the only people that find the seats comfortable.  United should have an on-call chiropractor on the plane for everyone.  Packaged sardines were probably snickering at us.  Cramped and uncomfortable are never two words you like to use in the same sentence.

Postscript:  United felt so bad about trials and tribulations that gloomy day in Chicago, they gave me a 200-dollar gift certificate good for a year.  Since my whole flight round trip was $240.00, this is known as #winning.

O.K. I get it Cub fans you won the World Series, no reason to rub it in my face!  This reverse karma of delaying me in your unholy airport was just too much to bear!  Go Reds!

I’m Midwest to the bone, the furthest west I’ve ever seen was the time I partied with a barbecue competition team in Kansas City.  Flying into LAX was some of the most majestic scenery (in a week that would be full of it) in my life.  Snowcapped mountains and the sprawl of L.A. is something that can only be fully appreciated in the air.

Upon deplaning at LAX and walking into a terminal, I suddenly realized, “We aren’t in Kansas anymore.”  Thanks to some super careful planning, this guy thought he would outsmart the system and hit Los Angeles well before rush hour, of course, United Airlines thought I should live a little instead with the aformentioned delay.

Quick tangent:  If ever in a super large city, check and see if the good folks at Silvercar have a shop set up there.  Since the only good thing about my credit post-divorce is I have a sense of humor about it, renting wheels for us “creditly challenged” folks is either super expensive or non-existent.  Not a problem with Silvercar, plus throw in some internet deep dives on promo codes and I was set to hit California in a 2016 Audi A-4.  All Silvercar vehicles are silver Audi’s…hence the name Silvercar…I wish I could make this stuff up.  Painless, easy, and super cool dudes and I was off to tackle California as only I knew how.  By the seat of my pants!

How is the murder rate in Los Angeles not around 500%?  Who chooses to drive in that crap, why would you?   Move!!!!!  The 405 is like a moving sidewalk for cars.  Actually, no that would be insulting to moving sidewalks they at least keep going forward.  Brake, gas, brake, gas, brake, gas, middle finger flip, wash rinse repeat.  Luckily, I was high on life and TSA confiscated my bazooka or there might have been some carnage on that warm L.A. evening.

The rumor, myth, legend or whatever you have heard about the 405 in L.A. is the truth!  It sucked worse than a cheap Tijuana hooker….um I mean it was heavy traffic glorified.  I know nothing about Tijuana hookers, just what I read on the internet!  Also should be mentioned, shuttle drivers at LAX have a death wish!

I finally arrived in San Diego, no worse for wear as I was having dinner with the online dating guru Jules Strawberry who had promised me the finest in fish tacos for my arrival.  I used her advice way back when, and shazaam, I’m now engaged to Miss Madison.  The restaurant, Rubio’s didn’t disappoint, and Miss Strawberry vowed to show the finer sides of San Diego before I left town.  Before it was all said and done, restaurants were fighting over me to review their fish tacos and Jules and I are platonic friends for life.

These dandies made the long day all worth it!

About it for now, there is plenty more to come.  Did Skipah end up in Tijuana?  How was the Dads Summit?  How many tattoos in weird places did I amass?  Time will tell, but I can’t wait to share as it was one hell of a time!


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  4. Got off the plane in LAX and realised you weren’t in Kansas anymore? No one ever accused you of not being observant, did they? 😉 When I lived in States, we took a road trip and got stranded in Kansas due to car breaking down. Several unscheduled days spent in Kansas later, and we were on our way again – guess what line all 3 of us kids in the car yelled at the same time as we crossed the state border out of Kansas? We did not enjoy Kansas.

    So the airline didn’t have a crew for the flight. You make one minor little oversight, and people just start nitpicking! 😀 I hate flying in any circumstances. I don’t think I could sit on a plane waiting for it to take off for hours. I’d talk myself out of the whole thing. I’d have started walking.

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  7. I worked as a flight attendant and worse than you sitting on your ass for three hours is having to entertain or keep the irate pax from taking it all out on you. Because we were subjected to fog delay in LAX, SFO and SAN, we got to where we could be quite entertaining.
    Rubio’s, was great the first year I moved here, but now there are so many other choices and so many restaurants to choose from that I can’t get to them all. I cried the first time I got lost in LA, so I feel your pain. Your description was apropos, but I just drove back from San Antonio and found Texas drivers to be as challenging and AZ highways a pain as well.

    • Before L.A. traffic the worse I had ever witnessed was Boston. I can only imagine trying to keep the masses happy during a delay, there was outright panic setting in with some of the patrons. Rubio’s was delicious and if I had more time there would have been many more fish taco joints I would have loved to try!

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  9. Planes are cool and all, but hustle and bustle with boarding/unboarding is never……EVER fun! Glad you made it to and fro in one piece man. Also, those fish tacos do look pretty good!

  10. I love to fly! I’m asleep as soon as I sit down. Plus at one time my best friend and I were flight attendants for Delta. Glad you had a good adventure!!❤

    • We are just getting started? I got over the anxiety pretty quick, it was sitting in a damn plane for all that time waiting on United to get there shit together was when it got a little hair raising.

  11. I don’t have an issue with flying but getting to and from the plane…well that’s a different kettle of fish. Speaking of fish…fish tacos rule! Now that you’re back you can help those Reds figure out which young players to look at down at second base since Cincy finally moved Brandon Phillips to Atlanta. (Cub fans ARE everywhere!)

  12. Mmm, nom nom! Fish tacos! Well I’d love a job reviewing fish tacos! 😛
    I don’t mind the economy seats because I’m 5’4. When I sit in the first-class seats, I feel like a kid. For me, the big seats are better when I don’t know the people around me. Good grief, I don’t wanna be so close to everyone!
    I look forward to your follow ups! 🙂

  13. I hate airport delays …. I hate all delays actually. I should learn a little more patience! Still you got there in the end, am loving your pics of California especially the tacos 😊I haven’t been to San Diego – sounds as though I need to check it out! Glad you had a safe journey home …. tried out the ride on mower yet?

  14. That text thread from United. . . it feels so familiar

  15. Welcome back! I’m so happy you had a great trip.

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