Why I hate flying

Now before I get too far into this post, let me preface it by saying I had an absolutely fabulous time in Michigan City with my friend Stacey Hembruff and her fiancé (now hubbie) Erik Lawrence.

For the day and a half I was there, I met Erik and his family, went to Carlson’s, a local landmark replete with car hops and brewed-on-site root beer (made me reminisce about the A&W of my childhood), went to their wonderful beach, and partied the night away at the local Elk’s lodge.

I had a blast and it made the trial and error of getting there so worth it.

Still.  I had a bit of an adventure.

Hater’s gonna hate

I’m not afraid of flying.  Sure my gut lurches a bit on take off, and when the ride gets a bit rough, I can’t read (legacy of childhood car-sickness) but I have nothing against the mode of transportation itself.  Sometimes it’s the only way to get from point A to point B.

Getting the ticket and dealing with the airline and insurance was a breeze, too.  I was actually pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.  And I was looking forward to flying with Porter, as several of my friends have and have reported that it was a great experience.

I’m the problem.  I’m a control freak.  I hate being at the mercy of someone else’s schedule.  If possible, I’d much rather drive because then if I’m late, I have no one to blame but myself.

So this is all on me 😉

My tale begins when I checked through security at the Greater Sudbury Airport.

The woman behind me turns to me as we’re collecting our belongings from the bins and says, “Is this your first time?”

Excuse me?  She went on to explain that her flight, earlier in the day, had been cancelled.  She didn’t say why and the day so far both in Sudz and in Toronto wasn’t stormy.

I should have known then that I would be in for a few unexpected delays.

The flight departed a half an hour late, and when it arrived at Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Island, I had 15 minutes until the next boarding.  Would I make it?  Would my checked bag?  I was escorted to the lounge to await the boarding call and about when I expected to board, the announcement was broadcast that due to thunderstorms, all flights were grounded.

Okay.  I texted Stacey to let her know that I would be a bit late and she said that she and Erik were running late themselves and that all would be well.

When the boarding resumed, Porter started with flights to Boston and Newark and the boarding time was now listed 50 minutes after the original.

The boarding call was announced and the lot of us trouped down to the gate where we stood.  And waited.  Additional problems would cause another hour’s delay. We returned to the lounge and I texted Stacey again.  The issue wasn’t weather, she told me.  The skies were clear in Chicago.

The next announcement that went out was that there were weight allowance issues and that any passengers who would volunteer to wait until the next flight would receive a voucher for $250 dollars off their next Porter flight.

If I knew what would happen next, I’d have gone for the deal, but hind sight is perfect, as they say.

When we board, nearly 2 hours after we were supposed to, I noticed that the next flight to Chicago was boarding in 15 minutes. Le sigh.

When we got on the plane, it was one of the smaller ones, and it was packed to the gills.

English: Porter Airlines Bombardier Q400 landi...

English: Porter Airlines Bombardier Q400 landing at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ) in July 2008. Français : Un Q400 de Porter Airlines atterrissant à l’aéroport Billy Bishop de Toronto (YTZ) en juillet 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No wonder they had weight allowance issues.  Because of the smaller size of the plane, though, we’d have to stop for refuelling in Windsor…wait for it…for 15 minutes.  I’m willing to bet that the next flight was on the larger plane that could make the hop in a single flight.

As compensation, in addition to Porter’s usual snacks and beverages (and yes, before you ask, Porter serves actual alcohol on their flights) we were served a chicken pita sandwich, coleslaw, and Lindt chocolate.  I wished that I hadn’t purchased a late dinner in the airport lounge.

We stopped over in Windsor and flew to Chicago with no further problems.  I arrived, made it through customs and claimed my baggage.

But I couldn’t get a signal for my cell phone.  The airport had a Boing hot spot, but apparently, it can’t be used to text or email.  I tried texting Stacey again, because I didn’t know where she was, and I tried to text Phil, because I just wanted to tell him that I’d arrived safely.

I turned on the roaming and tried to latch onto some other network, but no dice.

I found Stacey, she introduced me to Erik, and we drove to Michigan City, about an hour and 15 minutes outside of Chicago.  We arrived without further incident at 11:30, 12:30 my time.  We were staying at Erik’s grandfather’s house and I tried again to find some kind of signal.  My poor phone searched and searched but couldn’t pick anything up.

After a day of travel, me by air, and Stacey and Erik by car, we were all of us pooped.  We dropped, and in the morning, Stacey texted Phil for me.

When I returned to Canadian air space, all my stored up texts were sent.

This is the way of air travel.  It must be accepted.  Still.  I had an adventure 🙂

And that’s why I hate flying.

How about you?  Do you like to fly?  Are you afraid of flying?  Or are you a control freak like me?  I’d love to hear from you.

Writerly Goodness, signing off.

Supper calls!  And tonight: True Blood 🙂

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Review of K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander

I’d been meaning to get K.M. Weiland’s Dreamlander and read it for a while now.  Well, not long ago, Katie posted on Wordplay about Story Cartel, where readers can get free books in exchange for an honest interview.

I missed the deadline for her challenge, which might have won me an Amazon gift certificate (moar books!), but since I always intended to write the review up anyway, I figured I’d just carry on and post when I actually finished the book.

I don’t read as fast as I used to.  I blame it on the day job, but I have a feeling that even if I wasn’t working I wouldn’t be consuming a book a day like I used to. Besides, I wanted to savour Dreamlander.  If that doesn’t give away the nature of my review, I don’t know what will 😉

One of the reasons I was so keen was the concept: a man goes to sleep in this world and wakes up in a parallel world.

Any of you who have followed my blog for any length of time will know about my tonsillectomy trauma and the dream that I had upon my return from my second visit to the hospital.

For those of you who haven’t seen the post and don’t want to take the time to read it, here’s the short version: I had a near-death experience, and as a result, I dreamed that I had, in fact, died.  I fell asleep in one world and woke up a new person in another world.

So you can see how Dreamlander kind of fed into my life-long fascination with dreams and dreaming.

DreamlanderThe Amazon blurb:

What if it were possible to live two very different lives in two separate worlds?

What if the dreams you awaken from are the fading memories of that second life?

What if one day you woke up in the wrong world?

Only one person in a generation may cross the barrier of dreams to reach the other world—a world of war-scarred countries and fallen faiths. When a Chicago-born journalist finds himself on the far side of his dreams, he must hurl himself into battle to save a princess from her own people, two worlds from annihilation, and himself from a dream come way too true.

My thoughts:

I loved Dreamlander (did you see that one coming?).  Weiland has created a flawed protagonist in Chris Redston who wins our hearts over as he attempts to undo the damage caused by the mistakes he’s made.

Having lost his mother and one sister in a car accident he survived, and having subsequently lost his father to alcoholism, Chris is done with alternately lending his father money and bailing him out of jail.  He can’t find his focus though.  Once a talented writer, Chris finds himself blocked and unable to support himself.  Then there are these bizarre dreams he keeps having…

Chris turns out to be The Gifted, a rare man who can cross over into the land of his dreams, a very real world where he lives an alternate life.

Allara Katadin, princess of Lael and Searcher, is equally damaged.  The last Gifted who crossed over sent her world spiralling into chaos and she feels it was her fault.  She can’t trust Chris not to be the man his predecessor was, and when he initially proves her right, she shuts Chris out, not understanding that life is about taking chances and about giving second ones when it matters most.

Dreamlander is true epic fantasy, with not just one, but two worlds in jeopardy.  Chris and Allara must work together and sacrifice everything to do the right thing, even as Allara’s own people cry for her blood and that of the Gifted.

The denouement was both heart wrenching and satisfying, Weiland proving that the writer must be cruel to her characters to be kind to her readers.

My highest recommendation.

My rating:

5 out of 5 stars.

About the author:

K.M. Weiland grew up chasing Billy the Kid and Jesse James on horseback through the hills of western Nebraska, where she still lives. A lifelong fan of history and the power of the written word, she enjoys sharing both through her novels and short stories. She blogs at Wordplay: Helping Writers Become Authors, where she mentors other authors and shares the ups and downs of the writing life.

Now I’m off to post my review to Story Cartel, Amazon, and Goodreads 🙂

Later, ‘taters!