Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 8:00 AM

Fort Wayne Baby!

On Monday I get home and lift weights with the higher repetition workout (to give my joints time to recuperate). When I get back in the house there is a message on the answering machine. Cousin C has called and told me that her mom, my aunt, has died. This is not the aunt that we celebrated her 90th birthday back in May. This is the younger one at 84 (who's been going downhill rapidly with Alzheimer's disease for the past 10 years).

Cousin C and I have a nice 30 minute conversation about the funeral arrangements and life and death and family and stuff. I tell Cousin C that there is a remote possibility that I could get a redeye flight on Wednesday night to spend all day Thursday in Michigan (for the 2pm funeral) before I would leave for Fort Wayne, Indiana and sensor testing.

On Tuesday I have the ResourceScout meeting after work and after lifting high reps again. We discuss the meeting that we have with statewide officials on the 30th at Long Beach airport. The statewide officials are flying in to Long Beach to meet with us in the airport and then flying back to Sacramento.

On Friday morning I go to work at Northrop Grumman for a short time before heading to the airport to catch a 10 am flight. By the time that I make it through security the flight has been delayed one hour due to weather and air traffic in Chicago. We eventually board the plane near noon and sit in the plane on the runway until after 1 pm. There goes my connecting flight.

The next connecting flight from Chicago to Fort Wayne is a 3 hour wait in Chicago and that one is delayed a bit also. I eventually get to Fort Wayne at 1 am on Saturday morning - a full 6 hours after I was supposed to be there.

I'm up at 5 am on Saturday morning to get to the test facility by 6. I arrive a few minutes after 6 to find that nobody is there yet. Eventually people start arriving but a critical mass is not present until 8 am - I sure could have used that extra two hours of sleep. Due to one problem or another we keep having delays so I go back to the hotel a perform an aerobics workout in the hotel workout facilities and have lunch before getting back to the test facility. We are still not ready to go when I leave at 6pm.

On Sunday I get up at 6 am and lift weights at the hotel's facility. Everyone arrives near 8 am to start testing. But one problem or another delays us again and it isn't until late on Sunday afternoon that we finally get a signature run done. As well as a slightly higher run also.

On Monday I get up at 6 am and lift weights. Seeing that I am the customer, I wear nice pants, a white shirt, and a tie to the Monday morning testing. And every single person that I come across gives me a hard time for wearing the tie. I can only respond with, "I HAD to wear a tie one day." Everyone arrives near 8 am to start testing. There are data concerns and other problems so we keep delaying and hemming and hawing about proceeding with the test. I try to encourage people with, "Life does not belong to the timid". There are continued discussions and we don't actually get any momentum going until 5pm on Monday. But then we start blasting through the tets program and, with a slight in-facility pizza break, we continue testing until 9 pm. I arrive back at my hotel near 9:30 pm and flip on the football game, write a status email for everyone back in warm and fun southern California, and make phone calls.

Because Tuesday is an axis change, I sleep late and do some other tasks. After a number of calls from my hotel to the test facility it is becoming apparent that they are having some other difficulties and that testing is probably not going to happen. I get out and lift weights and do 35 minutes of aerobics before heading to a bookstore and a mall to waste away the day. A later call confirms that testing will not happen today.

Seeing that I am leaving Wednesday at 10 am, I call Northrop Grumman's AmEx travel office to see if I can leave on Tuesday night instead. And the travel office says that my flight out of Fort Wayne was actually at 10 am on Tuesday (this past morning) rather than Wednesday (tomorrow). I panic! "Can you change that to either tonight or tomorrow?" I'm hoping against hope that I can find a seat to Los Angeles on the busiest travel day of the year. And I'm shocked that I can have the exact same travel arrangements for Wednesday that I currently have for Tuesday (but was supposed to have for Wednesday). "Thanks a lot, Jonathon. And have a Happy Thanksgiving" is what I close my phone conversation with. The rest of Tuesday is spent on a 39 minute walk, making phone calls, answering email, and packing for the trip home.

I arrive at Fort Wyne airport a bit early and am selected at random to have an extra search performed. A man searches me while a lady searches my bags. When she stumbles upon the chocolate that I have bought for Person C_T, I say, "She's taking my chocolate!" And the three of us have a good laugh as they continue the search. I make it to Chicago and see that my flight is delayed by 40 minutes. But there's another flight getting ready to leave now so I run over to the gate and barely make it on the plane. I'm into LAX, out the door, and down the freeway to Long Beach by 2pm - there wasn't much traffic at all. After mowing the lawn and going for a nice walk, I take a shower and start my 4 day weekend.