Tag Archives: airports

Welp, Here We Go Again


It’s been a helluva few days.  Here’s the Reader’s Digest version:

On Sunday Ms. Müller and I left her little village a bit before noon and she drove me a couple of hours south to Frankfurt for my flight home.  We got there a little early and spent some time wandering around the airport and doing our best to delay the inevitable.  After a meal, a beer and yet another difficult goodbye I made my way through security.  I took my standard pre-transatlantic flight regimen of Jaeger and ambien and did my best to sleep my way to Washington DC.

Departure Board at Frankfurt Airport

Well, one of these is mine, unfortunately…

My flight to Dulles was delayed by about an hour which effectively cut my layover in half.  That might not sound so bad, but in the midst of a 20+ hour travel day, getting a chance to sit down and have a decent meal and a beverage or three is a nice little break.  Not to mention I know a little spot there that actually has Fat Tire on draft.  But no such luck.  Instead, after blearily clearing customs, retrieving my luggage from Frankfurt, re-checking my luggage to Denver, and going through security again (despite the fact that all I’d done since the last checkpoint was sit on an airplane for around 11 hours; it’s a ridiculous little circus one has to go through), I had only about 15 minutes to get to my gate for the next leg of the journey.

A few minutes after taking my seat, the captain got on the horn and made the ever-popular announcement that there were some technical issues with fueling the plane.  But, we needn’t worry as they were attempting to use “an alternate method” to get the plane fueled correctly and get us on our way.  Predictably, after an hour or so of unsuccessfully attempting to siphon some gas from the American Airlines plane at the next gate, or whatever the hell they were doing, they told us we’d need to switch planes.

By this time it was almost midnight local, so once again an actual meal was out of the question.  So a bag of trail mix, a walk through the terminal and new plane later, we finally took off better than 2.5 hours after our scheduled departure time.  At just after 2:00 in the AM, I finally arrived in Denver.  Now I like DIA, but it’s no fun that late at night.  You have to take a train from the concourse to the baggage claim, and they don’t exactly run a lot of trains at that hour.  It was better than 3:00 by the time I got all my shit and was ready to head home.

The little yellow one is me. Nice work guys.

Cabs are scarce that time of night, so it was a bit of a wait, but I finally got me a cab and got home at just about 4:00 in the morning, a full 24 hours after leaving Oberemt, Germany with Ms. Müller.  It had also been 24 hours since I ate anything other than airplane food, and after grabbing a bite to eat I realized it was just about 5:00.  Now I knew from experience that if I’d had the audacity to go to bed my sleep schedule would have destroyed for the next several days, so I hit up the gas station for a 4-pack of Red Bull, put my big boy pants on and went to work.

Thankfully it was a pretty quiet day, and I knocked off a little early and actually got a descent night’s sleep.  Yesterday wasn’t as kind.  Apparently one of our customers desperately needs some help installing some of our shit in Poland.  As such one of our dudes got pulled off a project in Pennsylvania to get out there and help.  I’m sure you can figure out exactly what that means for yours truly.  Yup.  At 7:00 tomorrow morning, a mere 75 hours after getting home from Germany, I’m off to beautiful Shippingsport, Pennsylvania to take his place.

It is what it is, I suppose.  And the money will be good.  But that was an awfully rude awakening.  I just got done with having a halfway normal life for a while.  And I liked it.  A lot.  I had 23 days of like, home-cooked meals.  And going to the movies.  And watching TV.  And going out to a bar where I actually know people.  And not being alone.  It was tough to get thrust so abruptly back into the reality to which I’ve grown accustomed.

I wish I had some time to catch my breath.  And like, launder my clothes.  But this also offers the silver lining of giving me something to do other than sit around and miss the shit out of the girl, the town, and the second family I just left.  Now I can work my ass off, drink for free, and miss the shit out of all of that, which is a marked improvement, so it’s not all bad.  But holy shit this little life of mine is hectic.  Bah.  Oh well, it’s a life worth leading anyway.

Here’s to the free meals and frequent flier miles.

Don’t be a stranger.

-B. Littleton

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Bergheim or Bust… Again.


Well Uncle Sam, you can go fuck yourself.  I’m getting up out of this bitch.

As you might have heard over the past couple of weeks, Ms. Müller recently applied for a tourist visa to come to the U.S. to spend a few months with me.  And you also might have heard that said visa application was denied.

While the American government might have won the battle, they certainly haven’t won the war.  While they apparently gave more than ample consideration to the ridiculous notion that Ms. Müller might have defected to our great nation, they failed to take into consideration was my extensive collection of frequent flier miles and my propensity for jumping on airplanes to fly around the world with little or no notice.

When the visa got denied, I almost immediately started working with my boss, who was incredibly kind to work with me, to figure out a way we could maneuver a mutually beneficial trip to Germany.  So here I am, back at DIA on my way to Frankfurt.  I got a one-way ticket to Germany for about 100 bucks and a meager 30,000 of my 200,000 miles.  I’ll spend the rest of this week and the following two on vacation hanging out with Ms. Müller and her crazy family.  While I will have to endure a shitload of sarcasm and more German than I can take, there will be no power plants at all, and I think that’s a pretty fair trade.  Then, I’ll put in a week or two of work in the area before a brief layover at home.

Yes, those impersonal bastards at the immigration offices dealt me a pretty good blow, and it took a week or two to come to terms with it. But I suppose it’s a just setback, and to be trite as shit about it, all things worth having are worth fighting for.  So with an anchor I pulled up years ago, and an extensive collection of loyalty program and credit card benefits, I have some options.  And I plan to explore them.

After she has a semester or two of college under her belt, those bastards might be more easily convinced that Ms. Müller will in fact return to Germany, and as such they ought to be more amenable to giving her permission to enter this exalted land.  And, in the mean time, I’ve done my homework, and several universities in Germany offer MBA programs in English, and I could afford them.  There might be an opening for a semi long-term position in Germany at the Company to be Named Later.  If nothing else, I can fly myself back and forth to Germany 3 more times before I have to spend a penny, and that’s if I stop flying today, which we all know won’t happen.

So today, I’ll be flying to Germany of my own volition for the first time (by the way, bloody mary’s seem to cost more today, for some reason), and I’ll do my best to enjoy the shit out of the next couple of weeks.  After that, who knows.  I sure as hell don’t.  But I do know that this thing ain’t over.

Don’t be a stranger.

-B. Littleton

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What Just Happened?


So my last trip to Germany was quite a whirlwind.  That little cliche doesn’t seem to do it justice, but unfortunately my banal and sophomoric command of the English language doesn’t afford me a better way to describe it.  It was my longest trip yet at 3 and a half weeks, and included the requisite 200 hours of work and travel, not to mention trips to both Paris and Prague.  And I still somehow managed to find the time to fall for a beautiful girl along the way.  It was an amazing trip, and frankly, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.

Here’s a little peek at my 25-day European foray.

I was sent to work here:

The Schwandorf waste incinerator plant.

But turns out this place is a little different from my usual power plants…  Instead of burning coal, they burn this:

Trash. Astonishing amounts of trash.

That made things a little more difficult than normal.

A bunch of this shit wasn't working.

And that made this:

A damn-near fully functional lasery-measurey-thingy.

Look like this:

A much less than damn-near fully functional lasery-measurey-thingy.

It meant a few extra days here:

but after 14 days in the power plant, and one day off in…

Glendo and I, with a lot of help from our software homies, got everything working.  From there I headed 5 hours west to:

the quiet little town of Bergheim, Germany,

for a week of actual vacation time in Europe.  In Bergheim I met up with my favorite KGB agent who is currently masquerading as a German bartender…

Miss Lotta Müller. That's a fake name of course.

And after a couple of nights of hanging out here:

Best, the bar in which she works. It's easily the best bar in Bergheim, and it's where we met on my last trip to Deutschland,

we hopped in the rental car and headed another 468 kilometers southwest and ended up here:

There we made like a shitty romantic comedy and…

fell pretty hard for each other.

And after two days that were quite possibly the best of my life, we made the long trip back here:

The Hotel Meyer in Bergheim.

After a couple of disturbingly wonderful days of doing pretty much nothing with Ms. Müller, I took off for the Frankfurt airport with a happy but heavy heart for this:

The long-ass flight home.

After about 15 hours of this:

I was finally back where I started 25 days earlier…

Denver International Airport.

Since my return, I’ve gone to work in only the most literal sense, and spent the rest of my time sitting around in a haze of jet-lag and lonely wondering what the hell just happened.  I guess it’s kind of like that feeling you get after finishing an amazing book, when you’re left awestruck, flipping through the pages hoping there’s a couple there at the end you might have missed.  Thankful for what just transpired, but frustrated as all hell that it’s over.

It’s going to be hard to go back to cubicle life after this one.

-B. Littleton

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