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.
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.
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.