We set out from home (in the great Pscific Northwet) in driving rain, and weather more like October than late May. Got off the ground, no trouble at all, landed in Chicago... and the fun started.
We went to the designated gate. My laptop battery is deaddeaddead so I had to find a working outlet to plug the beast in so that it would function, but the only one at our gate didn't even have a cover on just a gaping hole in the wall with an electrical outlet set into the box and frankly I didn't think it was worth the risk of electrocution. So I went looking for another one, found one, sat down right underneath the sign that said "WiFi Available throughout the airport" and discovered that (a) yes, it was available, for almost $7 for a "day pass", which for me literally meant three hours that we supposedly had to wait at the aiport and (b) once I bit the bullet and actually paid for that, some sites would load and some - including my email - would NOT - they just sat there loading... loading... loading... But while I was grousing and growling and waiting for the dumb thing to load I happened to glance at the departures screen. And discovered that sometime in the intervening period they had switched gates on us.
So I packed up the laptop and went to get rdeck and we gathered up our stuff and went to the new gate. The next thing that happened was that our 9:45 PM departure time suddenly turned into 10:00. And then... JUST LIKE THE LAST TIME... the Annoucement came.
"Your flight to Madison has been cancelled. Your options: the airline will pay for half a hotel room (if you can find one) near the aiport, and you can be rebooked for the next flight which is at 7ish AM the next morning (translation: MORE security hassles, sleeping in a place we didn't want to be at, all that extra hassle...) or (b)...yes, you've guessed it... the dreaded bus. We took Option B. The next bus to Madison left at 11:00PM. By the time we got to the Concourse it was closer to 2 AM than anything else (okay, granted, in Pacific time it was still around midnight so it wasn't perhaps as bad as it sounds but still I was up at 6:30 the morning before and it had been a long day...) I was miserably tired, and I was thoroughly sick of O'Hare and its shenanigans (when we left to catch the bus, the dreaded cots were already appearing in the hallways, the foldaway camp bed ones, the ones that make the hallways look like a bad film-shot of a wartime makeshift hospital and all I keep expecting to see are women dressed in World War I nurses' uniforms flitting serently along the rows of camp beds with oil lamps shielded by compassionate hands...)
To the point of questioning whether Wiscon - one of my favourite cons of all time - was actually worth, in the long run, the hassle of GETTING to.
But a good night's sleep in a Governor's Club room, and then a nice walk along the sunlit streets of Madison (one sign that caught my eye in the window of an optometrist's shop: "Eyewear for the discerning geek" - what, did they know Wiscon was coming to town...?) fixed a lot of that and I feel a whole lot better now. Wiscon registration begins in about an hour and a half and then the fun starts. I might compromise on this particular con and only come in the years that I can figure out how to get here without involving Chicago in the equation...
Anyway. Off back to the hotel room from the public computer I've been hogging for quite long enough (the laptop is still tied to the umbilical of an electrical outlet or else it don't work at all at all...) and then we will make further plans. Dinner later, maybe, but JEEZ LOUISE the food in the Concourse is fabulous but EXPENSIVE....
Wiscon begins. Blogging will be intermittent. Play nicely.