Sunday, March 8, 2015

temporary escape

I had to go to Louisiana last week to sit in on a training class and attend meetings.  Traveling is just not as much fun as it used to be.  At least with this trip, I planned my schedule around delayed flights, meaning I gave myself intentional 3 to 4 hour layovers.  It’s a good thing because each layover was needed and there were no missed flights this time.  Most of the waiting happened while trying to leave airports in the mornings.  Another long wait was when Delta scrambled to figure out where my luggage was after my plane arrived in New Orleans.  Apparently they'd sent my bag to New Orleans by way of Washington DC rather than Atlanta.  They found it and it was in my possession before leaving the airport, so that ended well.  I travel light.  Whereas carrying on my bag is definitely doable, my laptop bag is heavy enough to lug around.  It costs $25 to check my bag, but I don’t care what the trip costs because I’m not paying for it.  Convenience is king when the cost is not coming from my own pockets.

I worked in Garyville, Louisiana, which is about 25 miles west of New Orleans – a place I hadn’t been since about half a year after hurricane Katrina.  It would have been nice to have seen the French Quarter again after it was rebuilt, but I didn’t have much time to do anything except work this trip.  One evening a group of us had dinner at a little seafood restaurant on Lake Pontchartrain, very close to where our motel was in the little town of LaPlace.  We agreed to meet at 6:30, but I went a little early so I could see the area before dark.  The restaurant was near a boat launch ramp and a swamp tour place.  I was hoping to see swamps and alligators, but alas, I saw absolutely no wildlife at all…plenty of swampland though.  Even right out my motel window, I could look down and see a swamp with dead trees and Spanish moss hanging off them and little flowers blooming along the edge.  The landscape in that part of the country is kind of bleak in comparison to our hills and cliffs of Kentucky – it’s all just very flat which makes the sky seem larger than it should be.

Full moon over Lake Ponchartrain, LaPlace, Lousiana.
Lake Ponchartrain is BIG.  

The weather was lovely the first days – sunny and 80 degrees.  On the night before I left, the temperature dipped to nearly freezing and the wind was incredible.  The wind chill was definitely like the winter of Kentucky.  I drove back to the airport the night before my departure to turn in my rental car and shuttle to a nearby motel.  Snow flurries were blinding and the wind was like nothing I’d ever driven in.  Fortunately the evening traffic was light.  Keeping my car in its lane was all I could do; big trucks were drifting out of their lanes. 
While I was out of town, we had a horrendous snow/ice storm here at home.  We had 2” of rain in an hour that turned to ice, followed by 18 inches of snow.  The rain caused some bad flooding.  Some parts of Kentucky got 2 feet of snow; much of the state was declared a disaster area.  The girls’ classes were all called off because across most of the state, only emergency vehicles were permitted on the roads (faculty and staff could not get into work).  Someone stayed home for three days and shoveled snow off our driveway and off our neighbor’s driveway.  By the time I flew home Friday, the roads were clear enough to drive on safely, but there were still lots of cars, trucks, and buses stuck in the snow along the highway.  The trees still had snow all over them and the landscape looked kind of magical.  Sadly, a lot of trees broke and uprooted from the weight of ice and snow. 

View from our front door

View from the back door
Snow on the sickly, rotting red maple tree

Hopefully, we are through with winter for 2015.  Spring starts this month.  Definitely, I’m ready for spring.  The temperature is warming up this week and the snow will melt.  I saw birds carrying twigs and straw today.  They are building nests.  The birds know spring is near.

Still no progress on hunting another teaching job.  I've been rewriting my CV per feedback I got from a consulting group.  It's a necessary first step to get it looking presentable.  My students are on spring break this week so in theory, it frees me up somewhat.  I have a lead on a job from a good friend who put in a good word for me.  It's time to get the damn deed done - do or die - pedal to the metal. 

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