New site – Same old Blog :)

Good morning. If you have found this blog either from my previous site or happened to come across here by accident, welcome and thank you for stopping by. 🙂

Previously, The Deaf Geeky Guy blog was over on Blogger. But I was having several issues with Blogger. Among some of them:

  1. Composing and editing – There were times when I was having issues in composing a journal entry on Blogger on both the desktop and mobile version of Blogger that I got frustrated to the point of not writing journal entries anymore. The page would not load or when it did, it would not respond if I tried clicking on something. Sometimes I would have to reload the page in order to get it to work and I was getting pissed off.
  2. Comments Section – A few people have said to me that they were unable to leave comments on my blog over at Blogger. I tried different settings, but still no comments. I had not written an entry for weeks when someone recently found my blog by accident a couple days ago and tried to make a comment, but couldn’t. Luckily that person told me on Facebook just the other day. I knew that was the last straw and decided to cut all ties with Blogger.

I did some research and decided WordPress was the best way to go. It was just a matter of deciding whether to get a free WordPress page with limited control on what I can do there. Or getting my own domain and have more flexibility on what I want to do with it.

I decided to get my own domain. I found a hosting site, registered the domain, and had WordPress installed on it. With my own website, I can do a whole lot more with it. I can make this site just a blog or a full fledged website. I actually have plans to make it the latter, but for now, I’ll do with the blog.

Back on Blogger, I saved my entire blog and had it imported here. Every post I made on Blogger is also on here for those of you who are new to the party 🙂

I’m still working on figuring out WordPress and I’m also looking at other themes that I can use for this site. The theme that is up now is just temporary until I can find one that I like.

I’m liking WordPress right now, but if WordPress doesn’t work out, no problem. Because I now own this site, I can do what I want with it. If I wanted to, I can remove WordPress and put in another app to host my website such as PHPBB or something else. The sky’s the limit for me here.  DeafGeekyGuy is not going anywhere even if the layout may become different. Websites change their layout all the time and mine will be no different.

Now that I’m back to the blogging world, I’ll resume my writings about my Los Angeles trip that I took last month. I’ll do that on Monday or Tuesday when I’m off work.

Stay tuned 🙂

Los Angeles Vacation: The Traveling – Part 2

Yesterday, I wrote about my flight to Los Angeles. Today, I’ll write about my return home.

That morning, I said my goodbyes to my sister before she had to go to work (I said goodbye to my dad the day before as he lives an hour away in Orange County). After saying my goodbyes, I went for a morning walk by my hotel, then decided to go to the airport early.

I went to my room, packed my clothes and did one final inspection of my room to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I then checked out at 9am and requested a Uber on the Uber app (more on Ubers on tomorrow’s post).  The Uber arrived within minutes and I was at the airport within 15 minutes. Traffic was not too bad. 

LAX is a huge airport and the terminal itself was huge. I had no idea where to check in to get my boarding pass. But thankfully, an American Airlines employee saw that I looked lost and approached me and asked if I needed help. I said I do need help and said I needed to check in. He asked if I had a boarding pass. I said I don’t. He took me to a self check in kiosk. But I didn’t have my paperwork with me with the information on it that I needed for self check in. 

“No problem,” said the employee. “Follow me.”

He took me to the check in counter to an open register and asked for my drivers license, which I produced. Within a couple minutes, he printed my boarding passes and told me where I needed to go. I thanked him and headed for security. I actually had to go three security checkpoints before getting to my gate.  The first two were simple – I just had to produce my boarding pass to prove that I’m a passenger and was allowed through to the main TSA checkpoint.

Having gone through security back at Appleton, I know what to do now and was ready. I passed security with no issues and soon, with two hours or so still to kill before boarding, I took my time walking and following the numbers leading to my gate. Once I located my gate, I decided to get something to eat. I stopped at a restaurant called Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza. I thought about getting  a pizza, but I didn’t want to wait too long. The restaurant was packed, so I ordered a simple breakfast of 2 eggs with white toast and breakfast potatoes. It was good. I paid my bill and headed for my gate with still 90 minutes before boarding.

The gate area was packed, full of people waiting for their flight to Honolulu. I knew a  seat would open up once the Honolulu passengers started boarding, so I picked a seat at a bit away from the gate itself.

I sat down and look at the American Airlines app on my phone for another update to see if my flight is still on time. That’s when I got my first travel advisory. Severe storms are impacting Chicago at the moment, which may affect travel for inbound and outbound flights at Chicago. I had the option to rebook at no charge because of this. But I declined the option. 

I checked the Weatherbug app on my phone and took a look at the radar. Sure enough, a nice sized cell was heading right for Chicago. It was all red on the radar.

I alternated between reading my tablet and checking the app for updates.  My flight is still on time. So far, so good. Soon, the passengers for Honolulu got up to board and I raced for the nearest seat by the gate  After the Honolulu plane left, the gate agents left and soon after that, the new gate agents came in for the Chicago flight. I informed one of the gate agents that I’m deaf and will need to hear my group number. No problem, the agent said. He would let me preboard. I felt kinda bad having to board before everyone else, but if American Airlines would post the “Group Number X Now Boarding” on the monitor, I wouldn’t have to do that.

Flight leaves at 1pm. It is now 12:40pm, typically time to board. But we didn’t start boarding until 12:50pm. I knew right away that the flight is now going to be delayed. But no alerts on my phone just yet. I boarded and got to my seat. At that moment, I received my first alert via the app to my smart watch – the flight is now 10 minutes late. It will lake off at 1:10pm. 

I had the window seat and soon my seatmates arrived – a pair of women traveling together. The alerts continued on my phone. Flight now departs at 1:20, then 1:30, then 1:40. I was like, shit. I said out loud to myself, “Damn, I’ll be cutting it close to my connecting flight.”

My seatmates heard me and one of them said, “Us too.”

I asked them, “Where are you going?”

“Appleton,” they said.

“Really? Me too,” I replied. What are the odds? Over 200 people on the plane with odds that they are either going to Chicago or connecting to somewhere else and my two seatmates are both going to Appleton.

We talked for a little bit and made a game plan together on making it to our gate at Chicago. I checked my app to see what gate I would have to go to so I can plan my route. As it turns out, the gate for the Appleton flight got moved further away than it originally was and I was like, shit! That means I got more ground to cover. The plane finally took off around 1:40pm PT with an ETA to Chicago of 7:50pm CT. My flight for Appleton leaves at 8:30pm CT. Both my seatmates and I knew there were no margin for error at this point.

My seatmates and I made a game plan to connect to our Appleton flight, which is basically to run like hell and whoever gets there first, to let the gate agent know that the others are coming. The plane landed about 20 minutes earlier than expected, but it still took a while to disembark as we were at the back of the plane. But once off the plane, we all ran like a bat out of hell to make our connection.

To get an idea of how far we had to go, download the interactive map of O’Hare Airport and choose Terminal 3. We got off at gate K19 and had to go all the way to gate G21. We ran fast enough to give Usain Bolt a run for his money. My legs, already sore from two days of hiking, were cramping up. But I kept going. We all made it to the gate together with 5 minutes to spare. 

Once on the plane, my seatmates and I gave each other a fist bump for our victory in making to the gate on time. My legs were sore, but I had such an adrenaline rush from all that running that the cramps didn’t bother me. 

The flight took off on time. It was right at sunset too, but my seat was on the east side of the plane, so I couldn’t get a good view of the sunset. But from what I could see, it was beautiful. As we flew over Milwaukee, it was dark and I could see the pretty city lights below. It was awesome!

It didn’t take long for the plane to touchdown in Appleton. The flight was so short that we all had to stay in our seats. The flight was basically in takeoff and landing mode the whole way.. Once off the plane, I said goodbye to my seatmates and we went our separate  ways. I went to pay for my parking, got my receipt and began the walk to my truck. Once by my truck, that is when I breathed a sigh of relief. I was very happy to be in Appleton after the close call of the late flight from Los Angeles. I had a decision to make – do I drive home or get a hotel? I still was wired from the flight that I decided, fuck it, let’s go home. 

I showed my parking receipt to the parking lot agent and was on my way. It was About 9:45pm at that point. I thought to myself, I’ll make it to Marinette and Menominee by 11:15pm easily. How wrong I was.

I reached the Northland Ave. exit in Appleton on I-41 and there was a traffic jam. I was like, you gotta be fucking kidding me. This is not Los Angeles. It’s is nearly 10 at night. why would there be a traffic jam at this hour? My first thoughts were either an accident or road construction. I did recall reading some lanes of  Northbound I-41 to be closed off in Appleton for repaving or something like that. It was indeed construction as one northbound lane was closed.

We plodded along at like 5-10 mph, sometimes stalled at times.The highway opened up back to two northbound lanes at the State Highway 47 exit (also known as Richmond Ave). It took me a half hour just to go three miles. Traffic opened up after that and I soon was driving at 70mph again, slowing down to 55mph through the construction in De Pere, but at least I was moving.

I decided to stop at George Webb in Peshtigo and made it there at 11:15 pm. I was famished, not having eaten since my breakfast back in LA. While waiting for my food, I thought to myself, what if I missed my flight to Appleton? What if I had to rebook? I looked at the American Airlines website on my phone for the next day’s flights. The next flight to Appleton would be for 11am, which meant an overnight stay in Chicago. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. I didn’t know if American Airlines would give me a voucher for the hotel or if I’d had to pay out of pocket. But I didn’t have to worry about that.

After eating my meal at George Webb, I was home by 12:15 am. It was one of the longest days of travel that I’ve had to endure in my life, starting with leaving my hotel at 9am PT/11am CT and finally arriving home after midnight 13 hours later.

But you know what? I’ll do it again 🙂 I’m looking forward to my return trip to Los Angeles in 2019.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about my first experiences with the Uber service. Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll cover my visits with my dad and sister. 

Stay tuned 🙂

 

Los Angeles Vacation: The Traveling – Part 1

This past week, I went to Los Angeles to visit my real father and my sister, the latter whom I’ve never met as an adult. I decided to write about my experiences in a series of blog posts in approximately 3 to 5 parts as follows.

  1. The Traveling – I’ll be discussing my experiences in traveling to Los Angeles as well as traveling on the return trip. This will be a two parter.
  2. Uber – My experiences in my first Uber rides ever.
  3. My dad & sister – I’ll discuss meeting them. This post will probably be a two parter.
  4. My hiking – I hiked two difficult trails there. Probably a two parter as well.

Today, let’s talk about my experiences in traveling to Los Angeles and back. 

A few months ago, I was talking to my sister, who lives in California  after we found each other on Facebook. We got to talking. Then I brought up the idea of me going to visit her and my dad, also in California. They both liked the idea of me going to visit them. So I used my Triple A membership to book the flight out of American Airlines. I looked at my options. I only had 5 days of vacation. Which meant I needed to limit my traveling time so I can maximize my vacation time once on the ground, so long layovers were not an option.

The American Airlines flight was booked for July 17 out of Appleton at 5:15am and landing in Chicago O’Hare about an hour later. I then had an hour to get to the other side of the terminal to make my connecting flight to Los Angeles, due to take off at 7:22am CT and set to land in LA at around 10:00am PT.

The return flight was booked on July 20 to leave LAX at 1pm PT and land in Chicago at 7:25pm CT. Then I had an hour to get across the terminal for my 8:30pm flight back to Appleton.

Let’s talk about going to LA. I could have driven the 90 some miles to Appleton from my home in Menominee, MI at around midnight  the day of the flight since I’m a 3rd shift worker and my body is already on a 3rd shift schedule. But I thought to myself – what if something happens on the highway while traveling to the airport? What if my truck breaks down? What if there was an accident that I would get stuck behind? I decided to go to Appleton a day early and just stay in a hotel. I figure if something does happen while driving to Appleton, I still would have a day to deal with it and still make my flight.

Before I continue, I wanted to mention my job is an overnight manager on duty for a grocery store. One of my responsibilities involve receiving trucks that deliver to the store. Grocery, meat, produce, etc.  Because the store is closed overnight, pretty much all the drivers have my cell phone number so they can call or text me when they are on the way or already at the loading dock. I spent the last couple weeks before my vacation notifying the drivers of my vacation and to contact my coworker instead. Now back to the story.

Once at the hotel, I went to bed around 6pm and set my alarm for 1am so I can go to the airport at 2am to check in. Well, at 11pm, I was woken up by a text message via my smart watch that vibrates whenever I get a notification on my phone. Apparently one driver didn’t get the memo that I was gone. He texted to say that he was parked at the loading dock at the store that I worked at. Oh brother. So I texted my coworker to go unload the truck.

I tried to go back to sleep, but couldn’t. So I was like, fuck it, let’s go to the airport early. I took a shower, got dressed, packed my bags, checked out and went to the airport, which is a small airport. I arrived at the airport a little after 1am and went to long term parking, where I parked my truck and made a mental note of its location. No activity at all in the airport. I was hoping the doors were open so I could at least go in inside and rest and they were. But the lights in the terminal were down, No one else were there other than a janitor, who paid me no mind. So I took a seat by the American Airlines counter and fired up my tablet to begin reading a book. I also used the opportunity to check out the American Airlines app on my phone for updates and make sure everything is on time. So far, so good. I also studied the map of the terminal at O’Hare so I can plan my route to my connecting flight.

Around 2:30am, the lights flickered on and employees began to arrive to the terminal. Other passengers soon arrived as well. At 3am, the counter was open to take check ins. I got my boarding pass and my suitcase was cleared for carry on. I didn’t have to check it. I was happy about that.

I went over to the security checkpoint, which was not quite open yet. I sat with the other passengers and waited.  Once security was ready to go, I let other passengers go first so I can observe what to do when going through the checkpoint since I’ve never flown under the new TSA rules. I made it clear to the agents that I’m deaf and needed to read lips and they were more than happy to oblige, showing me what I needed to do in order to pass inspection, which I did with no problem.

Once inside the terminal, I still had an hour or so to kill before boarding. The gate agent soon appeared about a half hour before boarding. I told the agent I was deaf and wouldn’t be able to hear my group number when called to board. She said, no problem. She would let me preboard. Which I did at boarding time.

The plane took off on time and in the blink of an eye, I was already on the ground in Chicago and it didn’t take long to disembark the plane since it was only a small regional jet with a few dozen passengers. Once off the plane, I still had 50 minutes to make my next connection. I walked briskly to the other end of the terminal. The walk took about 20 minutes and when I got to my gate, the monitor said it was still only 20 minutes to boarding time. Plenty of time for me to hit the head, which I did.

I returned to the gate and informed the agent that I was deaf and would not be able to hear my group number when called. This agent also agreed to let me preboard. I was thankful, but was peeved that American Airlines would not have the “Group Number Now Boarding” flashing on the monitor at the terminal like Delta Airlines does with theirs. But as long as I still got to preboard, I was ok with that.

I got on the plane. It took a while for the other passengers to load up as the plane was big enough to hold about 200 some passengers. But the plane still took off on time. It made good time across the country and landed in LA at 9:30am, a half hour early than scheduled.  I was out of the plane and outside the terminal by 10am, waiting for my dad, who got stuck in traffic on the LA freeway. 

While waiting outside the terminal, I saw a slick black Cadillac pull up. A driver got out, and went around to the right rear passenger side and opened the door., He then popped the trunk to get a suitcase. An older looking man got out wearing what appeared to be a two thousand dollar suit. The man looked to be in his late 60’s and looked very important. My first impression of the man was “mobster” – LOL. The driver told the man where to go check in, shook hands with the man, and the man walked away without saying thanks to the driver. I’m like,oookay.

A few minutes after that, my dad pulled up. I got in the car and we took off and he showed me a bit of Los Angeles, which I will write about in a future post.

I thought to myself, not bad for my first ever solo trip on an airplane. Everything went as planned other than be woken up early at the hotel in Appleton. But little did I know that the trip back home nearly wouldn’t go as planned. I’ll write about that in my next post.

Stay tuned 😉