Friday, February 1

A Drenched Rat Has Been Spotted in Newark

Today was my day to travel to New York City and trapse around in the mud at the World Trade Center. It was all SO perfectly planned out. My departing flight was set late enough to allow me to drop Alexis off at daycare. Mr. Husband made arrangements to leave work early enough to pick her up. According to the plan, I would be home with plenty of time to hang out with the Toddler then put her to bed. A dream trip with very little interruption to our normal routing, if you will.

Y'all know what happens to the best laid plans. We had freezing rain in the Burgh this morning, causing daycare to open two hours late. Enter Mr. Daddy needing to drop off the Toddler and go to work late. I made it to New York City fine and dandy, but then the cab driver didn't know the street I needed to go to. I happened to know that it was three blocks from the World Trade Center, so I finally just asked Mr. Lost and Clueless to let me out so I could walk. In the rain. Without an umbrella. Me and my sopping wet self finally found the rendez vous point and all went well as I picked the brains of the British guys running the work at the World Trade Center. I left a puddle in their office then stomped in puddles at the job site. All very productive.

(Break from the story--the WTC site is INCREDIBLE. It doesn't look like much more than a giant hole in the ground, but the work that is being done right now to stabalize the ground and create a foundation for all the structures that are to be built is unbelievable. I could have spent hours staring at the drills that are being used to dig holes through the center of a subway that is IN USE. I haven't downloaded any of my photos yet, but there are some very cool, very recent photos here. Mamas, let your kids grow up to be geotechnical engineers. They do cool stuff. Now, back to the story . . . )

The guys with the groovy accents wanted to make sure I didn't miss my flight, so they kicked me out of their hole with plenty of time to get to the airport. I did a little shopping, eating, and generally had a lot of time to kill because I got to the Newark airport a wee bit TOO early. That was three hours ago. I'M STILL HERE! And Woohoo! bad weather has set in. My flight is currently delayed by two hours, meaning I won't be leaving any sooner than five hours after I got here. I'm in a fantastic mood, really.

At least I'm in a fun airport.

Oh wait, it's Newark. Crap.

OK, then at least it's a good hair day. Was a good hair day. Rain is not really that good for hair. Crap.

OK, at least I will get time to read a good book. Yeah, let's go with that.

Updated at 8:11 pm to add:
Hmm . . . the internet says I'm departing, um, 30 minutes ago. The wall says I'm departing in 25 minutes. The dude says the plane is still in Detroit. Who do I believe?

Updated at 8:32 to add:
Dude. Believe the dude.

Updated at 8:40 to add:
That's so cute that you just ran to your gate! Now sit down and wait a few hours.

Updated at 9:06 to add:
Whew! I thought I missed something there. My flight disappeared from the board while I was in the restroom. But all is OK, there was no plane yet for me to miss.

Updated at 9:24 to add:
Dude says the crew will be here at 10:00. I hope they bring a plane with them.

Updated at 10:02 to add:
I'm still not on a plane. Mapquest says if I had driven, I would pulling into the driveway right about now.

Updated at 10:12 to add:
Well looky there, the camera cable is right where I left it--in my bag. However, pouring rain means crappy photos. But hey! I have other people's photos on my computer. Ta dah!

This is a drill sitting on top of the subway. They are drilling through the active subway tunnel to place supports under the tunnel. When that's done, they are going to excavate the soil, leaving the subway tunnel balancing in the air.

All those walls are preventing the buildings and roads around the site from collapsing into the 200 foot deep hole. They are digging below the water table, so all of the walls have to be water tight. See, I told you engineers do crazy amazing stuff!

The site, in total, is about 16 acres. There are several buildings, a horrifically ugly subway station, and a memorial being errected (not just the Freedom Tower that you always hear about). Right now you can't really get a feel for the enormity of what happened in that place because of all the equipment, noise, chaos, and mud, but there are reminders here and there. For one thing, security to get onto the site is pretty intense, even when you have ID to be there. For another, there are signs on many of the trailers and equipment that say things like, "9-11 We will never forget."

Updated at 10:25 to add:
10:00 came and went with nary a plane in sight. I think perhaps Dude lied. Bad, Dude.

Updated at 10:43 to add:
Boarding!! Woohoo!


  1. At least you didn't wear white today? Trying to help you find the positive here.

    Have a dry weekend!

  2. Oy, safe travel. Tonight when you lay your head down on your pillow you can thank your lucky stars this day is over.

    Have a martini or six ;)

  3. There are always Starbucks at airports, aren't there? Also, people watching at airports is always fun.

  4. IF I get home, peeps. My flight is the only flight to Pittsburgh still on the board. Every other one has been CANCELLED.

    It's official. I hate Newark.

  5. My husband had a job in Newark this week.

    He called me from the hotel and told me, "I'm pretty sure this is where they dump all the bodies."

    I hope you make it home and can salvage a good weekend.

  6. Jenni-Ha!

    Y'all, I haven't stopped thinking about a certain sterling silver bracelet I saw in a store here in the airport (yes, I'm still here) a few hours ago. That's a sign that I should go buy it, isn't it?

  7. Oh so sorry! I hope you can find something semi-fun and relaxing to do. You could just keep blogging all night and entertain me...ya! Can't wait to see the pictures because it sounds amazing. I have a budding geowhatever engineer so now I have a destination to push him in.

  8. The bracelet? She did not look so super-cool on. So sad.

  9. Door number three! Take what's behind door number three!

    Did the airport at least have a good book store? I'd have been all about a Sudoku book and a pack of playing cards.

    Hope you make it home safely - tonight. :)

  10. Of all days to spit frozen rain out of the sky, it would have to be today.

    But I am in awe of what you've seen. We've been the the Flight 93 memorial several times and it's moving. And it's only a field. I could not imagine seeing first-hand what you were seeing today.

    Now go get yourself a cuppa joe or two.

  11. Hmmm. I pick believe no one! I did a lot of flying gtom Newark a life time ago. You're right, enjoy the book.

  12. Anonymous9:19 PM

    Last time I stop by Newark coming back from Belgium, I had to spent the night in the waiting area! I had a 12h delay...Due to weather, and all knid of other fun stuff. Good luck!!!!

  13. gtom? New word. Make that I flew from Newark.

    But about the bracelet? I IS a sign. And if it doesn't look good on, ask if they have any more.

  14. Anonymous9:51 PM

    Last time I pass by Newark I had a 12h delay (back from Belgium)and had to spend the night in the security check point (sick due to pregnancy, no food and no water). Couldn't re-check my luggage because the desk were closed. So I had to sleep on the floor like a homeless!
    Good luck

  15. That must have been so interesting. I'd love to see it. It's so sad, though.

  16. Wow! What a great play-by-play of your day. I hope you make it home safely tonight :)

  17. You ALWAYS make me laugh!!!

    Hope you had a safe flight home. :)

  18. Anonymous11:01 PM

    Oh, what a FUNNN Friday for you Burgh. Stuck in Jersey. UGH. That's NOT my idea of a fun Friday.

  19. Anonymous11:11 PM

    I hate Newark airport...jenni's husband is right about all the dead bodies...hello, home of the Soprano's!!

    By the time you read my comment, you'll be back home and ready to go to bed. Have a relaxing weekend. By the way, your pictures are incredible. I visited the site in 2004 and it's really moving.

  20. Well, at least you have a great attitude! I would probably be too frustrated!

    Hope you are home by now!!!

  21. Oh what a trip! I hope you are home and resting in bed with some chocolate and some alcohol......

    thanks for the pics! this is so moving and touching- I can't wait to see it finished!

  22. Having just experienced the plane delay issue, I feel for you.

    My husband is in-house counsel for a a geotechnical firm! It's so funny to have him come home talking about dirt and foundations. He was an assitant prosecuting atty before that. Then I understood what he was talking about. Now my eyes glaze over. He tells everyone he meets if they want to write their own ticket when they graduate, be a geotechnical engineer! They are so in demand! Is that what you are? So cool. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  23. Hope you are home resting from your crazy ordeal. How long were you in the airport total, I lost track. Did you read a great book?

  24. I hope you got home safe. It sucks to be stuck at an airport. Yesterday morning, my hubby's flight got canceled (a recorded message called him even though the internet said his flight was going to be on time). When he called the airline, they ended up getting him on a flight that left later and got in earlier, so it worked out well for him. Did not work out as well for you, and I'm sorry for that.

    Cool photos. I am really fascinated by the amazing things they can do in construction in general. But how did a Spanish Translator end up in this field? Very interesting...

    Oh, and how does a taxi driver just not know where to go? Lame.

  25. I finally pulled into our driveway at 1:00, about five hours late. Not all that bad, but I hate that I missed a night with the Toddler.

    I very barely understand what the Engineers do--I am the training manager for the company. My job is to pry the knowledge out of their heads and develop training initiatives with it. And yes, it has nothing to do with Spanish Translation. I have never actually used my degree.

  26. Your updates were priceless! I'm glad you finally got on a plane.

  27. Amazing!!! Geotechnical engineer, huh? I'm gettin' right on it!

    Glad you made it home safely. Oh, and I have a degree I don't use either!

  28. Wow! That is amazing! Those photos are terrific! Sounds like you had a crazy day. Both exhilarating and boring in one day.

    Glad you made it home safely.

  29. Oh yeah. One more thing. I left you a little bling at my blog on Friday. Come on over and get it. :)

  30. safe travels getting home.
    sorry you are stuck in Newark.

    funny story about that airport...
    I was flying home from Canada once...we had a stop in Newark. I get off the plane, when given the option. I stopped someone and asked where I was. "Newark"...oh, okay..."Where's that? Like, what state?"
    Yeah...I had no idea where NEWARK was...and I was...oh, 18 or 19.

  31. Oh man...bummer!

    I had to respond to your theory about Hurleyf being in the casket...I just don't think that casket was big enough for it to be Hurley...Keep thinking:)

  32. I came to tell you that I have an award for you, but I think you already know. Have a great day!

  33. Newark? Ew! I feel your pain! The first time I flew in there, I thought it wasn't all that bad...I mean, I've been in other small dirty airports before. But the best part was when we were in the car leaving the airport and saw the prison right next to the airport. All those glaring orange jumpsuits.... That certainly explained some of the people working at that airport.

  34. oh, and VERY cool pics. I like watching Modern Marvels and that other show with the huge factories making ginormous construction/mining equipment. I may just have to become a geo-engineer myself!

  35. I am freakin' blown away by the sheer number of comments you get these days! When did that happen? Recently, or have I been sitting on my head again? LOL!! I'm glad you made it home. Sorry you had such a rough time!

    Daughter and I were in NY and saw the WTC site in Oct 2006. From those pics, it hasn't changed much since then. And funny thing is that the day we were there was the ONLY day it rained on our trip and we both got drenched as well. We gave up on trying to find the double decker bus stop and just grabbed a taxi back to the hotel.

    Anywho - glad you made it home safe and sound! xoxo

  36. Wow, thanks for those incredible pictures. When we were in NYC last summer, we went to see the site. We couldn't see very much, but what we saw just really puts into scale how huge it was and what the chaos of that terrible day must have been like.

  37. Ya gotta love days like that (not!)Glad you finally made it home, I'm letting my boys grow up to be engineers.