Technical issues. Two words feared by all travelers. We heard them broadcast over the JFK terminal 7 intercom this morning at 7:15, about the time we were told we would be boarding our flight to London. Does any airline ever provide detail beyond the entirely non-specific "technical issues" to describe the basis for a delay? I suppose not, as no one wants to board a plane knowing, just one hour ago, a critical engine part had to be replaced. In our case, though, the "technical issue" is of such a magnitude that our plane is going nowhere today. We are waiting for a different plane to arrive and be turned around so they might as well give us the truth, however benign or substantial, i.e., non-technical.
On the plus side, we shared a lovely ride down Atlantic Avenue this morning with Spencer, friend to Dan and driver to the music world. Keri and I also got to wake our children up at 445. I know this does not speak well of me, but I always take some pleasure in waking up the two human beings responsible for doing the same to me over the last nine years.
British Airways also gave each of us $19 in food vouchers, with the only catch being that each voucher must be spent only in one place. Owen is plotting how he is going to use every last penny at the in-terminal McDonald's. It would seem an impossible task, but I think he is up to it, having spent the last several years preparing for this very moment.
Rumors are also circulating about some EU law that obligates carriers to provide some amount of compensation for non-weather flight delays, including full refunds for flights delayed more than five hours. I have trouble believing this is accurate, and suspect that, should there be any truth to this, the airline industry's American lobbyists have created a massive exception to this law so that it does not benefit American citizens, residents and, because this is something on which most congresspeople can agree, undocumented immigrants.
Yesterday gave us an opportunity to spend the day in New York. With a steady rain falling, we figured a trip to the American Museum of Natural History made sense. About half of New York apparently had the same idea.
Lauren and Owen enjoyed their rain-filled walk to the subway. Apparently unfamiliar with what folks around these parts call a "puddle of water," both kids stepped right into the middle of these strange looking things and emerged with wet shoes, soaked socks, and sour dispositions. Owen, like his daddy, enjoys a good subway ride, so that helped somewhat, and the trauma was eventually remedied by replacement socks purchased at the museum store, sharks for Owen and butterflies for Lauren.
We were also helped by the presence of my parents, my cousin, Jennifer, and my Uncle John. Everyone seemed to enjoy the sea-life and dinosaur exhibits and the Hayden Planetarium (sadly, no Neil deGrasse Tyson). Really a great museum. At some point I need to go there without my children so I can actually spend the appropriate amount of time going through the place.
On our ride back to the hotel, it was pointed out to me that my uncle was keeping his shorts up with a binder clip. This news raised a number of questions, none of which could possibly receive an adequate answer. There is really never any excuse for leaving using any kind of office supply as a fashion accessory. This is particularly unacceptable in any public setting. Still a little drunk on the joy having seen his daughter married, my uncle cannot be held fully responsible for his behavior. Hopefully, the clip did not get rusted out on our walk back to the hotel.