Yikes! I blinked my eyes and November is almost over. There is a lot going on right now, so I'm not surprised everything feels like it's moving fast...
My heavy Fall semester teaching load is slowly starting to wrap up. It will be a relief once I have all my grades turned in, which will (hopefully!) free up a precious week or two to finish off a few last projects that I'm hoping to get done before the baby arrives, including Phase 7 #021.
Claire is 34 weeks pregnant, and getting bigger every day. We have been taking a birthing class and are both reading a lot of pregnancy books, and getting everything around the house ready for our daughter's arrival.
For Thanksgiving we are heading out into the desert with Claire's mom to spend the holiday with Claire's grandparents. Her grandmother turns 100 years old in about a week, so it will also be a birthday celebration. That is my very last trip of the year and then we are just settled here, waiting for the baby.
I've cleared my schedule in January and February and I am trying to go into this experience with no expectations, so I can just adapt to whatever is going to happen. I feel like I'm about as prepared as I can be at this point!
I woke up at the crack of dawn yesterday to head out to the Santa Fe Airport to catch my flight to North Carolina. Inconveniently it was the first snow of the season for Santa Fe. As my father-in-law drove me to the outskirts of town, it began to snow harder and harder and I began to get nervous. He reassured me that the planes should be able to take off, and wished me luck as he dropped me off.
While I was waiting to get on my plane, the flight before mine was delayed and they kicked everyone out of the boarding area (it is a very small airport). We all boarded our plane and taxied out to the runway, where they began de-icing the plane. Unfortunately, the snow was falling as fast as the de-icer could spray, so the snow was still piling up on the plane. It was deemed unsafe to take off, so we were sent back to the terminal.
Quickly after our flight got back, the next flight after ours was delayed also. It was complete pandemonium in the airport, with a small staff trying to deal with hundreds of irate travelers. Everyone was scrambling to get on the next two flights, which filled up in about five minutes. Plus, it was still snowing outside, so there was no guarantee that those flights would even take off! It didn't seem like that much snow to me, but I guess it was enough to royally screw up this day of travel!
I checked the weather on my phone and saw that the snow was supposed to clear up by 3pm, so I called my airline and transferred my ticket to the 4:30pm flight, which would still get me into Charlotte by midnight, allowing me to rent a car and drive out to Appalachian State University in the morning, before I was needed there. I got in touch with Charlotte-based cartoonist Dustin Harbin, who graciously agreed to let me crash on his couch in the middle of the night. With everyone still screaming at each other, I grabbed an Uber and headed back home.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Liz Prince is in town, and she has a rental car, so she came over to work with Claire and me for a few hours before giving me another ride to the airport in the afternoon.
I had set up a text alert for updates on my flight, and as I sat at the airport I got a series of texts about five minutes apart. My flight was 30 minutes delayed, an hour delayed, an hour and a half, two hours... and then they canceled the flight. I guess there were horrible thunderstorms in Dallas (where my connecting flight was) and the plane that was supposed to leave there to come get us couldn't take off.
Once again, everyone waiting at the airport completely freaked out and started yelling at the small staff at the airport. It was very stressful. Eventually I found out that the one late flight to Charlotte from Albuquerque (an hour away via shuttle) was full, and the first flight in the morning from Santa Fe was also full. I might be able to get the first flight out of Albuquerque, but even if I did it would get me to Charlotte at 4pm, and after a two hour drive I would get to Boone by 6pm, having missed the screening of Cartoon College and the Q&A session.
I called my contact at ASU, Craig Fischer, who did all the hard work to set up all of these events, and we agreed that it was not worth it for me to fly out on Friday, teach one workshop and then fly back on Saturday. Obviously, this was very upsetting and disappointing for me, and probably for him as well.
Although I can rationally say that this cancelation is due to forces outside of my control (ie The Weather), I still feel horrible that I will not be able to see the exhibit, At The Junction of Words and Pictures: The Tenth Anniversary Celebration of The Center for Cartoon Studies and that I left Jen Vaughn high and dry, to handle our commitments alone. Jen is totally capable of handling this stuff by herself and will do just fine without me, but I'm bummed to miss an opportunity to work with her and hang out for a few days.
So anyway, now I'm back home and feeling a bit sick, and frustrated by the waste of time and money that this cancelation has caused. I'd like to publicly apologize to Professor Fischer, Jen Vaughn and CCS for not making it out to North Carolina this weekend!
Late last Thursday night I returned home from Vermont.
On Friday morning I had a dentist appointment and tried to catch up from my trip.
On Saturday morning my mother arrived from Seattle. We ordered some pizzas and hung out at home that night, which was Halloween. We only got two trick-or-treaters: a half-ninja, half-power ranger and some zombie teens.
On Sunday, Claire's Mom threw us a big baby shower at her house where tons of friends and family gave us many useful gifts for our forthcoming daughter - from clothes and diapers to a high chair and a stroller. Let me tell you, when I was holding up a tiny pink onesie, it really sank in that there is soon going to be a little baby in our lives!
On Monday my Mom headed back to Seattle, and I had an assignment to set up for my online CCA comics class.
On Tuesday Claire and I went to the third week of a birth class that we are enrolled in. I missed the first two weeks because of my trip to Vermont, so I had some catching up to do. Claire also hosted her weekly Terrible Movie Night with her friends, including Liz Prince who is visiting from Boston!
Today I taught my Professional Practices class for CCS.
Tomorrow morning I get on an early flight headed for North Carolina to participate in the exhibition celebration of At the Junction of Words & Pictures: The Tenth Anniversary Celebration of The Center for Cartoon Studies which is being exhibited at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts at Appalachian State University. I've got some work up in the show, along with many other talented CCS alumni, fellows, faculty and thesis advisors.
My old pal Jen Vaughn is heading out there too and we will be doing a Q&A discussion after a screening of the Cartoon College documentary on Friday night, and then we will be teaching a comics workshop for teens at a local library on Saturday morning.
If all goes according to plan, I will get home late Saturday night. I have one more short trip planned to visit family for Thanksgiving, but otherwise I will be home for about six months after that! I am looking forward to it.