Feb 07 2011

SQL Saturday #60: The Saga

First, let me thank Erin Stellato (blog|twitter) and all the volunteers for running such a great event. Nicely done.

This event was to be my very first walk on to the public stage as a Red Gate employee, so I was excited about getting there. About 10 minutes before I left for the airport, I got a call from the airline. My flight had been cancelled, but no worries, they rescheduled everything for me. Instead of flying to LaGuardia and then on to Cleveland, I would fly past Cleveland to Chicago and then back to Cleveland, getting there at 7:30PM instead of 4:30PM. Ah well. What are you going to do. I’d prefer not to go to Chicago, but everything should be fine…

The plane was supposed to leave Chicago at 5:05 PM. At 4:45 it was delayed to 5:30PM because they were working on the plane. Not a problem. Then it was delayed to 6:00PM then 6:45, then 7:30… and yes, I was waiting all that time at the airport. Finally, at 8:00PM they announce they have the plane ready. We just have to wait for the crew to do a safety check. Then, word comes at 8:30PM that they don’t have a flight attendant for the flight… in one of the world’s largest airports there is no flight attendant available. OK. Fine. They go to find one. At 9:30PM, the flight gets canceled. Why? Because they managed to find one flight attendant, yes, just one, but she was “too tired” to fly again. There were no other flights from this airline and they were not supporting transfers to another airline and they were not refunding tickets. And that, as they say is that. I was stuck in Chicago overnight.

No worries though right? They’ll schedule us on a flight first thing in the morning… Yeah, sure, as long you define “first thing” as 11:20AM. Which would have put me into the Cleveland Airport at about 1:30PM. I wouldn’t get to the event unitl 2PM or later. I would have missed the lunch time presentation I was supposed to give for Red Gate on SQL Monitor, let alone missing all the time to network with the attendees and presenters. There was no way I was missing this. So I called a couple of car rental agents.

Alamo came through. That’s right, I hopped in a car at 10PM at night and drove straight across Illinois, Indiana, and half of Ohio in order to get to Cleveland. It was a six hour trip. I drank so much coffee along the way I thought I might actually lose the car as I vibrated between the molecules of the seat and fell onto the pavement. But it was all good. In fact, I got to make some squished penny’s for my kids at the rest stops along the way (where I got rid of the old coffee & got new coffee).

At 4:30AM I was in my room. I slept for two hours and then went to the event, on time.

The venue was a community college that was pretty well set up for the sessions. It worked well for the 150 or so attendees. I didn’t get to any sessions in the morning, but I got the chance to speak with a number of attendees. My lunchtime session went fine and was well attended. After lunch I went to one session, but was honestly have a hard time staying awake, despite the fact that it was an excellent session from Mike Walsh (blog|twiter) and Erin Stellato on vendor/dba relations, so I didn’t attend any more. Better to stay on my feet & keep moving. Finally 4:00 came and I did my presentation. There were about 30 people in attendance and I thought it was a great audience. They seemed engaged and interesting. Hopefully you got something out of the session.

Then it was off to return the rental car to the airport, oh, during the 4 inch snow storm that had started up while we were having fun inside. I got lost twice because the car rental place is like, 15 miles away from the airport and not well marked, but finally got that job done and got a ride back to the after-party where I had a good burger and a good beer along with good conversation to finish out the day.

Thanks again to everyone involved with SQL Saturday #60. Now I have a great story to tell about my first day of work with Red Gate Software.


  • By Glenn Berry, February 7, 2011 @ 11:38 am

    Nice that you were so determined to make it to the event. Many people would have given up. Good job!

  • By Jen McCown, February 7, 2011 @ 11:59 am

    Geez, man…it could hardly have been more of a quest. Unless maybe…

    “…and he drove sixteen hours overnight IN THE SNOW, with NO headlights…had to walk the last 10 miles (pulling the rental car behind him), and crawl the last 500 yards, fending off attacks by grizzly bears and 3rd party vendors….”

  • By Erin Stellato, February 7, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

    We cannot thank you enough for all your efforts to make it, and on top of that, I think you were the *first* speaker to arrive on Saturday morning. Unbelieveable. And your session was great, I learned some new things!

  • By Grant Fritchey, February 7, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    Thanks Glenn. It was my first day.

    Jen, since I’m a 3rd party vendor now, I tend not to fight them much unless it’s over a tasty bit of chum…. uh, I mean customer.

    Erin, being first was easy since I was still basically runnin on coffee. And as to you learning stuff in my session, some of it was probably even true.

  • By Claire, February 7, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

    Perseverance in the name of SQL! I’m now feeling very guilty about all the hissy fits I’ve thrown/suppressed when my flight is delayed by a half hour.

  • By Grant Fritchey, February 7, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

    Claire, believe me, when they cancelled the flight because they couldn’t find a flight attendant in CHICAGO OHARE F’ING AIRPORT, I threw a bit of a hissy. Along with about 100 other people.

  • By Julie Smith, February 9, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    You win the SQL Server Chuck Norris Award.
    “Chuck Norris doesn’t request clearances, he states intentions”

  • By Grant Fritchey, February 10, 2011 @ 8:18 am

    Oh wow! Now that’s an honor. Do I get to keep it all year? Is there a medal or something that I can wear at events? Maybe a cool hat.

  • By Chris Massey, February 10, 2011 @ 8:25 am

    I’m pretty sure there’s a uniform:

  • By Gill Rowley, February 10, 2011 @ 8:28 am

    Geez, Grant – call me next time – I was driving past O’Hare when you got stuck there. I could have given you a ride and saved you a headache!

  • By Julie Smith, February 10, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    I think this is an excellent idea. At next year’s PASS, you can pass it on to the next worthy recipient! @datachix1

  • By Grant Fritchey, February 10, 2011 @ 8:50 am

    Nice Jacket!

    Gill, believe me, I would have preferred that, but then I wouldn’t be getting this snifty reward.

    Julie, on Kilt Day! That works.

Other Links to this Post

  1. SQL Saturday #60, Cleveland Speaker Evals | Home Of The Scary DBA — February 15, 2011 @ 8:33 am

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