Saturday, December 25, 2004

A Series of Unfortunate Events

What I'm about to tell you has little to do with the Cavaliers, but does explain why my postings have been scarce of late. It may bore you, though I predict it will make you laugh. Either way, at the end of the day it is still my blog so I decide what goes on it.

For the update on the on hiatus Cavs, check out my latest story on their situation, which is growing bleaker by the way. Also, if you watched the 92-90 loss to the Nets, I predict you will like my Sunday column . Also, read about how Lee Nailon wants revenge.

Now, hear this and understand why I laugh so that I may not cry.

Planes, trains and Bob Finnan

Thursday morning myself and Bob Finnan, the Cavaliers beat writer for the Willoughby News-Herald and the Lorain Morning Journal, my friendly competition and frequent travel compatriot, awoke at the lovely Newark Liberty Airport Marriott. He in room 805, where he had hot water but no toothpaste, and I in room 828, where I had toothpaste but no hot water. You see where this compatriot stuff comes into play.

After taking in the Cavs loss to the Nets the night before, Bob and I heard from family and friends the details of the snowy grip on Northeast Ohio. Our outlook looked grim and we knew it. Not only we were concerned about somehow finding our way to Cleveland, but neither of us had purchased a single Christmas gift and had budgeted Thursday for such bliss.

Our flight from Newark to Washington D.C.'s Dulles airport went off without a hitch. Sparing you as many details as possible (I know after the toothpaste thing, it's too late), we then sat for many hours and watched every flight to Cleveland get canceled. We were told perhaps we could get home Saturday (Christmas), but more likely Sunday. Bob's wife and three children were not happy with this news. Did I forget to mention Bob was severely under the weather with a cold?

After brief talks and phone calls to friends in Pennsylvania and Ohio to gauge road conditions, Bob and I decided to drive home. I picked up a car with two miles on the odometer and two hours later there were 51 miles (other people were driving too, we found). Now hang on, this is where the story gets interesting.

Roughly nine hours later we arrived at Cleveland Hopkins Airport congratulating ourselves. Roads were fine, we had good luck finding music (other than that brief and odd high school wrestling match we found on the radio outside Breezewood, Pa.) and we were going to be home soon...or so we thought.

First, it took 20 minutes to get from the rental car area to the airport (traffic). Then it took 20 minutes for our parking shuttle to arrive (traffic) and we got to Bob's car at 1:30 a.m. It was in a block of ice, behind a mound of ice. But it was all moot, the car didn't start...it was frozen, too. Then we took the shuttle back to the airport, it took 20 minutes (traffic).

We got into a taxi to go to my house (2 miles away) for the night. The driver, Habib, was not happy. He demanded $20 for the ride. I told him if he was looking for a fight, he came to the right guys. So he went to find another fare so we could double up. Then he nearly got into a fight with another taxi driver about the situation.

When we finally pulled away, there was a loud banging sound and the mini-van shook violently. Bob informed him that he had a flat tire, but he was defiant. He was like Baghdad Bob, denying there was anything wrong while the bombs exploded in the background. Finally he pulled over on the side of the highway.

He was screaming his dispatcher on the radio and calling his friend, Kashmir, on his cell phone trying to get instructions how to change the tire. Meanwhile as we watched the spinning meter, Bob, myself and our new friend, who'd just flown in from Phoenix (I'll bet he wish he'd stayed), couldn't help but laugh at the situation at hand.

Kashmir arrived to help with the tire. But once the jack slipped and cause the car to crash to the road, we'd had enough. We demanded another cab be called. Bob and I arrived at my house at 2:30 a.m.

As of now, Christmas Day at 2 p.m., Bob's car is still in the ice and our plane is still waiting to leave Dulles and I've grown tired enough of spending time with my family that I've chosen to blog.

So Merry Christmas to all and to all a wonderful holiday season,

Brian