My sweetie husband, Glenn, has been on a fire assignment down in northeastern Arizona for the past two weeks. He has worked for the U.S. Forest Service since 1992, in a variety of capacities, including archaeologist, trail builder, and law enforcement, and has passed the tests to be fire-line qualified each season, a feat he is pretty proud of, especially now that he is on the other side of 50. This assignment involved providing camp and public security for the Cave Creek fire complex, which eventually grew to burn over 250,000 acres surrounding the Verde River. He spent most of his time either on road closures or in the southern fire camp at Camp Verde
, where daily high temperatures ranged from 110 to 116, so I was very pleased when he called Monday night to ask if I could pick him up at the Reno airport the next day.
I ended up being able to head out of town early, and got to the airport about 20 minutes before his flight from Phoenix was scheduled to arrive. I even found a close-up parking spot in the shady parking garage, noting that the outside temperature was 103. I went to check the arrival board and was dismayed to learn that his flight had the words "cancelled" next to it. I tried calling America West, and was told that they could locate his name on the flight manifest for the cancelled flight but could not find him listed anywhere again. Now, he might be fit and trim and manly, but this is the technological dinosaur of the family, so of course he had declined the offer of taking a cell phone with him. There was no way to contact him. I decided to go check in at Circus Circus, where I had reserved a room for us, and hope that he would have the good sense to call there and leave a message. He hadn't.
At least it was air-conditioned. After driving across town, even with the car blasting out cooler air than the surroundings, I was a little fried and had to drink a bunch of water to get clear-headed enough to make some more calls. The heat in the desert always feels like a furnace blast, every single time you come out of a car or building that is climate-controlled, and even when you leave the shade. I don't experience high humidity often, but the desert feels like a sauna without the possibility of a cooling shower in the summer time. No wonder the night life is so active in Reno; its the only time it is safe to come out!
The America West staff person I talked to this time refused to give me any information, since the federal government had made his flight reservations and not me. She did tell me that there were two more flights leaving Phoenix to Reno still, but the first one was sold out and the second wouldn't be arriving until 9:15 PM. Now, some of you with clearer heads would have been scheming around trying to find a local yarn shop or two to visit... me, I was wondering if the pool was located in an air-conditioned portion of the building. The same clerk gave me the Phoenix airport paging number, and I left a message and sat down to wait.
Remember, my motto is "Always take knitting", so I had packed some cotton yarn and the pattern to cast on a bath mitt to put in the shop. I got up to the thumb shaping before I got a call back; it had taken 45 minutes to get a response to the page, and my husband said that they don't pay airport workers enough money to care about their jobs, as none of the clerks he approached could tell him where a courtesy phone was located in the vastness of the Phoenix airport. Turns out he was ticketed for the flight arriving at 9:15 PM, and America West had only offered a free lunch in sympathy for inconveniencing a whole plane's worth of passengers (I don't think they will be getting any of my future business). I felt worse for him, as his brother Dave, had already called about meeting up with us, and had offered to take me along to a sports bar where he and some work mates were going to watch the (baseball) playoff game. At least I would be having some food and a cold beer, where Glenn had already seen all of the Phoenix airport once and still had two hours to wait. I told him I was getting another phone for him tomorrow, before we left Reno.
The sports bar and crowd were entertaining, and the Bass ale and lettuce wraps and veggies and dip filled me up. I learned that most of Dave's co-workers at PC Doctor
had come to Reno recently from California. Many California companies have relocated major offices to Reno in the past decade, as the land and taxes are far cheaper. However, there is such a building boom there, they may actually start running out of water (after all, it IS the desert, even though the eastern side of the Sierras loom over the town). I also learned that smoking is still permitted in Nevada restaurants, and that I am still allergic to second-hand smoke... ended up needing inhalant.
I made it to the airport about a half hour ahead of the plane, and was disappointed to learn that the coffee vendors were on the other side of the security checkpoints and available only to ticketed passengers. I had knitting, though, and started on the thumb shaping.
I was very glad to see my cute husband wasn't the very last debarking passenger, and he was very glad to see the outside of an airport. The temp had dropped to maybe 80, even though it had been dark a half hour or so already by the time we collected his luggage and headed for the car. I sure am thankful I don't live in Reno.
We did have a nice stay and were able to meet up with Dave for a different meal, as well as visit the toy store, get a phone, and stop and see the son who is a firefighter (at a higher elevation, where the afternoon temperature yesterday was much more tolerable) along the way home, but we were both glad for the greenery and the swimming tank awaiting us when we got home.