Just happy to be home…

No.  We did not get a hop from McGuire AFB, NJ to Ramstein or Spangdahlem.  I thought I could have stayed a bit longer.  I had basically moved into the terminal.  What were two more nights waiting for another shot at the next 19 seats?  I think my spirit would have stayed strong, but one of the flights that was completely manifested (but delayed over 24 hours, already) was taken straight off the schedule.  The other flight (also delayed for over 24 hours, already), was finally going to lift off the ground…supposedly.  It didn’t have a load time, yet.  Passengers on the manifest were a tidge antsy, to say the least.  Maybe nervous is the word to use there.

I forgot to tell you – Larry and Linda (from the Dover terminal) were there, too!!

A sweet angel called me up and told me she hadn’t been sleeping, though.  She said she wouldn’t be able to until we made it to Germany…in our own beds, safe and sound, eating real food that wasn’t off a take out menu (I think we did pretty well, though, with fruits and green juices from the commissary).  One of the guys hanging out in the terminal with us, though, had been stalking flights.  Prices out of Philadelphia were pretty expensive…out of Washington DC, pretty reasonable, but who wants to get up that far?…and out of Newark, unbeatable.  Tickets were booked…and just like that, I knew when I was heading home.

But still, I needed to actually get to Newark, which was an hour away.  The shuttle was going to run me around $130, and I wanted to head out that night so I didn’t have to sleep on the terminal floor and I could wash the ish off in a snuggly hotel.  LUCKILY, a girl from Japan had also been making her way to Germany.  She, on the other hand, was going on a little vacation.  She wanted to drink a beer and eat a brat with sauerkraut before her 23rd birthday, legitimately, in Deutschland.  But, with no prospect of getting out, I offered her to take our shuttle up with me, split the hotel costs and she could reschedule her little trip off the island.  She did just that!  A couple of phone calls later, and she would be on her way to Washington DC via bus in the morning…out of Newark.

He took a shower, naturally, he has to blow dry.

At the airport, we ran into two separate groups we had been stuck in the terminal with.  The first couple was headed on a vacation to Milan.  He was a helicopter pilot out of Norfolk, VA and she was an RN.  The second group was a mother with her two pre-teen children heading back to Heidelberg before school starts.  We were on the same flight, a Jet Airways flight out of Newark, through Brussels, landing in Frankfurt on a Lufthansa flight.  We were ALL happy to finally be on our way, cost be darned.  After a weather delay in Newark, I missed my connection in Brussels.  Jet Airways had everything covered, though.  I honestly didn’t have to worry about a thing.  My tickets had been rebooked on the next flight out of Brussels before we even hit the ground there.

The Man circled and parked and circled for hours while waiting in Frankfurt (remember…that stinking delay).  But, he was quite the patient man.  I had to file a lost luggage claim for Little Man’s car seat (which has since turned into a damaged luggage claim), but that was so easy.  The people were very helpful…and when I called after we received the car seat to make the damage report, I got a REAL LIVE PERSON!  Amazing.  I think it took 6 months with Delta to accomplish what the first phone call to Lufthansa did.

Now, I am listening to a sudden downpour of rain at 2:00am while everyone else sleeps.  I am watching video courses on marketing yourself in your photography business.  I had my first cup of real tea for the first time in nearly six weeks today!  It was wonderful…with my delicious half and half and raw, unprocessed honey that my mama bought me at the Ely Blueberry Festival (see, had that 5 pound jar not been in my suitcase, I wouldn’t have had the sweet satisfaction).  And, my house…with it’s black handrails and improperly folded towels (both remedied, immediately!)…is almost clean.

Give me another day.  We will be back in order.  For now, I am just so happy to be back home.

XoXo,

T

Advertisements

Night two (in a row) in the terminal!

We survived sleeping in this terminal.  In fact, it has been such a 5 star experience, we are pleased to announce … we are going to stay, again!

Okay, maybe I am not so excited about it.  Maybe it is more of a “Meh…what are you going to do”-type moment.  At this point, though, I am not interested in another $40 r/t cab fare and another $80 hotel room + fast food/restaurant costs.  However, maybe I should rethink this, tomorrow.  There are no flights heading out of here until Monday.  That means, if I do not get a room, I am also going to be here on Saturday and Sunday night.  Twiddling my fingers, just trying to figure out what to do.

McGuire AFB Roll Call – August 19, 2011

Roll call tonight was a mess, as could be expected being here.  So many people…and I think just under 100 seats were given out.  The lady, Rhonda, whose daughter-in-law works with The Man, made a flight, though.  They only had one seat open on the first flight…and they go through the lists by category until they can find someone to fill that single seat.  Since she was traveling alone, even as a Cat VI, she got the seat.  Good for her, though.  Quite honestly, I was a tidge bitter for a couple seconds.  I was in such shock that the words, “I got on the flight!” did not register with me.  I didn’t understand what she was saying!

Here is what I do know – I am heading to sleep.  I have our rugs on the cots and on the floor.  Both kids are already asleep.  It is still pretty noisy outside this room.  With all the people who did get on the flight still waiting for several more hours, we will have to just sleep through it.  In the morning, there will be hardly anyone here.  The kids and I will “shower” in the restroom, change clothes, if we can find any dry ones (oh…I didn’t tell you THAT story?  Let’s just say Best Western needs to update their appliances, and I wasted a dollar and an hour of my time…hope my clothes don’t mold in my space saver bags), and head to the commissary in the morning for some breakfast food, and probably something for lunch and dinner, too.

Until then…XoXo,

T

We are in New Jersey…

I am ready for bed!  🙂  Who knows when sleep will hit me tonight, though.  We are going to stay at the terminal, again.  This terminal, however, is unquestionably more accommodating when it comes to kids.  The children’s room isn’t just that, it is a whole family room – complete with a sink and refrigerator.  We have our own family restroom, too. And, there is a sleep area!  So, when it comes to bedtime, tonight, at least I will have a specific place to put the kids!  They have those little cots that daycares use.

The toddler and infant sleeping room at McGuire AFB PAX terminal

There was supposed to be a flight tonight out of here, but that fell off the schedule.  No one is saying whether or not it could come back, so you just never know!  We came down here with the hopes off 3 flights – which was competing with the 1 flight out of Dover tonight.  Now, Dover has two flights tomorrow, as well.  Such is the game of hopping.

However, I am always hopeful if retirees are at the terminal.  Speaking of!!  A very nice lady came in today.  She was so friendly…came right up to me and started asking what the latest news was.  We went to the Commissary together to grab some food for our evening…and through the conversation, we found out that she is headed to Sembach, too!  Her daughter-in-law works with The Man (as a matter of fact, Jackie is the only girl in the entire, albeit tiny, squadron).  Bizarre!

I have the little rugs out, the car seats are propped up, in case sleep unexpectedly comes to my children (doubtful), and our bellies are full.  Not to mention, I am so happy because I found very large bottles of green smoothie.  Delicious!  And, I am so happy to have gotten something good for me in my body.

Our setup for the evening at McGuire AFB PAX terminal

On another note, I am getting horribly frustrated with the people who walk in here complaining.  We all have the same story, and usually, the people complaining are the ones who have it relatively easy.  The ones who have been trying for about 2 days.  One woman threw a huge huff and puff about not getting out of Baltimore.  Now, I may be optimistic, but holy smokes, I am not an idiot.  No one in their right mind should be trying out of Baltimore until at least after school starts.  I would even say not until mid-late September.  But, she insisted it had never been a problem before.  Really?  You have travelled during high PCS season through Baltimore without a problem before?  She should continue wasting away her money on gambling, then…because she might be even luckier than I have been!!

I suppose that is all for now.  I don’t think much will be happening here.  But, as always, and almost all thanks to my husby, today…I remain optimistic!  We have a long way to go before this starts costing me as much as even one plane ticket!

XoXo,

T

I am as graceful as a ballet dancer with two left feet…

Let me get honest:

I have been doing great.  I let all the other missed flights roll right off my back.  I have always known that few available seats and last minute changes are a part of the hopping game.  I knew that fewer flights do leave from here, in all actuality.  But, fewer people also come down here for that reason.  McGuire AFB in NJ is always busier…with both people and flights.  Does that make my chances better?  I think it evens out (maybe it doesn’t…but my rose colored glasses seem to think so).

Linda and Larry, the retirees also trying to hop out of here have been a huge help.  The kids love them…and Larry has a prosthetic leg.  He has been entertaining us with it’s amazing-ness.  Seriously, as one of the girls said, “that thing is smarter than MY leg!”  Dan, too, has been great…he slept behind us at the terminal that night we stayed.  He is going to Spain.  His flight has been delayed for several days, now.

But, here is my real moment.  You all have been so nice with your comments – encouraging me…making me feel like I maybe am a little big more graceful at this than I thought.  However, yesterday Little Girl had worked herself up so much, she went into an “Exorcist”-like vomiting episode.  My hair, neck, clothes…covered…she was covered.  Dan grabbed a plastic bag to try and play catcher.  It just wouldn’t stop!  Before you all start feeling bad for me, the terminal has a shower in it, so while the AMAZING people that we have made friends with watched our stuff and played with Little Man, Little Girl and I took showers.  I rinsed out all our clothes, cleaned everything up and got back out there.

Our chances were looking amazing!  The one flight that still remained on the schedule for the night had 53 seats available.  I was definitely getting on it.  Shortly after this number had been released, they gave an announcement that the seats dropped down to 19…and there are 8 un-embalmed human remains on the flight.  For some unknown reason, they were still allowing people on this flight.  And, people were willing to go.  Still, I was confident of our chances, though I wasn’t sure if I could ever accept having ridden with my children on a flight that would smell of human decay.  I told God that he would make that decision for me.  Within an hour, at least a bus-full of people came into the terminal.  They were all Category III, and that sealed the deal for us.

We found a relatively inexpensive hotel (though, not inexpensive enough for me to be doing this so often).  We got in at 3:15am…and woke up for some lunch at McDonald’s.  So thankful that McDonald’s has apples for my kids, at least.  I so miss my daily smoothies and so do they!

We will stay, again, tonight.  But, I don’t know if it is worth sticking around Dover, anymore.  McGuire AFB might be a better bet for us to get home.  They have 3 roll-calls between Thursday and Friday with a total of 165 tentative seats.  I know there are a lot of people up at McGuire, too…but with no one here to stay with, those odds seem easier for me to swallow, up there.  Dover only has the one roll-call tomorrow night around midnight.

Starting to think I should put on some sack cloth and fast.  Because prayer, alone, just keeps getting me an answer of “No…” or at least it is getting me “Not right now.”

XoXo,

T

We survived our first overnight…in a terminal!

I never thought I would do it.  I thought it would be too awful to endure.  Turns out, it is just like sitting in a terminal and taking a really long nap.  What is so difficult about that?  Nothing.

Last night we ordered some delivery.  We filled our bellies and moved to a different area for the night.  Little Girl was all cozied up for a good sleep in her car seat.  I am so glad we take these beasts along with us.  I have carrying them down to an art, and they make wonderful impromptu seating (or sleeping) areas.

Car seats make excellent travel beds!

After a some chatting with fellow travelers, I put on a movie for the kids.  All the kids.  I may not have a lot of this parenting thing down…but I am very grateful that I am smart enough to pack just enough (or to use my resources) to keep my kids comfortable and happy.  AMEN!  I put the throw rugs that I bought at the Ely Blueberry Festival down on the chairs and tucked the kids in with pillows and blankets.  Midnight came and the kids eventually fell asleep.

Watching ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ at around 11:30pm

The kidlette’s sleeping arrangements

It wasn’t awful.  I don’t have a horror story.  I slept.  The kids slept.  I woke up around 7:30 and the kids woke up around 9:00.  This morning we went to the commissary for some food while a gentleman that slept in the chair behind me last night watched our stuff.  Hopping would certainly be impossible if it were not for the wonderful people we encounter every time we do this.

So…we sit here and wait.  Two roll-calls tonight.  One had been dropped from the schedule.  Apparently the other plane that was supposed to leave, yesterday, is broken.  So, instead of the 4 that were on the schedule, there are now two.  C’est la vie!  Maybe THAT should be the name of my blog instead!

XoXo,

T

Waiting…optimistically.

There was one flight scheduled out of Dover, today.  Excitedly, there were 73 seats open on it.  But, due to “weather,” they knocked the number down to 19.  We are relatively far down the list.  People huffed and puffed…women cried…I sat and edited photos.  🙂  I did ask the rather old SRA at the counter if I could stay at his house.  He said sure – but he is a Reservist from N.Carolina and it would be a 6 hour drive.  Go figure.

This is how we are traveling - the bag is 87 pounds!

So, I think we are going to stay in the terminal for the evening.  I have my computer, there is tv, we have blankets and pillows (and throw rugs tucked away in our luggage).  And, I have company!  Leigh Ann is waiting for a flight to Rota, Spain.  Unfortunately for her, there isn’t another flight leaving here on the schedule, yet.  So, we will wait in the terminal together!

The kids' room at the Dover AFB PAX terminal

I not-so-secretly hope we are one of those very random, lucky people who gets called onto a secret flight.  When I know when we are getting out…I will update!

XoXo,

T

You can’t win them all every time!

We started our travels out on Thursday. We made it to Baltimore, got our rental car and headed down to Dover. The drive was easy. We went across the terrifying Bay Bridge, and we went through a lot of very small, one stop light towns.

We got some food and went to our hotel. We had missed the previous nights’ roll call, so there was no rush. When we got to the hotel, we enjoyed the comfy beds and tv. The next day, we took our time, too. The roll call for the flights didn’t start until 5:00pm. We got a late check-out and went to IHOP for lunch. There were so many nummy looking places. None of them seemed reasonable when tackling these two kidlettes…and whoever knows how much those two will eat, anyway. We dropped our rental car off, and to our pleasant surprise, a gentleman from Hertz would be able to drop us off at the terminal on base! While we waited for him to finish his other runs, the lady working the Hertz counter made a race track on the floor for them out of masking tape and gave them little yellow Hertz convertibles. That kept them occupied!

When we finally made it to the terminal, we didn’t have very long to wait. We had arrived around 4:00, so once we got marked “Present,” Little Man took a little nap on the floor of the terminal while Little Girl watched some cartoons on the computer.

There were only 7 seats available on the flight that night. And, the flight that would be going out at 10:00 didn’t have anything available – it started out in New Jersey, so they filled up all the seats first. The Airman at the counter informed us all that there were no Germany flights on the schedule for the weekend…and Monday would be our next shot. So, we went on to make hotel reservations and find a cab.

We are now at a Holiday Inn – next to a KMart. I thought it was going to be in walking distance to stuff, but it turns out, I have no real perspective when it comes to map reading! My husband, who is oh-so-good at that stuff, should really teach me. Our hotel is in the middle of the city, and does not offer a shuttle service.  Little Man is a bit under the weather today (he had been throwing up most of the night), so getting out isn’t really an option for us, anyway. But, I sure would love some fresh fruits and vegetables! We do have room service, but they don’t offer much in the terms of fresh fruits and greens. In Baltimore, I have used a grocery service to deliver fresh to us, but I haven’t been able to find anything like that in the area. I even checked on Craigslist, to no avail, to see if there was anyone trying to make a few dollars running odd errands!!

I have tried to find a church in the area. If Little Man is feeling up to it, we would like to go. I did find one that, while large, did say they had several families from the base as members. And, they even had the song we sing at our church on their website. They also offered a shuttle to base and back. Thought I would call up to them to see if maybe they could help me coordinate a ride, but I haven’t been able to get a hold of anyone there by email or phone. Bummer. And, while taking a cab seems like an easy option…I am trying to keep our money saved for the unpredictable week ahead. And, the cabs here are $2.75 a mile (maybe it is because I am not from a big city, but that seems expensive to me).

So, with a little boy recovering from his ick…and a little girl who dislikes wearing underwear in her jammies, we will sit in our hotel room. No complaints, really…Little Man and Little Girl are happy to watch Despicable Me a lay in bed. And, this is the first time we have not made a flight. How upset could we be about this, really?  Little Man was sick, anyway. It just wasn’t meant to be. And, you can’t win them all on the first shot.

This is how Little Man spent our Saturday in Dover.

I suppose I will update when we get back to Germany!

XoXo,

T

Hello world!

What sparks starting a WordPress?  My husband’s uncle started a conversation as to why people write the most inane posts on Facebook.  Why is everything so dramatic?  Why do we care if you bought a Coke Zero at the gas station, Roman?  Raise the roof.  My husband’s cousin wrote a sarcastic remark about how the lady at Starbucks was rude to him and he went home and cried in his frap.  Aww…poor, John.  Then proceeded with telling us he was clipping his toenails.

So, why do people care?  I am not sure.  I, honestly, can’t imagine reading the blog of a person I just don’t know.  I don’t find myself invested with people I don’t know.  But, for now, I write this for John and Mel…mockingly, of course.

–Sideways smiley face–