Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Home Sweet Home......Finally!

We finally made it home! With 24 hours of travel, it was quite the journey. We woke up at 7:30 am in Dublin (2:30am EST). Loaded up our suitcases (which, by the way will need to be replaced after this trip. We lost a wheel on one of the suitcases and the handles broke on two of them!) and headed to the airport. Upon arrival at the Dublin airport, we found that Continental was having trouble locating return flights for Madeline and me. Hmmmm....was David trying to ditch us in Ireland??? We had to leave the general check-in counter and go to the customer service counter. This was quite stressful because the time remaining to our flight was ticking away as we stood there waiting for them to figure out the problem. Also, we could see the absolutely HUGE security line and were worried about making our flight. WE did, however, get through security and had only a few minutes before they started boarding the plane. The flight from Dublin to Newark went very smoothly. Thank goodness, because 7 hours on an airplane with a 3yr old has the potential of being hell. But, I must say, Madeline was awesome! That is until we landed and got in line for Passport Control. At this point, Madeline was quite tired and hungry (she hardly ate any of the food on the plane).

If you have never flown internationally, I have to describe the process once you land. What a nightmare! When you land, you have to go through Passport Control, where they look at your Passport to see what you have been up to. Then, you have to get all of your luggage (the stuff you checked in) from the baggage claim, then you have to go through Customs to declare any items, next you re-check your suitcases for your connecting flight (in our case from Newark to Buffalo....which, oh yeah, just like in Dublin, they had a hard time finding our tickets in Newark too!) and finally, you proceed through the security gates again. It was a hoot doing all of this while trying to juggle our carry-ons and a screaming, tired and hungry 3yr old. Somewhere in this process we found out that our 2:45 flight was cancelled. This flight would have gotten us home around 4pm. The next flight was at 4:30pm but was booked and after that the next flight was at 9:15pm. David tried to hook Madeline and me up to fly stand-by on the 4:30pm flight so that I could get Madeline home to bed and he would just take a later flight home. In the meantime we considered driving home from Newark, but all the car rentals were sold out. We also considered a train but that didn't depart until 7:15am. Finally, we considered that we would get a hotel and fly out the next morning but we were told that the next flight available was 9:15 PM the following day. So we waited and waited and waited.....

The 4:30PM flight got canceled. The 9:15 flight kept getting delayed. During this time, we grabbed some dinner and thankfully, Madeline fell asleep (as did I for a while on the floor of the airport....YUK!) Finally, our flight was rescheduled for 11:15pm. David's co-worker, Carolyn, gave us the heads up to get our seats re-checked. Now, I must tell you that during this process, David was on the phone with Continental and they said that we were confirmed on the 9:15pm flight. About the time we are ready to board the plane we were told that we did not have seats on the flight and that we had to go stand-by. At this time David and I were about to "go postal" because we were told that our seats were confirmed on the 9:15 flight.....even though it was now well after 11pm, we were still boarding the "9:15" flight. Luckily, we didn't have to cause an ugly scene because we were able to get on the flight. After all was said and done, the plane finally departed at 12:30am!!.......Oh, we are not done!!!

The flight itself freaked me out. I am not the best of fliers. But, to make matters worse, part of all the delays were due to weather. We were on a prop job - the same type that crashed in Buffalo 2 months ago because of icing. Yep, we were flying the same route, in the same type plane, in similar weather conditions. Also, my rock, David was seated (not by our choice) about 10 rows away from me. I knew we were getting ready to land but because of where I was seated and where the landing gear is located on this type of plane, I was able to see the landing gear go down. Just as I thought to myself, "Hmmmm....that seems a little early", one of the flight attendants runs down the aisle to her seat and quickly buckles in. All I could think was what's going on?!?! Now I am crazed (being sleep deprived doesn't help the situation), I turn to the flight attendant who is only two seats behind me and ask, "Is everything okay?" The flight attendant just looks at me and then starts staring at her hands and doesn't say anything. I try again. "Is there a problem?" I get the same response. By this time, in my mind I am thinking that she just can't tell me that we are going to crash. She is turning inward because she knows that we are all going to die. I look out the window and the landing gear is still down and we are flying, flying, flying but it doesn't seem as though we are anywhere near the airport - although, I couldn't see the ground due to the weather anyway. I turn to the flight attendant again and say, "Is there a problem?" Finally, she responds, "Are you talking to me?" Geez, all this time I thought she wasn't responding because she was saying her prayers. Well, now that I had her attention I asked if there was a problem and she said she had wanted to clean up one last cup and wanted to get back to her seat before the landing gear came down. Hmmmm....only a little relief on my end. I wouldn't feel better until we landed safely - I still couldn't see the ground. Why was that landing gear down so early??? So there I sat, looking out the window, inspecting the wing for icing, and waiting to spiral out of control. But alas, we broke through the clouds near the Eastern Hills Mall - only a couple of miles from the airport. I could see the snow on the ground and prayed for a safe landing. Obviously, since I am typing this, we arrived in one piece at 1:45am Whew......get the luggage and go home.
Not so fast.....

That's right folks, one of our three suitcases was lost. Now, at 2am I am standing in line to report a lost suitcase. After a mini-nervous breakdown at the lost luggage counter we had to retrieve our car from long term parking and head home. Finally, we got home! We awoke in Dublin that day at 2:30 EST and arrived at home the next day at 3:30am EST! The kicker is that David had to be to work for an important meeting at 8:30am!

Yes, that trip home was hell but, things could always be worse. David, Madeline and Mama-Dirtyfoot are happy to be home, in one piece, with 3 of the best cats and oh, I can't forget, the BEST bed in the world! (and they found our suitcase!)

3 comments:

Patti said...

I am so glad you are home safe and sound! My heart was racing as I was reading your entry. Your words came alive to me. It brought back some bad memories for me on some of our flight and airport experiences. All I can say is WHEW and give those cats some lovin'!

Amy said...

Yes, Patti, lovin' they are getting....that's for sure! It is always thrilling to go someplace new but there is no place like home!

Whimsical Creations said...

YAY you made it home!!! =D