Monday, December 8, 2008

Our trip back to the states and tales from the airports

Since a lot of people have been asking how our trip went and what exactly did we do, I thought I'd write up a blog post about it. First of all, I have to say, I am done flying. Finito. Until we have to PCS and leave Germany, finito. And only then am I because I have to and it is considered a move, not leisurely travel that end up being torturous and not leisurely because I end up spending more time in airports because of delays, broken planes or cancellations than I do on my leisurely trip. Okay, slight exaggeration but holy cow, my luck with air travel has been horrible lately!
We left Germany on the 13th of November. Our flight from Munich to Dulles was a good one, long but easy. We hopped off our plane and saw that our flight to Nashville was delayed....a little over an hour. Not a problem, we'll just find something to eat and then just chill out until about 5:30pm or so when we would board for our 6pm departure. Or not. We chilled out (ha) until 9pm. Hanging out in Dulles for 4 1/2 hours longer than you thought. Yuck. Well, at least we made it. We spent Friday and Saturday trying to recover and acclimate to the time change. I got to go to JoAnns (yay!) and on Saturday got my hair cut and a vision exam so I could get new contacts (double yay!). My brother, Steve, came into town for the weekend so we got to hang out with him as well as mom and dad. Monday morning we headed to Opry Mills outlet mall and woohoo - Opry Mills on a Monday morning is FABULOUS! There was hardly anyone there for the first couple of hours and it was so easy to get around and browse through the shops, Oh, and they had a carousel which was a nice little detour for Luke. On Tuesday we headed to Hayesville, North Carolina to see Brian's parents. Brian, Luke, MIL and I headed to the Dawsonville outlet mall in North Georgia on Thursday and we stayed there for HOURS. It is the best outlet mall I have ever been to and we ended up not even hitting all the shops. Luke did really well (after being woken up from a nap on the way down) and grandma took him to the little playground for the last 45 minutes that we were there and he got to get out the rest of his energy. Saturday morning, Brian's sister Sophia and her hubby and 2 kids came up to visit us and MIL made a huge Thanksgiving feast (a week early!) and it was amazing. We had a fun day visiting and playing and finished the day watching the most awful Texas Tech game ever. (Sorry Dave!). After church on Sunday morning, we headed back to Tennessee to my parents house where we hung out for 2 more days before heading to Lubbock, Texas for Thanksgiving. (See earlier post for pictures from our North Carolina visit)
Wednesday morning, we all headed out the door on our way to Lubbock. Mom and dad were on a flight that left an hour earlier than ours. We ended up getting through security so fast at BNA that we were able to hop on their flight!! Woohoo! But alas, we ended up being delayed over an hour in Dallas, during Luke's nap time. Yuck.
We finally made it into Lubbock and my brother, Dave, picked us up from the airport. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving on Thursday AND we celebrated Luke's 3rd birthday that day as well (see earlier post for pictures). On Friday, mom and I braved the stores on "Black Friday" which wasn't too bad at all - nothing like Nashville would have been. Friday night we met Uncle Dave's girlfriend and headed out for some Tex-Mex. A rousing game of Scattegories ensued and then we all crashed for the night. Saturday we went to the Texas Tech vs Baylor game and it was great! Mom didn't go because she was sick but Sara (Dave's girlfriend) and I took Luke (Brian and Dad had sideline passes) and to my amazement, Luke lasted the whole game and LOVED it. Brian joined Luke and I the second half and was able to hold him for a lot of the half so he could really see the game. We all had a great time and the Red Raiders won, which made it even better. Mom and dad flew back to Nashville on Sunday morning and Dave, Sara, Brian, Luke and I spent the rainy Sunday lounging around. Brian installed surround sound for my technologically challenged brother and Dave and Sara entertained Luke by putting up a small Christmas tree and letting him decorate it. Monday afternoon, Brian, Luke and I packed up and headed to the airport to get back to Nashville for our last few days.
We arrived at the tiny Lubbock airport an hour before our flight and checked in our luggage and got through security in record time. We sat down by the windows to watch the planes while we waited for 30 minutes for our plane to board. Hmm, make that 45 minutes....60 minutes.....1 hour and 45 minutes later we got on our plane and took off. The captain came over the loudspeaker. "Good afternoon everyone! Sorry about our late start today. Unfortunately we are having pressurization issues on this plane. It just won't pressurize (ack! This is the point where Brian leaned over to me and told me that the plane only needs to be pressurized if we flew above 10,000 feet. Okay. Good. I thought for a minute we were all going to pass out and die or something. Continuing on.....). SO, we have to fly a lot lower than we normally do and we have to fly a lot slower than normal AND it is going to be bumpy so no food or drink service for you. Enjoy the flight." Gah! So our 40 minute flight turned into 1 hour and 20 minutes and once we landed, and after then took their sweet time getting to the gate, we RAN! Brian threw Luke (who was happily sleeping on the slow bumpy flight and was now totally upset and furious) over his shoulder and we ran. From the Skylink we could see our plane was still at the gate but when we got to the gate the doors were closed and there wasn't a single agent to be seen. One came over after a minute or two and slowly and calmly told us "oops, you missed your plane but we have you on the next one." Brian pointed out that our plane was still there but alas, the plane was now full which meant the turd gave away our seats. the next flight was to depart at 6pm, 1 hour and 20 minutes from now. Anyhoo - to make a long story short....."Attention flight 1202 to Nashville, we are waiting on your crew from Chicago to arrive for your plane. They are delayed because of the weather in Chicago......your departure time is 7:30pm.....Attention flight 1202 to Nashville, your gate has been changed to A23....Attention flight 1202 to Nashville, your new departure time is 7:45pm.....Attention flight 1202 to Nashville, your gate has been changed to C37..." We left Dallas around 8:10pm and got into Nashville at 10pm. We crawled through my parent's door around 11pm and promptly passed out.
We had great plans to end our visit in the states with a bang by taking Luke to see ICE The Grinch Who Stole Christmas and the Opryland Hotel to see everything decorated for Christmas and maybe even hit up Opry Mills one last time, but Luke caught a bug and our plans were sidelined. We ended up staying close to home, doing some last minute shopping (new luggage for Brian). Our last night in Nashville, mom and dad took us to Outback and we had a great meal.
We left Nashville Friday afternoon, had an easy flight to Chicago and then another fairly easy flight to Munich. We were a little late taking off but no major problems except for the fact that by the time we headed home I was 33 weeks pregnant and so achy. Half way through the flight my legs were swollen and hurting and I was pretty uncomfortable but thanks to my wonderful hubby, I was able to lay down for about an hour and I felt like a new person by the time I had to get back up.
We had a wonderful trip back home. We did a LOT of fun things, got to visit a bunch of family and even had 2 date nights (thanks mom and dad!). But we are pooped, smoked, exhausted, and in no mood to do that again any time soon. So, if you miss us, want to see us, you can come to us! :) Thanks everyone for a wonderful time, we had a blast and we are so thankful we were able to do it all before baby girl arrives in 6-7 short weeks.

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