I don’t have pictures of our planes or anything exciting as far as photography goes for this post. However, Andrew is anxious for me to blog about our flights. First, I was amazed that the flights we booked back in Dec. were the same, unchanged in number and time, etc., and waiting for us. I remember when the whole Vogan family flew to TX for Wendy’s wedding, and every single flight was changed and delayed and different, and so on.
We flew out of Dulles on Friday morning the 20th. Somehow, we thought leaving here at 6:00 a.m. would leave us enough time to catch a 9:40 a.m. flight to O’Hare. Well, it did, but just barely. We got caught in a little bit of slow traffic up there in the busy knots of Northern Va., but otherwise we just rolled along. As we got closer, we decided that one of us should park the car, and the other one take the big suitcase and get it checked, since you have to check your checked luggage at least 45 min. before your flight. I was more comfortable doing the luggage than parking the car. That’s what I did, and boy was I looking at my watch and hurrying because we were squeezing the 45 minute deadline pretty closely.
In all that hurrying and so on, I was doing that touch-screen business to get checked in a boarding passes printed, and some how I got us paying for an upgrade to Premier Line. When the guy at the ticket counter found out I had paid for boarding passes (which I didn’t know I didn’t have to pay for them), he was not very compassionate and said “don’t you read stuff first?” or something like that in his heavily accented English. By the way, nearly every single employee/pilot/airline associated person I saw at Dulles looked middle-eastern and was definitely ESL. It made me feel like it would be real easy for them to usher through the next group of terrorists. I tried to find out more information from the guy at the ticket counter, and he kept answering me in his heavily accented English with pre-memorized phrases that said what he thought I should be doing next, but they did not answer my questions. I finally gave up and went to where I needed to leave off the big suitcase. He had told me that I needed to go to united.com to get a refund for my money. I was feeling like I needed a T-shirt that said “I’m an EFL person”, meaning English as a First Language. I guess it is slightly annoying that in an airport in my own country I can’t even have a knowledgeable conversation in my country’s language.
I got the suitcase checked, then I waited for Andrew. I waited and waited. I looked at my watch and waited some more. Finally he came. In his hurry, he had fallen running up the escalator and cut his hand. It wasn’t serious, but an open wound in an airport hardly feels sanitary. We got a band-aid on in later. We trotted right through security and to our gate and expected to find a group of people waiting to board. Soon, a lady said “Chicago?”, and we knew we were at the right gate. Thing was, we were the last to board, everyone else was already on. Whew! I’m glad we weren’t any later.
It was all smooth sailing to O’Hare. Once we were there, Andrew knew what to do. We just took a train, the blue line, for quite a while. Then we got a bus to a little closer to our hotel, and then we walked the rest of the way. And it was cold! Oh, in O’Hare, there was a flautist playing very beautiful music. He was just sitting in the airport, in one of the non-shop areas, rather out of the way, playing very nice music. We stopped a listened to him for a little bit.
To come back home, we knew better than to cut it close getting to the airport. Especially since we were using public transportation. It seemed like no matter what, it took us about an hour to get wherever we were going, even if it was close by, because it takes a while when you are walking. We started out walking toward the train station about 11:30, even though our plane didn’t leave until 4:45. This time, we rode the red line to the blue line, and then the blue line to O’Hare. That was better than fooling with a bus to the blue line.
Checking into O’Hare was different than checking into Dulles. For one thing, the touch-screen computer only printed out 3 boarding passes-one for each of us at Pittsburg, but only one for Andrew at O’Hare. When we realized that, I stood with our stuff while Andrew went back to the ticket counter to get another boarding pass. Then, we were ready to go through security. Well, it was only then that security noticed my driver’s license had been expired for over 2 years. What!! Yeah, that’s right, and I had no idea. (Think, guys think. That means it expired right after Paul was born. At that time, if it wasn’t life-or-death, I’m sure I gave it no thought.) The guy kept asking for another form of ID. I gave him my credit card and my expired nursing license (I have the new one here, I just hadn’t put it in my wallet yet.). He wanted a passport (I don’t have one) or my birth certificate (I told him it was at home). I was thinking, you mean I can travel all the way here on an expired license, but I can’t get back home?! Finally he said he would have to get his supervisor. This lady very methodically asked all the same questions and seemed a little exasperated that I didn’t have some other form of ID. I dug out my voter card and gave that to her. Finally she said they would just have to do extra security measures on me. Whew! That I can handle, just don’t make me stay here in Chicago until I die and my bones rot! So, some lady did a “pat-down” on me, and then some other ladies personally went through all my baggage. Since I didn’t know liquids in excess of 3 oz. were not allowed in carry-ons (they have to be in checked luggage), I lost some things, like my hair spray and hand lotion. They offered that I could go back through and check it (to go in the belly of the plane). I declined. Good grief! It costs $50 to check the second bag, and we had already checked one bag. I could certainly buy more hair spray and hand lotion when we got home. Fortunately they didn’t confiscate the Ghiradelli’s chocolate we were bringing home to Miriam. After all that was done, I got my shoes on, and got my belongings packed back up and we were ready to head on through the airport. We were so glad we didn’t have that scene coming in Dulles or we would surely have missed our flight. We were also glad we were early this time.
Going through O’Hare we saw a different man playing music. He was playing a saxaphone, and it was very pretty music. I wish we had that kind over the radio. This time we kept moving and didn’t stand around listening.
After we got close to our gate, we stopped at a Chili’s and ate lunch. It was probably about 2:00 p.m. then. We were right across from the Bear Mountain Chocolate shop, and everything there looked so good. As we were going through O’Hare, I kept seeing all these shops that were high-carb shops. I just decided that airports didn’t cater to diabetics at all. After lunch, I told Andrew I just wanted to step in there to look around (and smell the chocolate, as Andrew said). Lo and behold! They had a section of sugar-free chocolates! I couldn’t believe it! I was tickled to death! Andrew got me a sugar-free cho. covered pretzel (I love those!), and he got a truffle. Yes, it costs a mint, but boy, was it good!
We got to our waiting area and then we watched part of “Chariots of Fire” on Andrew’s laptop until it was time to board our plane. That was one of the movies we had rented and taken along.
We flew to Pittsburg, and then we had 35 minutes until our next plane took off to Dulles. We thought we would be rushing and scrambling through the airport to get to the next gate on time. Here, as soon as we entered the airport, we saw that the gate we landed at was the exact same gate we were going to take off from. Then, as we boarded the plane, we realized it was the very same plane with the very same stewardesses! After we were all boarded, and while the plane was getting de-iced (doesn’t that sound, umm, like, well, glad they’re doing it, hope this doesn’t ice up while we’re in the air?), one of the stewardesses came back to us and said that since we were their “frequent fliers” and there were extra seats in first class, would we like to ride up in first class? Wow! We said sure and gathered up our things and moved up there. There was leg room! And, they served us snacks. We could have all the little bags of party mix we wanted (we only took one each), and we could have free alcohol (which we declined). Anyway, it was something neither of us had done before, and we enjoyed that little extra perk. The stewardess chatted with us some of the time. She was from Serbia.
Well, that pretty much does it for the flying part of our vacation. I went to the DMV yesterday on the way back home from the doctor’s office (Hannah’s follow-up appointment for her lung congestion–they’re getting better). I had looked online, and if your license is expired for more than a year, you have to renew in person. I was hoping the lines would be short (since I had Paul & Hannah with me) and we could just pay some money and get this thing taken care of pretty quickly. Well, the lines were short, but there was no quick fix. The lady at the counter was in disbelief that it had been over 2 years, and kept saying something like “oh my”, like she pitied me. With it being expired that long, I had to bring in my birth certificate, and take both the written and road tests again.
So, Andrew agreed to watch the kiddos this morning. After I exercised, I went to the test questions (online) about the alcohol and drugs and did them. Then I headed on over to the DMV. One of the first questions they asked was if I had studied the book (which, to get a physical book you have to buy it, by the way). I just told them I had done some test questions online this morning (I didn’t say how few and narrow they were!). As it was, I only missed one question on the written test (even though I took a good guess on a few, like how far away to park from a fire hydrant–I was praying I would pass!), and I passed the vision and the road test. So, by 10:00, I had my new license and it doesn’t expire until I’m 40. Hopefully I won’t miss the renewal that time!
Well, I need to move on. One of the things we decided on our vacation was some changes we wanted to make in our home routines. One of those is going to bed sooner, so that means pretty much no time for blogging in the evenings. I am still trying to figure out when to get it done. I really don’t want to give up my blog!
Here are a few pictures from our nice and normal home life. Paul is talking to his Uncle Luke on the phone, supposed to be thanking him for the candy Easter eggs he left on the back porch for Paul & Hannah.
When it was time to go to bed last evening, Paul wanted to “ride horse”. Here he is riding a horse!
Paul & Hannah riding horsey on Daddy to Paul’s bed (and then they went to bed).
More on the trip another time!