first off, you all know the story of my tickets, right? that i ordered them in april, but didn't get them until june, and only after a week of constant phone calls and nagging them. and then they were PAPER tickets, not e-tickets, and they'd only send them to an american address even though my trip was STARTING in amsterdam. so fortunately my in-laws sent me the tickets in the mail, but what a pain in the butt!
so then we get to amsterdam airport and it is a ZOO! note to you all: NEVER begin a trip during the summer holiday season! go either before or after because EVERYONE is at the airport at the same time! argh!
and then i finally get up to the kiosk to print up my tickets. and we go through the WHOLE process and then we are told by the machine that it couldn't process our request. so we get stuck in the "misfits" line and wait and wait and wait forever to go talk to someone about our tickets.
so then we're in the line, we finally talk to someone, but our seats are all messed up. we paid extra to get these special seats on the airplane so that we'd have more room for gracie to move around and play, but they ended up just sticking us wherever, in the middle of the middle section on the plane, and we didn't have those special seats! so i told the lady that i either wanted a reassignment or my money back for that extra we paid for those special seats.
well she can't process it at that moment because aer lingus (who i am now officially calling aer doofus) needed to reassign seats to the people who were sitting in our special seats. so we can only get our tickets as far as dublin for that first leg, even though we're supposed to fly from amsterdam to dublin to chicago to denver. so we only get our first tickets, and our bags for some reason are only checked as far as chicago. don't know why, but whatever. we had to run to catch our plane at this point anyway so i didn't push it. and i figured we had a 4-hour layover in dublin to get it all sorted out.
but wait, there's more! while we are getting our bags checked in, the lady puts a sticker around the handle (you know, the one with the scanning code on it to know where to send the bags during the journey). well, one bag is almost onto the main conveyor belt when the woman NEXT to the woman helping me, all non-chalantly reaches behind her, rips the sticker off, and throws it on the ground. like it was a joke. so now one of my bags doesn't have a sticker on it, so there's no way to know where it's going! so i'm screaming, "WAIT, WAIT, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" cuz it's NOT a funny joke, dude. oh my god!!! so the woman checking me in (not the one who ripped off the sticker), picks up the sticker, puts it back on my bag, looks at the lady next to her (the one who ripped the sticker off) and smiles at her, then smiles at me apologetically and then continues to check me in. no one says anything more about it. and i'm thinking, dude, if that's a joke, you need to find something funnier. cuz that's NOT cool.
(ps, that bag did show up in denver finally, but my big pink bag with all of MY clothes in it did NOT show up! fortunately it was on the next flight, so we waited an hour for it and got it before we got home anyway. but by then gracie was SO TIRED that i felt really bad for asking her to stay longer to wait for my stuff.) okay, so now we get to our gate. nowhere to sit. the plane is delayed. the gate is changed. we finally get on the plane. then we wait and wait and wait, cuz someone left a bag at the security check at our gate. finally brings the bag onboard and someone claims it. it was a FLUTE. we had to wait for a stupid FLUTE. so we take off like an hour and a half late. so much for our 4-hour layover in dublin to get our new tickets!
the flight is fine, mg takes a nap, we get to dublin. then we get off, find our way to the new tickets desk, and wait. and wait. and i'm supposed to be next, but some douchebag from chicago budges ahead of EVERYONE and demands to see a manager to get his lost bags or something. argh!
so now i get my turn, and i'm talking to the lady (the one who just got yelled at by chicago douchebag), and i tell her the situation, and she says that we can't get our tickets at her desk but that we're going to have to go through security, back to the main check in desk, and then get our tickets there. i'm close to tears, and i say something like "i understand", and then i compliment her on her bracelet or something like that. then she miraculously realizes that she CAN print up my tickets after all. which she does. but we still don't have our tickets for our last leg from chicago to denver, because apparently that's a totally different airline (even though i bought ALL my tickets from aer doofus over the phone).
we make it to our gate, get on the plane which is on time, and this is the best part of our trip: no only do we have the seats we originally signed up for, but we have a WHOLE ROW to ourselves! the plane is in one of those 2-4-2 seat configurations, and we got the 4 seats in the middle right behind the bulkhead, so we could all spread out and play and lay down and relax together. the plane was only like 75% full and all the flght attendants were all really awesome. i watched a movie, ate decently, and gracie napped well. it was a really smooth, GOOD flight. thank god for something easy! we needed it!
now we land in chicago, go through customs, get our bags, and have to go to the transfer desk to get our final tickets and re-check our bags. we JUST make it in time, we get our tickets, but there are no seat assignments yet. strange, but whatever. we go through security again, rush to our gate, and see that our flight is DELAYED and there's like 35 people on the standby list. FORTUNATELY, we weren't on that list, but i did have to wait in a crazy long line to get our seat assignment.
so i get to the desk, get our seat assignment, and we board. and here's another good thing: we actually bought an extra seat for gracie for the whole length of our trip, but we didn't need it for this last leg because she was probably just going to sleep the whole time anyway. so we "give up" her seat so that someone on the standby list could get home that night, PLUS i get a free round-trip voucher for a flight anywhere in the lower-48 states. (SWEET since this was only a one-way ticket, and now i get a roundtrip ticket!).
gracie sleeps the whole 2-hours to denver, we land mostly on time even though we took off late, but then like i said my bag never showed. so we grabbed some food and came back and sure enough my bag was on the next flight so i did indeed get it before we drove home.
but then it was a 2-hour drive home. by the time we got here, it was midnight (8:00 in the morning in hengelo) so we were EXHAUSTED! gracie woke up at like 5:00 this morning, but we all took a nice morning nap and this afternoon i'll lay her down for another short one. then we'll be back on schedule.
wow. what a trip! but we're here, safe and sound with all our stuff, and it's hot and sunny and i'm about to run some errands and grill out tonight. it's good to be home!
thank you for seeing me off in style at the train station. you girls are the best. if i wasn't so damn tired i would have been bawling. but trust me, i have shed plenty of tears over this move.
i think this message is probably long enough so i'm going outside to play with mg and do some shopping. love you all and write back!