Friday, June 24, 2011

Adventures in Funerals: Part 1

So almost 3 weeks ago I wrote that I would be gone for a week or two... I never accounted for jet lag kicking my ass so bad I could barely remember my own name.... so here I am, back in Germany, back to work, and back to blogging.... I am also back to sleeping alone.. hmph...

Sunday, June 5th, I got word that my husband's father had passed away. To be honest, I knew that it was coming. He was not in the best health, had to have oxygen 24/7, and was unsteady on his feet. I hoped it would not happen while my husband was deployed, but we cannot chose when these things will happen, right? I sat by the phone waiting for my husband to call me, I only had to wait 2 hours... 

He called and I could hear the heartbreak in is voice. I made sure to tell him to make sure I was on the emergency leave paperwork so that I could fly out to the States to be there for him. The next day I had my flight info and was packed, the day after that I left for the airport.

I was so afraid the trip was doomed from the beginning... the soldiers that took me to the airport did not fill up the gas before they got me so we stopped at the Esso to get gas, problem with that was they did not have Euro to pay for it and their credit cards would not work. I never transferred money from savings into checking, so I did not have it either. An hour or so later (which was around the time I had to be at the airport) we were on our way. We got there but he took a wrong turn and we ended up at the back of the airport... it was already after ten and my flight left at noon. We got to the right area, I unloaded my bags and ran inside, noticing along the way that I had broken my purse strap. 

I got my tickets, checked my luggage, and got to security... once I was through the screening and was retrieving my carry on luggage I noticed that my boarding passes were missing from my bin! I yelled at the TSA agents: "MY TICKETS!!! MY TICKETS! WHERE ARE MY TICKETS????"

TSA: Are you sure you had them?

Me: Yeah, I had them! (Seriously, I would not be able to make it through security without them!)

The TSA guy looked around and there they were, on the floor by his feet. I ran to find my gate slowing down at shops long enough to see if they had a pin to fix my purse strap... no such luck. I got to my gate and they began boarding... I decided to tie one strap to another just to get by. 

I got to my seat... and waited... no one came to sit by me! I had 5 seats all to myself!!!!! We took off and as soon as people could move about the cabin a guy came over and sat one seat away from me and took his shoes off... I must have glared at him because he apologized and offered to move. I, being the ever polite person that I am (sometimes) in real life, told him it was ok, I still had three seats to sprawl out on. I watched Beastly from the in-flight movies because I REFUSE to watch Justin Beiber: Never Say Never (he should have never said anything, ever, or sang anything, ever). I took out my Zune and watched Red Riding Hood and one of the Twilight movies, I took out my Sony Digital Book Reader and read some... I never slept. We landed in Dulles International Airport and began the ├╝ber long trek to customs. Did I mention I am a smoker? Did I mention it had been over 10 hours since I had a cigarette? 

I got to the customs line which was LONG and I was shaking and very jittery. A man in line asked me if I was nervous, I told him no I was needing nicotine. I got to customs and the man asked me where I was coming from.

Me: Germany.

Him: What were you doing there?

Me: Living.

He looked at me a little oddly and asked me why. I got an insane smile on my face and said in an uncharacteristically high voice "Because my hubby is in the MILITARY!!!!"

He handed me my passport and let me on through. I grabbed my checked luggage, toted it a few feet to transfer it to a new carousel to go back out to my next plane and had to get screened by TSA again... why? I never left the secure area... but maybe it is because the United States does not trust the other countries to screen people properly... but yes, along the trip I was frisked, and I had the full body scan... and I had no issue with either... hell, I had not been felt up for MONTHS anyway ;)

As soon as I got out of there I asked the first person I saw where the closest smoking area was (after TSA I strangely needed one more) and hightailed it to the smokers lounge. God bless D.C. and their smokers lounges!!! I smoked two cigarettes in two breaths I am sure and quickly got to the tram to make it to my next gate... did anyone ever tell you if you go long periods of time without smoking, then smoke real fast you can get dizzy? The moving tram did not help matters any...

I flew on a slightly smaller plane (two seats on each side rather than two/five/two) to Minneapolis where I had to run outside to have another smoke, go back in to get my tickets to my next stop since it was on a different airline, and make it back through security to find my gate. I found it at the end of the airport, and noticed there was no runway to the planes... I would be walking outside to get on the plane and climb up some steps, meh, no problem... aside from I forgot that it was over 100 degrees outside and I just flew in from Germany where it had barely gotten to 80 a few times. Hey, I am outside! Can I smoke again?? No? Damn...

This last plane was tiny... luckily the flight was a short 25 minutes or so. I arrived at my final destination at 8:30pm, or 3:30am my time. The airport was tiny. It was so small and cute, you wanted to pinch its cheeks! I went to find baggage claim, and I see this just around the corner from the waiting area:
Cute, innit?
No one was waiting for me, so I called my brother in law to let him know I was in. He sent his wife to get me. I went outside to smoke and OMG it was 100 degrees there too! HOLY CRAP! I brought all jeans and t-shirts because I did not think it would be this hot!!!! 

We drove to my in-laws house where my brother in law was waiting, and on the phone with his mother. I talked to her for a few, then we started calling hotels to see who offered military discounts. I chose a hotel, I rented a room, then went to Wal-Mart (GLORRRYYYYY!!!!!!) to get soap, shampoo, and other toiletries I did not bring with me. By the time I got back to my room it was about 11 pm (6am my time) an I had been up for 24 hours with no sleep. I decided to forgo showering and fell right into the bed and promptly passed out.

This would be me if I was a cute kitty...
I woke up at 4 am for the day... it was COLD! The weather got up to about 54 degrees for the high... where the fuck did I land??? Oh well, it was going to be a good day regardless, I was going to see my husband since his flight arrived that afternoon... I showered, dressed, put on my makeup, and ate breakfast. I read Tina Fey's book "Bossypants", around noon I called my brother in law to tell him I was awake and BORED!

He sent his wife again, we went to Arby's- first day my diet was shot to hell. 

To be continued.....


baldychaz said...

wow dont know what to say, sorry mate ;( for pretty much all of it hope things better in part two

JIM said...

trials and tribulations of traveling international.. been there and had same kind of joy!!!
Hope you stay well/

Yes I Blog said...

Sorry about the loss in your family!

Waiting to read/hear the rest of the story. Hope it gets better from here!

Jim said...

Is that all you had to put up with?! Hey my wife after 5 weeks away got stuck in Sydney when all Trans-Tasman flights were cancelled because some smoking volcano in Chile is sending its ash cloud over our way. Bloody smokers- can't stand them.
Sad to hear about your Father-in-law.

alejandro guzman said...

You made it finally boy oh boy..

Take care


Jewell said...

Geez...I'm late in catching up! I hate all! I've never been overseas, and since I hate flying I don't imagine that I'll ever get there. But if this is what I have to look forward to maybe it's not such a bad thing after all! LOL =) to comment on part deux! =)