Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend Whirlwinds

Clearly this weekend is the weekend for updating my blog, but the last few weeks have been anything but calm.
Ocean Shores:
The weekend after we got back from Rome we merely unloaded one suitcase into another and headed with friends to Ocean Shores. Loving Husband, Danielle, and I headed out after work to join the others at a lovely Aloha location with decorations that are beyond words. It was a great tiem for everyone to just hang out and relaxing, walk on the beach and to read some good ol' Harry Potter.
Sunday we all enjoyed ourselves by renting bikes/carts and tooling around on the beach, chasing each other and playing our version of capture the flag. Very fun.

Tuesday Night:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was to be released! We all gathered in excitement and some mild fright (and the level of excitement some chose to enjoy thru costumes) and we enjoyed the movie on the IMAX screen at the Pacific Science Center. Muy execellent. Not so muy excellent that work still started at the same hour it normally did, regardless of the fact I didn't get home until after 3am. Oye.

Ganger Reunion:
Wednesday came and went as did most of Thursday, and Brenda and Mung arrived on Thursday evening…. The first of the family I got to see as it was the Ganger Family Reunion up here in Tenino. We enjoyed dinner together and then Becky's flight came in around 11:30pm. Brenda and I went to pick them up and it was another looong night because of course we chatted for a while before I headed to bed. I went into work at 9, Loving Husband took them off to breakfast and then I drove to Tenino to meet up with them all later that evening. It was so great to spend time with all the family, laugh with them and enjoy all of their company. I love and miss them all so much. I left late on Sunday night and headed back home… another late night.

Harry Potter:
This past week was much more anticipation mounting as it was nearing the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I won't say anything as I know many are still reading it or too busy planning weddings to get to it… but it is amazing and a very good closure to the story. Friday night Brianne and I met up and stood in line for an extremely long time with some quite interesting folks. We got the books and headed home to read them. I still had part of HP6 to read and so I read the remaining 50 pages of HP6 and then barely made it to page 23 around 3:30am before crashing into sleep on the futon. I woke up around 8am read about 100 pages and then went back to sleep until almost 10. I ultimately finished the book at 3am today.

Today I spent cleaning the house. It had not been vacuumed since before Rome… partially due to the busyness of our lives, but more so because Loving Husband believed the vacuum to be broken. I fixed it and all was well. I cleaned up my closet that I haven't seen in MONTHS and have been enjoying blogging for the rest of my afternoon. Loving Husband went hiking this weekend, a fun activity but not terribly restful, I am patiently waiting for him to finish HP7 which is he reading now, we'll take a short break here in a moment and head to church and then he will finish reading (he says he's not sleeping until he's done) we'll see. He's only on 140.

That's me! I'm alive, but if I haven't called you – it is not because I am ignoring you… it's because my life is so planned and scheduled right now there is not time for anything else. Much love!

Travel home from Roma

A bit delayed in the posting, but life's been busy!! However, I feel that we should preserve the final moments of our trip because it was an excellent trip.

Final Day:
We enjoyed the pool and reading and just resting. For dinner we headed out to enjoy our last Italian meal at a local place around the corner from the hotel… another bit of walk and we were joined by a few fellow conference people, but all on the company dime! SWEET. We enjoyed between the 5 of us I believe about 3 bottles of wine, mmm and then myself and Jane (a fellow Company-Wife) walked back to the hotel, leaving the boys to justify the Company-charge and allow them to talk shop. I went back and continued to read a bit of Harry Potter book 4. I was hell bent on finishing it so that I could pack it and just read HP5 on the plane… that didn't end up happening… I drifted off to sleep and we awoke painfully early.

Travel Day:
Italy:I wasn't in great shape the next morning, something from the eatery we had enjoyed the night prior was not agreeing with me (and no it wasn't the wine) I was not feeling well and sparing the details was visiting the bathroom about every 3-5 minutes… that's AWESOME for a) cab rides b) waiting in line and c) plane rides! Oye! We arrive at the airport and finally track down where the heck we are suppose to check in – we went to the "wrong" terminal at first because well that's what our itinerary said… and although it was "correct" ALL Aitalia check in through Terminal A…. we were in C. Then we arrive at C and there are 100+ lines for Aitalia, well which freakin one are we supposed to get in… after establishing that yes it's that really freaking long one – we settle in and I find the path to start wearing down a path for me to go back and forth to the bathroom…mind you I have eaten nothing and drinking anything seems to be a grave dangerous task to entertain. We get checked in our bag barely weigh in under weight, but they're check through to home. We find our plane and have about 30 minutes to wait before boarding. My body decides to calm down and by the time I get on the plane I've managed to consume part of a muffin and the bathroom trips have subsided. Thank GOD! We get on the plane… and we sit. ::Announcement:: "We will be delayed by 20 minutes due to some headwinds but we should arrive in Amsterdam just 18 minutes off tracking." Well, shit.

Amsterdam:
What's the big deal? It's not that big of a delay, right? Wrong. We had ONE HOUR to connect to our direct 10 hour flight straight back to home. A flight, a glorious flight, that would have had us touching down on U.S. soil at 2:00pm PST. We now had 40 minutes. We get off the plane and we SPRINT… ::add in derby type music:: I don't run, I'm not a runner, never truly was, and after knee surgeries never care to let alone hold an ability to be a runner and after spending a week eating pasta and wine and then a full morning spent in a bathroom I was in zero shape to run and I do mean RUN through an airport. We ran and then we waited tapping our feet in line to get through Amsterdam customs, stamp in the passport later we pick back up full speed – this airport, though all connected so no trams to connect to is flipping HUGE…. We continue to run. We arrive at the gate 15 minutes to spare. We are told by the KLM attendant they will not put us on this plane that they have "rebooked our flight, and if we would please go to the transfer counter, they will be happy to help" … 35 minutes more standing in line (and nearing lunch time) we are told by the KLM lady that since Aitalia screwed up that we will have to have THEM rebook our flight… and that in order for THAT to occur we have to exit the terminal and go outside. W.T.F. So back into another line to get another stamp in the passport. SUPER. We then go down to the Aitalia ticket counter and the woman looks at us as if we are mad and simply says "Why didn't they just call me while you were at the KLM counter?" EXCELLENT QUESTION! She takes time to locate our luggage to get it retagged – whew it was located. She then gives us a sad sight of a "ticket" and tells us to go stand in the KLM ticketing line to get our boarding passes. Another 30 minutes later we get to the counter and we get boarding passes. We then go back through customs and get ONE MORE effing stamp in our passports. There is no time to grab food because now we'll be late for THIS flight if we do. We then get on the plane. To Canada. Vancouver to be specific. It's a 10.5 hour flight. With a 2 hour layover connecting via Air Canada to home after that. And all I can think is that the direct flight to home was only 10 hours and if we had made it we would have already been flying for 2.5 hours and have been given SOMETHING to eat. We board. ::Announcement:: "There is going to be a 30 minute delay we are missing 15 tons of fuel. Likely a clerical error we just have to fill out some paperwork." I don't panic that is still 90 minutes to get onto a plane to the U.S. no biggie. Twenty minutes later ::Announcement:: "Dutch…dutch…problema …dutch" then the translation "It seems that it is not merely a simple clerical error and that we are in fact missing 15 tons of fuel, that's not the problem – we can fly without that… but we have to do a stick test to establish the level of fuel on the plane… that will take 90 minutes." … … …

In flight:
Our flight back is not nearly as nice. We have the common tv suspended from above the aisles, so I don't get to choose my programming, the food is far from comparable to that on the first long flight over, and we didn't get nearly as many snacks… because at THIS point I have had NOTHING… we finally get dinner: pasta and a wolf it down. The rest of the flight is uneventful. We made some time up in the air (quite a bit actually, about an hour) Towards the end the flight attendants came around to round up the "NW fliers" There was a half dozen of us and we had to catch that flight. It was that flight at 6pm PST or 11:00pm. I was getting on that freakin plane!

Canada:
The doors open and we are the first ones out. We hop on a KLM cart (at least in Canada the KLM people are helpful!) and we clear Canadian customs without issue – really without even getting off the cart. We then have to pick up our bags. Seriously?! We wait… we wait… 10 minutes later which seems like an eternity when you have less than an hour. We then go out into the airport and check in with Air Canada. We get new tags for our bags which we are now carting around personally… and we run through US Customs… no line there (weird) we then throw our luggage onto the conveyer belt WAAY past security and everything (weird again) and then SPRINT AGAIN! I am tired of running through countries. We again are running for what seems like an inexplicable length to get to our gate… but we get there and they let us on!!! We even delayed and waited for people's bags.

United States:
We're home!!! We didn't have to deal with customs in the US because we had already done that – all we had to do was grab our luggage and grab a taxi home… It's about 730pm by now. We have not eaten but that one subpar "meal" on the plane and to us it's 4am. We wait for the luggage…. Nothing. Loving Husband goes to get in line and I wait for the other Air Canada flight to land 30 minutes after us that MAYBE they got put on that one. Nothing. We waited in a line that was forever long to declare our luggage missing – we left the airport around 10:30pm.
Home:
We were so happy to be home. Our kitties missed us. It was excellent to sleep in our bed. And on Sunday, my bag arrived. Loving Husband's showed up on Monday night in the middle of the night… we don't understand how they were separated. We were just glad that in the end it all made it home.
The trip was wonderful and the only thing I would have changed was the trip home!