Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bah Humbug - Enough is Enough Already!

Bah Humbug - Enough is Enough Already!

When we finally get home from a trip, I'd like to let everyone know that we arrived safely and are now happily settled into our routine -- OK, so you have been so notified. However, getting here was anything but easy. Considering that we spent most of our Christmas trip sick, why should it surprise me that the ending would be any different?

Our ship arrived back into Ft. Lauderdale as scheduled on Monday, January 6th. As soon as I turned on my phone, there is a message from Delta that our flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Atlanta has been delayed almost 2 hours, thus insuring that we will miss our connection home from Atlanta. It was 6am, so too early to call our travel agent for help, and thus I sprung into action in an attempt to come up with some alternative. Yikes - almost every flight from Ft. Lauderdale to anywhere was sold out. It seems that the weather was terrible in the northeast so flights had been canceled in large numbers, and our ship was not the only one dumping its passengers into the airports. The best I could come up with was that we would have to stay in Florida until Thursday.

By this time it was late enough in the morning that I could contact our travel agent, and as if I ever needed any proof as to why I need her help, she was able to confirm that we had been rebooked by Delta onto a later flight both into Atlanta and then onto Kansas City. Now why I could not come up with that is beyond me, but then at my age perhaps I should just stay away from this new technology anyway.

After the "flight" scare. we were already exhausted as we left the ship for the long journey home. After 5 hours sitting at the airport, we finally departed for Atlanta arriving with just 50 minutes to scram to our next flight. Whoops - we arrived at the gate only to find a huge crowd, but no airplane? Finally there is an announcement telling us that our airplane has been taken out of service, however another aircraft which we can use has been located in the maintenance hangar. A cheer goes up, but is cut short as the gate agent informs us that the aircraft will have to be cleaned up and vacuumed, and then towed to the TSA for inspection before being returned to service. Also it has too much fuel on it for our flight so it will have to be partially defueled, and lastly it will then have to be provisioned. In short, it is going to be a LONG wait until we actually see that aircraft at our gate!

We sit down for the long wait and my cell phone rings. It is our wonderful house sitter with some bad news. One of our Jack Russell Terriers, Mary Alice, was found dead in her cage that afternoon, and he had taken the body to our vet. We were devastated. I hardly remember the rest of our time in Atlanta because Lisa and I were both pretty deep in grief.

An aircraft finally arrives and we were boarded. We made the long taxi out to the runway, where we are number five in line for departure. Eventually we get to the runway and sit; and we sit, and we sit. Other aircraft are going around us, and we sit. The pilot announces that the airplane has an indicator lamp on which he believes is a false indication, however, he cannot depart with that lamp lit. And so, it takes almost an hour to taxi against all the traffic and back to some gate in order for maintenance to come aboard to resolve the problem. They fixed the problem by powering the aircraft down and then back on again - in essence a reboot. That solved the problem, but then there was another 30 minute delay while the necessary paper work was completed.

Finally we left Atlanta and arrived into Kansas City. After landing I turned my phone on, only to receive an e-mail from Delta informing us that they are very sorry that our bags "did not travel as intended" and directing us to see the baggage claim attendant. The baggage claim area was stacked so high with lost luggage that it was difficult to even get into the claim office. There we learned that not a single bag of ours made it onto our flight! Welcome Home!

It seems that if it could go wrong, it did that day. Eventually we are reunited with our bags, but then we are faced with the void from the loss of Mary Alice.

Fortunately this story has a happy ending. Our daughter Carol springs to the rescue. We arrived home late on Monday, and by Tuesday morning, Carol sent Lisa a link for a "rescue dog" which she had located in Troy, IL. Carol offered to take Friday off work, pick up the dog, and bring it to Kansas City! So we went from moping around about the loss of Mary Alice, to the intrigue of thinking about a new addition. The terrier which Carol had located turned out to have been adopted, but in the process Lisa found a 2 yr. old terrier who had been rescued after having been run over by a car and abandoned. Her name is Spirit, exactly like the ship we had just left by the way. It turns out that Spirit was located just 5 minutes from where Carol lives. After some paper work and negotiating, Carol arrives Friday afternoon with our new addition. She is adorable and has already fit into the house routine - so finally our New Year gets off to a good start!


Our best to everyone for the New Year. The Globe-Trotters (that's us) will be home now until August when our next journey will begin. That will be an 81 day odyssey - but I'll save the details for later. It should, however, be one hell of a trip.


P.S. I am sorry for all the problems with our web page and blog site. I also learned that the pictures from our trip were locked so that you could not even see them. I have finally repaired all the issues, so you may read our blogs at Once there, click on the picture of the penguins and you will be taken to our photo page. Open the album labeled 2013.12 Caribbean and enjoy.

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