Apr 28, 2008

This week last year - The Plane-iversary

So, the camera is gone to Best Buy warranty dept. for 4-6 weeks. Luckily....this week is a week of memories and so I will get by without it. This week is a very special week for us as it is the most special anniversary of our lives.

This date last year.....APRIL 28TH....we were getting on a plane for Ethiopia. We were going to pick up our twin boys who as to this point were babies in pictures that we tried to imagine a personality for. I spent endless hours drooling over the referral photos and wondering this about them and that about them. We had about a 1.5 week heads up when we were going to travel and I was pretty much packed in the first couple of days, but you are never ready for this kind of thing. So many unexpected events and needs....how do you plan? Getting flights and time off work and no matter how prepared you think you are......something happens and poof!

I was scared to death even before this crazy day hit. Not so much about becoming a first time mom....not yet anyway. I so do not travel. I had never been out of the U.S. and I don't think I had even made it to the East Coast before so the flight to Dulles would be a first. I had an onslaught of crash nightmares which were fun....but, not enough to kill the excitement of meeting the boys. The scariest thing was that my dh's passport was due to expire in August which is less than 6 months from travel which was technically going to prevent him from getting an Et visa. I spent the week making calls and there was no way to get him a renewal and getting a visa was iffy. We had hope.....the Et embassy in Washington said if we were flying ET Air they would let it slide and we were. We were just worried that United would notice. Or someone would notice...and how could I.....a non traveler...handle twins on my own. We had the paperwork done....one with Mike traveling and one as a POA if he couldn't.
Early in the morning on the 28th, we awoke....I think 4am we had to get moving. We didn't sleep much that night, duh.....I don't know who could have. The anticipation had me shaking...literaly. That morning, I was tingling.....and twitching and my limbs had a life of their own. Just thinking about it know has me in vibration mode. My Nonny would stay with the dogs all week in our house and my uncle Steve was dropping us off at our local So. Cal airport. I am very thankful that he is a seasoned traveler and handed me some broad spectrum antibiotics before dropping us off. We were in the airport, wide eyed and on our journey. We went to the United counter with prayers in head and fingers crossed. We handed over our documents and the lady at the counter reminded Mike that soon he would need to renew his passport, but beyond that.....she had nothing to say and checked our luggage through to Ethiopia. So, I knew I'd have my rock for a while longer. We got on our flight....no problems....and landed in Colorado. We ran across the terminal with 15 minutes to spare and were sitting on our plane with no problem in no time.

Ha ha.....and here is where the real journey begins. We had a 2.5 hr cushion once landing in Dulles only and were sitting on our Denver plane watching the clock. The plane couldn't take off yet. There were suspected mechanical issues. I was close to tears, but praying we would make it. If we missed our Dulles flight....Et air wasn't flying the next day and so we would miss our embassy appt. My husband didn't have more than a week off from work....we were stressing. After waiting what seemed like forever, we finally took off. Still, I was uneasy and then I knew why. The captain came over the radio to say that the electronics on the plane did malfunction. He was flying blind and because of the weather and poor visibility, it was impossible to continue. All of the electronics in the cockpit were down and we had to turn around mid flight and land in Chicago. They were rerouting their European connections as he spoke.....but what of us....going to Ethiopia. I was balling. My wonderful husband was trying to hold it together, which for him is more of an anger release.
We landed in Chicago. We were all there trying to figure out what we could do. Time was ticking and we were already into our Dulles time cushion. I have never seen so many upset flyers. I was still balling. No one could answer our questions. No one knew what the answers were. Somehow, there was a near empty plane. Only 6 passengers who were more easily rerouted than all of us...a jam packed and full flight. They gave us that plane....but we had to board within 5 minutes or else we would have no flight crew. They were getting close to their regulated hours and if we didn't get on, they couldn't fly us by law. I have never felt so much like a herd of cattle as I did in that moment, but was really very thankful that we were able to still have a go at it. While waiting in Chicago, we called our travel agent and CHS and tried to see what the options were. It was a weekend and we hadn't heard back yet, but we were on the way to Dulles and had more praying to do. If the flight landed on time.....our Dulles flight would be leaving 15 minutes later. So, needless to say.....I was still balling.
So, on the upside....the flight landed in Dulles without further issue. On the downside, we had 10 minutes before our flight was leaving and had to run all the way across the terminal. We must have been a sight running with our carry-ons all tired and red faced and let me tell you....I am far from graceful. We ran and prayed and hoped and reached the ET air check in. We handed over our tickets and the plane had already boarded and was waiting. Waiting for us, because our travel agent called and told them we were coming. They actually waited for us and got our luggage loaded and we were on the flight that would bring us to our babies. The Et airline staff was very kind. The other passengers were very kind. Our nerves were frazzled, but we had made it. We now had a gazillion hour trip to settle down. Okay, who am I kidding. Now, we could get jittery again thinking about our babies and what they would be like and if they would like us and how our trip would be and how the guest house would be etc. etc. The good stuff.
We had a very noneventful flight. Yeah!!!! The food was good. The movies were good. I started getting a horrible, horrible cold......my nose wouldn't stop running and I could barely breathe through my coughing and the mounds of flem, but we were on our way. I would take it! Unshowered and with little sleep, we made it through. The bathrooms...well.....plane bathrooms are not my favorite. Ewwww for the yuckiness on such a long flight, but also because I have a fear of being sucked into the flusher....irrational I know, but still....and the flap that closes was broken and so that sucking sound had me convinced I wouldn't go to the bathroom again on this trip. He, he....that idea really was irrational...

So, tomorrow......I will speak of my landing on the 29th. Yeah, I know, not too interesting.....but this whole experience is something I never want to forget and ....since I wasn't blogging at the time.....I am sure I have forgotten so many things during this year. Ben and Seb....here ends the first installment of the week we became a family.

No comments: