Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Journey - Part One, The Nightmare

I think I'm at the point where I can write about this and laugh. Our journey from Virginia to Japan was a long one. Thankfully there was a nice extended pit stop in Washington along the way. A little bit of info: the military doesn't do anything they don't have to, I can't possibly explain how frustrating this can be. Things just aren't effecient, and there are about a billion hoops to jump through to get anything done. This is especially true when it comes to moving.

We had four days of people packing up our house, Tuesday through Friday. One day of long-term storage, two days of regular shipment packing, and one day of express shipment packing. Each of these were done by a different company, which gives us three different companies to keep track of. On Thursday we no longer had a bed, so we moved into a hotel. And so began our 7-week (so far) odyssey of living out of suitcases.

We were supposed to fly out on Tuesday. Of course, the Navy did not purchase our tickets until Monday. Yes. Robert told them two months before when we wanted to fly out. Still they get the same rates no matter when they purchase tickets, so they weren't in any rush to buy them. Nevermind the inconvenience it is to the family flying out, what do they care, it's not like they are going to get fired, haha. (allright, maybe it is too soon, because I'm not laughing) Anyway, our flight was to leave Tuesday morning at 7 am.

We had someone in line to buy our van at 7pm Monday night, he had put a deposit down on Saturday, so we took it off the market and turned others away saying it had been sold. Can you guess what happened? He backed out at 6:30 pm. We were livid. (I think this was his way of trying to get us to come down in the price) We called the other people who had been interested in it, but no one was ready to buy it that night. Robert took our other car to the dealership to sell it to them, but in the process found out there was a hold on our titles at the DMV so we couldn't sell our cars. We had planned on selling both cars Monday night, and both fell through. We couldn't call the DMV because it was 9pm by that time. So we called United and had them change our flight to Wednesday instead.

We got things figured out with the DMV on Tuesday. We found a man wanting to buy Robert's car, but he was driving down from Williamsburg and wouldn't be there until 8pm. Of course he was late, and then he didn't have the cash. So he and his 5 family members drove around Virginia Beach trying to find a place where they could get the cash. Of course everything was closed so we were out of luck again. We had no takers on the van that day, so again neither car sold. So frustrating! Our awesome neighbors came to our rescue, they took on both cars to sell for us.

So we were set to fly out Wednesday morning at 6am. We got up at 3:30am, loaded up a taxi with all our stuff and us, and headed to the airport. We had a mountain of luggage, including the car seats, and the stroller had a big pile as well, and stood in line for about 30 minutes. We got to the front of the line and were told they only had a seat for Robert. The boys and I were set to fly out of Chicago at 6am, not Norfolk. The flight was full and they couldn't help us. We again, were livid. They were so rude to us as well, at one point the lady actually said "How do we know this wasn't your fault?" Right, because this is what we consider fun. They would not take any responsibility, "We are United Express, not United, it isn't our fault". After 30 minutes of arguing with them, they got us a flight out for the next morning at 6am. I cried. Too stressful for me, I was so upset.

So we loaded up a taxi again, and drove back to the hotel. (which United Express refused to pay for "Oh there will be no hotel", she was a witch) Anyway, Robert, Canon and I took a nap. We got a call from the witch, apologizing for the morning, and said she had found a flight for us that left that afternoon at 2pm if we wanted it. Plus she gave us vouchers for future flights. At least she recognized they were completely unreasonable.

We flew from Norfolk to DC, no problem, things went well. We had a 90 min. layover in DC. Then we boarded up in DC to fly to Seattle. As soon as everyone was on the plane they closed the door, and told us there was going to be a slight delay, due to a storm that was about 30 miles southwest of the airport. 1 1/2 hours later we finally started moving, Beckam exclaimed "WE'RE MOVING!!!" Everyone laughed. Then we sat there, we weren't even on the runway, for another 1 1/2 hours. The flight attendants passed out water, and the pilot got on saying "The storm is now too close and the airport is closed, no incoming or outgoing flights, so we have to wait for this to pass" The storm was crazy, lots of lightning and thunder, all around us. Finally, the storm passed and we had to wait for our turn to fly out. We were on the plane for 5 HOURS, before we even took off. We flew out around 11pm, the time we should have been landing in Seattle. What an absolute nightmare. The boys fell asleep once we got were in the air, of course they'd wake up and cry because they weren't comfortable. Robert sat with them, and I sat with Canon, trying to nurse him while sitting next to a middle-aged man who wasn't about to give me any space. Thankfully Beckam and Rylan did very well while we were waiting to take off. (thank-you Target for your dollar section, the boys had plenty of new things to look at and play with that I'd been collecting for a while)

After that we were really looking forward to our future flight to Japan. UGH, what an experience! Surprisingly we have no pictures to document this momentous occasion in our lives, so sad. So sorry for the LONG post.

15 comments:

Emma said...

You said it! What a nightmare. I'm so sorry. I hope this story gets better.

Shauna said...

Ahhh, kids and flights are tenuous to begin with, sorry that it was so completely horrible! I feel like you should at least get to send a complaint to somebody!!!

Dusty and Angie said...

Jes, what a nightmare!! Glad you finally made it. I don't know how you did!

The Knight Family said...

Oh my gosh, you are right, a nightmare! I am amazed that you are able to write about it with a speck of humor. I think I would still be lying on the floor crying! I hope you enjoy Japan!

Bri said...

Wow! Jessica I cant believe it. I dont think you ever have to laugh at that if you dont want to. I am glad you LIVED! And that the boys did well.

Looking forward to the rest of the story. :)

The Bitburg Military Ward Cooking Club said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through all that, Jessica! I agree-the military is SO inefficient. I get frustrated about something at least once/week. In fact, the whole reason I had to come out here to Germany pregnant and alone with a deployed husband was because of the dumb military's inefficiency. Glad your nightmare is over!
-Claire

Erka said...

Oh my, I can't believe what you had to go through! This was hard to read, let alone live it!
I am glad you guys made it there safe! I am looking forward to Part Two as well!

Tukuafu's said...

WTF? That is all I have to say!! Sorry it was such a nightmare.. You are the strongest person I have ever met.. i would have gone postal and ended up in jail. :) Love YOU!

Lindsey said...

Gotta love the military! How frustrating! I can't believe what a hassle they put you through, especially with three little ones. I hope you enjoyed your time in Spokane. Can't wait to hear more about your adventures in Japan.

Julie Nye said...

Wow,that's insane! I can't believe you made it with two 3 year olds and a baby! I would have cried a lot if I were you.

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

OH. GOODNESS. GRACIOUS.

I'd have been committed to the funny farm by then. What a NIGHTMARE. Hopefully now you will be able to settle in and get a bit rested (Hmmmm, three boys and rest?) Keep us posted....

Heather said...

this story disgusts me with how rude the airline was. You should still write a letter. Maybe you'll get a free voucher or something else so you can come home! I'm glad that was the worse bit of your journey, because it'd be hard to top that madness.

Julia said...

Jessica, I want to throw up for you. Your trip thus far sounds like TORTURE.

Christy said...

Oh my goodness. I can't believe this is only Part I. I would cry. It makes for a great horrible story though.

Satoko said...

Oh my goodness... 5 hours in the airplane that is NOT moving...with three kids?! That is beyond me. You and Robert are troopers!!

Rylan stealing Beckam"s Pacifier (7 months old)