Friday, July 21, 2006

Blearily-eyed yours...

So, Pumpkin and I made it back to the Emerald Isle safely, if rather jet-lagged. Our excursion included several small glitches, starting with leaving MSP late due to the icky weather we had in the am arriving in Chicago. So, since we left late, we arrived in Chicago O'Hare's Terminal 3 only 1 hour before our flight to Ireland was supposed to leave from Terminal 5. Now, if you've had to go from one terminal to another there, you know it involves going out of the terminal, taking a tram to the next one, and then having to re-clear security, often involving a lengthy wait in line.

So I hustle our butts from 3 to 5 in great time, knowing that our bags in all likelihood will NOT be moving as swiftly as we were, but not worrying about that too much since we're in our way home. In all the MANY cases of delayed luggage we've had between ourselves and visitors, it's never actually gotten LOST, only delayed. Get there and see a BIG line for security. So, I doubled back a little bit to find a TV screen with the flight info so I'd know which gate. I look at the list and see... EI 124 DUB/SNN 7:00P AT 9:45P.

Well, that took care of the need to rush! I double-checked with the nice lady at the information desk right there and found out that we'd probably want to eat before clearing security since there's nothing more than kiosks on the other side and that there is a small play area near Gate 15. After a diaper change, supper of Pizza Uno and a strawberry smoothie (yummy!), and a much-reduced security line, we got to our gate to find a high school choir rehearsing a couple of their numbers while enduring the wait for our flight. They were REALLY good and listening to them kept Pumpkin entertained while I asked the nice man at the desk if there was any chance of an extra seat being available for her even though we'd only paid for a lap ticket for her.

He was really nice and called somebody else and said there was one right near mine, but that he couldn't do anything until 8:30 when they'd officially close the flight. So we listened to the choir's last song then went and found the play area. Pumpkin had a great time playing there with a 4 year old boy (Emmett) and a little girl a couple of months younger than she is (Zeta). I found out their mom was South African and their dad was Irish, but they live in San Francisco. 8:30 came, I went back to the desk, and they blocked 13H for us (I was 13G). Now, this didn't mean we were guaranteed the seat 'cuz we hadn't paid for it, just that nobody could assign it to somebody else. As long as we sat there first, it was ours. VERY nice of them 'cuz we weren't entitled to anything other than a seat for me and a lap seat belt to keep her on my lap. We like Aer Lingus.

Wandered back to play until about 9, when they were going to start pre-boarding. Pumpkin and I ended up being the FIRST passengers aboard (Yay!) and found 13G & 13H, which were separated by the aisle. So I talked to a flight attendant, who said they'd see if somebody'd switch or if there were two seats together somewhere else once the flight was loaded. So I left our stuff in H and stood at G, and said Hi to the San Fran family when they came to sit in the other 3 seats by G. Eventually, once everyone else was on, they swapped us over to two empties not far away and we were set.

Except that we were all settled in on a plane that proceded to wait in line to take off for forever. We're talking forever with a side of "now we're #4 in line, but there's a problem with the runway, so we've been advised to turn off the engines to save fuel because it's going to be a while, so we'll start the in-flight entertainment while we sit here on the ground." Eventually, at 11:30 pm, we take off and Pumpkin falls asleep. (I don't know what it is about that part of the flight, but of the 6 take-offs on our Eire/US/Eire trip, she fell asleep during half of them.) After a long trip, in which I didn't get much restful sleep due to much kicking and wiggling by Pumpkin, we got to Dublin. The flight was supposed to stop there, then continue on to Shannon, but they ended up having all of us still on it get off, clear passport control, then board another plane that was going Dublin-Shannon-New York. Made sense, since it was already going that way and had plenty of space, but it was just one more small hassle, and an additional delay for Mr. Kluges, who by this time was at Shannon waiting for us.

All ends well though. We got to Shannon and so did both suitcases. We found Mr. Kluges as soon as we'd cleared customs and had an uneventful drive home, where I was happy to let him change the next messy diaper for us. Pumpkin was up last night from about 1:15-3am, but is down for a nap now. I think I'm going to follow her example 'cuz it sounds like an excellent idea.

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