Tuesday, October 7, 2008

To America and Back

Hello again to all the people we were able to see on our whirlwind trip. We are truly sorry we missed a few people. Believe me when I say, it was whirlwind! We arrived in Baltimore, drove to Danville, said some VERY quick hellos, drove to Philly, then back to Baltimore. There we hopped on a plane, landed in Salt Lake City, drove to Cedar City (saw my cute sisters - see below), gave quick hugs to my family, drove up to Provo, and jumped feet first into wedding stuff.

At this point I was grateful for the few days of chaos with the entire Carpenter crew. Because - hey- at least we were in one place! Robert's wedding was beautiful. He looked awesome in his uniform and Jenna of course was as stunning as usual. It was nice to be back in the temple again. That is one of the main things I miss being overseas.

The kids had a blast with all the cousins. (as you can see, nothing says "having a blast" like partying naked with a garden hose.) Although Bennett kept asking when we were going home. He is a bit of a homebody, and all the noise started to get to him. Thanks to Janet and Jerry's kind neighbors, we actually had a home-base. They let us use a house that is empty and up for sale. My awesome Mother-in-Law even drove all over tarnation to collect beds. So we even had real matresses!

After the wedding, our dear friends, the Nanis, joined us and we had a great time hanging out.
At the end of the trip, I didn't want to leave, and complained loudly about it. That was my first mistake. Because I think I offended the universe. =)
We left SLC Sept 24, landed in Baltimore, spent the night with Michael's sister, showed up at the airport the 25th as instructed to catch the military flight, only to find that they had decided to send it early. Without us. The day before. SO - at this point our options were to take the next military flight that would only get us as far as Germany, or wait till October 3rd for the next flight to Turkey. We took our chances on Germany. That was my second mistake. When we arrived in Germany, we were told that the October 3rd flight coming from Baltimore (they all go through Germany) was our only choice. So we needed to find a room in Lodging, and wait out the week. The punch line to this is, THERE ARE NO ROOMS AVAILABLE WITHIN 30 MILES OF THE BASE, AND WE DON'T HAVE A CAR. I take that back, they had one room, for that night, with one bed, but we weren't allowed to put our family in there. So I called back and pretended to be someone else with lots less children. We spent that night hiding from the hotel staff.

Okay, so now I am desperate. And guess who comes to the rescue? OUR CHURCH! You can say what you want about us Mormons, but we know how to come together and support eachother! Within hours of being forced out of our hotel room (like I said, they only had the one night) we had 4 offers of places to stay, a family had loaned us their van, we were being fed dinner, and Michael had members trying to force him to take cash. I just cried and cried. THIS is what the gospel of Christ is all about. Helping those in need. And boy, we fit that description!

Well, we called the airport Sunday night desperately hoping there would be a flight to Turkey. And Yippee! there was! A cargo plane! Sure, we'd have to sit on jump seats and wear ear plugs, but we would be headed home! So we pack ourselves up (keep in mind, I had just been in the states stocking up on all the American stuff we can't get in Turkey, so we had A LOT of crap) and we head to the flight line at 5 am. And we wait. And wait. And wait. Around 9 am they tell us, oops, that flight has been moved to tomorrow morning. SO, after some more tears and ranting on my part, we pack up our crap, leave the airport, and prepare to do this again the next day. 5am, we are there again. And we wait, and wait. Oh, sorry, that flight has been moved to tomorrow. (Is this Groundhogs Day?) At this point we make the difficult decision to separate. Michael must get back to work, and it looks likely that we will be stuck in Germany for a full week. So, he goes on ahead, and we hunker down at the hotel room that miraculously opened that morning. I think because the Lord knew I was on my last nerve.

The next morning, I again arrive at the flight line with all my crap and four children, to be told that yes, the flight is leaving. I am still not convinced, so I keep the hotel just in case. But as the morning wears on, it looks promising. Our bags our checked, we have boarding passes, we make it through security, we are about to be loaded on a shuttle out to the plane. So now it is safe to cancel the last hotel room available to me, right? WRONG!!

In my ignorance of the military, I give the borrowed van back and send the angel who loaned it to us on her way, and I cancel the hotel room. Surely I'll be on that plane. HA HA HA HA HA HA (that was the insane laughter of a woman about to crack in case you missed it.) As we are on the shuttle, heading to the plane, a little voice comes over the radio (I am pretty sure it was Satan's) saying the flight has been moved to tomorrow. Yes, I was crying at this point. I spent the next 5 hours in the airport trying to get a hold of all the wonderful people who helped us, and who now thought we were on a flight to Turkey. By the way, when I called the hotel, they were full. And, as a funny little extra, during this five hour hell, when I ran to make my umpteenth phone call, one of the other moms in the USO family room thought it would be a great time to steal all the cash out of my wallet. YES, I KNOW I SHOULD HAVE TAKEN MY PURSE, but I was about to crack, and honestly, I thought I was safe in the family lounge of a military base's airport with two other moms. I am now more wise.

I finally got a hold of the amazing woman who lent us her van. She was able to arrange for a place for us to stay. She literally kept me from losing my mind, and she is one of the only good things to come out of this week.

Then we finally got settled in with a wonderful woman to whom I now owe a kidney. (She had beds for everyone, she bought food for the kids, she had toys, blankets, you name it) By this time it is Wednesday night, and I have no desire to repeat this nightmare on Thursday. So I call the flight line to tell them that I will not be showing for the cargo flight the next day. That I am going to just wait for the passenger flight to Turkey on Friday morning. The response I get is, "What cargo flight? We have no record of a cargo flight, I think it was cancelled permanently". I am very proud of myself that I didn't kill anyone. I think I know now how the terrorists convince people to become suicide bombers. They lock them in airports with four jet lagged children and sixteen tons of crap and keep them waiting for imaginary flights.

The happy end to this sordid tale, is that yes, we made it home on Friday's passenger flight. All of us collapsed in a heap and didn't emerge till Monday morning. I had it reconfirmed to me how important it is to help others. A little gesture to you is the world to someone else.

We are all settling in. I have never been so grateful to be in Turkey. I should never have complained about having to go back!

Oh, and on a completely different note, we are getting a new phone number. Our Vonage hasn't been working right, so we are trying a different company. I am not going to put it on this blog of course, but I will send out an e-mail this week. Write me if you don't get it and you want it. It will still be a Utah number, but will most likely be a 435 area code this time. Ah the wonders of the internet! You can call me and it is only the price of a call to Utah. Just don't forget the time change! =)


Cassie and Dave said...

I'm so sorry the trip home was so adventurous, but I'm glad you guys are home safe now! Once things settle down, I would love to have copies of the pictures you took of the kiddos. :) We miss you guys already!

The Valentine's said...

Sadly, I can relate to your situation. The last 18 months has been like that for us and I am so thankful for the angles that walk around amongst us poised to help when called upon. I am glad you are home safe and sound. Amen to the wonders of the gosple. It was great to see you at the wedding!
Love, Carie

Jennifer said...

UH...wow...remind me not to travel with you. SOOO sorry that happened. I guess many lessons were learned. Glad you got home in one peice. Keep in mind our little conversation before you left. I am counting down the days.
Love you and your family. I miss you guys a TON. Can't wait to see you again.