Monday, June 27, 2011

A Boat Would Have Been Faster

Can everything possible go wrong in one trip to England?

It started about a month ago, when the moving company messed up when our household goods would be shipped to England. They were supposed to pack and ship everything on the two days after Memorial Day weekend. They scheduled it for the Friday before and the Tuesday after the weekend, which would have meant a houseful of boxes and disassembled furniture and two children under four. We had to reschedule for a week later. It worked out for the best since the children got to play a little longer with their toys and we could be a little more organized.

Then we discovered our Internet service provider seems to have lost our records. Unfortunately, we switched to paperless bills (yes, they haven't forgotten to bill us), which turned out to be a bad idea because we haven't seen a bill in months. So we don't know our account number and the company couldn't look it up based on our names, our address, nothing. We're still working on that.

I scheduled the cell phones to be canceled the day after we left. The day before we left, our cell phones stopped functioning. I emailed a complaint in, but haven't gotten any response. I didn't really expect anything to be done other than an apology. None has been forthcoming. We had an old pay-as-you-go phone that I had reactivated for return trips to the States. It came in very handy.

On Thursday of last week, we got to the airport. Security went okay except for the bottle of water we forgot about in the diaper bag. Our first flight (at 6:30 p.m.) was held on the runway (with us in it) for two hours before we had to go back to the terminal. Bad weather in New York City meant we couldn't take off because we wouldn't be able to land on the other end. We were rebooked for an earlier flight to JFK the next day. The flight eventually departed without us, but our checked bags went to New York anyway.

Our carry-ons had clothes and necessities (except for my toothbrush and deodorant!). The travel agency booked us a hotel so we went to rest and tell the UK folks we'd be late. i emailed our sponsors and called the taxi service man, who sounded pretty groggy.

We went back to the airport at noon for our 2:40 flight the next day. Security went okay except for the tube of diaper rash cream we forgot about in the diaper bag. After settling at our gate, our flight was canceled. The airline tried to book us on the 6:30 flight again, but we were fearful. So we got booked on another airline to JFK. That flight was also delayed, but eventually got us to New York around 11 p.m., two hours after our connection to the UK.

A call to the travel agency found us a hotel but no available seats on the Saturday night flight to the UK, so we had to settle for Sunday night and a two day layover in New York City. That would have been great had we not been exhausted (we didn't check in to the hotel in NY till 1:30 a.m.) and also sick. I have a touch of laryngitis, though you probably didn't notice it here on the blog. Saturday we ate and slept and did laundry. The hotel booked us into a smoking room, so we requested a non-smoking room the next day. Turns out the smoking room didn't smell, so we asked if we could stay. The manager said no, he had the room booked. So we had to switch rooms in the hotel for one night. We thought about just switching hotels, but that would be too much hassle on everyone.

Sunday was much better. We took the local train to Mass at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs. It was a good service and it was great to get to church one last time in the USA. We went back to the hotel, checked out and took a cab to Manhattan. We spent a relaxing afternoon with my brother and his girlfriend, who lives in Manhattan. We had brunch and the kids napped at her place (the hotel wouldn't give us a late check-out). He drove us back to the airport, where we finally were able to get on our plane, though even that was not without its adventures.

The security line had a special side line for families to go through, so we were sent there. It seemed like a good deal, till we found out it was also the emergency line for people who were running late or in a wheelchair. About a dozen people cut in front of us before we had our chance to go through security. Security went okay except for Lucy's milk, which had to be tested by Homeland Security to make sure it wasn't lethal to anyone. We got on the plane and finally made it to England.

The taxi pickup went smoothly at the airport. The UK is a lot hotter than we expected at 9 in the morning (29 degrees Celsius, whatever that is), so we were a little overdressed. Being groggy from the flight and still suffering from the colds, we mostly dozed or zoned out in the taxi. It took about 90 minutes to get to our destination. Once we were there, we couldn't get into the apartment! Our sponsors showed up soon with a code for the key box, but the code didn't work. After some calls to the apartment agency, we discovered the new code and were able to get in.

Now we are settled in and looking forward to our next day here in Great Britain. After all this, what could possibly go wrong?


  1. Oh my word! I think there is a comic novel somewhere in here ... when you have lots of distance from it (LOTS of distance!). :-)

  2. The comedy hasn't ended yet, more to come...we had trouble getting out of the house this morning because we locked ourselves in and couldn't unlock the door! Full post to follow.

  3. I can't even tell you how hard that made me laugh!

    Though I'm sure it was far from funny at the time... :-D