July 11, 2011

NJ to WA: The Adventure

The long-awaited time has come, and we've arrived safely in Washington. The trip out did not go quite as planned ...

The Fourth of July weekend was spent getting our house ready for guests, as we had made arrangements for our friends the R family to stay there during our trip. I worked on Tuesday and Wednesday, then spent Thursday morning packing and doing last-minute things. MIL picked us up and off we went! Ah, it felt so good to be finished with all of the preparations, and to finally be on our way. 

We were scheduled to leave the Philadelphia airport at 4:50 p.m. on Thursday, July 7. We arrived at the airport, immediately checked our bags, sailed through security, and made it to our gate in plenty of time. The Boogie was plenty excited and Pheeboo was in a good mood. We didn't have to wait too long to board, found seats together, everything went great. The Boogie was SO excited to fly on a plane!

We taxied out to the runway where the pilot informed us that due to thunderstorm activity over Pennsylvania, our flight had to be re-routed and they were waiting for that information. So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

For two hours.

Every now and then everyone would be asked to take our seats so that the plane could be moved somewhere else.  Every time the plane would start rolling the Boogie would get very excited and squirm around in her seat exclaiming, "Are we take-offing?" At one point a thunderstorm came through which provided temporary distraction. Both girls did pretty well, considering. There was a family across the aisle from us with 2 little girls and a baby girl and those children were amazingly well-behaved. We never heard a peep out of any of them. A few rows up was a toddler who was very unhappy to be where he was. He would  SCREAM and SCREAM and SCREAM for about 15 or 20 minutes. Then he would calm down for a bit. Then he would scream for another 10-15 minutes. Then he would calm down. Then he would start up again. I thought for sure his yowling would set off the Phebis but I think she only melted down once while we were waiting.

Every now and then the pilot would update us with the information that he had no information. After about 2 hours he said that we would wait just a bit more but if we didn't get clearance soon we would go back to the gate. Thankfully soon after that we were cleared for take-off.

We missed our connecting flight in Chicago by an hour. Of course plenty of other passengers had missed their connections as well so we waited in line for about 45 minutes for customer service. By that time it was after 9 p.m. and there were no other flights to Seattle, nor were there any available flights that would connect us to a Seattle flight somewhere else. We opted for a 7 a.m. flight out and then had to decide what to do for the rest of the night.

By that time I was in tears. I was worn out from the preparations and just so disappointed that we were going to make it to Seattle until so much later than planned.

The airline had some cots set up in a concourse and we considered staying there, but it soon became obvious that with two small children it was not going to be a good option for us. Eric called a local hotel who sent a shuttle over for us and before too long we were in a nice cozy room at a Hampton Inn. Praise the Lord for nice hotels! They provided us with breakfast bags since we would have to leave before their continental breakfast was served in the morning, and even charged us less for the room than what they quoted. Plus we had a neat view of Chicago in the early morning. We got a few hours of sleep, slept through our alarm, and barely caught the shuttle back to the airport!

We flew from Chicago to Los Angeles. We changed planes there and flew to Oakland, CA where thankfully we did not have to get off the plane, and were even able to move up closer to the front for the last leg of our journey to Seattle. That was one neat thing about it -- Eric had never actually been to the west coast, so he was able to see the Pacific from the plane, as well as the San Francisco Bay.

We finally made it to Seattle on Friday afternoon, almost a whole day later than planned. It was disappointing to be so delayed but God had a reason for it happening, though we may not ever learn what that reason was. And the girls did so great, even the Pheebs who was not as easily entertained as the Boogie. And, all of our luggage arrived safely as well!

It has been fantastic to be here with family, and to see friends. We are so grateful that God allowed us to come!

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