Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy birthday, Aunt Kelli!

We woke up at about 6:15am and got ready to head to the airport. The car was packed the night before so there wasn’t much left to do except shower, get dressed, and have a little something to eat. We planned to leave at 7 and I think that is exactly when we walked out the door. We said goodbye to Sarah and the kids and Matt drove us to the airport. Sarah and Kaylin stood in the window and waved. I sure had a great time with them and I knew I was going to miss them. Matt dropped us off at the airport and we said goodbye again. Abby was tired and wanted to stay in the car, but I somehow persuaded her to get out. I think I told her that we were leaving on the airplane and if she stayed in the car, she would still be in Amsterdam when we were at home. Anyway, we made our way into Schipol Airport and the confusion set in…first on our part and later on AerLingus/KLM’s part.

When we walked into the airport, we were confused as we could not find a desk for AerLingus. I saw an information desk and asked them and they said to use the KLM desk. Okay. We weaved our way through the lanes that were set up while other people cut underneath. Frustrating. We stood in line for just a few minutes and then it was our turn. I’m not sure what took so long, but we were up there for a long time. Other people came and went and the line behind us grew longer and longer. We finally got our bags checked and our boarding passes for our flight from Amsterdam and Dublin. We had to take the carseat to a different check in and after that I organized our documents. Wait a minute. There is a boarding pass for Cade in Amsterdam, but not in Dublin. Here we go again. On our way there, Cade did not have a boarding pass and they just wrote INF (infant) on my boarding pass. But then in Dublin, they asked where his boarding pass was. Good question. They let us on, but they didn’t like it. I decided to go back to the check in desk and ask for one. The only problem was that the line was LONG and both kids were already a bit restless. I decided that it was their fault I didn’t already have a boarding pass. So, I stood on the side and when someone left, I entered from the side. I explained to the man, who was right next to the woman I began with what had happened. He tried to reprint. Didn’t work. He tried other things with the computer. Didn’t work. He called AerLingus. He tried something else. Didn’t work. He called again. He tried again. Didn’t work. I am not kidding that I probably stood there for 20 minutes while Derek tried to keep the kids entertained off on the side. Finally the man walked me to the little AerLingus desk and he talked to the woman in Dutch. She tried something. Didn’t work. Seriously! I couldn’t be the first person traveling with an infant on my lap. She finally printed a piece of paper showing that Cade was in the system, but she could not give me a boarding pass. Fine. Whatever. So, I went and found Derek and the kids and we made our way through security. Then we walked and walked and went through a passport check. Then we walked and walked and were almost to the gate. The kids were both out of drinks, so we decided to buy some water and oj. I filled up their cups with water and there was just a tiny bit of milk at the bottom of the cup, so it made it cloudy water. Oh, well. We then had to stand in line at the gate because we had to go through security. I thought we already had, but apparently we had not. We stood in line for about 20 minutes. We couldn’t even sit down at the gate before we went through the security. We got to the front and I put the kids’ cups, the bottle of orange juice, and our one quart sized baggie of liquid medicine in the bin. That is what we had done every other time and it was fine. Well, this time, evidently, it wasn’t fine. The man told me we couldn’t take the oj on because it wasn’t sealed. We hadn’t opened it yet, so I said, “Yes, it is.” He said that it wasn’t and I said, “We haven’t opened it. It is sealed.” He pointed at someone else’s bag and said, “It has to be sealed.” Apparently we had to have it in some plastic bag that is sealed. I don’t know where the bag was from, but we didn’t have one. So, I said, “FINE.” He took my oj. I figure he was just thirsty. Anyway, then he said, “You can’t have these either.” He was referring to the kids’ cups. What?! Every other time through security, they have let it go. Well, I was holding Cade and Derek was trying to keep track of Abby and all of our other stuff. I looked at the man like, really?! I just stood there. Finally, I said, “Is there somewhere I can dump it out?” I needed the cups for the flight home. He pointed to a garbage can in the corner. I just stood there. He finally asked if I wanted him to do it. “Could you, please?!” He started to walk over to the garbage can and I don’t know if someone told him or what, but he came back, with the cloudy water cups and said that it was fine to take them on. !#$%^&*&^*%$#! So, I got to take the two sippy cups of cloudy water onto the plane, but my factory sealed oj was too dangerous. Whatever! I don’t usually get frustrated with security because I know it is to my benefit, but that was dumb. Well, then we got into the gate area and had to stand in line again to have our passports checked and board the plane. We finally got to the front of the line and drum roll please…….they didn’t have Cade’s passport information in their system! Are you kidding me? So, we had to step aside while the man assured us, “It will be okay.” Oh, it better be! Five minutes later, we walked onto the plane. Schipol sucked.

We were in the second to last row. So after banging the kids and the bags the whole length of the plane, we sat down and one hour later, we landed in Dublin. We went through one security check and lucky us, our bag was picked to have the lady rummage through. It was our bag of breakable souvenirs. So, she opened up about 3 boxes before giving up and telling us we could be on our way. If she’d looked in every one, we would have been there for an hour. We found a little restaurant and had some lunch. Then we waited before going through a US pre-customs check. I’m not sure what they checked, but anyway. Then we went down some stairs and waited. Over the intercom, “Would passenger Kilmartin please make yourself known to an AerLingus representative?” What now? Again, they didn’t have Cade’s passport information. So, I gave her the information and supposedly we were all set. We bought some pop for me and Derek and juice for the kids and tried to relax. About 10 minutes before it was time to board, both kids fell asleep. That made it quite interesting to lug our bags, both kids, and get out the passports one more time before it was time to board the plane. They both woke up right after we got through the passport check. At that point, my travel machine idea was sounding better and better. We got on the plane. Our first good news of the day was that we had 5 seats again and each seat had its own tv screen with about 15 movies to choose from, tv shows, games, and flight information. We were on our way back over the ocean. Abby watched Diego, Spongebob, Horton Hears a Who, and played some Disney games. We ate and played toys and finally with about 2 1/2 hours out of the 8 hour flight, both kids fell asleep.

When we landed in Chicago, we gathered our bags and walked right through customs, even though I had bought tulip bulbs in Amsterdam. They didn’t even ask to see them. We found a pay phone and called Mike and Toni, who were waiting at the Oasis. We could hear Toni, but she couldn’t hear us. We tried again with the same result. We hoped that she would know it was us and we waited. About 15 minutes later, we saw our Dodge Grand Caravan come around the corner. Toni had packed us some food for the ride home. I didn’t even realize I was hungry until I started eating it. She even brought me a nice cold can of Coke. Derek drove us to Mendota and we dropped off Mike and Toni. I fell asleep on the way home and it felt like I blinked and we were home. We pulled in the driveway at 8:10pm, which is 3:10am Amsterdam time. We had left Matt and Sarah’s 20 hours earlier. Both of the kids had been sleeping for at least an hour. We carried them in to their beds, and we were in bed not long after. What an amazing trip.
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