Honestly, why this little snow managed to bring such mayhem is beyond me.
Embassy Suites, Chicago: Monday
We ate breakfast, packed our stuff up and headed out Sunday morning. A taxi took us to the airport. (The taxi driver started out our conversation with, “Can I ask you a rather strange question?” It turns out that she wanted to know the names of any stores that might carry clothes for large women. Her son had gone to New York City for four days and hadn’t found anything, so she wanted to try online but she didn’t know what to look for. -- Speaking of being large. One of Roz’s friends, Bas, had a great line on size He’s originally from Hong Kong and though I wouldn’t call him fat, I’d say he was husky. He said that he goes to Hong Kong, looks around at everyone and says, “God I’m fat.” He goes to England, looks around and says, “God I’m fat.” He’s goes to America and looks around and says, “Yeah! I’m skinny!!!!!!!”) ;-)
The taxi only cost 35 quid. Apparently many taxi services have a fixed rate to the airport. The check in line was rather long and they only let us have one carry on item which ticked Rob off. He’s a regular traveler in the states where the rule is “one carry on and one personal item.” But the check-in gal was having none of that. (However, when we got on the plane later we saw several people with a large bag plus a suitcase as carry on. They obviously didn’t get the same check-in gal that we got.)
The security line was insane. There was a couple in front of us that probably missed their flight because of security.
Then when we got through security, we came out of the grumpy, drab, stressful security area into a world of light and color. It was the duty free shop and it looked like we had just been transported from some East German security checkpoint to some All American department store. It was very odd. And you had to get through the store to get to your flights. (So all those people who were running very late in getting to their flights had to fight their way past dreamy shoppers picking out cologne and bottles of Scotch.)
We got to our boarding gate where we had to go through a 3 point security check again (thankfully we weren’t pulled out for the last point which is where they go through all your carry on bags and check them for drugs, etc.)
Our flight to the States was fairly uneventful. We saw both Scotland and Ireland for the first time (just bitts of the coast as we flew over). And we landed on time at the Chicago airport.
As we were waiting to grab our bags to go through customs we saw one of the suitcases come down the center belt. Our luggage is distinctive not because it’s bright red (that seems to be a popular suitcase color these days) but because we had the kids draw pictures all over the suitcases before we left. We figured that that would not only be a pleasant reminder of them during our trip, but it would also help us to locate our luggage when picking it up. So we waited for that case to get off the center belt, then swing around till it reached us. But it never reached us. I started to get worried that someone else had taken it so I quickly buzzed about to the other side of the luggage carousel only to see a red suitcase heading down a long hallway past a security check point. As far as I could tell, our suitcase had just taken a trip without us.
Rob was pretty upset about it. But I figured that either the person would go to declare stuff and then realize that he had the wrong suitcase, or he’d take it through, not declare anything, and put it back on the luggage check-in belt and it would end up in Denver anyway, since that’s how it was tagged. Our only worry was if the guy was staying in Chicago. So we waited for the rest of our stuff (which took another 25 minutes) and right before we were getting ready to go fill out any paper work we might need to to say that our bag had been taken, there it was coming around the carousel. We’d been watching the center belt so we knew it hadn’t come down from there. So we’re guessing that the guy eventually got to the point where they tell you your gate change information. The people there would look at the tag on your bag and then tell you your gate based on that info. I can just picture the woman looking at the tag and saying, “You’re going to Denver?” and the guy’ slowly realizing that he’d screwed up. How he could grab a bag covered with pictures of kitties, doggies and lizards without noticing is beyond me, but there you go.
We took the train to our terminal and checked a television to make sure we were heading to the right gate.
What a shock. We found that our flight had been cancelled! We tried to find someone who could explain why (it certainly couldn’t be because there was a light snow in Chicago. Nothing was even sticking to the ground.)
After waiting in a couple of different lines, we finally calleda 1-800 number and found out that we’d already been rebooked on a Monday morning flight.
We were quite disappointed that we wouldn’t be getting back when planned. But I kept telling myself that the kids would have been asleep when we arrived and we’d only see them long enough in the morning to send them off to school. So we’re not missing kid time and the main bummers are the expense of the hotel (only $159 and we don’t have to worry about the wretched exchange rate!), the fact that Karen has to watch the kids one more day when she probably needs to catch up on work, and that my mom will have to wake my dad up to come get us. (My dad has been sleeping late in the mornings which is a blessing because it’s just that much less time that my mom has to cope with him.)
So we ended up at the Embassy Suites. We got a free drink in the evening and there’s supposed to be a continental breakfast this morning. And unlike Shendish, the television actually works, there’s a fridge in the room as well as a full length mirror and an iron and ironing board. We don’t need any of these things now, but it would have been nice to have them before the wedding and it’s comforting to be back in a land where these things are standard in a hotel room. It just helps to have a sense that you’ve got your bearings back. ;-)