I’m sorry it took me so long to get a message to everyone after returning home. We ended up flying out of Madrid on Saturday, Nov. 22nd from Madrid to Miami where we went thru customs and had to re-check our luggage back thru and rushed to catch the next connection to Orlando. As we were rushing to our next flight, Jon realized I was only holding our tickets and HIS passport–NOT mine! So, he sent me to back-track our steps looking for my passport. I would say that we were both having a bit of a panic attack…LOL. I finally found someone to ask about where I would check for a lost passport, and explained that we were concerned about missing our connection–and they told me to just go catch our next plane and file for a missing passport after we arrive home. So I went back to Jon, who was standing with our carry-on’s to tell him what they said, and he informs me that he found the passport–it was inside my bag the whole time. Evidently when I pulled out the tickets to show the last time, I also pulled out HIS passport, but left mine in the pocket. LOL. When we got to Orlando, we had planned to spend the evening at Downtown Disney, but decided we were both too tired and just went to dinner at a nearby restaurant and then went to the hotel for some sleep, since we had to get up at 4 AM to get to the airport 2 hours before our 7:00 AM flight.
It was a good thing we got there with time to spare, because we ended up being singled out by security. We have decided to do security in tandem, so we can have one person on the other side before our laptops go thru (because another IBMer had their laptop stolen when it came out on the other side before she did). So, I hurried thru once I realized they had sent our laptops thru already–no problems–no alarms went off. I was standing near our stuff waiting for Jon to finish coming thru and decided, “Hey, I might as well start putting my shoes back on” and grabbed one shoe to put on, when the security lady shouted, “Put that back! Don’t touch your stuff! Come over here!” She then sent me into a glass enclosure where I looked at Jon in confusion as they began “searching Jon” and searched thru all of our stuff including wiping it down for traces of drugs or something. They used the wand and did a “pat down” on Jon and just left me standing in the glass enclosure without any comments or explanations. We both just kept looking at each other in confusion thru the glass. Eventually a female security person arrived and she put on some gloves as she asked if I had “alarmed”. They said, “no” and she proceeded to wand me and give me the pat-down. We were then allowed to walk back over to our belongings, where a security guy asked curtly, “Do you have all your belonging?” And Jon said, “We don’t have our tickets!” and he responded by repeating very curtly, “Do you have all your belongings?” We looked at each other and Jon said, “We have all our belongings, EXCEPT our tickets!” He then asked our names and looked thru a stack of tickets for ours and after having us repeat our names, he set them on his side of the conveyor and hurried away.
We understand that with our world being the way it is right now–with terrorist threats and drug traffic—that we have to be very careful with security at our airports and we really appreciate their diligence. Apparently we brought up red flags because we had one-way tickets that had been recently changed. It just seems that they could be a little more pleasant and explain what is happening. And it is frustrating that while they put innocent people thru the rigors with no explanation or apology, they still end up with things getting thru that shouldn’t (like knives). It seems like they could at least explain what is happening and why you are waiting and would it really hurt them to say something like, “Sorry for the inconvenience.” We were very happy that we weren’t crunched on time…and still had time to grab something to eat before getting on the plane–and were very thankful we were NOT traveling the day before Thanksgiving as was originally planned. We then flew to Minneapolis, MN and finally to Portland without any further incidents and we arrived at about 1 PM. We were picked up by our daughter, Tabitha and our sweet, almost 2 yr. old granddaughter, Avie. We met Tiara and Benny (daughter and son-in-law) at Applebee’s, near their home to have lunch together, before going home.
We had Thanksgiving at home with all the kids except Tiffany (she was with her hubby’s family) and 3 out of the 4 grandkids (Sierra was with her mom and her mom’s family). Vicki cooked most of the meal and I think we all enjoyed it. Sunday, we (Jon & Vicki) went to Albany to meet with Vicki’s parents & family for lunch. The group included Vicki’s parents, & her brothers with their families–Phillip & Bert, Rodger & Nancy, Rodger’s daughter Robin and her kids, and Nancy’s two daughters, Joy & Rachel and Rachel’s husband and 9 day old baby son, Sean. It was really nice having the chance to get together with family again and little Sean was happily passed around for all to hold and admire. We also shared some of our pictures and stories from our travels.
This week Jon is working from home and we are preparing to go on our 1 week Mexican Riviera Cruise–Yes, we are going to travel again, during our vacation. If we had not booked this cruise before agreeing to the job change, we would NOT be traveling again, but because it is booked, we are not going to give it up. We have never been to the Mexican Riviera before–only to the nearby border cities, so it should still be fun. And of course, we DO love cruising. Originally our kids were suppose to bring their families and join us in California to take the grandkids to Disney, but that is not looking very likely now, because of various different reasons. So, if nobody joins us, we will probably only stay for a few days before returning home. We will be taking the train there, and possibly taking the train back, too–that is still to be determined.
When we return from vacation, Jon will again be working from home until the first weekend in January when we will again leave–probably for somewhere in Europe. This time of year, most of Europe is rather cold and snowy. After our past three months of travel we feel like we are better prepared for what to pack and hope to keep things to more of a minimum, as far as luggage goes–Yeah, right! 😉 Also, they are projecting to have a week between assignments next year, allowing everyone time to spend at their homes. It has also been determined that if the assignment is a “planned 4 week assignment” (which most of them are) that spouse travel will be covered. And we finally got the Paris trip approved for reimbursement–hopefully the rest of the spouse airfare will be processed more quickly and with less hassle. There will also be another spouse beginning to travel with her husband beginning in Feb or March, so we are hoping that might simplify things more. The “extra charges” for Vicki at the hotel in England are still up in the air–please pray that they look at it in our favor.
We would like to take this time to wish everyone a very happy Holiday season with many happy memories with your family and friends… We hope you all enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving with yummy food and time to reflect on what you are thankful for, as well as a wonderful Christmas ahead. May we all remember the reason for the season as we are reminded of the birth of our Savior. It is very easy to get caught up in all the hype and excitement of shopping and gifts and forget the true meaning of the holiday.
Jon & Vicki