Tuesday, July 3, 2007

next stop, the airport (again), then finally Denver

Mel and me outside our old room at Ravencrest
Old Ravencrest friends. Rachel, on the right of me, was also one of Mel's and my roommates. The girl at Mel's left also attended RC. What fun to reminisce!
At E's wedding reception--it was a beautiful outdoor event in her parents backyard. You could see the mountains for miles!
Mags dressed and ready to go to the reception

Malachi and Mags...he really loves her!
He played with her any chance he got

This is how Mags looked almost the entire night of E's semi-bachlorette party.
After dinner, we stopped at The Drunken Monkey bar to snap a quick picture of E on the swings they have inside...um, how safe is this really? Drunk people on swings?! They have to be crazy to allow it, don't you think??

Some of the girls outside the Mexican restaurant
E and her lovely sissies at dinner

E and Mel drinking Starbucks in Estes Park. The air just smells better up there!

Hanging out in Ft. Collins

Breakfast in Ft. Collins

E and her new hubby, Jonathan--he cooked some amazing meals! Pictured here is salmon with a delightful rub and fresh fruit parfaits. Dessert: homemade vanilla cookie dough ice-cream with homemade, gluten-free brownies. Yum!

E, Mags, and Mr. Darcy

Following our time with Eric and Kandi, we were due to arrive home on Monday night, then get up on Tuesday morning and M and I would fly to Denver for my annual girls' trip (4 of us have been meeting up for the last 4 years). That was the plan. BUT...we unfortunately experienced our first ever missed flight in Phoenix. And while we do take responsibility for getting to the airport late, the American Airlines' agent was utterly unhelpful and downright rude. Basically, we cut it too close arriving at the airport, but thought, "hey, we have 40 minutes until departure, we should be fine." And truthfully, I have cut it close before, and they have never given me too much grief. However, we arrived at the terminal to over 40 angry passengers whose flights had been cancelled to DFW due to bad weather. This shouldn't have affected us, but it did. Aron tried to self-check in, but they had started boarding the plane 5 minute earlier (literally) and therefore, the kiosk wouldn't let us check in. After another 5 minutes (keep in mind that every minute is precious at this point), Aron was able to get the attention of aforementioned utterly unhelpful and downright rude ticket agent. He politely (really) says, "Who can I speak to about this late check-in notification?" And she replies, "Well let me get this straight--you want to talk to someone about your missed flight." She proceeds to ignore his request to tag our bag and tells us to get in line. We wait for 40 minutes and miss the flight. Finally, when we are at the front of the line and able to talk to an agent, lo and behold, the *same* agent decides she's ready to help our line (and not the self check-in-ers anymore). I inwardly groaned. We step up to the counter and proceed to tell her our story and see what can be done. We learn there are no more flights to Chicago that night. We learn that we can only get on standby on various flights in hopes to make it back to Chicago in time to catch my Denver flight the next morning (meaning, i might not even make the Denver flight). Bottom line, this woman was unable to confirm us on any flight that day or the next; I cannot express just how rude she was. What makes it even more frustrating is that we were trying to be totally patient and loving towards her (really). Wouldn't you think that someone would respond well to that? Not our lady. We finally decided that standby the next morning would be the best option. In frustration, I ended up calling the airline after we re-rented our car to see if there was something more they could do. The woman I spoke with confirmed us on the flight in about 3 minutes. I was befuddled--why could she do that and the ticket agent not!? She had no answer. So, we headed back to Eric and Kandi's, picking up some delicious sushi on the way, and enjoyed another night with them. Up at 4am the next morning, we drove back to the airport, made it on the plane, only to sit on the tarmac while maintenance checked on a light that came on unexpectedly. Have I mentioned that I felt stressed? This put the plane about 20 minutes behind schedule (have I mentioned that every minute counts?), but the pilot was gracious enough to ask the passengers if those making connecting flights could get off first. I literally ran with Maggie to our gate for the flight to Denver. I had 10 minutes until departure and of course, the gate was about 18 away. I made it with 7 minutes to spare; however, I had left Aron behind to wait for the stroller. He also had the diaper bag and camera. The agent rudely told me to get on the plane. I said, "My husband is running here right now." She said, "Ma'am, we are departing. Either you need to get on without the stroller or not go at all." I said, "You have no idea the last 24 hours I have had. Please be patient. If my husband says he's running here, he is." She sighs and soon closes the door. Moments later, I see Aron and I yell, "Run faster!" He arrives, I tell the agent I'm getting on the plane, and she opens the door for me. The two reprieves along this journey were a) Maggie traveled phenomenally and b) on the Denver flight, absolutely every seat was taken, except 2--mine and the one next to me! Maggie was able to sit and play and I was able to read and catch my breath. Needless to say, American will be hearing from me.

In summation, my 6 days in Colorado with girlfriends (we have been getting together for the past 4 years) was relaxing and enjoyable. Elicia had her wedding reception, which was oh-so lovely. We were able to connect with a few other Bible school friends from back in the day and this was an added bonus. Mel, E, and I soaked up the time together, ran errands for the reception, visited Estes Park (where we went to Bible school 10 years ago), stayed up late talking, shopped, and just hung out any chance we got. And at long last, Mel and I were able to meet E's wonderful husband, Jonathan. La, you were sorely missed! Next year, we aren't sure where we will meet up, but, oh, how I anticipate our yearly trip. A final highlight was E's son, Malachi, and how much he grew to really love Maggie. At first, he didn't seem to care for her, but every day he grew more and more attached, telling me things that she liked, playing with her, tickling her, and basically wanting to see her every time she was awake. See below in pictures what I have been up to for the past week.

12 comments:

  1. WWWHHHHHEEEEEWWWWWW! That was quite the drama. But so impressed with your patience and good attitude.

    Looks like you had some great trips, can't wait to hear more.

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  2. i love seeing the pics! what fun. sorry about the crazy airport madness. i'd have been totally whiped out after that. xoxo

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  3. I cringed just reading about the airline troubles! How awful....but at least Maggie is a wonderful traveler. I can't imagine having to do all that with my boys! Sounds like lots of fun once you got there, though!

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  4. Oh, what a horror story! How nice that Maggie was calm and happy through it all! You HAVE to write a letter to the airlines. I've had some bad experiences with American doing the same thing at check-in and it never hurts to let those in charge know about their customer service. Good to see you having fun with old friends! Did you enjoy Fort Collins? That town was our saving grace while living in Laramie.

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  5. We can completely understand about American Airlines disasters. It will be out of desperation if we ever fly with them again. Will tell you all about it. Nothing like the drama you had,though.
    Oh lovely Estes Park...how I miss ya. The water, the air, the atmosphere is so different there. It's just... Perfect!

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  6. LOL. What a crazy story! American sucks big time sometimes! I haven't had a pleasant experience with them in a while. We exclusively fly Continental now. They are a dream every time! :)
    Glad to hear that Mags did great! She was probably having fun bouncing in your arms while you ran! ha ha!
    Sounds like you had a lot of fun, though!! :)

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  7. Loved seeing all the pics - the shot of you girls in front of "right cottage" was a good one. I'm jealous you got another trip up the mtn. So fun to see how far we've all come in 10 years!

    3 cheers for Mags being a champion traveler; talk about saving grace.

    xoxo

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  8. Wow. That is just . . . wow. :)

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  9. it's great you had such a wonderful time reconnecting with friends...i think it is awesome you chickies get together every year. i know i look forward to our fourth of july get-together every year with friends and cousins (although this year we had to break the tradition...next year will be our 4th)!
    So sorry to hear about the airline drama...that can certainly be trying and overwhelming...ESPECIALLY when you are toting a child around and the people are unsympathetic and unwilling to do their jobs. ugh. Seriously, write a business letter to them and be sure to mention the woman's name if you can remember. Tell them you are seriously considering taking your business elsewhere since you don't look forward to being mistreated. They should actually respond by giving you comp. tickets...and i certainly hope that is what they do. people need to be held accountable. ANYWAYS...glad you got to vent on the blog :)

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  10. Ben and Laila's Oklahoma GmaJuly 9, 2007 at 6:55 AM

    What a trip! You are a great story teller. We may have been in Estes on the same day. We were camping in the National Park from the first of July until yesterday. Would have veen crazy to have run into you in town! We LOVE that part of the world for camping. Have a great week!

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  11. All--Thanks for the camraderie about flight tales. We actually love American and have had very few negative experiences with them, so it was disspointing that this happened. I do have her name and I will be writing my letter this week. I'll keep you posted as to what happens.

    Kim--i love Ft. Collins! I didn't realize that you were so close when you lived in WY. The town has such a wonderful charm to it and it's on the way to Estes, so that's even better.

    Tam--here's to the wonder that is Estes! Maybe we should plan a vacation together there. Seriously. You and B-rad were some of our most favorite visitors yet. So sad yesterday to see you leave. :(

    Cherri--seriously, you were in Estes while I was there!? How could we not have known that? It would have been fun to see you. So glad to hear that you love Estes, too. What beautiful country.

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  12. ummm wanted to metnion that I appreciate the pic where I look frightened! grrr....

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