Sunday, April 05, 2009

The story of our trip to Texas

Thursday morning we woke up to rain, and more rain. Since the Saturday before we had a total of almost 8 inches of rain.

Needless to say the dirt roads and some of the paved roads that some of my students live on were washed out.

As I was getting ready to leave school at 1:10 our principal came over the intercom requesting that all certified teachers that did not have a homeroom, come to the office, and all of the homeroom teachers send up current contact information for their students.

The flooding was causing our county and at least 4 of the surrounding counties to dismiss early (they also closed for the day on Friday). They were worried about our students getting home safely on the buses. My friend Sherri was going to keep my class the rest of the day, since she doesn't have a homeroom. She sent me on ahead to leave, and to let the principal know that she still had my class. It all worked out though, because I picked up my cell phone and started calling all of my parents on my way to get the girls.

The longest part of this step of the process was picking up the girls. They couldn't find Kelsey because at first she had PE in the gym, but she was in the library. Then she had business apps, and that classroom was not answering their phone. The girls finally got dismissed to me and we came home.

We came home, ran to Piggly Wiggly real quick for last minute groceries to leave with Dad and the kids. Then Jerry and I got on the wet, rainy roads.

We managed to get to Atlanta without a problem, finding parking in the long term parking lot was a challenge, but we did it. We even checked in without a problem. All of the problems came after we got to the gate.

The weather events of the day had pushed our flight back to 8:05.

Still no problem we thought because our connecting flight was still after when we should arrive.

About 7:40 I looked again and noticed that they had pushed us back to 9:35, which would put us in missing our connector. I went and asked a gate agent at the other gate about it and she said basically that we were screwed. She said that by the time we got into Dallas the airport would be closed down for the night. Oh and not only that but the first two flights in the morning between Dallas and San Antonio were booked solid, so they wouldn't get us to San Antonio until about 10 in the morning.

I called the travel office 800 number to see if there was any flights they could get us on that would get us there in time. No dice, not Thursday night, not Friday morning. The representative from there recommended that when our gate opened to be the first one talking to the gate agent and see if there was anything they could do for us.

There is where we lucked out. I explained to the gate agent what was going on and why we needed to be in San Antonio, and he looked at our connecting flight. It seems that Atlanta had been closed for rain and high winds that afternoon. Well Dallas had been closed for high winds too. So our connecting flight was also pushed back 2 hours. We got to the gate in Dallas with about 2 minutes to spare before they started the boarding process.

The only problem now was we were getting in at 1:00 San Antonio time, or 2 am our time, and we were exhausted.

Then we had a $50 cab ride to the hotel!

$50!!! What the heck? Still not sure how that is more economical for the government than renting us a car for 3 days. Considering our car rental that we did on our own was $150 (only because we rented it on base and returned it at the airport). Cab rides through the city just to and from the airport would have cost them $100. Not counting from the hotel to the base and back at $6 each time. I guess if we had a hotel downtown it would have been less expensive to take a shuttle bus, but the shuttle buses supposedly don't travel down to the base. Anyway you look at it, I can't see how us not having a rental car for the weekend wouldn't have been more economical.

We got to the airport about 2 am, checked in and went straight to bed, only to wake up again at 7 for Jerry's appointment at 8. We had to get a taxi from the hotel to the base, because it was a 2 mile hike, across the highway, and as tired as we were there was no way we would have made it by 8. Of course we had to wait 20 minutes for a taxi. (insert rolling eyes here)

When we got to the hospital and found the clinic, I thought (still think) that the med tech was one of the former students from Lakenheath. The last name sounded wrong, so I didn't ask, then as he was leaving the room I saw his first name, which was what I was thinking it was. I wanted to ask him when we were leaving the clinic but we didn't see him.

We waited on the doctor about 10 minutes, then he came in and it was as if he had never heard of Jerry. (sigh). We went through all of Jerry's medical history. The doctor went and talked to a couple of other doctors, because he had never dealt with someone just "visiting" for a doctors appointment. GREAT. We told him that Ms. W had said if they wanted to run tests our orders could be changed and we could stay longer. But no dice. The doctor called Jerry's PCM here and told her that he thinks that the specialists (ya know the ones who keep treating the symptoms, not finding the problem of the symptoms) are on the right course of action. Then right at the end of the appointment (most of which he spent out of the exam room) did he even touch Jerry. He listened to his breathing, his heart, and looked in his eyes, ears, nose and throat, plus checked his legs for swelling, and then sent us on our merry way. Did not even order a single blood test to be run by the lab there.

Yes, you read that right. $3000 in airfare, $60 in taxi's, $160 in hotel, $300 in per Diem, and we spent just 80 minutes at the hospital. The doctor barely even touched him. GRRRRRRR!!!

When we left the hospital I decided to see if we could catch my cousin Lynn's BMT graduation. Of course we had no idea where the ceremony was being held, and I couldn't get ahold of anyone in Iowa or Arizona to get a cell phone number for my Aunt and Uncle. I finally got ahold of the headquarters for BMT, only to be told that he couldn't find her in the computer. Sigh. So we decided to just go rent a car, go downtown and go site seeing.

We had lunch on the Riverwalk, and then made the walk. So pretty. Then we went to Ripley's Believe It Or Not, and the Wax Museum (for $12.99 for the two of us). While we were at Ripley's my brother and cousin Glen came through with a cell phone number for Uncle Jerry and Aunt Cindy! So we made plans to try and meet after they took Lynn back to the base for the night.

Somewhere during the weekend we realized that this was the first trip alone, without kids of any length of time

After the museums we went over to the Alamo and walked around there for a while. Where I got some pictures, not a ton, as you can't take pictures in the Alamo, but some. We ended up back at the hotel about 4, for a nap. By then we were exhausted. After a quiet dinner in a steakhouse that my grandpa would have loved (hole in the wall type), we met up with my Aunt Cindy, Uncle Jerry, Cousin Jeff and his wife Ashley. We had a nice time talking with them in our hotel room for a while.

Saturday morning Jerry and I needed to go on base to get a non-availablity letter so they will pay for our hotel room off base. Aunt Cindy had said that they were to pick Lynn up at 9 from them the Reception Center for the day. Since I wanted to at least see her and say hi we drove over and met them there. Actually we got there before they did. :) We had a nice quick visit with her.

We left the base and headed for SeaWorld. We knew that a couple of years ago military members got in free one day a year, and we were hoping it still applied, or at least a decent discount. We were happy to discover that both of us got in for free. :) So we spent the next 4 hours exploring Sea World, riding the rides and watching the animals.

To say that our trip home was a lot less dramatic than the trip to Texas, would be an understatement. We were at the airport in plenty of time, and everything was running on time. We got home about 10 on Saturday night, exhausted but home safe and sound.

The kids had a good time with Grandpa, and the house was still standing, so thats good!

I will have pictures up in the next couple of days of our trip.
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