The long awaited post!

So much has happened in so short a time.  I’m sure this post will be a long one, so grab some popcorn and cozy up on the couch!  I’ll try to organize all this so it’s a little easier to write/read:

Bernice update:

One week ago today, we found out that Bernice was going to need surgery to remove a malignant tumor in her abdomen.  Tomorrow will mark exactly one week since surgery and she is doing marvelously well. She is still in the hospital tonight, but we are hoping and praying that tomorrow will bring that final piece of the recovery puzzle that her surgeons are looking for.  She is in good spirits, though there are days she feels frustrated and tired.  I tell her to remember that she just had 6 organs removed…she’s gonna feel tired every once in a while!  But also, in light of that, I’m completely amazed at her progress.  She really is a warrior.  She’s in pain, but she really doesn’t let on.  You have to give up a good chunk of dignity when your recovering from surgery, but despite that, she manages to keep a smile on her face.  It blessed my heart for her to ask me to read her Bible passage to her.  She is such an amazing woman of God and I’m so thankful to have her model in my life.  She’s still got chemo to go which will be challenging, but I left Sunday with so much peace in my heart.  And I told Jonathan as we were walking to our gate in OKC that I am SO pumped about the idea that when we fly back in to OKC in November she’ll be at the bottom of that escalator waiting for us.  What an amazing moment that will be!!  Thanks to everyone for all of your prayers and well wishes.  They are so appreciated and so comforting.  Keep them coming as she continues to fight this fight.  Though in my mind, she’s already won!

Packing:

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The brother in law helping to load the van. Yes, we miraculously fit everything in 4 suitcases and 4 carry ons!

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That’s it!  

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Ready to fly!

Four suitcases and 4 carry ons.  I swear the carry ons weighed 50 pounds a piece!  The bags had to be under 50 pounds to check (otherwise they go from costing $30 each to $120 each!).  So that proved to be a bit of a challenge.  Put it here, weigh it, take it out, put it in another bag, weigh it, put it in the carry on pile.  There was a lot of paring down, lots of tough decisions about things not going, but ultimately we got it all packed and everything was under weight.  So we said our “see ya laters” at the hospital and loaded up to head to the airport.  

The Airport and the “Wild Ride”:

The flight plan was this:

-6:15-8:10 — OKC to Chicago

-9:10-11:53 — Change planes in Chicago and fly to Charlotte

Then we were supposed to stay overnight in Charlotte (we prepaid a hotel room at the Microtel).  We ended up leaving OKC almost 30 minutes late, but the pilot made up some serious time and got us to Chicago by about 8:!5.  That was 55 minutes before we were supposed to catch our connecting flight.  So we land and wait on the tarmac.  And wait…and wait…and wait.  We don’t actually step foot in the actual airport until almost 9:40.  No joke!  So we get funneled to the customer service booth.  Where we wait…and wait…and wait.  They give us $40 in food vouchers and a hotel room at the Intercontinental hotel and they send us downstairs to catch the shuttle to the hotel.  We also have to mention that they “rerouted” us to a flight from Chicago to Charlotte the next morning at 5:45, which means that we had to get to the airport at 3:45 since it’s an international flight.  So we grab the shuttle and head to the hotel, so here’s that story…

The Hot-Hell:

When we pull up to the hotel we were like “Wow! We totally got an upgrade!  This place is like the stinkin’ Ritz!”.  I think Jonathan even posted on Facebook that they had hooked us up with an awesome hotel room.  Boy were we wrong!  Once we got checked in, it was almost midnight.  And naturally, the only way we could get food with our food vouchers was to order room service.  In order to check into our room, they required a credit card number for “incidentals”.  We didn’t feel comfortable leaving a card because we didn’t want to be “accidentally” be charged for the room.  That was United’s responsibility! So Jonathan handed them $50 that was promised to be refunded upon checkout.  So we went upstairs and ordered $48 worth of room service for dinner.  Mind you, by the time we actually got our food, it was already like 12:30.  So we ate and went to sleep since we had to be up by 3:00 to catch the shuttle.  And so the saga of the bell boy begins:

12:50-phone rings…it’s room service. “Sir, you have to pay for your room service and there’s no credit card on file.” “Yes, I know.  But there are $40 worth of food vouchers on file with our account and $50 cash.  Just charge that.”  “Okay, thank you sir.”

1:00-knock on the door…Matilda starts barking her head off.  It’s the little food runner boy. “Meester.  Thees ees room servees.”  Ugh!! “Wee neeeed you to pay for your food meester.”  “Will someone from your department please go downstairs and talk to the front desk?  They’ve got it down there!”  “Oh.  Okay.  Thank you!”

1:15-phone rings…again! “Sir, you need to pay for your room service.” “Did anyone talk to the front desk?” “No, but there’s no card on file.” “Yes, I know.  I already talked to someone else there in your department.  If the cash and vouchers are not sufficient, then just charge it to my room and I’ll pay for it when I check out.  I have to leave here at 3:00 am, so it’ll only be a few hours and my wife and I are trying to grab a few minutes of sleep please.”  “Okay, that should be fine.  Enjoy your night sir.”

1:30-knock on the door…Matilda starts barking her head off again.  By this point we are so tired that we had actually fallen to sleep in those 15 minutes.  So Jonathan gets up in his boxers to answer the door.  Almost immediately I hear this guy basically accosting him and it’s all I can do not to jump up in my pajamas to go and rip this guy’s throat out.  So here’s the famous convo (insert the most annoying Yankee drawl you’ve ever heard in your life…):

“Dude, you HAVE to pay for your room service.  I mean this guy (the little food runner guy from earlier) needs to get paid.  I mean you wouldn’t go to a restaurant and order food and tell them you’ll pay them later.  You have to pay.  That’s just common courtesy.”  “Ok, this is the 4th time I’ve been through this.  There are $40 worth of food vouchers and $50 cash downstairs at the front desk.  I am fully aware that there is no credit card on file.  Please just take that money that is down there.  If that’s not okay with you, then I’ll deal with it when I check out in an HOUR AND A HALF!”  “Sir, this is ridiculous.  We can’t trust that you’re gonna pay this when you check out.  That’s not gonna work for us.  This guy needs to get paid.  You clearly don’t understand how a business like this works.  This is a really nice hotel and this is the way we do business.  You may not have ever stayed in an establishment like this, but this is how you are supposed to do this.  Just be responsible and pay this bill.”  “Oh, so the way you do business is to pester a customer at 1:30 in the morning who has to get up at 3:00 to pay a bill for which there is more than enough money at the front desk??  The way you do business is to insult both my integrity and my intelligence??  Ok, I get that message loud and clear! (insert 4 letter words)”  “Sir, I also hear that you have a dog in your room.  There’s a $120 non refundable pet deposit which I know you probably haven’t paid.”  “Actually she’s a service animal and the front desk is aware of that.  She is on file with them.  Please check there for that and for the money to pay for room service.”  “Sir, your dog is not on file.  And what kind of service animal is she?”  “She’s a medical alert dog.”  “Sir what is your disability?  You can’t just say that you have a service animal and expect me to believe that.”  “Actually, I don’t have to tell you a damn thing about what my disability is.  That is completely NONE of your business.  You ARE NOT the manager of this hotel, and even if you were, I DO NOT have to disclose my ‘disability’ to you or anyone else.  I have shown the front desk all of her documentation and that is ALL I have to do (except be awesome and die…that’s what he would have said had he not been flaming mad…)”  “Well regardless, sir, you need to pay…” “Okay, okay.  Whatever.  My wife and I have to get up in less than an hour and I am so done with this.  How much do I owe?  I’m just gonna pay it and deal with this later.” “Sir, you owe $8.65.”  “Are you serious???  You just harassed me at 1:30 in the morning for 8 freaking (edited!) dollars????  You have got to be kidding me.  I have been standing here being insulted by you at 1:30 in the morning for the last 30 minutes in my freaking underwear for $8???  Okay, here’s freaking $10 and I want some freaking change.  Get the hell out of my face, take your money, and you better get your ass back up here with my change immediately.  I mean, you better run like hell dude.”

So Jonathan comes back in, pulls some clothes on, and goes downstairs to talk to the manager.  It’s nearly 2:00.  He comes back up at 2:20 and has it taken care of.  They gave us our money back in full and actually handed us $20 for our ‘trouble’.  He told them that we would have probably had a better night at some roach motel at $40 a night.  Which we really probably would have.  But I am still pissed and so is he.  We don’t even go back to sleep because we have to be up in like half an hour.  So we go downstairs to check out and I tell the manager that I think that little piece of crap needs to get out here and offer a formal apology to Jonathan or else I’m gonna call ADA and have them all over this hotel for violating our rights.  So she runs to go get him, and when he shows up I realize it.  He is Satan himself.  He just showed up in flesh.  The guy gives this puny little apology which included interrupting Jonathan 2 or 3 times.  And we leave mad, but just happy to be leaving!

The Final Leg:

We get through security in Chicago and I realize I left my phone at the Hot-Hell.  So Jonathan calls them, they send the shuttle driver with it, he grabs is out front, and goes through security again.  We grab the plane and actually make it to Freeport at 1:30 which is when we were originally supposed to arrive.  So here’s a little airplane humor for you.  We had to find something to laugh about after so much drama:

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No blackberries, no lighters, no 80’s style boom boxes, and absolutely NO Gone with the Wind!

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How to buckle your seatbelt.  How NOT to do your hair…

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In the event of an emergency, a coconut bra will drop from the overhead bin.  Each cup of the bra is actually a grenade…which has already been lit for you…

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How Kanye exits a plane crash…

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And the long awaited first look through the plane window of Freeport!

The Apartment:

There will be some more complete pictures of the apartment later, but for now, here’s the front walk of our new little bungalow!

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I’m also gonna figure out how to get these pictures turned right side up.  Sorry about that!  I’ll probably start a Flikr account or something so I can post all of them.  That’s a project for later!  The apartment is super cute.  I have to be honest and tell you that I was really expecting something way worse!  It’s cute and clean and the perfect size.  And it’s about 5 minutes to Taino Beach!  The beach is amazing (again, pictures soon!).  It’s all coral so there are all sorts of amazing things washing up on the beach.  I already have an amazing collection of shells, coral pieces, and beach glass.  So excited about that!  The sand is white in places and pink in others.  Very cool.  

We went to the grocery store which was interesting.  That’s a post for later though.  Our first meal was shrimp and grits.  Very yummy!  Everything is going well, but I’ll leave you with that for now.  Isn’t that plenty!  Yet to come:

-Our grocery experience

-Our Lucaya Market experience

-Beach pics!

-Interior apartment pics!

-A little philosophy from the reggae bus driver

Thanks for all your prayers and well wishes.  We are so excited to be here safe and sound and we are adjusting well.  Jonathan doesn’t start school until the 7th, so we are kind of calling these next 2 weeks our 5th anniversary trip.  Not to shabby, huh??

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