September 22, 2009
So I made a tactical error when setting up our flights. Either I had got the time wrong that the nice (commercial contract jet that runs between Baltimore and Ramstein air force base) return flight was arriving or they changed it after I bought our Southwest tickets with the result that the trans-atlantic flight would arrive after the Southwest one left. It wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t have to be back at work (something that could be worked around) or Henry didn’t have to be back at school. Apparantly in Texas if your (pre) school child misses 8 days or more they send the Truancy Officer to your house to lop off the parents heads, fine them $350 and proudly display the piked heads on the playground fence to intimidate other parents from giving their children cultural experiences. (sidenote, we did have a note from the truant officer but so far our heads our attached and we have solemnly sworn not to have him miss school for any reasons except being sick until Jan 15th when he can once again miss up to 8 random days.)
So as I type I am sitting on the top deck of a C-5 (huge cargo plane which can carry 8 tanks, yep tanks) headed to Dover, Delaware. This is the real Space-A. They have actual airplane seats (not webbing) but they face backwards. It’s pretty loud so we all have earplugs in. (Lizzy’s are held in by the hat she is wearing) and the temperature isn’t really well controlled so we’re kind of bundled up, but Anna and both kids are sleeping so it’s not that bad. Kind of a fun adventure. And it’s the first time in 6 years being attached to the Air Force that I’ve actually flown in an Air Force plane. Now I just need to fire a gun and I may even feel like a soldier. We were hoping to get spots on a Medevac flight to Andrews AFB in DC since Dover is actually in the middle of nowhere as far as the East Coast goes, but couldn’t get on…darn wounded soldiers taking seats from vacationers. We still need to find a way to get to Baltimore for our flight tomorrow but I’m sure we’ll find a way.
(flying in a C-5. We look pretty comfy huh? There’s so much leg room that I think I prefer it to commercial. We even got a box lunch with lots of food and drinks. Henry liked being able to wander around and peek down into the cargo hold. No tanks this time though. Just boring pallets of stuff.)
update: we did find a way to Baltimore. There ended up being a bunch of us needing to get to baltimore so we called around and found a taxi that brought a big van with a trailer for our luggage and drove all 12 of us (eight adults, 4 kids) to Baltimore. It’s a long drive and it was the middle of the night with most of us having been up for the past 20 hours. Our nice driver dropped us off at our airport hotel after dropping everyone off at the airport where they were meeting local rides. We hung out at our cheap hotel until morning when we took the shuttle back to the airport and spent the 7 hours until our flight hanging out at the USO (oh bless their kids play room, internet, playstation, big screen tvs, free books, cribs with clean linens, and free ice cream and cookies hearts.) We also discovered a fun place at baltimore airport if any of you non military people are passing through with kids. There’s an observation deck with comfy chairs and lots of airplane related things for kids to play on. Henry had a wooden plane to fly- with room for 10 passengers, a wooden baggage truck to pretend to drive, and there were actual plane parts that you could look at. It was fun for Henry to see a cross section of a 727-- “here’s where your bags go” – and the rest of us were a little worried when we saw just how small the tires on the landing gear are. “We really land on those things!” Henry especially liked being our tour guide and showing us around the airplane related exhibits.