Friday, February 13, 2015

Another Traveling Fiasco

We may never travel again.  (that's probably not true...but here's why we'd give it a thought):

Benny booked a flight to Phoenix at Christmas-time to do some recruiting at a tournament out there, and to see his family (including his sweet baby niece who was born in July).  His flight was scheduled for 3:30pm yesterday afternoon out of the Weyers Cave airport, so he left the house at 2pm in plenty of time to get checked in at this small airport. 

But, at around 4pm, Benny walked through the front door.  His flight had been canceled (his plane was stuck in DC), and after about an hour on the phone with the airline customer service, they got another flight for him Friday morning out of Weyers Cave.  He was disappointed to miss a day of recruiting, but we were thankful to have him home again. 

So this morning, he woke up at 3:45am and drove to the airport.  When he walked in, he knew that something wasn't right...again.  His airplane was having "maintenance" issues, so the flight had been cancelled.  He was able to get a new flight that would leave out of Charlottesville at 10:40am, connect in Dulles, then to Chicago and then to Phoenix.  I was watching the status of his flight online, and just as he was arriving at the airport in Charlottesville, I saw that that flight had been cancelled as well.  He called the airline and told him that he was just going to drive to Dulles, and verified that his seat wouldn't be given away. he drove to D.C. 

Meanwhile, back in Bridgewater, the boys and I were having a nice morning. I woke them up, had breakfast, went to the library, and then went to Walmart for our weekly shopping trip.  As we were pulling into Walmart, Benny called and said he was sitting at the gate at Dulles. He had his ticket and it looked like the plane would be taking off on time.  Whew. Finally!

But wait...there's more.

I made it into Walmart with the two boys, their winter coats, my purse, a diaper bag, and our canvas shopping bags.  Alex decided he wanted to sit in the giant shopping cart with the big blue seats (something we hadn't done in over a year), so I buckled him in, arranged all of our things, called out all of my "reminders" (stay close to the cart, no whining, have a good attitude, etc.), handed out snacks, and we were on our way.  The boys were doing great... we went to the toiletry section, then walked back to look at the fish, and were on our way to the drink isle when Andrew asked if I had any more snacks.  Of course I did!  This mom was prepared!  I went to look into my purse to get the second round of snacks out when....I COULDN'T FIND MY PURSE.  I searched all around the cart, and tried to stay calm.  We walked to the front of the store and I pulled all of our stuff and Alex out of the cart and we walked out to the car so I could be sure I hadn't left it in there.  Nope.  So we went back in and found an employee at customer service to help me.  We walked through my path through the store in case it had fallen out of the luck.  So, the employee found a security guard who said he was going to walk through the store and look for it.

I called Benny and asked him to cancel our debit card.  He wanted to know if he should just come home, but we decided we'd wait to see what this security guard said.  I called my wonderful friend Ann, and she was on her way to pick us up (my keys were in my purse so we had no way home.) 30 minutes later, a woman told me that the guard had walked through the store 3 times, that he hadn't found it, and that I'd have to follow up with the police.  I called the police department, and they were sending an officer over to meet me at Walmart. 

Sweet Ann arrived, and she told me to go ahead and get my groceries and that she'd pay for them for me. (We have really incredible friends who are really like family.)  I grabbed some granola bars and oranges to feed to the boys for lunch.  The officer arrived, we spoke, and he went to talk to the security guards.  As we finished checking out, the officer said he was going to have to come back later that afternoon to look through the surveillance videos.  We loaded up in Ann's car and headed back home. 

Benny decided that he was going to come home, and I was really thankful.  These criminals had our address, keys to both vehicles and the house, so he wanted to come back to help me sort everything out.  I spent the next 3 hours on the phone with various people...getting the locks on our door and cars changed, cancelling and replacing cards, etc. 

I got a call from the officer at 3pm and he said my purse had indeed been stolen (he saw it happen on the video surveillance).  I asked him where it happened in the store, and he said, "I don't want to tell you that because I don't want to scare you.  The good news is that you're ok and your kids are ok."  Yikes.  I didn't know what that meant, but I tried not to think about it. 

Benny came home and we kept making calls.

Then, at around 4pm the officer called back.  They found my purse and had two people in custody!  I was elated!! I told the officer he was "such a good crime buster" and thanked him over and over.  He said I hadn't been the only victim that day.   I will eventually get my purse back, but it's being detained to be processed for evidence.

Oh. My. Stars. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Our Improv Christmas...Bridgewater Staycation

After our traveling mishap last Thursday which forced us to stay in town for Christmas, we made the most of our time together here and got to do some really fun things in the Valley!
Saturday night, we got to go to a birthday tea party for our friends The Kiracofe's little girls Reece and Dillan.  I didn't get any pictures, but rest assured that we contributed to the event by making lots of spills and getting ketchup on the carpet.  The Bennison boys haven't had a lot of practice going to tea parties, but we had a lot of fun!
We heard about a Christmas light/music show about 20 minutes from our house from some friends, so we decided to go on Sunday night.  We brought hot chocolate and the snickerdoodles we made on Friday and watched from our car.  Andrew thought it was awesome!

After the Christmas light show, Andrew really wanted to go to the "Bridgewater Christmas Tree."  (It's a big tree behind the Town Hall building that's lit up with Christmas lights...just like Rockefeller Center :) 

Monday morning, we went to a pet store in Harrisonburg to look at the animals.

Then we went to the Harrisonburg mall to play at one of the toy stores and then went to the arcade!

Benny introduced Andrew to his first arcade game!  They came in 40th place...Domination.

After our trip to town, we made the dough for Christmas cookies!

On Monday night, we decorated the cookies!

(Alex was a huge help) :)

When we were finished, we ate some while watching Garfield's Christmas!  Then we delivered plates to friends on Tuesday morning! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Worst day of travel EVER!

As Benny and I reflected on our day yesterday, we are fairly certain that it was one of the worst days of our lives.  Now before you continue, know that no one died, nothing fatal happened, but it was DEFINITELY a ridiculous series of VERY frustrating events.

Our original plan:  To fly to Missouri to see my parents and family!  We hadn't been home in 2 years, so we were really excited about the trip.  Our first flight out of Charlottesville, VA was at 10:30am and the connecting flight in Washington, DC (Dulles) was at 1:10pm.  My brother and Dad were going to pick us up in St. Louis, we'd drive 2 hours back to Columbia and be home by 5pm (central time) for dinner. 

Well...that didn't exactly happen.

Before I begin, an important detail to note is that I had worked 4 out of the 5 previous days--4 12-hour night shifts, were I got 5-6 hours of daytime sleep and Benny was with the boys.  Then, Wednesday night, I didn't sleep well and got 3 hours of sleep.  Awesome.  Great start to a long day of traveling.

So, we left our house at 7:45am, fed the boys their breakfast in the car, and made it to the airport at 9am.  The Charlottesville airport is TINY, so 1.5 hours is plenty of time to check in and board the plane.  We entered the airport with 2 small kids, 4 suitcases (one was a carry on), two huge car seats, two backpacks and my purse.  We trudged our way to the only line we saw, which had at least 4 people in it.  The line was moving very slowly, so a man who was also in line with his family walked up and asked an airport employee if this was the line everyone needed to be in.  She assured him that it was.  Everyone needed to check into this line unless they didn't have any bags to check.  So an hour later, we made it to the front of the line.  When Benny gave the man our name, he said he had no record of our reservation.  While he continued to search, he told us to start weighing our bags.  We put the first bag on which weighed 48 pounds. He told us that the limit was 40 pounds, so we began shuffling the weight of our bags.  At some point, Benny said something about flying out on a United plane, and the man said, "this is Allegiant Air."  Benny said, "What?!  We were told EVERYONE needed to go through this line no matter what!"  And, there was no sign visible to indicate that was the case."

So, at 10:10 we made our way over to the United desk to check in.  The man at the desk immediately said "It's too late.  You can't get on the flight now."  We couldn't believe it.  We made sure they knew we had a connecting flight in D.C, and the man, who was very rude, said "I'm working on it."  Finally, the man said they would pay for a taxi to drive us to DC (a 1 hour 45 minute drive) to catch our connecting flight.  We all piled into a mini van and drove to DC.  Alex normally takes a 1.5 hour nap at 10:30, so at 11:30 when he started getting really fussy, I laid down with him on my chest and got him to take a 20 minute nap. 

We got to the DC airport at 12:10pm and went to the desk to check in.  The man at the desk (who was VERY friendly) told us that he couldn't find our name.  After hearing our story and looking further, he discovered that the man at the Charlottesville airport had cancelled all of our flights.  He worked diligently to reinstate our returning flights, and then to get us on a flight out of DC to St. Louis.  After 30-45 minutes.  He said he couldn't find anything.  He gave us a voucher for a taxi ride back to Charlottesville.  We called my parents and brother, and my brother thought he was seeing flights the next day on the internet. 

We spoke with another woman with United about looking some more for a flight.  It was now 2pm and we hadn't had lunch, so we went to grab sandwiches. By the time the lady came back, Alex had been crying for 45 minutes (he usually takes his 2 hour afternoon nap at 2pm).  She said she had a Delta flight for us at an airport 30 miles away that left at 5pm.  After much discussion, we decided that it wasn't worth the risk of missing the flight or the travel stress on the boys to try to make the flight.  So, we took the taxi ride back to Charlottesville.

But...we had the WORST driver in America.  I had gotten Alex to fall asleep on my chest while I was laying down in the back of the van, and the way he kept slamming on his brakes while talking on his cell phone and weaving in and out of traffic made me almost fall off of the seat several times. Alex would wake up screaming, and then I'd work to get him back to sleep.  Three times Benny gently reminded the driver that he cared very much for his family and that he just wanted to get home safely.

At 6pm, (2.5 hours later) we made it back to the Charlottesville airport.  The driver helped us unload all of our stuff and drove away.  I worked to get the car seats back into the car while Benny went into the airport to get the names of some of the people from the morning.  When he came back, I looked around for my purse and couldn't find it.  It was still in the taxi.  Benny said he had just seen our driver in the airport, so we were hopeful he wasn't far away.

  I got on the phone with  someone from the cab company, and by the time she got in touch with him, he told her he was 40 minutes away and that if  we wanted him to turn around, we would have to pay him $40 for the gas (it had been 15 minutes since Benny had seen him).  Alex was by now screaming again, and we decided I should cancel my debit card just in case he tried to use it.  As I got into the process of canceling the card and was on the phone with the banker from Wells Fargo, we thought that the man had already used the card. This turned out to be a mistake, but an unnecessary headache!  We started driving back to Bridgewater, and when we were 30 minutes from home, the taxi driver called us and said he was at the Charlottesville airport with my purse.  We turned around to go back to get it, and when we arrived at the airport (it was now 7:45pm--2.5 hours after dinner time for the boys), the driver gave Benny an earful about how "hurt he was that he'd been accused of using the debit card."  Now, Benny had to calmly handle this conflict situation (which he did marvelously...and Alex started screaming again.)  Benny got on the phone with the driver's boss to clear up the misunderstanding. 

So, at 8pm we drove the boys to "Chick-A-Lay" in Charlottesville, ate dinner, got them in their PJ's, drove home (they THANKFULLY both fell asleep in the car), got home at 9:45, and put them to bed.

Benny and I collapsed in a heap on the couch.

Anyone wanna go on any trips with us anytime soon?  :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


This year we did dorm trick or treating on Monday night, and then went out with our friends the Stovers (Sawyer is 3 months younger than Andrew, and Miriam is 8 months younger than Alex).

Back Home on the Farm

While Kathy (Benny's mom) was in town a few weeks ago, we visited "Back Home on the Farm."

Andrew's Third Birthday Party

Andrew wanted a Mickey party for his third birthday and we celebrated at Oakdale Park here in Bridgewater!

Alex's First Birthday!

Our sweet little Alex turned one on August 31st!
Opening gifts from Daddy and Mommy (with Andrew's help, of course!)

12 month picture!

Birthday cakes made by Alyssa!

We had a fun back yard BBQ for the party!