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We're back in Cleveland. I was hoping to write a wistful post about… - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Aug. 18th, 2006|07:56 pm]
[Current Mood |sicksick]

We're back in Cleveland. I was hoping to write a wistful post about how great our trip was (because it was great). Instead, I get to post about the series of crises that greeted us.

First of all, "tightened security" is the biggest batch of horse-hockey I've ever seen. The size of carry-on luggage has been reduced from those little boxes that they have by the check-in counter. Now, a much smaller box is nested inside that box, and everything has to fit in that box. Nevermind that my carry-on bag fits under my seat; if it's bigger than a handbag, or too stiff to jam in the box, it must be checked.

This is increasing my security...how?

After this is the "standard" security check, including x-ray of all shoes and a full body pat-down of a thoroughness that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional for a criminal suspicion stop-and-frisk. Then into the secured shop area.

Where people flying to the U.S. cannot buy and carry on a damned Chapstik, much less a bottle of water. Flights to other countries from Britain allow people to carry on such purchases from the secured shops, but the U.S. flights do not allow such things.

This is increasing my security...how?

But it didn't end there. When we got to the gate, we had to queue up outside the waiting area and go through yet another search and patdown.

In case we'd picked up some of the 'splody chapstick the duty free shop is selling. Couldn't have that.

What it all meant for me was that I suffered miserably throughout the flight. Because I have contracted a dismal cold/flu/thing, and I had all the meds in the bag that we intended to carry on. At least I had a ton of tissues. It was the longest 7 hours of my life.

And the fun did not end when we landed. Immigration and customs I expected. What I didn't expect was the need to recheck our bags. That's right: our bags came out on a baggage belt, we rolled them through customs, and then they went directly back on another baggage belt to be delivered to the regular baggage area in the airport. And we had to go through security again. Yes, that's right. Despite the fact that we had no access to any shops, any people who had not been on the plane, anything, we had to go through a security checkin order to leave the airport.

This is increasing my security...how?

It would have been bad enough, watching our bags disappear from our control yet again. Taking off our shoes and going through pat-downs yet again. We then got to watch baggage go around and around and around. And then stop going around.

How could they lose a bag over the course of 10 minutes?

Turns out they didn't. But it was hung up with the last bit, belonging to a large family of Middle Eastern descent. 15 bags, including one of ours.

We waited an extra hour. But at last we had our bag, at last we could go home....

To find a stinking house, thanks to a fridge full of rotting food. Our fridge has died. We spent an hour filling trash bags with rotten food. Then Ferrett decided to run to the store to get a few things.

The car battery was dead.

We got the car started, but the fridge is a dead loss. Tomorrow Ferrett has to fly to Connecticut. I stll feel like crap.

Gosh, coming home from holiday is fun.

[User Picture]From: morgi
2006-08-19 01:03 am (UTC)
To find a stinking house, thanks to a fridge full of rotting food. Our fridge has died. We spent an hour filling trash bags with rotten food. Then Ferrett decided to run to the store to get a few things.

The car battery was dead.

Good thing you don't have pets?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 01:08 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mollyblack
2006-08-19 01:12 am (UTC)

This does not bode well...

Oh gods...I'm on a ton of medication and supposed to do a shoot for a calendar in Amsterdam at the beginning of September. These two things will not go hand-in-hand it sounds like.

Sorry you had such a lousy return. At least you had three weeks of grand vacation time.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 01:18 am (UTC)

Re: This does not bode well...

You can carry on prescription meds, just be ready and have them in a small bag. It was in the chaos of pulling out the laptop and rearranging things that I forgot I had put my cough drops and cold med in the pocket of that bag. Forewarned is forearmed. And do take seriously the warning to arrive at least two hours early, more if you are traveling from a large airport. It was a madhouse.
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[User Picture]From: miintikwa
2006-08-19 01:22 am (UTC)
ACK! OMG, hon, I am so sorry!
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[User Picture]From: mamaursula
2006-08-19 01:31 am (UTC)
Uhm, welcome home...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 01:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, so glad to be here....
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 01:45 am (UTC)
Stuff happens; we'll survive. Just would like it if we weren't providing he gods with quite so much comic relief!
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[User Picture]From: ladyhawke_wings
2006-08-19 01:46 am (UTC)
Sorry the trip home was so lousy, hon. But at least you get to snuggle into your own bed and finally unpack for the *last* time!

Welcome home! :-)
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[User Picture]From: mishamish
2006-08-19 01:57 am (UTC)
OH MY GOD!! THAT"S WHAT THAT WAS!! I noticed it when I was over there, but couldn't for the LIFE of me figure out what it was! I didn't even THINK to check the refrigerator! Well, I take that back, I did think to check it. The thought went something like this: "Could it be the refrigerator? Don't be stupid... why would they unplug their refrigerator to go on vacation?"

I checked the garbage, the basement, everything else. Even sniffed the garlic or other herby thingie that was out on the counter... I am such a yutz.

Better question, though: Tomorrow Ferret is flying out and you feel yucky. What can I do to help out, and what time do you need me there?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 02:12 am (UTC)
Yeah, and you probably wouldn't have noticed because it's still running, but making almost no coldness.

Ferrett flies out at noon, and my plan for tomorrow is to drop him off at the airport and then go back to bed. The lawn is fine, and I refilled the fountain. So no worries.

and thanks for the call!
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[User Picture]From: suzieboz
2006-08-19 02:08 am (UTC)

Household Responsibilities

You know, Ferrett and I had a discussion about this when he was here last time. I said you know, one day you wake up and the kids are dressed really weird, the music is too loud and sucks and there is also this new language that you don't understand, not that you care to because you are too "wrapped up being an adult". And Ferrett said "Yeah, you ever notice that this happens after you have a mortgage?" If anything will make you feel a bit better read my post about the carpeting I have to buy - AGAIN. And its possible repercussions.

That sucks about the fridge. When we bought ours 4 years ago we got it at Best Buy and it was the best price around; so at least if you get it there think you'll get bonus points on your Reward Zone card. As far as the other card you will have to use, if it makes you feel any better again, well in this boat we're in at least you have us for company so bring that DVD player.

As far as security, it is a fucking joke. Just like after 9/11 everthing was gone over and gone over and now its the same thing. In a few weeks it will die down again. Don't they realize that the terrorists are going to move on to Plan C now?

Hopefully Plan C will not include a crate of poisonous snakes released on a 747. Unless its Air Force One.....

And finally - what kind of suitcase do you want to replace the one that was giving you trouble?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 02:15 am (UTC)

Re: Household Responsibilities

The problem is that the standard computer bags are now way too big. Fortunately, the bag you sent Ferrett has a smaller inner bag that will fit.

Unfortunately, it's currently at my office. So he will have to make do for this trip.
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[User Picture]From: shezan
2006-08-19 02:09 am (UTC)
Oh, good Lord. The Return From Holidays From Hell.

My fridge died on me last year, two weeks after I'd moved, just when I'd filled it and gone off for a ten-day holiday with friends, so I have an idea of what yours smelled like. Just when we were having a heatwave, too.

As for airport security, it's par for the course. I took 18 planes in the US in the four months that followed 9/11. Gawd I hated it. There was a piece in the Christian Science Monitor (alas, haven't been able to find it online) in which they had asked an Israeli expert to assess airport security mùeasures in the US. His conclusion: "The US don't have a security system, they have a system to annoy people."
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 02:19 am (UTC)
And they do that with amazing regularity, let me tell you.

Honestly, I am all in favor of measures to keep bombs off planes. I like not getting blown up. But the logic behind some of this stuff crosses all borders of sanity. I've been through Israeli security. It made sense. This was just busywork for the sake of creating apprehension.
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[User Picture]From: cathawk
2006-08-19 03:22 am (UTC)
I thought of you and Ferrett often when I heard all those ridiculous security restrictions.

And I can't even imagine how exhausting it would be to return after dealing with all those travel hassles only to have to deal with a dead fridge and dead car battery.

Do you have any chance to rest before you head back into your work schedule?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:07 am (UTC)
Thank heavens, I am not scheduled to return to work until Wednesday. I have to drive Ferrett to the airport this morning, and then deal further with the fridge, but at least I have a couple days off in which to do it.
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[User Picture]From: cyan_blue
2006-08-19 03:55 am (UTC)
*hugs* the Zoethe...
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[User Picture]From: ithildae
2006-08-19 04:01 am (UTC)
Welcome home!

It is just typical that you get to play comic relief to the G-ds, with the fridge and car. Something to laugh about. Next year.

As far as security is concerned, security is not the point. With all the measures already in place across the western world, security is pretty good. The point is to make sure you know that you are secure, by making your travel an utter hell. That way you can brag that you are really secure. Unless, of course, you are capable of independent thought...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:08 am (UTC)
I think they've gone beyond the "sweet spot" on this one, because I was surrounded by a lot of disgruntled, cynical people.
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From: bonerici
2006-08-19 04:03 am (UTC)
you said queue
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:09 am (UTC)
Yeah, I had to declare it at customs, I've so thoroughly adopted it.
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[User Picture]From: cosmicbandit
2006-08-19 04:19 am (UTC)
Glad that the vacation was nice. I've enjoyed the posts. Hope you feel well soon.
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[User Picture]From: thestalkycop
2006-08-19 05:59 am (UTC)
See, this is why I rarely venture out of the country. To be fair, I rarely venture out of my flat.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:18 am (UTC)
Ah, but if we hadn't, we never would have had such a lovely time with you.

Clearly, our error was returning home at all!
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From: ewtikins
2006-08-19 06:12 am (UTC)

Look! It's a tornado-strength vortex of suck!

I figure the tightened security makes more people want to blow up airplanes; millions of people who otherwise would be indifferent to flying are now potential terrorists. The duty-free shops are loving the profits, though.

Were you supplied adequate water on the flight?

Because I have contracted a dismal cold/flu/thing,

I don't know if it's just because I'm older now but I find the colds I get in the UK are way way more debilitating than the ones I used to get in Canada. I've been here six years now so I don't think it's just that I have reduced immunity to the viscious "bugger of a cold" bugs... as I understand it I should have adapted after a year or two. Anyway, they are nasty nasty nasty, and I usually end up spending at least a day moping around getting hardly anything done, whereas in Canada when I got a cold I never took time off of school/work/whatever, because colds just didn't affect me so much.

And flying with any sort of cold is a special sort of hell that should be reserved for very bad people, so I don't know how you got lumped with that AND the lack of permission for meds and so on. Clearly more evidence that the universe is not fair, at least not in terms of our time on Earth, or several thousand feet above it.

"We are sorry for the delay processing your luggage, but the machine that rips the handles off is broken and it takes much longer to do this by hand."

I'm glad the car got started, even if I admit that it took me a moment to figure out why you needed the car to run out and get some things... and then I realised you were back in the US and walking might not be a sensible option.

Having no refrigerator is dismal; I hope you can sort out another one soon. They do some very energy-efficient ones these days so maybe it's an opportunity to get your electric bills down even more by investing in something that won't cost much to run. In the meantime, you can make a decent evaporation refrigerator with appropriate containers and wet towels, although you might have to keep it outside (and so have very airtight containers in order not to attract animals) if you don't get good airflow through where you want to put it.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:24 am (UTC)

Re: Look! It's a tornado-strength vortex of suck!

We are fortunate enough to have a small refrigerator that was Ferrett's uncle Tommy's, so we are not in a panic to purchase a fridge. I intend to do a bit of shopping around, and do hope to get something more efficient.

Under normal circumstances, walking to the store would actually be sensible as it is less than a mile away. However, after the exhaustion from the flight and fridge nastiness, he was simply too tired.
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[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2006-08-19 06:20 am (UTC)
Ugh, what a nightmare!! Glad to hear that you made it home safely, if miserably!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:24 am (UTC)
We never should have left your place, that's all I have to say!
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[User Picture]From: kythsharrie
2006-08-19 07:18 am (UTC)
... oh merciful gods please don't let me have too much trouble flying out on September 2nd to Florida from California.

I think the increased security is ridiculous--to a point. Okay, fine, we can't have water, shampoo, chapstick and whatever in our carry-on. But we can't even bring the ones we buy in the airport stores on board?? That's just too much--I need to be properly hydrated and the airplane service stinks usually.

Eee. And that you have to suffer all that on your trip and on your arrival home sounds bad. *hugs* Hope things get better soon.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 11:28 am (UTC)
It is ridiculous. Not allowing you to bring water through security, I can see. But you could readily produce "airport purchase" labels for bottled water and chapstick.

It's all a plot to make us acquiescent to government control.
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[User Picture]From: moropus
2006-08-19 10:32 am (UTC)
Security to get out of the damn place? That's really too much.
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[User Picture]From: saffster
2006-08-19 02:29 pm (UTC)
Eeeeww! I hate the smell of rotten food. When we ran out of town fleeing hurricane Rita (I live 3.5 miles inland from Galveston Bay), I left the power on, but asked one of my neighbors to shut off my breakers if and when he left. He had said he was going to ride out the storm, but guess what, he didn't and he wound up shutting off the power two days after I left. Needless to say it was a mess when I got back home a week later.

Hope you feel better soon, it sucks getting sick on vacation and then still being sick when you get home.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 03:16 pm (UTC)
I was fortunate in that this cold, which I thought was taking hold before we left for Germany, held off during the German portion and only really hit me right at the end. We saw a lot in Germany, and I would not have had the energy for all we did if it had attacked me earlier.
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[User Picture]From: heath_robinson
2006-08-19 08:54 pm (UTC)
God, what a pain in the ass. Makes me not wanna go to the UK again next year. :-(

Sorry to hear about the fridge and the car battery. That really bites. :-(
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 09:38 pm (UTC)
I would travel again, but even more lightly and with the knowledge that at any moment my carry-on luggage could be limited to a plastic bag containing my wallet, passport, and vital non-liquid meds. We weren't quite prepared for that eventuality, particularly after being allowed to carry on my bag on the flight back from Germany.

The trip was great; the coming-back blew.
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[User Picture]From: casu_consulto
2006-08-19 10:27 pm (UTC)
I'm imagining the holiday buzz has well and truly dissipated. Sorry to hear about your multiple misadventures.

I really feel for you having to make that long trip without any of your creature comforts. I find the cool, dry air of the cabin bad enough even when well - and I can't fathom going 7 (or 15-20) hours without my chapstik and handcream!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-19 10:36 pm (UTC)
It was tough, particularly when I ran out of cough drops.

But the holiday was fantastic!
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[User Picture]From: kenp_v3
2006-08-20 04:42 am (UTC)
Well, sounds like August 27th (when I fly out of JFK airport) is going to be a fun day for me.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-20 04:45 am (UTC)
Just make sure your carry-on stuff is non-liquid, non-gel, and in a small bag.

Unless they change the regs again.

Which may well happen.
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From: mommeeof8
2006-08-20 07:09 pm (UTC)
When we bought a new refrigerator 2 years ago, we had Lowes deliver it. That was the best decision we ever made. They had to remove the fridge and freezer doors and my storm door to get it into the house. It barely fit through the door between the dining room and kitchen. I was so glad not to be moving it myself...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-20 07:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, believe me, we will have delivery. I'm insanely self-reliant at times, but not that crazy!
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[User Picture]From: mzwyndi
2006-08-21 01:31 pm (UTC)

I hope by now you're feeling somewhat better.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-21 01:34 pm (UTC)
Slowly. Now a cough has settled in - whee.
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