Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Travel Lessons # 1 - # 3

After this past weekend of travel nightmares, its going to take a lot to get Shane and I (especially Shane) on a plane again...and once we decide to entrust our safe travels to an airline, it will by no means be Delta.

It all started on Thursday, trying to get Shane into Chicago to (a) celebrate Christmas with my mom and mike and (b) catch our flight to Houston Saturday morning. # 1 lesson in this mess, do not book flights eight months ahead of time. The potential savings is just not worth the extra headaches. What extra headaches, you might ask? Well, back in April, my dad booked us a flight from Chicago to Houston to Puerto Vallarta. Had we been living in Chicago, this would have been a much easier travel day. But no. Shane and I decide to move to DC in September and by that time it was too expensive to reroute the flight, so we left the original flight as-was and decided to fly into Chicago a few days early. One thing we did not factor into this decision: Chicago's December weather -- typically cold, and snow, and lots of snow.

Thus, Shane was originally suppose to fly in late Friday afternoon. In anticipation of the Thursday night/Friday morning snow storm, we switched his flight to Thursday night. Not more than 2 hours after he changed his flight, Southwest canceled his new flight. Thank goodness we checked the status prior to him driving to Baltimore! Needless to say they put him on the 7:30 AM flight Friday morning, which lead us to lesson # 2 of this holiday/travel season.

# 2 lesson in this mess, if you have to leave the house at a god awful early time, do not attempt to save money using public transportation. Just drive your car. Shane tried the train to bus combo to get to the airport. Only once he got to the bus station, he realized that he did not have is cell phone. Deciding that this was a travel essential, he literally ran, in cowboy boots, back onto the train and the 0.5 miles from the train to our house. Hopped in the car, drove to the airport and parked in the expensive parking garage ($17/day), before running through the airport to catch his flight. Had he just driven in the first place, he (a) would not have been sweaty and (b) would have been able to park in long term parking for about half that price -- luckily, he had to fly home two days later on Sunday and the parking fee wouldn't be too outrageous. One question lesson # 2 bears, what in the world did we do without cell phones? how did we operate? That is for another day.

The rest of the lessons are for another day. The include # 3, Delta has the worst customer service. ever; # 4, Do not fly through Chicago during winter months - not only will snow shut down airports, but so will sub-zero temperatures; # 5, Make them come to you. There maybe more, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if we don't post before Christmas, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to everyone! I can't believe that 2009 is just around the corner. 2008 was such a great year, that I am sad to see it go...however, I am sure that 2009 will be just as great, if not better! Hopefully, we'll see all of our missed friends and relatives at some point during the new year!

Happy Holidays!


Stephanie & Shane

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another airport oops!

After reading our blog last night, my mom emailed me a funny airport story about my grandfather. Here is the airport mess he managed to get himself into. I haven't laughed this hard since Shane had his airport "oops"

almost as frustrating as Grandpa some how managing to get on the flight to midway instead of milwaukee and so i spent hours at milwuakee, he didn't off the flight. I went back and forth thru security and back to the gate thinking maybe i missed him so many times I think security started following me. finally got a call from him, from someone elses cell phone and he was in midway, no way for me to get the very quickly so i called craig to go get him and then he drove around o'hare for about 1/2 hour before calling me and it took us several minutes of talking before we realized he was at the wrong airport

For anyone who didn't know him, he truly was a piece of work. Just imagine Kramer from Seinfield and age him about 20 to 30 years. That was my grandfather almost to a T. I am sure that he was hitting on the flight attendents during the flight trying to get their number. Him and I always had a special bond, whether over logic puzzles, cards (tel-a-funky to be exact), or who was smarter. I still have one of the last letters that he wrote me...typed on out his typewriter!

Its hard to believe that he passed away three years ago already, almost to the date. I wish he was still here. More than anything, I wish he could have gotten to meet Shane. They would have gotten along fabulously!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Uneventful Wednesday Night

Shane and I are just sitting on the couch, enjoying a bottle of two-buck chuck, and relaxing...for the first time in weeks!! Finals are officially least for this semester. Two more grad school classes, and three general accounting classes and then its CPA time. Yay!! (Pick up on the sarcasm?)

Speaking of two-buck chuck, it is $3.29 a bottle out here. It was $2.99 in Chicago and prior to that you could get it for $1.99 (hence the name). At least in Chicago, it was still in the two dollar range. Seeing that the price has eclipsed the three dollar mark, does that mean that two-buck chuck needs a new nickname?

Anyhow, now that finals are done, I can FINALLY get in the Christmas spirit. I cannot believe that its only 14 days away. Crazy! Christmas might be one of my favorite times of the year...not necessarily the actual day, but the whole season. Hence why I am super excited to finally get to enjoy it. Although it with our travel plans, we have decided against getting a Christmas tree. Since we'll be gone for over 15 days, we figured (a) it wasn't worth the price and (b) it wasn't worth the hassle of coming home to a pile of dead pine needles and a bunch of branches. Thus, I must do other things to get in the Christmas spirit. Maybe some ice skating downtown this weekend, maybe a trip to see the White House Christmas tree, who knows. Any ideas?

Well, Shane is telling me to get off the computer. So adios, for now!

Miss everyone!


Stephanie & Shane

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Just a tad stressed...

Whoever said life was easy?!?! Its certainly not when you are working full time and taking classes. Needless to say, its crunch week for Shane and I.

As most of you know, I am in the midst of obtaining my Masters in Tax. Assuming that I survive this semester, only 2 more classes to go and I can add the letters MST after my name. However, then its time to focus on three more letters...CPA...but let's not get ahead of ourselves. First I've got to get through the following: a 10 page term paper due Saturday, a final Monday (Oil&Gas Taxation BLAH) and a final Wednesday (Tax Methods, Double BLAH).

Shane has a test and a final too, as well as the stresses of a new job! But he is better then me and forces himself to go to the library (I try to work while watching biggest loser and other tv shows) so I am sure that he will do great on both of his tests!

So much going on...and no time to just enjoy life. However, it will soon be over...only 6 more days to go...and then we can relax and focus on Christmas!

I'll post our Christmas schedules/intineraries soon (and yes, just like Thanksgiving they are NUTS!)


stephanie & shane

Monday, December 1, 2008

And the verdict is in...

After a very fun Thanksgiving at the Stewart household, Shane and I flew to Chicago for a little time with my family and my 10 year high school reunion (yes, I am old!). One of the big questions of the weekend was -- did we plan on moving back to Chicago after DC? After many rehearsed answers, "Maybe.", "We'll see.", "Probably not as Houston is so much cheaper.", etc. I have the finally discovered the true answer to the question --

-- if I have any say in it, the answer is no. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Chicago. And no other city can even compare to Chicago summers and the Cubs. And it has nothing to do with the exorbitant real estate prices. Or the piles of cars that sit on the highway trying to get from point A to point B. Rather, its all because of the weather.

As I woke up this morning at 4:30 AM (ridiculously early, I know!), I was confronted with snow, slush, wind, and ice. Same thing when I went outside to get my Cosi for lunch. It is gross. And brutal. And miserable. And something that I don't want to experience for five out of twelve months of a year...for the rest of my life...

Maybe they can invented heated bubbles. If I could go about my way, protected from the nastiness, maybe I'd consider it. But until then...let me move South, or even East...why East you might ask -- because we all know that they get snow...but let's face it, the East isn't as tough as Chicago. It takes feet, not inches, and ice, not just snow, to shut down this city. But the East is awhole 'nother ball game. Two inches of snow and no ice? No worries. Stay in bed. The city's closed down. Now, that is what I am talking about...