Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Back In The USSA - Non-Kosher Edition

Upon our return, and having finally retrieved our pets and settled into our hotel, we first went to Fred Meyer, where we purchased several pounds of bacon, ham, and cheddar cheese.

We wallowed in bacon, ham, and cheese before making bacon-suits and ham-hats for ourselves, while munching on cheese covered pork chops.

Since then, we have made a point of eating meat, preferably pork, and dairy together at least once per day, with leavened bread products, since we arrived back just as Pessach began. Bacon cheddar burgers on fat buns! Ahhhh! It is good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back In The USSA - Pet Adventures Edition

The clan has returned from Israel to the USA.

The trip itself was, let's say, interesting. Delta lost our pets twice. It was due to a combination of uninformed employee error and Nigel's inability to believe anything I say unless I am backed up by at least 50 experts.

At Ben Gurion airport, we were told to pick the pets up from baggage claim and run them through customs when we arrived in Atlanta. However, Nigel, hoping they were wrong, asked a flight attendant about it and she informed him that, no, we didn't have to do that, and that the pets would just be put on our next flight.

Of course, I protested. But without 50 experts to back me up, Nigel insisted that the flight attendant was the person he would believe.

So, we got onto our next flight, and he asked if the pets made it on board. They said no, but that they would find them and get them on. This delayed take-off by 45 minutes. In the end, Delta informed Nigel that he was supposed to pick them up and run them through customs and returning them to baggage. Which I knew. At any rate, by the time we arrived in Portland, Nigel was angry with me because I was right and angry with Delta because they had effectively washed their hands of the issue.

We worked with a Delta supervisor for three hours upon arrival and discovered that Delta in Atlanta did not know where our pets were. While waiting for Nigel to come to pick us up at baggage claim with the rental vehicle, I called my mom. She informed me that Dennis from a kennel in Atlanta had called her and told her that he had our pets there and asking that she tell us to call him. I called Dennis and explained the situation. He said that we were not the only people to have had this happen, which was reassuring.

It took three days of negotiations and faxes and phone calls to get the pets to Portland, and when we got to Delta's cargo office, they couldn't find them. Turned out that Atlanta had left the baggage tags on their carriers and they were sent up with the baggage. Once that was discovered, they were brought to cargo, where we had to get paperwork and take it to Customs and Immigration, down the road, for an officer to sign. We brought the signed papers, paid 85.00, and took the pets to our hotel. They were quite happy to see us. Our poor dog had peed all over her carrier and the pad, which I ended up having to throw away after trying to wash the smell out twice.

I have to say that Officer Weddington of the Atlanta Customs/Homeland Security office was extremely helpful and sympathetic. I wrote an e-mail commending her. The Delta supervisor at Portland was also kind and helpful. The people at cargo were efficient and forced the baggage people to drop everything to find our pets.

Nigel plans to write nasty-grams to everyone at Delta even though this was the fault of only two people, one of whom doesn't work for Delta. That would be HIM. Sigh.

Lesson: In order to avoid Nigel's distrust of information provided by me, get everything in writing. Verify information with people other than flight attendants. Don't fuck around with customs.