Storknester Buddy/Obama's Visit/Military Ways

Waiting for Melissa

Sign reads "Welcome to Germany Melissa & Baby"
So, I was finally matched with a Storknester--a pregnant woman stationed in Turkey that is flying here to have her baby at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (where I had Greta). I'm her Buddy, someone to get her off base to do fun things every once in a while, take her to the commissary, and pick her up from her flight--if it ever arrives! Originally, she was due to arrive yesterday at 4:40 pm. No problem, pick her up, check her into her room, swing by the commissary to get some groceries, bring her to our house for dinner. I call and find the flight has been delayed to sometime between 1800 and 1900 hours (6-7 pm). Presumably an hour span is convenient enough to let people know when a flight is due to arrive when you're in the military. I assumed it was maybe to prevent an attack on an incoming flight--harder if you don't know it's specific arrival time. Now I'm convinced an hour is as close as the military might get to knowing when their planes are due to arrive. As you'll read, in this case, they don't even know where their planes are.

Bad thing about that timeframe is, that's the same time President Obama is scheduled to arrive at that airfield and taxi to Landstuhl. Now it made sense why when Mom, Greta & I were out in the car earlier there were vans of German police every few hundred meters. So, I drive my normal way to Ramstein, and am blocked after I've driven all trough the town of Landstuhl. Ok, I'll turn around, drive almost all the way back home and get on the Autobahn to get there. Yeah, no, ALL of the autobahns in the area are closed. People are driving backwards at a snails pace to back up the entrance ramp to the autobahn to exit, and waving their arms to warn you not to get on. So, finally, I see one of the helicopters hovering above switch position and fly off. They open the road and I proceed. Of course when I get to Ramstein Air Base, the West Gate (the one I always use, the one I know where it's located) is closed. So, I find my way to the East Gate and find my way to the Airfield (amazing that I could get there consdering the President presumably just recently arrived and left there). So, I park, go in, and wait with some others waiting for the same flight. It started near Afghanistan, stopped in Turkey, and was supposed to arrive at Ramstein. So, now it's 7:30 and still no flight. No one seems to know anything about it. Rumors are it was diverted to Lipzig (4 hours from here) or that it never left Turkey. A Major who had a squadron on the flight was throwing around his rank a bit and asking for the Flight Commander. Apparantly the Flight Commander was on the plane and unreachable, as was everyone else by cell phone or other means. Does the military lose its planes like this often? So, though my cell phone battery was almost dead, I'd been in contact with Mom at my house and knew that Greta was not taking the sippy cup and was crying hysterically for me to come home and feed her and put her to bed. So, I'm more than flustered. As soon as I heard that the flight was definitely not coming in that night, I left for home to get to my baby. I try driving to the autobahn, and guess what. Closed. Since I left the East Gate, I don't know another way home from where I am. Fortunately, we have a Navi, so I typed in Home and it gave me a non-autobahn option. Of course, it would take much longer, but at least I'd get home. I thought I knew this immediate area pretty well, but it took me through villages and mountain roads I never knew existed. If I wasn't so frantic to get home to Greta, it could have been a neat sight seeing drive.

So, I get home, Greta has fallen asleep on Mom. I wake her up, feed her, she doesn't fall back to sleep until late, but at least I made it home. I'm too tired to call the Airfield back for more information and resolve to do it Saturday.

This morning I call and find out the flight it due to arrive between 1200 and 1300 hours. Ok, fine, that works. I call again at 11:40 before leaving the house to make sure the flight is still scheduled to arrive then. The person on the phone tells me, yes, it is. So, Greta and I are off again to the airfield to pick up Melissa. There are people getting their baggage from a flight that's just arrived. It's from the States. I get Melissa's sign and balloons ready and wait. Then I start to wonder why I'm not seeing any of the other people that were there to pick up people from this flight last evening. Or, in fact, why I'm the ONLY one waiting for anyone. So I ask a man that's working there and he's nice enough to get someone who knows something to come tell me that, AGAIN, the plane is broken and has not left Turkey. Could they not have know this at 11:40 when I called? Could they not have told me this then? So, once again, I will call tomorrow and probably go through this whole rigamaroll again. I sure hope Melissa has somewhere comfortable to sleep at night as all this transpires as she is about 33 weeks pregnant and does not need this stress, to be sure!
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