Gifts from the Tooth Fairy
Miss Snaggle Tooth
Tuesday, August 15th “A day to forget”
Privet from Almaty, KA3ACTAHCKNN.
A day full of misery and disappointment ended up with some great news..
I am sure you will understand if I do not go into the full-blown details of the day as I cannot bear to rehash them again, but I will do my best to bring you up to speed.
As promised, we did have something good happen on Monday (now known as “P” day in the Woodard history book - “P” is for passport problem, etc….). Rylee lost her third tooth, all of which have been on the bottom. In Kazakhstan, the tooth fairy (aka T.F.) is not in charge of this country, they have the “tooth mouse” (aka T.M.). Come to find out the T.F. and T.M. are very good friends. Lena had told us of the tales about the T.M. while in Pavlodar and we were able to experience the T.M. ourselves and have a special long distance visit from the T.F. in Kazakhstan. To recap the important details: Rylee was on the couch with her head hanging off getting tickled by me, when I wanted to “work” her loose tooth, so as I put my finger on it…at the same time she pulled up with her head….It was out! Her eyes got sooooo big and she started getting a smile on her face. I was not sure what happened at first, and then saw a little blood from her mouth. I asked, “Is it out?”, she smiled and there was no doubt that it was out. My next concern, as was Kim’s, where is the tooth? We have a little vacuum cleaner named Landen that would love to find something new on the floor to suck up. Luckily, the full-scale search party was able to locate and disarm the tooth from the vacuum with out any issues. Rylee’s next 2 hours were spent having me write a letter to the T.F., preparing where she was going to place the tooth and letter, and then a massive cleaning of the apartment (You know the T.F. cannot visit a messy apartment). Kim and I laughed, as the only mess was Rylee’s, so she did not mind straightening her mess. We had purchased two little hand made decorative trinket boxes just of this occasion. One is shaped like as treasure chest and the other was rounded, both with stones added on them. Rylee, as the “big” sister had chosen the round one, placed her tooth in her box and placed it securely under her pillow. Being the concerned child, she had mentioned on her note to the T.F. that if she encounters a mouse not to be worried as it was the Kazakh T.M.
When Rylee awoke in the morning, both the T.F. and T.M. had visited, left her a note and left her a special surprise from each of them. The T.M. story goes: the tooth is placed in a crack in the floor, and then the T.M. will visit in the night, remove the tooth and give you good luck for the future. Not to be outdone by the T.F., the T.M. on her home turf decided to leave 200.00 tenge and a sweet note in Russian. The T.F., as she had on the last two teeth, left a brand new $2.00 bill, a precious note, and made a pearl of her tooth. This pearl was placed on the bracelet with the other two and left in the trinket box for Rylee to find in the morning. This was just what we needed for an end to our Monday and start to what was going to be a long, hard day on Tuesday.
Now with a snaggle-toothed child, we were ready to face the day. When we left you last, nothing was known about our travel plans, and we had to wait until Tuesday for something to happen.
The morning started with us waiting on phone calls from Jenia…a theme of the day. After a couple of quick calls back home, we turned our attention to locating Jenia and booking a flight home. We still had not contact him at 10:00am, so we decided to call Bob (Kim’s Dad) and see if he could contact Lena or Svetlana in Pavlodar from his Skype. Not to our surprise, he was successful with his contact to Svetlana where he detailed our concerns. She immediately had Lena contact us in the apartment. Our first chance to tell someone what was going on was not wasted….she got all of the details and then some. She called Jenia, who immediately called us and made plans to arrive here at 11am. We had been told by our agency that Nadia would assist us in getting tickets, but she was nowhere to be seen. Jenia had contacted her and was told to take us to KLM airlines booking office. This was something odd because we have tickets with United/Luftansa, but we did what we were told and jumped into the car with Jenia around 11am and went directly to that office. After some details were exchanged, the woman gave us a printed off copy of an itinerary….and a $4,ooo price tag with it. The flights were for Sunday and would have connecting flights in Amsterdam and Minneapolis, but we would be heading the right way. We quickly realized that we were on our own…if we booked these, we loose everything we had paid for with Lufthansa…that was not acceptable at this point. We asked them to hold the reservations, which they did agree to hold until 7pm. We then had Jenia take us immediately to Lufthansa’s booking office in Almaty. After a 30 minute search for our reservations, the woman heard Kim’s fifth attempt to explain to hear that we had Landen’s reservation number …she then was able to locate all four of our reservations. The first time we could fly back was Saturday, so we locked in those dates with her, but she could only confirm the second flight to the US, not the flight from Almaty to Frankfurt. She arranged to contact Jenia before 6pm and let him know if she could confirm them. We now had three options….KLM, wait & see on these, or split the group with two flying tonight and two at an unknown later date.
We were dropped back off at the apartment around 1:45pm, where Jenia and I agreed we would be near the phone from 4pm to 6pm awaiting his call. We had time to kill, so we decided to let Rylee go Ice skate. She has been so wonderful through all of this and ice-skating is the only “fun” thing that she enjoys about being here. This would surely raise her “spirits”! As we walked into the mall, everyone noticed red balloons tied to the ice rink rails. When we got closer to the rink, we could see that the ice was covered with carpet and people were setting up some type of promotions for DERBES brewery….This was one of the toughest moments when Rylee realized she would not be able to skate today. The idea of not skating was not so bad, but another disappointment to a little girl that is so ready to get home to her “normal” life. Mr. Baskin Robbins assisted us with the healing process….Oreo Ice Cream heals everything.
Back in the room, we had the phone flanked on all side. One eye on the phone and one eye on clock…what else do we have to do? 5pm, 5:30pm, 6pm….no calls. Here we go again….at 6pm, we started calling Jenia again, unsuccessfully… (Remember we have a hold on a reservation until 7pm and a booked flight in 9 hours). I went and got a new calling card (the other one was only good for the internet) to try his long distance number and it worked….We reached Jenia and voiced our displeasure. He decided to go directly to the Lufthansa booking office and discuss with that woman that had helped us, and then come by the apartment to update us. Given the time of day, we were not optimistic of his chances. Remember the 7pm deadline with KLM.. It had passed. We were running out of options. Jenia showed up around 7:30pm and delivered some expected, but still hard to take bad news. They were closed... and we had indeed missed the deadline with KLM.
It was now 9:30am EST in the US, so our agency would be opening in 30 minutes and we could go back that direction. My resourceful wife had the owner’s cell phone number, but we could not reach her that way either. We started calling our travel agency, coordinators from Pavlodar and back to our agency. Finally, we reached our agency around 10am EST, now 8pm here. The agency was so upset with the way things were going and guaranteed she would get in touch with Yackov, and she did. Yackov called us immediately to work on some plans. The only plan they had a this point was to have Kim and Rylee leave on our booked flights tonight, and then Landen and I could find a ticket later. The thought behind this …it would be easier for us to find a ticket for one vs. two. While a viable option, it only added to the anxiety of the situation. All jokes aside, we were in a dilemma. After being told by several people that two should board the flight out at 3:20am, we decided “we came as a family and we will go as a family”. I told Yackov of our intentions and he stated he respected our decision. Now, what do we do…?
Kim had a great idea during these conversations. Go to the ticket counter at the airport…plead, beg, cry…whatever it took to get us home. The coordinators agreed and Jenia drove me to the airport around 11:15pm. Lufthansa flies mostly late night and early morning flights from Almaty, so their ticket office opened at 9pm and stayed open until 5am. I met with the most helpful and confident woman from Lufthansa so far. She got some information, which I could write a book on at this point, looked over the tickets I had from the fourth, and then gave me some great news. She confirmed the flight from Frankfurt to Atlanta on Saturday, but could only wait list us for the trip to Frankfurt from Almaty. Being concerned about this, she eased my mind by saying she will actually be on the same flight and could guarantee my family (all of us) would be as well. We can call nightly at 9pm to see if we have been confirmed, but if not we will go early with bags packed on Saturday to do what we can. She did not want to talk contingency plans, as she felt 100% confident we would fly Saturday. God works miracles, and if it is his will we will be home soon!
Well, well…..something good. Kim was overcome with joy when I got back and shared the great news (now 2:00am). All times are the same as they would have been for the flights we had scheduled…Leave here at 3:20am, but most importantly we will be in Atlanta on Saturday at 2:30pm.
If all goes well……the weekend plans are still a go.
Just something neat in Landen’s live: As planned now, he will become a US citizen on his first birthday. WOW, what a present!
Sneak peak for Wednesday - we had a “high” point during the day and some passport news. This should be posted around 1pm EST. By the way, your comments could not have been more uplifting and positive. They sure did help!