Monday, April 18, 2011


We have arrived in "Beautiful Naples".
I will give a rundown or our time in Norfolk, waiting on the AMC flight and our 12 days here so far. Some of it more for me than you but atleast when I go to "scrapbook" the trip I can hopefully remember more haha.
The kids and I left North Carolina bright and early on March 24th in a Hertz rental van. We made it to Norfolk around 1230 but could not check into the Navy Lodge at that time, becase we had the dog. So I went over to Hertz on base to get some information on our other reservation (wasn't keeping a van on a one way reservation for almost 2 weeks as one day was almost the same price as a week for a local midsize car, and those who know me know I do not "throw" money away when I can help it.). Much to my surprise I found out that Hertz would no longer be servicing the bases in Hampton Roads and I was told I "had" to return it to a different location. I was irritated to say the least as I had spent over an hour at the Hertz rental in Asheboro NC over an error on their part the day before. I informed Becky that her logical solution was unacceptable, so she called her boss and left a message. I went off base to check with Enterprise, I about had heart failure. They wanted almost $700 for the same thing Hertz was charging $330ish for. BTW Enterprise is the new Base "rental car" dealers on base atleast until the contract is up. Went back to the base as Becky had called my cell while I was in Enterprise. They offered me the rental at the same price and a 15 dollar cab fare discount. I told her yet again that it was unacceptable. For one someone should have contacted me when Hertz lost the contract so that we could make arrangements and they should have had a plan in place if they weren't going to call the "customers". The reason I found it unacceptable was because we were told we had to return it by 6pm on Military Hwy in Norfolk and then some how get to NOB. Have you driven at rush hour in Hampton Roads lately? Uhm yeah not gonna make that cab ride for $15. So after speaking with the manager he upped it to $35 for the cab and a $50 discount when he heard the rest of the horrible story form the day before. Any way I left Hertz still irritated but some what satisfied. Got to the Navy Lodge and was able to get in, and got the van unloaded. Ran to the storage unit to get a few things that we were taking on the plane with us like Snoopy's Crate, sleeping bags etc.... It took me 2 hours to get from NAB LC to Tidewater Dr and back. I spent 12 mins total in the storage bldg. the rest was spent sitting in traffic as it was rush hour. Got back to the base, fueled the van and headed to Hertz to get the other rental. It was interesting to get the few things from storage in there but I did, trunk open, kids holding dog and crate broken down in front seat lol. Gary called from the airport saying he had landed while I was still trying to get the mess in the car. He arrived about 20 min early (that never happens when we travel as a family, but then he gets put in first class when he flies sometimes too). We picked him up and stopped by our favorite place to eat in Hampton Roads Dynasty on Northhampton Blvd. We were greated with surprised looks as they know us by name we are there so much haha, as we were supposed to already be in Italy at that point. Had a great dinner and crashed early.
Gary checked in at TPU the next morning while the kids worked on school work. The weather was cold and rainy most of the 12 days we were there. Gary went into work everyday M-F. We had planned to go to Busch Gardens but with the weather like it was it wasn't worth it. And we had planned a trip to DC to see the Cherry blossoms, that didn't happen either as it snowed in DC, no point after that. We repacked bags and containers. Took the boys to the Orthodontics for their final exams before being released to the military dentist. We stopped by the ship to pick up some personal effects and such, but as usual still nothing. Gary has been detatched for over 4 months and they still can't get his award to him that should have been ready the day he checked out (Dec. 20th.). Not shocking though as I had been there in Feb and got the same run around.
Oh and let me just say we have stayed in many Navy Lodges, but this was the worst stay ever. The manager even contacted us personally due to the problems we had. Not that it did us any good but hey it was worth a shot lol. We were in bed trying to wind down one night and at 1030pm there was a knock on the door. I opened it as it was maintainance, I asked if he could come back in the morning, he refused and said he had to come in. He finally left after about 45 mins. We were pissed as there was NO reason that he needed to be in our room that late. It was all because the guest next door decided to wait until 10pm to complain about his sink stopping up and demanded it be fixed (found this out after the mang. contacted us). But this was after the ice machine being broken, which was also broken a month before, when we were there for dropping the Van off for shipment. I was assured it would be fixed. Was still broken when we checked out over a week later. The luggage carts were broken, literally the wheels were flat on one and the other looked to have been filled with fix a flat and then the rubber burst which made it impossible to steer. I was assured they would be fixed also. Yeah they pulled them both, so there was no luggage carts at all. After all of that we were offer half off of one night. Next time we need to stay in HR's it was be the NOB or Dam Neck Navy Lodge locations not JEB Little Creeks.
We ate at Red Lobster on Thursday evening for a late lunch/early dinner. Had a couple of coupons in my purse so I took it in. HUGE mistake as I left it under my chair when we left. Since moving wasn't stressful enough. Called and it was still there, but when I picked it up I knew it had been gone through. All of the cash was gone, but CC's and all were still in there. I had to put alerts on the SS #s as ID cards were in it, close out CC's and such. Still waiting on those cards btw Discover.
My mom came up on Sunday and we met her at her Hotel as she didn't really know her way around. Finished packing and watched a few movies. On Tuesday we got up and took all of our stuff, carry on and shipped along with the dog to the airport so that we were checked in and could sit together etc... That was time consuming and stressful too. We had 10 bags/containers being shipped and then our carry ons and 3 personal items. Luckily we got smart and left all of the carry ons except one in the lockers at the checkin counter so we didn't have to lug them around and drag them back through security. Worked out great, we only had to  MIL and her sister came up to see us off. Called both of my grandmas one last time. We went to Uno's for dinner. That is when I realized I had left my cell phone in the rental car that we had dropped off just before going to dinner. Do you see the pattern here? lol. Went back to get it, but Hertz was closed. Thankfully the other business next door was still open and I described the car, they came back with my phone. We headed to the airport, zipped right through security and waited our 2 hours. Called my dad one last time and canceled the stateside cell phones. That took forever as they want you to put it on hold or have a family member take over it etc.... Just cancel my stupid phones and plan please. Visited with the moms while we waited and tried to keep the dog calm as she had no clue what was going on.
More to come later cause I have to go to the commissary again.