We made it home last night, despite the best efforts of the customs' luggage carousel. We had only one hour and 40 minutes scheduled during our connection in Chicago. Our first flight landed only a few minutes late, perhaps ten, but every one counted. We had no trouble with passport control, even though we were seated in the back of the plane and therefore, theoretically, behind all the other people who might have issues. But our bags didn't come off the baggage carousel until about 30 minutes before our next scheduled flight. Even the official representative, right before they appeared, told us that unless the flight was delayed, we'd be finding another ride to Seattle.
We passed through customs in a breeze, and at that point I was relaxed because I assumed we'd be finding another flight. We gave our bags back and got kicked out of the security area, then waited for a train to haul us back to the normal portion of the airport where we had to re-enter through the normal security lines. Two people let us cut in front of them at the scanner, and I didn't bother to tie my shoes as we hit the ground running. We arrived out of breathe at the gate as they loaded first class, so we had a few minutes to wipe off the sweat of running (or in my case, attempting to run) loaded with 30 or 40 pounds of carry-on luggage. Even better, this flight had air vents so we could cool off during the trip.
The best news is that despite my lack of faith, all three of our bags sat on the Seattle carousel when we got there. I'm still not sure how.