It’s that time again, time for us to say Good-Bye and fly away. Even though when we came here this time it was with the intention of staying and possibly homesteading, I always knew this time would come.
One thing always rings true: It’s much better to visit than to live
Joey left the island in August to work in Colorado and the kids and I stayed behind to see how things played out. After a couple weeks it was obvious that we’d be leaving the island for good so the job of packing up the condo and kids fell on me. I was actually looking forward to being the sole discretionary person to decide what goes and what doesn’t, and normally I’m fighting to keep more than he is, yet somehow we left Hawaii with less than we even came with! I decided if we hauled it all the way to Hawaii and never even used it, it got canned. So with less stuff I figured I could handle checking everything on to the plane with us, paying extra baggage fees but saving hundreds in shipping fees. Then three hours before the shuttle was to pick us up I was in a stressful mess…….I couldn’t even get everything into the van let alone haul through an airport!
Joey’s friend, Fish, came by to save the day and offered to take the big stuff that I didn’t need right away to the post office and ship it for me, only leaving us 5 checked bags and 7 carry-on’s. I finally breathed a little easier once we were loaded into the shuttle, just to get to the airport to have to unload everything onto a rental cart, then load it onto the conveyer belt for agriculture inspection, then back on to the cart over to ticketing. There I had to unload the heavy bags, that were on the bottom, for weighing and tagging for check-in, then back on to the cart to take it over to the check-in belt. Then unload the cart once again to finally get them out of my hands, and of course put the carry-on’s back on the cart. And the stuff that didn’t fit on the cart, I had to carry. We haven’t even gotten to security yet.
Security, of course, was a nightmare. We must have used at least a dozen of those grey boxes and held up the line at least fifteen minutes. Aside from opening the laptops, they also had to double check the x-box and controllers because, you know, they look like weapons.
When I booked the flight I didn’t think about the fact that it was a red eye, I just knew it was the cheapest. I actually figured, great! we’ll get to sleep the whole flight and be refreshed and eager to start the new day when we get to Phoenix for our connecting flight to Vegas. I’ve never been sooo wrong in my life! The kids were split up in seats in front of me and I was in a back row seat that wouldn’t lay back. It was stuck straight up and almost leaning forward! I wanted to cry…..again. But even worse the nice old couple next to me were stuck sitting straight up too and I just couldn’t handle that. So….after much debate I finally convinced the old couple to swap seats with Jake and Jewel in front of us so they could at least lean back and have a comfortable flight………. Then with Jake and Jewel beside me I was able to use them as a pillow :-) It was still a miserable flight and after what felt like twenty five hours we finally landed in Phoenix.
We only had forty five minutes to catch our connecting flight and we had to wait for everyone to un board so the stewardess could go to the cockpit and retrieve my hula hoop that I carried on the plane. THEN after making our way to the next flight I realized I had left my fanny pack (that I wore so I wouldn’t lose my most important things) in the magazine holder in front of my seat! The flight attendant wouldn’t let me back on the plane to get it so I had to wait another few minutes for them to take their sweet time to get it for me, and then she had the nerve to tell me…”well, that’s WHY you’re supposed to keep track of your stuff” REALLY?? I thought I did pretty good for not losing my kids at this point.
Somehow we made it through the huge airport to our connecting flight and finally felt everything was going to be alright. Flying over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead was awesome, so awesome that I finally pulled my camera out and snapped some pictures from the air. I text my cousin when we landed so she could head our way to get us, and we then hurried to find the baggage claim. I always try to be super efficient so tried to time my cousin getting there with the same time we’d be walking out the gate, so of course, that seems to put me in a state of stress and slight panic. The bags were taking forever, but we finally started seeing them, so Jake wisely says, “We should unload the cart so we can put the heavy bags on the bottom when they get here” Great idea! So I set my precious camera bag on one of the seats about five feet away and then unloaded the cart onto the ground right beside it. We then get all our big checked items, load them up, put the carry on’s on top, and walk out the gate just in time to see my cousin heading our way. See…my timing is impeccable. I’m so happy to see her after all these years, we hug, I cry, we get in the car and drive away.
A few hours later, at her place, I want to take pictures of everybody and we CANNOT find my camera bag anywhere. I call the airport and all I get is a recording saying they’ll call IF they find it. Amy offers to haul me all the way back to the airport, only to find it gone. GONE! My big camera, my favorite point and shoot, a panoramic camera, multiple lenses, and a laptop……all gone.
Only twenty four hours out of paradise and it felt like I landed in Hell.