Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm sorely tempted to Scrooge this Thanksgiving day. How easy would it be to wallow in the things in my life that haven't happened the way I wanted. boo hoo for me, blah blah. Well that's just not how I roll. (that phrase just can't get used enough, right?)

Instead, I choose to be thankful for everything else. I have my health (I could actually stop here, that's how thankful I am for that). I have a wonderful, mostly not disfunctional, loving and supportive family. I have a great circle of friends, a job I like with co-workers who rock and a warm and welcoming home. And of course there's Riley, who loves me no matter how Scroogy I get.
And for you, the small handful of people who may be out there reading this or even those who stumbled here accidently, Happy Thanksgiving to you too! I hope you get to see all that's out there to be thankful for too.

Safe travels and don't forget to hug your loved ones today!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gotta love vacation!

Another vacation comes and goes. After the passport fiasco I wasn't sure I'd be able to relax and give in to the vacation. Turns out, it's not that hard. A seven day cruise isn't quite long enough to really let it all go but I think I did pretty well. There were 8 of us on this trip - me, my sister Susan and her husband Erik, both sets of parents and Erik's aunt. I think we all had a good time. We celebrated halloween on board...
and dressed up on other nights...
More pictures to come once I get everything sorted out.

On my return home, I took a taxi from the airport. My cab driver was brand new. As in, I was his first fare. He came to this country last week from Ethiopia! I wish I could have talked to him a bit more but he was having some trouble driving (hope he gets better soon!) and his accent was very strong. Still it seemed like some kind of a message that I really would have a real connection to Ethiopia soon.

I also received a lovely packet from my home study agency with forms to update. Apparently that doesn't change anything in my dossier. I have until April until my fingerprints expire. I made a promise to myself that I would move to plan B if I didn't get a referral by the time my paperwork expired. I think I will not count this as expiring. Just not quite ready for plan B yet. My agency still seems hopeful for a referral soon so I'll go back to waiting waiting waiting. And remembering all those ocean breezes and drinks-of-the-day...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A cautionary tale about procrastination

I like to get on a plane at least once a year and leave my life behind for rest, relaxation and some kind of vacation. Many times, this includes my whole family traveling together. This year, we have put off any vacation in the hopes of going to Africa. As the likelihood of that happening this year dwindled, we decided to book a cruise. And as much as I love to get on a plane and leave it all behind, I just couldn't muster any excitement for packing.

So, I waited. The idea was that I would leave Wednesday night, spend two days at my sister's house and then the whole family would board the ship on Saturday morning. I'd thought about packing, even gathered a few things over the weekend and gotten my costume prepared. My plan was to leave work at 11am, have until 5 or so and the head to the airport for a 7pm flight. Only the flight left at 5:20. I realized this over the weekend but did that help speed things up? Not so much.

Monday night, I puttered around the house, cleaning up, watering plants. Didn't pack. Tuesday comes and I work both jobs, getting home from coaching at 8:30. Packing yet? Nope. Watched some TV (hello, it was Biggest Loser night!) and basically did nothing. Finally at 10pm I got off my lazy ass couch and got onto the computer. I had to print my boarding passes and everything, right? That led to checking emails, catching up on know, the important stuff. At 10:30 I log on to the Holland America site to print my documents.

And at 10:32. The power goes out. Out out, as in pitch blackness. W.T.F.

Apparently it was a windstorm to end all windstorms, causing the lowest barometric pressure in the state ever recorded. Not sure why that was a big deal but the weather people sure did. My side of the block has a history of being the only ones without power in storms and sure enough, I could see the warm glow of happy families across the street but nothing on our side. So I drag out every candle I have, all the flashlights I can find and start to pack. In the dark.

*A quick note about candles, I realize now it's important to have unscented candles on hand. After two hours my house smelled like Bath and Body Works exploded in it. ugh.

The thing about packing is it's not really that hard. The trick is to have a list. And to know where things are. Since it's been so warm, my transition from summer to winter clothes in the closet has been slow. That means there are summer clothes in practically every closet. All of which are dark dark dark at 11pm on a stormy night with no lights. And of course I had not made a list. All in all I thought I did pretty well! I mostly have clothes that match, enough options for dinner and bathing suits for the pool. I figured there are stores here and on the ship if I really forgot something important. Unfortunately there aren't any stores to buy what I forgot.

Fast forward to Friday, one day to departure. I'd spent the last two days pretty much just on the couch, enjoying the quiet of not being at work. I'd realized by then I'd forgotten to bring the tshirt transfers I was in charge with for our custom cruise shirts. No worries, I had my laptop with the file! Whew. All is well. We run last minute errands (including one to buy transfer paper) and we're set to have dinner and finish up any last minute stuff before leaving in the morning.

I'm not even sure what made me think of it. It hadn't even crossed my mind the entire time I was at home, during packing or all the time I was here.

I forgot my frickin passport.


Yes, my passport. The one thing that will get me on the ship that they do not sell at stores. It's 4:30pm (pacific time which means 6:30 at home) and I rush to the phone to call Lexi who is dog/house sitting. THANK GOD she was home and willing to save my ass. THANK GOD I knew where my passport was. THANK GOD FedEx has a 7:30 overnight deadline.  Waiting for it to arrive could possibly be the most stressful thing I've done in as long as I can remember.

If I thought the last seven months of waiting for a referral was stressful, the last day was all seven of those months rolled into one day. My stomach was on fire and I was practically shaking. No, not practically, actually shaking. All night I kept thinking about that expired passport that I keep in the same place as my current one. And hoping that Lexi didn't grab that one instead.

You can bet I will never do this again. I will repeat before every trip now...
Put your passport out with your luggage
Don't wait until the last minute
Lists are your friend
Don't wait until the last minute

Passport arrives, the FedEx man didn't want a kiss but I thanked him profusely. We board the ship and now we're on on our way. Someday maybe, I'll look back at this and laugh. But for now, I board the ship and try to shake it off. I'll have to think of something amazing to bring back to my angel of mercy Lexi!