You know how much we’ve been looking forward to this trip, right? How we’ve longed to get away but couldn’t get the doctors’ okay? How much J. needed a vacation from work, and I a vacation from leukemia? Well, we were all booked and ready to go. I don’t think J. believed we’d actually get on the plane–she was convinced something would interfere at the 11th hour–but Sunday came and we went to check in to our flight on line.
Because we were flying to the U.S., J. went to get our passports, only to discover that they had expired three months ago. Three years, three months, three days, frankly it wouldn’t have mattered, we just knew we would not get in to the States. Why hadn’t we checked earlier? Well, remember, we hadn’t been travelling much, and, to be honest, our passports were the last thing on our minds.
Our calm preparation for our trip quickly turned frantic, but there was only so much we could do because it was Sunday. So we did the parts we could: we printed off and completed passport applications, we ran out to get passport pictures, we researched where and when we’d have to go in the morning to beg and plead for a new passport, we lined up our very dear friend and dog sitter, Triple D, and her partner, R., to help with transportation and dog walking, and, optimistically, we packed. Oh, and I was grumpy on the phone with every single person who called. Sorry friends. I was a little overwhelmed, not that that’s any excuse.
We were first in line at the passport office and, thanks to Chad and Loomi’s standing on their heads, left with new documentation in 71 minutes and sped to the airport. Thank goodness Chad and Loomi didn’t uphold our motto that poor planning on our part does not constitute an emergency on theirs.
Yes, there were several other inconsequential challenges that day–a blackout in another wing of the airport, 9 missing bags that kept us on the tarmac for one hour, a crying baby behind us, but, by the grace of God and good friends, we made it to our destination on time. Sure, someone must have vomited in our rental car–you know it wasn’t me–but that inconvenience is easily solved today.
As I write, I am sitting facing the ocean, the sun is slowly rising. and I can hear the waves and the seagulls. J.’s carefully chosen hotel is as beautiful in reality as it is on line. And because we had both, without knowing, told the hotel about the nature of our trip–we were celebrating good health despite leukemia–we were generously upgraded to a full ocean view room. The kitchen is fully appointed with fancy appliances, including the gas stove I’ve always coveted but J. has denied me because she asserts I would light myself on fire. She’s probably right.
As if that weren’t enough, there was cold water awaiting us, and two perfect little chocolate bars on the bed. Hazelnut chili milk chocolate. Chili is always paired with dark chocolate, but all that hype about the antioxidants in dark chocolate has been disproven so I now indulge in milk chocolate without shame. Could this trip get any better?
Now, before you go chastising us for being such idiots, check your passport expiry dates. Emergency passports cost a pretty penny. Our vacation budget was at a surplus because of all those cancelled trips, but yours may not be. On parting, Passport Chad kindly reassured me that people don’t often make this same mistake twice.