It’s the night before we say good-bye to Idaho for two (or more) years.
We are staying at my parents’ house because we have already said good-bye to our home.
Our bags are all packed and weighed.
We are all bathed or showered.
The kids are sleeping in the clothes that they will be wearing on the plane.
Tablets and phones are fully charged.
Instant oatmeal packets are ready to be microwaved.
Shoes are lined up by the front door.
Toothbrushes and contacts are waiting for one last use and then they will be fit into the jig-saw puzzle that is our toiletries bag.
My alarm is set.
I manage to get the butterflies in my stomach to settle, after going over my check-list once more.
I fall asleep.
I awake to my alarm. No snooze button today.
The sun has already risen but we have plenty of time. No need to stress.
Holden is already awake, hanging out with Grandma.
My amazing mom has made us homemade oatmeal for breakfast, instead of that stuff in the packets that instantly turns to glue.
We enjoy one more meal with Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie.
We use and then pack our toothbrushes and contacts.
I check our bags one last time. Still there and ready to go.
We say good-bye to Grandpa. He has to go to work, instead of coming to the airport with us.
Time to load up, including Grandma and Auntie, and we drive to the airport.
We make it to the airport two hours early. Perfect.
Could this day go any more smoothly?
We park in short-term parking so Grandma and Auntie can see us off at security.
The air is alive with excitement and anticipation.
We grab our back-packs and rolling bags and walk/skip in.
Inside the airport, we tag all of our bags and each of the kids, just in case any of them should be separated from me.
I head to self-check-in.
Something is wrong. The machine isn’t giving me our boarding passes. It says to ask for assistance.
One of the ticket agents comes over to help.
She asks me to come over to the counter, asks for all of our passports and types on her computer.
“Sorry, you don’t have tickets for this flight. You have reservations but your travel agent never ticketed.”
I did everything right!
I was more prepared for this than anything else in my life, including my marriage and the births of each of my kids. Every item is crossed off of my to-do list.
What did I miss?
What do I do now?
I try calling the travel agency phone number that is on the email I received from them.
Dang! Its an international call.
Instead, I call Nate. Yes, its only 4 am but this feels like an emergency.
I wake him up. Of course, there is nothing he can do until the travel agency opens in four hours.
There is nothing left for us to do but head back to my parents’ house and wait to hear from Nate.
It turns out that there was a miscommunication between the departments of Nate’s new job. They had to wait for his security check to go through before they could verify that we were who we said we were, allowing them to pay for our travel. This info wasn’t passed onto the people who were booking our flights. His department made our reservations and passed it onto HR, assuming that it would be taken care of. HR couldn’t finish the ticketing process until the security check had been finalized. It would take at least another week before we would be cleared to travel to American Samoa to join Nate.
Lessons to Be Learned
Don’t just double and triple check your own responsibilities, assume that everything is up to you.
Don’t leave anything to chance.
Check directly with the airline to make sure that they have the same information as you.
We got to spend one more day with my mom, dad and sister. A day that wasn’t spent running around like crazy, making sure everything was ready. We got to actually enjoy each others’ company. We spent the day talking, playing trains, reading books and climbing trees. Grandma, Grandpa and Auntie even got lots of snuggles and love before bedtime.
Don’t worry. This isn’t the end of the story. We are going to make it to American Samoa. We paid for our own tickets to San Francisco for Thursday, where we will stay with Nate’s mom until we get the green light to join Nate in the beautiful, yet sometimes frustrating and confusing, South Pacific Paradise.