The Celebrate Life Tour – The First 24 Hours Thank Goodness For Skycaps
When I was growing up, I was a pretty easy going kid, and with the exception of procrastinating on my homework, never intentionally put myself in a stressful situation. Once I reached adulthood though, that started changing, I wasn’t looking for stress, but I was definitely looking for excitement. Then, we started our business. The first few years were over the top exhilarating, so much to do, so many possibilities, but as the years wore on, those new challenges gave way to da, da, da, daaa “small business stress”. If you’ve ever owned or managed a small company, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, trust me, you don’t want to know. Twenty seven years later, I was living in a world of sleepless nights, sugar binges, and fingernail biting, with the old time favorite ” money woes blues” playing in the background. When we finally sold our business, the dream we’d been dreaming for years came true, the stress was gone, but what I hadn’t anticipated, was the enormous void that was left by it’s absence.
Don and I immediately jumped into everything we could to fill that space of time and energy, not once taking a minute to enjoy the quiet. Over the years, we had apparently become stress addicts, and were looking everywhere to find a fix. At this point, you’re thinking, “OK, so what does this have to do with the Celebrate Life Tour RV trip ?”. Well, I just wanted to give you an understanding of why two fairly normal people would get themselves into such a crazy situation.
June 29th – 6:00am, Departure Day – When the alarm went off after just a few hours of sleep, I resisted the urge to take a hammer to it while the day’s ” To Do List” came flooding back into my brain. Though we had done all we could ahead of time, we still had a ton of stuff to take care of before our flight left at 9pm.
Preparing the property for a short trip has always been a challenge, but for a 3 month trip, it’s insane. Things like, making sure the tenants were covered in case a sewer pipe breaks ( which actually happened our first month out ), arranging for exterior upkeep so we would be able to find the house when we got back ( if you saw the movie Jumanji, you know what I’m talking about ), organizing the finances to keep the bill collectors at bay, and trying to remember all the other little things you do every month without really thinking about it, becomes a necessity. With this situation, we couldn’t just say ” Oh, it’ll wait a few days until we get home “, we had to make sure we covered our behinds. Also, because we were leaving a few animals, fish, and plants, we had arranged for sitters to stay in the house, which basically means doing a spring cleaning. I don’t want anyone opening a drawer or door and going “oooh, yuk !”, so every little corner and crevice gets a once over, and when you have as many furballs as we have, that once over needs to be done right before you leave. Linens need to be changed, the kitchen and bathrooms cleaned, litter boxes emptied, etc. etc.
On top of that, we had arranged for the house to be termite tented the next day. If you read one of the recent posts, you remember me mentioning some of the things Hawaii doesn’t have, like snakes and rabies. One thing Hawaii does have in spades, is termites. Generally you need to have your house tented every 5 years, but because of the nature of our building structure, the fact that we have tenants on property, the amount of plants and animals in the home, and the momma mia price-tag, it had been 18 years since the last big treatment. When we got a call from one of our tenants a few weeks earlier telling us they were having an epic battle with the termites over their toilet paper, we decided to bite the bullet, and get it done.
Since we had already planned to move the majority of the plants outside for the duration of the trip, and most of the animals were going with us, it made sense to have it done while we were gone. We just had to relocate the rest of the plants and fish ponds, board the remaining animals for a couple of nights, temporarily rehouse the tenants, trim all the shrubbery away from the house, and double bag all the food, medicines, and toiletries. Notice I said ” just”; frick, in addition to everything else, it was monumental. By the time we did all that, and packed 3 months worth of clothes, we were two steps away from moving out altogether.
For all of you not addicted to stress, I’m sure this would be plenty to deal with, but for this junky, apparently it wasn’t quite enough. A few months earlier, in a moment of total insanity, I had decided to put on not one, but four Celebrate Life Events in the first month of travel. I had literally made hundreds of phone calls, and sent hundreds of Emails in the weeks before leaving, and still had the majority of work ahead of me. That meant copying all the computer files relating to the film and the events, and bringing them, along with all my notes, with me.
We had arranged for both our house sitter, and good friend Tom to take us, the 10 animal carriers ( one of the carriers housed two kittens ), the 4 suitcases and 3 carry-ons to the airport, and it took every bit of both vehicles. When they arrived at the agreed upon time, we had gotten everything done that absolutely had to be, but I was a mess. The first thing our sitter said was ” Are you going like that ?”. Needless to say, that wasn’t my plan, so while everything was getting loaded in the cars, I took a luxurious 20 second shower, threw my clothes on, and got back out just as the last carrier was loaded.
On arriving at the airport, Tom thankfully grabbed a skycap knowing that it would have been a lot funnier watching Don & I trying to deal with the 10 or so little airport carts it would have taken to handle our load. As it was, it took 3 of the skycap’s carts to do the job.
I wish I could have taken a picture of the look on check-in agents face when she saw our entourage; guaranteed, she hadn’t seen anything like that before. The first thing she said was that we needed to take all but 2 of the animals to cargo. I calmly explained we had reservations for 9 carriers in baggage, and 1 in the plane with us, to which she replied that I had apparently misunderstood because that was against the airline’s policy. After almost 45 minutes, and numerous calls back and forth to one supervisor after another, we were checked in and on our way to security. This was the step I had already lost sleep over. Since 9-11, when you travel with animals, you have to take them out of their kennel while security gives it a good going over. We had 7 cats, and 3 kittens that had to be taken out of their carriers amidst the hustle and bustle of a busy airport. Needless to say, I had visions of chasing cats all over the terminal. Thankfully, my fears didn’t materialize, and we breathed a huge sigh of relief when that last carrier door was closed.
Once on the plane, a flight attendant headed down the aisle with a stack of the vouchers that tell you your animal has been loaded on the plane. When she got to our seat, she said ” All yours ?”, When we admitted to it, she broke out in a laugh, and then went back to her duties.
A few hours later, we were in Portland, waiting on the curb for the ride that would take us to our RV, the busy day ahead, and the beginning of the Celebrate Life Tour.
Mission Positive Films
The Celebrate Life Tour