aloha, part 1
At the end of the first week of 2017, Brandon and I boarded a plane and left to meet his family for a week in Maui.
SPOILER ALERT: we made it, but not without drama. Our trip coincided with North Carolina's version of a "blizzard," wherein schools get canceled three days ahead of any predicted snow, people literally go to the store to literally buy literal bread and milk (GET WINE, YOU FOOLS) and everyone freaks out and talks about nothing else for days. As a reporter this is annoying, because every time it snows all I do for a week is write and report about the fact it's going to snow or has snowed or might snow and shoot me now (in the snow, if you must). As a Midwesterner, it's equal parts funny and infuriating, but the longer I live here, really, the more annoying it becomes. The scales really tipped that way this year as the forecasts continued to get worse, and our Saturday morning flight was canceled - on Thursday night, an entire day before any snow was predicted to start falling.
Over the next 24 hours we were booked and rebooked on eight different itineraries. The final one had us leaving Greensboro on a 4:30 p.m. flight on Friday, which kept getting delayed and then undelayed until finally being pushed back for real to 7 p.m. Brandon and I had not planned to leave until Saturday morning and had to scramble to leave work early, drop Maisy off at her foster mom's, and pack in time to make it to the airport. (OK but really Brandon took care of most of that, while I sat on the floor of our bedroom in a packing meltdown, surrounded by open suitcases and piles of clothes. I have never had a packing meltdown before and never really understood them but lo, I get it now. I THOUGHT I HAD AN ENTIRE DAY TO PACK, Y'ALL.)
Anyway once we got to the airport (which was easy, because it was barely snowing), it was fine. Our flight left a little behind schedule, but our flight attendant made up for it by buying a round of drinks for the entire cabin. We spent the night at a hotel by LaGuardia so we could catch a 6 a.m. flight out on Saturday. The Comfort Inn in Queens had a good Yelp rating and was described by one reviewer as "romantic," which we really understood when we got there and saw the view.
Brandon was 100 percent convinced that the room would be haunted. His protective man-mode kicked in, by which I mean he made me sleep on the side of the bed closest to the window so that spirits in search of a body to possess would find mine first. #blessed
We made it to Dallas and got on our direct flight to Maui, an 8.5-hour trip on a plane from 1979 with no individual screens or power outlets. The safety video mentioned something about charging ports so I flagged down a flight attendant and asked if she could show us where they were.
"Oh, did you bring your AC power adapter car charger?" she asked me, blinking innocently.
I stared at her. She blinked.
".....No?" I finally said. "Because it's....2017?"
She looked around the cabin for a minute and then shrugged. "It doesn't matter anyway, the closest outlet is four seats behind you and in the ceiling."
Shortly after we took off I realized that I had lost my (nice, expensive) headphones somewhere between LaGuardia and Dallas. I felt really badly about it, both because I hate it when I do things like that and because the flight was very long and now I would have nothing to do for any of it. Brandon asked a flight attendant if they had any spare pairs on board - there weren't individual screens, but there were a few cathode-ray tube TVs hanging in the middle of the plane that you could watch if you felt like contorting yourself into a triangle - but OF COURSE THEY DID NOT HAVE SPARE HEADPHONES! So with nothing to watch or listen to I spent the entire eight-hour flight reading, enduring endless turbulence, and poking Brandon in the arm because he had working headphones and a tablet he did not want to share with me.
The only good thing about the plane was the 15-ounce bottle of chardonnay that Brandon bought for me after we realized that on top of everything, American Airlines knew but did not care that I am gluten-free and so had nothing for me to eat. I almost started crying at that point - I was so bored and hungry and so, so tired but couldn't sleep because of the turbulence - but that sweet husband of mine pulled out his credit card to buy me some booze and that stopped my tears before they could fall.
The flight attendant pulled the wine out and set it in front of me with a plastic cup.
"Do you want another glass?" she asked.
"Yeah, no," I replied, and then considered drinking it straight from the bottle in front of her. (I did not do this.)
Most of the flight was spent either bumping on top of or inside of clouds, so for a long time there wasn't much to look at.
But eventually the clouds cleared. First, there was ocean.
And then there were mountains.
And then, blissfully, islands. Beautiful, wonderful islands.
I am an avid fan of the Brady Bunch so I was very excited to land at the airport, have a lei draped around my neck, find a random tiki statue on the ground and get cursed by it and then go to a luau. (You know, the usual.) Tragically and unexpectedly, none of this happened, but we did find Brandon's family at the airport right away which was almost as good. Then we checked into the exceedingly ridiculous Grand Wailea, GOT LEIS, and found food, and then Brandon and I went to bed and slept for 12 hours and woke up to the sound of the ocean outside of our room.
The moral of the story here, I think, is that if you live in the South and it might snow in the next 48 hours you should get on a plane and go to Hawaii, even if you have to rearrange your life to do it and even if that plane is from the 70s. Will be worth it, can confirm.