Kidnapped, Grounded, and What About Shoes?

22 April 2014
“Prepare to be impulsive, I have a plan.”  This was the text I sent to Mark a week or two ago – yes, he needs to prepare for spontaneity.  It works best that way… With plenty of time to sit at the hairdressers, I was contemplating what I could do to help my sweet husband decrease his stress.  Jackie was encouraging me to just kidnap him and get away for a couple of days.  Fun?  Yes.  Also a lot of work, and we would have to spend a day or two just adjusting to the shock it would give him.  So… I decided to give him some advance notice.  A couple of hours later he was ready to hear my plan… I proposed a quick trip to use up a few more of our airline miles – I had been searching during my hair appointment and found a direct flight from Portland to Kauai.  I found a Marriott (hotel points) that was away from the crowds… so after he had a little time to think it over, I was prepared to run in to my computer and make the arrangements – all in time for me to leave town and go to Tennessee.

Kalalau Trail – it was so hot
I was down to my
last layer very quickly…

Getaway times… hard to find – but his work always slows down after April 15 and the kids had no school on the 18th.  Jackie agreed to drive – she is just getting back behind the wheel and is wary.  Mark had put together a boy scout campout for the weekend, but there are plenty of capable men who were able to step up.   He was already going to be gone (camping) on Saturday when a small army of men were planning to come and chop wood at our house; and it wasn’t until later that I realized I should have been home or organized the girls to have refreshments ready for them (oops).  The bigger oops was Easter –who put it on the 20th?  I had no idea – we had to laugh on Saturday… what kind of parents go off and leave their kids on Easter?  Parents who need to think only about each other for a couple of days.
Great times together.  Kauai is beautiful, we were both in awe.  We love being together and agree that no one else would ever want to vacation with us… we just have our own kind of fun.  Primarily that meant hiking and “yelping” good places to eat.  Mark was not allowed to bring any form of technology… it took about a day for him to stop worrying about that!  I brought phone/iPad along for emergency texts from kids, GPS, and Yelp!  We love to find little hole-in-the-wall places with great food.  Our favorite this time around was a little taco truck selling Al Pastor tacos – we both agreed they are the tastiest we have ever had.  That is really saying something because we have been on the hunt for excellent street tacos for about 25+ years.  Hmmm, I should blog about our street taco experiences sometime.

Tacos Al Pastor
just needed pineapple/cilantro

The most important part of choosing these dates to get away is that Natalie’s neurosurgeon appointment is on Wednesday, April 23rd.  Hovering for weeks, it is finally time to learn what is in store for our daughter.  The plan?  We have no idea.  As simple as “Let’s watch the brain lesion for a couple more months,” perhaps a simple surgery, maybe a complicated surgery followed by chemotherapy???  We just do not know.  There is simply no basis for us to feel worry or relief until we talk to the surgeon.   No answers, but an always hovering anxiety.
Ah, well, Kauai was beautiful and we had few worries.  So nice.  Well – for the record – I will just say that there was another worry which popped up the evening before we left.  Some lab results came back (for someone else) – that are not too great… but as usual, we cannot worry until we are told there is a reason… so for now we will just concentrate on mysterious brain lesions.
The title of my blog today says “Grounded” and this refers to me.  I have successfully emptied out all of our airline miles and hotel points.  There will be no travel for me for quite some time… and that is excellent news.  It is out of my system for the time being and nothing sounds more wonderful than sleeping in my own bed and hanging out with the kids every night.  I love being home.  Truth be told… I didn’t have quite enough hotel points for Kauai and thought that was fine until the old Price-of-Food-in-Hawaii Shockwave hit me… so I guess I am just plain grounded from everything for awhile.

Green Topsiders for travel

What about shoes?  I am the queen of practical, comfortable, don’t-draw-attention-to-myself shoes.  It is always a shock to walk into an airport and see the myriads of ladies who do not agree with me on this point – who would travel in bling-encrusted 4 inch heels?  I just don’t get it.  Initially I got those old feelings of “Yikes!  Here I am again looking like I just rolled off the farm.”  There is, however, advice I give my daughters when they have to go to youth camps, dances, etc.  There will always be girls and women who stand out and intimidate the rest of us; but look around and find out that most people are very normal, just like us.  It helps.  Besides, I would rather be in the normal crowd (even if we are hayseeds) – they seem so much more friendly.  One of those oft-repeated life lessons.  The lesson that invariably coincides is this; most of those intimidating women actually turn out to be wonderful friends.

What a bargain??

Another lesson I learn over and over (should learn over and over) is to wear the right shoes for the occasion.  I knew we would be hiking, but I also wanted to travel light so that we could carry-on our bags (a surprise for Mark).  As a result, I figured I would leave my tennis shoes at home (crazy! I take them everywhere) and just bring the Teva sandals.  I had no idea that hiking on Kauai would involve such steep and slippery slopes.  It seriously took us four hours to go four miles!  I was using a walking stick and battling a blister by the time we came off the mountain.  That night our GPS failed us as we tried to find a shoe store (I thought I could pick up some new shoes and then give them to a daughter).  Instead we ended up at Costco and they were clearing out some men’s running shoes for just $16.88.  The smallest pair was still a size too large, but we took them.  I felt like Bozo the Clown on our next hike, but David was pleased to get a new pair of shoes for a souvenir.

 

Well, I left my computer to drive my children around this afternoon.  I have many more thoughts on shoes, Yelp, Kauai, and traveling with my favorite person… but that will have to wait.  The good news from it all is that when Mark took his bloood pressure each day it was 120/80’s.  Maybe we should move?

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