All for a little blue bag

Let's start at the end. The end of my fabulous NY trip that despite how short it was (and seriously, NY cannot be done "short") - I ate great food and visited great friends. Clearly I need a round two.

But today is about the end of that trip. About my worst airport experience, ever.

I was prepared for it. My friend had just warned me that because of the federal cuts = less air traffic controllers = big time delays in NY.  I took a not-so-cheap cab to the airport just to make sure I arrived on time. This is the part I tell you that one of my bags is carrying my clothes and the other is my carry-on bag (that I am glued to) carrying my camera equipment (subway is not an option). Anyway, I get there on time. And not just on time, but security was not a hassle, and I even had 20 minutes so spare before boarding. I was feeling good! No delays here!


Five minutes before we are set to board the intercom comes on to announce what I was hoping would not be announced: delays. But I have a 2 hour layover in Charlotte. Maybe I'm ok?  Still, those traveling to Phoenix and San Francisco are asked to head to the customer relations counter. The customer service rep then proceeds to tell me that if I want to leave TONIGHT this is my only option:

-Take a cab to another airport 30 minutes away (in rush hour - hope you catch that next flight!)
-Catch direct flight from different airline that they'll set up for me
-Oh, and no we are not responsible for HOW you get to the other airport (i.e. cab fare out of my pocket)

I tried arguing my way into a voucher but had no such luck. FYI, if it's weather or air traffic control related, no one owes you anything. The girl beside me, fortunately, was in the same situation, overheard my interaction and asked if I wanted to split a cab. YES. But first we have to go back and pick up our checked-in bag from the carousel and wait 15 minutes! Awesome.

Our checked-in bag finally gets pulled out and into our hands. We hurry off into a cab, split the fare, rush out of it, into the airport, and to our new counter. I have to pay for ANOTHER checked-in bag but am comforted that the previous airline will be reimbursing me (headache). The security guy helps me with my heavy blue carry-on, I put my laptop bag in, and get through security. I grab my laptop bag and shoes and start booking it to the "shuttle" I have to take across the airport. Ten minutes later I am booking it across the airport when all of a sudden....

I realize I am not rolling my heavy, blue carry-on bag with me. My camera bag.

My heart is about to leap out of my throat and I have the horrible realization that I left my carry-on bag SOMEWHERE in this airport. I know for sure it had to have happened either at security or the shuttle I had to take to my gate.

No, no, no. God please no. This is all I can think after this horrible flight delay. Not my gear. I rush to the first airport worker I see, fighting back tears, I tell him my situation. There is not doubt that there is desperation in my voice and he speaks very comforting to me that I should first tell my gate I am here before I pursue looking for my bag. I run to my gate (oh, I can't even tell you how FAR this gate was on top of having to take a shuttle here) and tell the people at the desk in a very panicked voice. They try calling the people at the shuttle to find out if I left it there and tell me to wait. I try waiting for a few minutes but I just can't. It might be in security and if I keep waiting, I'll probably ALSO miss my flight. I start running back to the shuttle area. When I get there the woman tells me "do NOT take the shuttle. You WILL miss your flight." I say that I won't get on that flight ANYWAY without my carry-on! At this point, I don't care if I miss it ... I just need my bag. The shuttle finally arrives and when I run in, a worker sitting by the driver asks me if I'm the girl looking for her blue bag. "Yes, I am." And halfway into the trip back to security check-in she yells to the back "Hey! They didn't find your bag!"

Oh, thank you for yelling that across the shuttle to me. Thank you. Ale, don't cry. It has to be in security.

I run off the shuttle when we finally get to our stop. I run up to the TSA person and he announces that they have MY BAG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! All the pressure, the exhaustion, the stress - it is all filling up behind my eyes as I've been trying to push it back. Fighting it's way to become tears, I hold them back, grab my bag, thank him profusely and book it back to the shuttle area. I just want to go home now. I run to the counter and ask if there's any way to get a cart to take me back to my gate instead of waiting for the shuttle so I can make my flight. The women at the counter (one of them being the one from the shuttle) just look at me and one says "all you can do is wait. You probably missed your flight." And it's pretty obvious from my face that I'm devastated and as I turn around the other woman mutters: "All for that little blue bag."

[[ Dramatic Pause ]]  Excuse me? I don't have words. In fact, I think I see red but really I only see blur because my tears can't hold back anymore. All I do is turn around to look her in the eye and express so much distaste for her lack of class. Tears start to shove their way past my eyes. I turn back around to walk to the corner and at least give myself a moment to cry. As I do this the woman yells "M'am, just sit down! You can't do anything else!" And I turn back, also yelling throwing my hands up, "I'm not going ANYWHERE!" UGH. I mean, I freaking need a minute to CRY over my "little blue bag" that carried ALL of my equipment worth THOUSANDS that I thought I lost after having to switch AIRPORTS. And YOU have the nerve to say "JUST" for this bag?!  If she only knew. Boy, did I cry. Pretty much hyperventilated because every bit of stress and anxiety I was holding back just crumbled down at that moment.

Phew. Those tears clearly needed their debut. So, the shuttle comes, my puffy eyes and carry-on bag get on in silence, willing that plane to still be there. I text Jose that I have my bag but I might not be home. He has been so good to me throughout this ordeal texting me words of comfort and reassurance. As soon as the shuttle stops, I start running - so uncomfortably with not-made-for-running shoes and heavy bags. I see a man waiting at the edge of my gate and when I see him wave me down, I burst into a faster run of happiness. I'm going home! I'm the last passenger, only making it because of a slight maintenance delay. I get on the plane and sink heavily into my seat, sweating and catching my breath. Let's go home plane.

Jose met me at my gate with flowers. I met him with tired eyes, heavy bags, and 4 cookies from NY. He wrapped me tight, I closed my eyes.. and I smelled home.

Till we are old and gray

Yes.. it's the Notebook but last night was beyond the all-time famous love movie.

Last night my husband and 2 guys surprised the wives with one of the most thoughtful acts of love. They set up an outdoor screening, a fire pit, a table with take-out food, a section for making smores, and surrounded the fire pit with pillows and blankets with the sounds of Sam Cooke filling the backyard.

It all started when he came home from work and he started packing things into a duffel bag. I wasn't allowed downstairs. He yelled upstairs for me to grab some gloves, dress very warm, and bring my kindle if I wanted. I was SO confused.  I will admit I am pretty perceptive so I can sometimes get an idea of what my husband is up to. I was completely stumped at that moment.

THEN we got on the road and we were driving so far! He kept saying "I shouldn't have made our reservations so early!" but the funny thing is that I completely noticed he was wearing his work shirt (polo shirt with the company logo). I knew there was no way we could be going to a restaurant so I was like "what is he up to?!?!"

As we pull up on a street in Chandler, I quickly recognize that we are going to a friend's house. I get out of the car, he hands me a bottle of wine, knocks on the door -- my friend Allison answers -- then he waves and says "you girls have a good time.. I'll see you later!"

Wait. WHAT?!

Allison is laughing and all smiles, so I think she MUST know what's going on. Then she proceeds to tell me that her husband is meeting up with Jose and it dawns on me that this is no longer just Jose and I. YES!! I am one of those people that loves to celebrate things with friends ... not necessarily a very large group, but I'm definitely a person that loves to include others. After 30 minutes of chatting and drinking wine (on an empty stomach which is another story of its own!), our friend Janean rings the doorbell. Her face says it all - utter confusion.

After about an hour, we finally get a text that says we should hit the road and Allison knows our "destination." Uh-huh, way to keep it on the DL Allison! So we get on the road and arrive at Janean's house. I see a huge extension cord plugged near the front door leading to the backyard.  We get inside and our husbands hand us a wine glass and despite my already slight lack of coordination from the earlier 2 glasses, I take it. They escort us outside and my jaw DROPS. The fire is roaring, a huge screen is staring back at us, and the music completely sets the mood.

Dang, guys. Slow dance to Sam Cooke? WHY NOT?! Ryan Gosling who?! I mean, get out of here. This is where I would insert one of those memes that says "LIKE A BOSS." But I'll try and keep it classy around here. I don't know what we did to deserve that much thoughtfulness, but I will sing his praises. I'm beyond blessed to get to wake up looking forward to the life I get to live with Jose at my side. When I'm tangled in his arms and we see the old Ryan Gosling and the old Rachel McAdams' characters on their hospital bed on the screen, he squeezes my hand, and I just know that is exactly where I'm supposed to be. One day those hands will be wrinkly and weathered with time, but they will be together, holding on to a life that we were blessed to share.


And that right there is a page from a book I bought this weekend.

I had just bought this book, and as soon as Jose and I got into the car, I began flipping through it.  In love with it's simplicity, I read the words aloud to Jose.

"She turned her cant's into cans, and her dreams into plans."
"She not only saw a light at the end of the tunnel, she became that light for others."
"She colored her thoughts with only the brightest hues."

And oh God.  The tears.  They started to form.  On our way to the Honda dealership to pick up my car from getting an oil change, I had this pink book in my lap and a world of thoughts rushed through me.  I turned to Jose.  This is me.  Every bit of it!  Jose smiled at me and said "I know."  And then I got even MORE emotional.  I feel like if we had a little girl, I would give her this book when she was old enough to understand and say, baby... this is your mom.  This is how she dreamed and lived. 

I imagine moments in life like trailers.  Movie trailers.  Visuals that in a matter of 2 minutes tell you a story and typically make you feel something.  This book created a trailer of words that described me to the core.  Things I wish to be, things I already am, things I believe in.  I imagined my kid flipping through the book and making up adventures in her head of her mom.  Running with no reservations, and dreaming - sometimes foolishly, but always courageously.  A courageous, stubborn loving fool :)

The kind of woman I wanted to be

I can't believe it.  In about 4 weeks... I leave for  A R G E N T I N A.  Argentina!  My dad is from Uruguay, so we will also make a short stop in Uruguay to visit family.

And of course, what would a trip be without me randomly searching for artists on Facebook that live in Argentina or Uruguay that I could collaborate with?!  I mean, it will be that or me slipping into a tango studio and asking a pair of dancers to let me film them :)  AHHH.  How AMAZING would it be to film tango dancers?!  I need to make it happen.

We are going to be gone a majority of December and the challenging part is that the New Year will be here in an instant when we get back.  The New Year will bring about changes to my business.  I posted that quote up there because it is further pushing me to be specific in my business.  To start letting go of things I like so I can do things I long and ache for.  I posted that quote because I want my clients to feel that way -- that they may not always "have it together" but they KNOW the kind of woman they want to be and FEEL like.

I guess this is courage... like the saying that courage is simply one step ahead of fear.  Because I have NO idea what next year will be like so you better believe fear is right at my heels.  I'm just squeezing my eyes shut, pinching my nose, and jumping into something.  And when I come up for air, I hope to see you there :)