Friday, March 22, 2013
The previous owners of our house had three small boys. After we moved in, we would occasionally find small pieces of toys - under the fridge, behind cabinets, etc. One of the things I found after we moved in was a piece to a magnetic U.S. map puzzle. Did you have one of those U.S.A. puzzles when you were a kid? I did, though mine was wooden. And I seem to remember that there was always a piece missing and that piece was always Hawaii.
The puzzle piece I found in our new house in the back of a drawer in 2008 was Hawaii. Hawaii! I thought. I'd like to go there, particularly in the dead of winter when I'm cold and miserable. I stuck the Hawaii puzzle piece on our fridge as a subliminal message to Larry. Maybe if he sees this puzzle piece on the fridge every day, someday he'll get the hint and take me there...
Now it's no secret I hate winter, and my favorite technique for surviving it is to escape to somewhere warm...somewhere with beaches and palm trees and fruity drinks topped with pineapple wedges. Unfortunately, winter travel to tropical islands doesn't happen on the regular for me. I go to Florida every few years. Larry and I have traveled to a handful of Caribbean islands. We took a cruise with a group of friends years ago. But there are stretches of 2-3 years where I must suffer through snow, sleet, and the dreaded DC wintry mix, without the relief of sunshine and sand.
This year, I got lucky though. *Spoiler alert*: we went to Hawaii for two weeks and while we were there, we got married. The end of the story is now public, but let's start this tale from the beginning:
It all started back in January. We were recovering from the holidays, and list-maker that I am, I was planning out what my goals and resolutions for 2013 would be. Larry had an upcoming two week business trip to Asia planned for early February and I was thinking about how I'd spend my time while I was temporarily single: meeting girlfriends for cocktails, finishing some house projects, etc. Towards the end of the month after we had returned from our weekend cabin getaway, I could feel winter slump setting in.
Then some news: Larry's trip to Asia had been cancelled.
Then some better news: He had a business trip to Hawaii instead! Next month!
My response: I'm going, too!
No way, no how was Larry taking a trip to Hawaii without me!
I was cautiously excited. Larry's business trips get cancelled/changed/postponed all the time and are always planned at the last minute. While his company may not mind that buying a plane ticket four days before departure jacks the price up seventeen times (the cost of doing business, I suppose), I prefer to plan ahead of time to get the best possible deal.
I started researching anyway and looking into accommodations in Hawaii, knowing that it was going to be difficult to find a place to stay with such short notice. I e-mailed over a dozen owners of rental properties - they were all full during the time we thought we'd be on the island, and I still couldn't book since the dates of Larry's business travel were still tentative. I will say that everyone I e-mailed was so friendly (Why wouldn't they be? They live in Hawaii!) and even forwarded my request to other rental owners in the area. But I was getting worried that we wouldn't be able to find a place to stay. We even looked into renting a VW Westy and campervanning it around the island (an idea that we decided against since we would be traveling with a ton of stuff for both business and pleasure - including Larry's computer, etc, which we were worried might be stolen out of a camper).
On February 6th, Larry got authorization to book the business trip and we bought our plane tickets and reserved a hotel for the first week of our trip (when Larry would be in meetings).
On February 9th, I finally found a rental apartment and we booked it for the second week (the week we would be on vacation). Our departure date was 14 days away. Whew!
After the accommodations were made, we joked "Hey, we should just get married while we're over there."
Ha ha, we laughed it off. After almost ten years together, why would we rush into things now?
I told my small business group about our trip. "Hey, you guys should get married in Hawaii!" they said.
Ha ha, I laughed. We've already joked about that.
Some time during the week before our departure, Larry and I both independently googled what it would take to get married in Hawaii. Just out of curiosity. We both confessed to each other at dinner that night.
"We could really do this", we thought. Ha ha. No, not us!
Wait a minute, but we really could do this.
Can we *really* do this?
Why wouldn't we do this?!
Suddenly, we realized an amazing opportunity had fallen into our laps...it was like a missing puzzle piece had been found! Who knew that the puzzle piece that had been stuck to our fridge was a solution that had been staring us in the face for nearly five years? Getting married in Hawaii would solve our desire to avoid the stress of planning a traditional wedding. It would allow us to get married somewhere breathtakingly beautiful without putting the pressure on friends and family to spend a lot of money traveling to a destination wedding. It would be easy and simple. It would save us a lot of money. And it would be the solution to a significant roadblock that had kept us from getting married for years: certain family members don't travel and we always worried that one of our families would be left out and not attend if we had a traditional wedding. If we took the guest component out of the wedding, then we wouldn't be leaving anyone out. The more we thought about it, the more perfect eloping to Hawaii seemed for us.
But, COULD I REALLY PLAN A WEDDING IN THE WEEK BEFORE OUR DEPARTURE? And without telling a soul?
To be continued...