Thursday, April 11, 2013

Moving Day

Aloha from Hawaii!
Before I get into the details of our journey from Las Vegas to Oahu, I just want to thank everyone who has been incredibly supportive of me during this very emotional and exciting time. I feel so badly about not getting to see most of my Vegas friends one more time before I left, but those two weeks went by insanely fast! I don't know when we'll be back to Vegas (most likely not this year), but I will definitely give more notice when we do. Meanwhile, I really hope to use this blog and Facebook to keep in touch with everyone.

Wednesday morning I woke up at 3:30am and could not get back to sleep. I was feeling so many emotions; excitement, sadness, worry, anticipation. My dad, the cats and I left for the airport at 6am to be there in plenty of time for my 9am flight. At the Hawaiian Airlines ticket counter, I got moved to the First Class check in line due to my "special" baggage. It was then that we found out the flight was delayed about 2 1/2 hours. The agent offered to check my bags and check the cats in for the flight, but then we could leave and come back around 10am to hand the cats over to TSA. We opted to keep them with us, but not drive all the way home, just to be safe. My dad and I found a quiet corner of the terminal and I put the cats facing each other in hopes it would comfort and calm them. I would have loved to take them out of their crates, but it wasn't safe and probably not allowed in the airport. It was nice to have that extra couple of hours to just chat with my dad and not have to rush our goodbyes.  
At 10am we went back to Hawaiian Air's ticketing counter and they escorted us to TSA so the cat carriers could be inspected. At that point, I did get to take them out and hold them. For all his meowing, Chubbs did NOT want to come out of his crate. Poor boy was shaking and meowing while I held him. On the other hand, Evie the Explorer walked right out when I opened her crate. She was squirming to get away and tried to get free while I was putting her away. After the inspection, I said my goodbyes and had to leave them with the airline employees. I double checked that the area they would be kept was temperature and pressure controlled and they assured me it would be. They also confirmed that the pilot was already aware of his special passengers. It was really hard for me to say goodbye to them, knowing how scared and confused they probably were and how long of a journey we still had. Once the cats were checked in, my dad and I said our goodbyes and I headed to my gate.  

Despite my concern for my Chubbs and Evie, I did enjoy my flight. The airline served a complimentary breakfast/snack of fresh fruit, crackers, cheese, juice and chocolate covered macadamia nuts. They later passed out drinks and a bag of Maui Onion chips. They were even offering a free rum punch cocktail to the adults, but I'm not sure if that's usual or if they were trying to apologize for our delay. The seats had built in screens and I watched a short Hawaiian documentary called "Listen To The Forest". Other than that, I stared out the window, amazed at how cool everything looks from 36,000 feet. When Oahu came into site, I got really emotional. The whole thing felt surreal.
The flight was a little over 5 hours and we arrived in Hawaii at 2:30pm. I gathered up all my bags, hopped on a shuttle and headed to pick up my rental car. The shuttle driver gave me directions on how to drive back to the Animal Quarantine Center to get the cats, but I got confused and ended up parking at the airport. As I was trying to find my way there, I got a call from Animal Quarantine asking if I was still planning on picking them up that day. I said yes and took that as a positive sign that all the paperwork was correct and they wouldn't be in quarantine at all! Once they brought the cats out, I started crying. I cannot explain how stressful this aspect of the move was for me, although my family and Mike have a pretty good idea. It would have been tough financially, but even more, I couldn't bear the thought of them being confined in kennels for four months after all they'd already been through. Seeing that they were safe was such a relief, I kind of lost it. 
Everything went smoothly on our drive to the house. There was some traffic leaving Honolulu, but I've seen much worse in Vegas. The cats were totally quiet during the ride home. Poor things had been in their crates about 11 hours at that point and they were not happy. I called Mike (hands free) on the way and he stayed on the phone with me during the entire drive. I only got a tiny bit lost at the very end, which might be a record for me when going new places. I set the cats free as soon as we were inside. Chubbs timidly crept out and looked for the nearest hiding place, while Evie charged ahead in her typical fearless style. I spent the evening checking out the house, slightly unpacking and talking to my dad and Mike. I couldn't find the energy to go to the grocery store, so I ate my leftover airplane snacks for dinner. By 9pm, all three of us were passed out on the bed and I don't think I've ever slept so hard.

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