Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The (Almost) Horrible Event

I was standing at the podium of gate 12 at San Jose International Airport talking to a ticketing agent when it happened. My eyes quickly flitted down to my hands and I immediately noticed the terrible thing. The horrible, unthinkable, instant urge-to-throw-up thing. My left ring finger was missing something very important...

My wedding ring was gone. Just plain not there anymore. Poof.


It had been fitting loose for weeks. Like, really loose. I kept thinking, "Gee Patty, maybe you should take it off until you get it resized so you don't lose it... Nah, I'll just be careful." I failed miserably at being careful.

I lost it at the beginning of a loooong, nightmarish day of traveling to Maryland. My initial 6am flight had maintenance issues resulting in us passengers boarding and de-boarding several times. I was sure the ring was on my finger the first time I got on the plane. SURE of it. The lady sitting next to me said she was sure she noticed the ring when we first sat down. By the time I had de-boarded, walked 30 feet in a circle around the gate area and gotten to the gate agent, it was missing.

PANIC!! I started frantically searching around the gate area, retracing every step I had taken. I walked up and down the jet-way scouring every nook and cranny to see where I could have dropped it. With the help of my airplane-neighbors, I disassembled an entire row of seats looking for where it could have fallen. I had security run my bags through the x-ray machines again to see if the ring would magically present itself. I crawled through the gate area on my hands and knees looking under each chair. I'm sure I looked like a certifiable crazy lady (although that was the least of my concerns). This was the first time I was GLAD to have a flight be delayed 3 hours so that I could keep searching. And searching. And searching.

By the time our flight was ready to go, I had to admit defeat. The ring was gone. Picked up by someone who found it, swept into some hidden, unknowable corner of the universe, fallen through the teeny tiny hole between the plane and the jet-way and run over by an airplane, who knows. Just gone. Thanks to even more flight delays throughout the rest of the day, I had 13 long hours to sit and think about the fact that I had lost my (uninsured) wedding ring- days before my husband deployed. Awesome timing.

Corey's a saint, so he wasn't all that upset when he finally picked me up at the airport late that night. We mourned the loss of the ring he proposed with and spent hours days picking out on his own, the ring that saw us through the last 4 years of our relationship. We also mourned the loss of thousands of dollars (Ring insurance. I guess it's kind of important after all...). Then we brushed ourselves off, decided we'd maybe think about getting a new one next year, had a perfect weekend together and put the horrible event behind us.


A week later, my mom suddenly called out my name from the other side of the house in a very urgent, disconcerting tone. I wondered what could possibly be the matter until she burst into my room exclaiming, "Patty, what is this?!" In her wonderful, wonderful hand was... MY RING! After minutes of bouncing up and down, squealing like a school-girl and general jubilation, I calmed down enough to ask where she found it. The answer? At the bottom of her purse.

Now, how in this strange, strange world my wedding ring ended up in the bottom of my mom's purse will forever be a mystery to me. First of all, the woman sitting next to me on the airplane and I were apparently both hallucinating when we swore up and down the ring was on my finger the first time on the plane. Second, I couldn't even tell you what my mom's purse looks like. I've had no occasion to go into her purse since I've been here and can't fathom any reason I would have handled anything in there.

That leads me to 4 possible conclusions:
1. My mom stole my ring for a week. Motivation? Drama. She's not teaching this summer and got bored. Unlikely perhaps, but how well can you really know a person? I'll have to keep a very close eye on her from here on out.
2. I did drop my ring at the airport, and someone picked it up planning to steal it. Then this person had a change of heart after seeing a panic-stricken lady crawling around the terminal for hours trying to find her beloved ring. This person then either hacked into the airport computers to find my information or found my baggage tag with my info on it. In an attempt to mask his or her thievery, he or she stalked my mom until it was possible to slip the ring into her purse without her noticing. I mean really, how could this not be what happened, right? ...
3. This is all a dream. I haven't actually found my ring yet. Maybe I never lost it. Maybe I'm not married or haven't even met Corey and I'll wake up as a 12 year-old having dreamed up my whole life.
4. The ring fell off my finger while I was hugging my mom saying goodbye at the airport when she dropped me off, and it just by chance happened to fall into her open purse.

I guess we'll never know.

Anyway, all that matters is that the ring is back on my finger where it belongs. The whole time it was missing, I kept telling myself how silly it was to be so upset. It's just a thing. Things can be replaced. I don't need to wear a ring while we're separated in order to feel the strength of our marriage. I know these things logically, but I guess I've grown more attached to this particular object than I had realized. Maybe I'm overly sentimental and/or materialistic, but I love this ring. I'm so, so, SO ecstatic to have it back.

It is now resized, soon-to-be-insured, and resting firmly on my finger. And there it shall stay.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

One Last Weekend in Maryland

I didn't mean to go to Maryland. I just couldn't hold out.

We knew Corey was going to spend some time on the East Coast doing some training before officially leaving for his deployment and had decided that we'd just say our goodbyes in Japan since schedules and things were so uncertain. Then a week and a half after I got to CA we changed our minds, and I booked a quick ticket out to Maryland to see my better half one last time. I'm glad I did! We had a completely wonderful weekend (although it was slightly tainted by a dreadful event on the flight out, which I assure you I'll come back to explain soon).

We started things off with a good old-fashioned date night, complete with dinner and a movie (not just any movie, but Harry Potter). Good stuff! The next day we spent in Baltimore. We went to the Baltimore Harbor to walk around and have lunch before our scheduled ticket time to get in the National Aquarium.

The National Aquarium kind of... sucks. Living in rural farm country has made me forget the pains of stifling hoards of tourist crowds. It really makes going to places like this completely pointless. There's no room to walk around freely anywhere; the entire visit is comprised of one long, slow-moving cattle line of people inching its collective way through the exhibits, and you pretty much can't see anything unless you want to get all aquarium-macho and fight your way to the outer edge. Here, if that experience isn't enough, you can also go to the "4d" movie where you get sprayed in the face with water and have sticky soap suds dropped on you. I guess it wasn't all bad though- I did get to take some pictures, and we had fun being together despite the crowds.

That evening we decided to go to an Oriole's game. It's been years since I've been to a baseball game, and I had a lot of fun. We knew nothing whatsoever about the team, so we just picked random names of the players we were going to cheer for. We started out wanting to root for Koji Uehara (just because he had a Japanese name), but when we discovered he was a pitcher and not playing, we settled on Pie (because his name is Pie and pie is delicious). Our love for him was diminished after realizing it's pronounced Pee-ay, and then we gave up on rooting for individual players and just ate hot dogs, drank beer, and had fun watching.

The next day we went to Six Flags. We rode roller coasters like we were teenyboppers... until the headaches and tummy aches started, and the blazing sun fried us into submission in every line, and I was more interested in sunscreen application and the unthinkable calories in park food than in getting soaked on the rapids, and we realized we're pushing 30 and maybe we shouldn't be going to theme parks anymore. We'll see if that stops us next time... :)

Before we knew it, it was time for me to fly back to CA. It was such a fun, perfect last weekend together! Now onto our separate adventures for a while... (Speaking of, I think Corey might actually keep up his blog a bit during these coming months since he'll be having his own stories to tell. If you're interested in his adventures, check them out here!)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Castle Rock Hike

Yikes, I'm getting behind in my blogging. There are several topics I meant to post about, but it's not so fun to do it catch-up style so I think I'll just skip them. Today I'll go back to a hike I took with my friend Kristan ("Stanley" to me) last week.

We went to Castle Rock state park, which is maybe only a 20 minute drive or so from Santa Clara. Nice and close, yet a very fun and beautiful place! It's great for rock climbing, just as an fyi to anyone who might be into that.

The little trail we took was a 4 or 5 mile loop and led to some really great views. The weather was good enough (meaning not deathly hot which is all I can ask for this time of year).

It was great to spend time with Stanners and get outside. Good practice for all the hiking we plan to do on our upcoming Grand Canyon road trip!

Friday, July 8, 2011

An Unexpected Hawaiian Vacation

Through the magic of military Space-A travel (more on that later), I found myself on Oahu immediately following my departure from Misawa. Score!

We have some truly wonderful friends who live on the island and they were kind and generous enough to let me crash with them and show me a good time while I soaked up some Hawaiian sun for a few days.

Beaches. Mountains. Pink sunsets. Tropical drinks. Hiking. Swimming. Guava-Chiffon Pancakes. Good friends. Need I say more?

Taken on a hike before losing our trail and getting lost on the mountain side for a good hour. That was a fun adventure! :)

I can't get enough of that perfect blue water!

Eventually I had to say goodbye and make my way to the mainland. My last-minute plane ticket took me on a 6-hour layover to the Big Island. That didn't give me enough time to check out any volcano activity, so I spent most of it walking along the cutesy touristy shops lining Kailua Bay and taking photos/relaxing on the beach. My glimpse of the island was just enough to ensure that I'll have to come back some day soon!

According to my taxi driver, this whole area was closed for 3 weeks after the Japan-earthquake tsunami hit this side of the island. Yet another reminder...

This is a view of the fields of lava rock while flying into Kona airport. The black lava rock all over the island is so cool!

Sad as I was to leave paradise, I got a little misty-eyed on the plane to San Jose as the pilot announced that he could see the shining lights of the California coastline ahead. Home. It's good to be back!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I blog to you now live from San Jose, California! For anyone who might not know, this will be my home-base for the coming months as Corey serves a deployment on the opposite side of the world. That means the Japan adventure stories will be on hold until early next year, but in their place will (hopefully) be accounts of many different kinds of adventures as I try to take full advantage of these coming months with complete freedom to travel, take fun classes, spend time with friends and family, and follow in whatever direction the wind blows me. Look for upcoming posts and pictures of Hawaii, the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Northwest, a yet-to-be-determined European destination, Costa Rica, and who knows what else. Should be good stuff!

And for anyone overly worried about my poor husband, know that he'll likely be having plenty of awesome adventures of his own and won't be in any significant danger. And without knowing exactly what I am or am not allowed to share about the subject, I'll leave it at that.

I'm sure we'll be back to our normal lives in Japan before we know it, but until then- enjoy a different part of the world according to Patty!