Seat 21C, Flight 25, Hawaiian Airlines, Approx. 400 miles East of Honolulu
Yesterday, when I got in from Minneapolis, Tammy, the twins and Tammy's 10-year-old nephew Andrew picked me up. It was raining. "This is what Portland weather is really like," Tammy groaned. But being a man who briefly lived in and loved überwet Hilo, I didn't mind at all.
They dropped me off at Nate and Jaimee's place, where Jaimee was waiting. Nate got home soon after, soaking wet and muttering about buying fenders for his mountain bike. He and I both, by some bizzare coincidence, got exactly zero hours of sleep the previous night, so we celebrated my return with a two-hour nap.
As night fell, Mike and Tammy called to invite us over. They picked us up, we all picked up three cook-at-home pizzas (why that hasn't caught on in Hawaii yet I don't know, although we never got a Boston Market either and now they're going out of business). We got to their place to find the twins, Eri and Deni, scurrying around as two-year-old kids are wont to do, and Andrew pouting in his room (a preadolescent mainstay).
We also met Tammy's niece Laura and, eventually, family friend (and apparent Laura suitor) Mikey. We ate pizza, drank soda, talked politics, lizards, world trade and digital cameras.
I was then introduced to a card game called "The Great Dalmuti," which is a groovy variation of "Rich Man, Poor Man." I was, to be frank, a little slow to catch on, but somehow managed to not come in last (i.e. Greater Peon) every time.
As we determined that I would need to be picked up at 7:30 a.m. to get to the airport, we called it a night early (i.e. before midnight).
We were all exhausted, but Jaimee and I were also restless. And after Nate dragged himself off to bed, she and I had our turn at the all-night chat. I know now we need to keep in better touch, if only to avoid having to talk for an eternity whenever we finally do hook up.
We called it a night a bit after 2 a.m., having covered lots of ground but also leaving a lot sadly unsaid.
As I drifted off to sleep, a thought popped into my mind that I don't think I'll easily shake: I have to visit Portland again, this time with Jen and Katie, once more before the year is up. If all the pieces fall into place, and they just might, some very big changes may be on the horizon.
We all got up at 7 a.m., with me to be picked up a half hour later.
Half an hour later, Mike called to say holiday traffic was slowing him down. I was beginning to have flashbacks to my mad Pittsburgh airport dash.
He called again to let us know he was coming up the road, and we stumbled downstairs to say goodbye and load me into the van. Mike opted to avoid I-5 altogether, taking us through downtown and making a few dizzying turns to catch route 84 to the airport instead.
This time I arrived with a comfortable 40 minutes before departure.
So here I am. We're landing in half an hour. They've just initiated the Department of Agriculture ritual. Mom will graciously be at the airport to pick me up.
Wait. Do we pop out of the regular terminal, or the interisland terminal. Uh oh.
I can't wait to see my family again.
I can't believe I go to work tomorrow.