Monday, September 05, 2011

Adventures In Flying And Other Stuff

So last week I flew home to visit my husband (isn't that sad? - I visit my husband. Since we have been married, we have actually spent more time apart than together because of our jobs.)

I got to the airport an hour before my flight, which is pretty typical of me. I parked my car in the economy lot, and the driver of the shuttle was kind enough to wait as I ran to catch the shuttle. I was surprised that the airport was so busy. It usually isn't (at least when I fly). There was quite a line at security, and I worried a bit because it was moving quite slowly.

One of the reasons the airport was so busy that morning was that there was a huge crop of LDS missionaries heading out on their missions to who knows how many different destinations. As I looked at them, I thought, "My gosh! They're so young! They're just babies - practically fetuses." My next thought was "Was I really that young when I went?" Yes, I was.

I watched these missionaries and saw their expressions of excitement, enthusiasm, fear, confusion, anxiousness, naivety, and determination and remembered well feeling all of those feelings myself when I took off for a strange land 19 years ago.

I loved my mission. I really did. I thought of all the cool places these young men and women must be going to and secretly wished for them that their missions would be as good of an experience for them as mine was for me. I also wanted to tell each one of them to remember that it's about people, not about numbers, and that even if you don't bring someone into the church, you can't consider that a failure. If you're bringing people closer to God or Christ or love or making their lives better in some small way, I consider that a great success.

I had many successes on my own mission, and that didn't necessarily mean baptisms. While I did have some, I only know of one, for sure, who has remained active and strong in the church. The others may have, too, but I have lost track of them. I know one, for sure, who went inactive (he was my first baptism, and actually went inactive before my mission even ended). Although, who knows where he is today.

But I have friendships from my mission that still endure. I have two very good friends who never joined the LDS Church and are pretty much agnostic, but they are two of the best people I know, and I am grateful they are still a part of my life. I have one friend who left the church, but our friendship has remained strong. I have many friends who are still active (who were members when I was a missionary) who I still keep in touch with. I think of other people I met on my mission who touched my life and people whose lives I believe I touched for the better. I am grateful.

I caught my flight, and it left on time. I asked a man if the window seat next to him was taken. He responded, "No," and then continued with, "We love Jessica. we feel very lucky to have her in our law firm, and it's a good thing that Bill Johnson doesn't know how to run a law firm or we never would have gotten her." I was momentarily confused because it seemed he was talking to me. I then assumed we was talking on a bluetooth phone or something, but he wasn't. But he just kept prattling on, and finally I realized he was having a conversation with a woman across the aisle. He later fell asleep and woke up with a start and asked me if the flight attendant had brought coffee by yet. He was very relieved when I said she hadn't.

I love flying. Jonah's not a fan. It scares him. But I love it! I always sit next to the window because I love watching the world get smaller as we rise higher and seeing things from a different perspective. I'm also continually amazed by the miracle of flight itself; that this huge 60-or-so ton behemoth of metal can actually go fast enough to become airborne. It's amazing to me.

I actually didn't look out the window much on this trip because I was busy with my Soduko puzzle (which was supposedly easy, but I managed to screw up royally), and I actually regretted not giving more time to the appreciation of flight like I normally do.

My least favorite part of flight is landing. Taking off I love, but that moment of anticipation when you haven't landed yet, but you're about to hit the pavement always makes me anxious. It's not that I'm afraid of crashing or anything; I rarely even think or worry about that. I'm just always concerned that the landing will be rougher than I am prepared for, and I never know until it actually happens. This pilot's landing was very smooth.

My trip home was way too short. We just had our floors recarpeted, and Jonah needed help moving stuff, which we just didn't have time to fully do. Jonah also had me put some puzzles together for him for a craft project he was doing, and that was fun because I enjoy puzzles. They were 3-D puzzles, though, and were a bit more challenging. Still, they turned out well.

Jonah and I also had opportunities to be intimate, which I have greatly missed. I told him we didn't have to if he was afraid of contracting scabies (read two posts earlier), but, happily, he risked it.

It was also so nice to see our three cats, particularly the one who is most attached to me and ran immediately into my arms when I came home and slept by my side the two nights I was home.

I also had a chance to go to a favorite eatery which is not available in Utah. they have the best sandwiches. That was nice. It was just nice to spend time with Jonah. Happily, my job ends soon, and I will be home for at least a month and a half, depending on if I get a part in a show I am auditioning for soon. It will be nice to be home for a bit, and Jonah and I will be going to Gay Days at Disneyland with two of my college friends, so we're looking forward to that.

My flight home was good. The airport was not busy at all (unlike Salt Lake had been), and there was barely a line at security (although please tell me WHY the lady in front of us waited until she was at the security desk to get out her ID. You know you're going to have to show your boarding pass and ID. Why not get them out before you even get in line instead of hemming and hawing and fishing for it while the seven of us behind you wait for you to do it? Argghhh!)

As someone who flies frequently, I can tell you that I take everything out of my pants and put them in a special pocket in my carry-on (the only bag I take with me most trips) before I even get in line. I have my boarding pass and ID at the ready, and as soon as I get past the security guard that checks my ID, I whip my shoes and belt off, pull out my Ziploc bag of approved liquids, and put them and my bag in those bins, and I go through the scanner worry-free, and I'm ready to go on to my gate. These people that futz and fuss with their shoes and IDs and don't know how to pack (or what to pack) in their carry-ons give me angst. There are plenty of signs around the security area telling you what you are in for, and all the information you need to know about security procedures is online for each airport, so do some preparation, people! It will make all of our lives easier and make the line move faster.

As this one lady was fishing around for her ID, the very-in-a-hurry businessman behind me muttered something I don't care to repeat here. I did not blame him for his aggravation, but wish he had picked a different phrase to express it. When one of the security guards tried to lighten the mood by saying, "It doesn't matter what line you pick, it always seems to be the wrong one, huh?" the businessman gave a sneering look at the woman holding up the line and said, "Yeah, but this one seems to have a stop light!"

Anyway, once I got through security, I had plenty of time before my flight left (again on time). This time I did gaze out the window as I watched in wonder the shrinking city beneath us.

Flying always makes me appreciate how small and insignificant we seem from a distance and how God is able to keep track of each one of us and knows each one of our hearts and souls and problems and needs intimately. It astounds me. I love seeing the world in a completely different way, too. Flying somehow makes me feel closer to God.

We hit some very minor turbulence on the way home, and I chuckled as a woman screamed, startled by a slight bump (well, it was slight to me; obviously she didn't feel the same way).

I was also quite pleased that in addition to my complimentary drink (orange juice), I was able to get two additional refills. That, my friends, is the miracle of flight right there.

Another smooth landing, and I was back home. I caught the parking shuttle right away, and it was a nice warm day. I found my car safe and sound and headed to my mom's house and did a show later that night.

My niece and future nephew-in-law will be moving into my mom's house after they get married a month from now, and I am giving up the room I stay in when I am here as well as another room I use for storage. This is in an effort to give the newlyweds a bit more privacy. When I come to Utah for work, I will now stay in my sister's old room upstairs near my mom's room.

It's hard for me to give up my current room. It's more private, it's cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it's dark, which I quite like. But I am giving it up voluntarily. I think it's important for a newlywed couple to have a space they can consider their own, especially when they are living with other people at the beginning of their marriage.

I'm really happy they are moving in. Mom's memory is not as good, and especially now that I am going back home to Jonah, it will be nice for her to have people here to help her out and keep her company. It puts my mind more at ease. It's hard for Mom when she's here by herself, and I am glad my niece and future nephew-in-law will be here. Plus, my future nephew-in-law is quite a "Mister Fix-It," which I am not, so that will be nice to have somebody be able to repair and maintain things, which I do not excel at.

In an effort to create more space, we cleaned my mom's basement storage and laundry room, which have needed it for years. Mom wasn't initially wild about everyone going through her things, and it took some initiative to get her to get rid of stuff she's been hanging on to that she never uses (now, you can see where I got my "hoarder" gene), but my niece, future nephew-in-law, mom, and I did a lot of work, and the basement looks so much cleaner and more organized. I amazed what we were able to get Mom to part with, and am equally amazed at what she refuses to get rid of (for example, a manual typewriter with a bad ribbon that she claims she uses for taxes (even though I happen to know Mom hasn't used that typewriter in 15 or 20 years, not to mention the fact that her accountant does her taxes for her) and easily 200 Styrofoam frozen yogurt cups that Mom claims we need for camping (even though we haven't been camping in 25 years and which I know she'll never use)). Oh, well. You pick your battles. She did get rid of a lot of junk, and we have a lot more space now, so it still worked out well.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to going back home to Jonah soon. I've enjoyed my show, but am very ready to close it. I sense that Jonah is kind of done with my being away so much, and I admit that I am kind of done with it, too. I'm not sure what the solution is, but at least I have some time with my husband soon, and we need it.

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