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Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Wing and a Prayer (Part 1)

Here’s a true story on how I lost my license and gained a little faith.
In late September, I attended the Southern California Writer's Conference but to get there, I had to git from here, (here being Honolulu, HI.)
Source: Photobucket by Qoard

My wife, Gen, and I talked about the expense of travelling to Newport Beach and everything related to it, but as an aspiring author, I knew the long term benefits would outweigh the short term need to pinch many pennies.

Working out several options, we decided I’d stay with family in San Diego (thus saving nearly $400 in hotel costs.) A daily three-hour, 170 mile round trip was the trade off, but I wanted to do anything to keep costs down.

A few nights before I left, Gen said she had major concerns about me driving so much and was praying for my safe travels (I would also be driving up to Anaheim Sunday, then down to San Diego after the Angels
gave up four runs in the ninth and
lost their chances of making the playoffs.

My plan was to end the weekend by driving from San Diego to Los Angeles International early Monday afternoon. My wife reiterated the same concerns for several more nights until I agreed with her suggestion to skip San Diego and find a cheap hotel close to Newport Beach.

A good idea became a great idea - in principle - when friends offered me their couch Sunday night. (Ok, my original $400 savings took a $120 hit for the dodgy hotel in Costa Mesa, but I was still "up" $280 and only ten miles from the Newport Beach Hyatt-Regency.

Leaving two boys under five alone with a pregnant spouse was not an option, so my wife asked her parents if they could fly out (from San Antonio, Texas.)

"No problem." was the answer - it always is. (I am blessed with wonderful in-laws.)

There was an hour overlap between my departure and Mom and Dad's arrival and I thought I’d have time to at least say hi. Seeing them arrive at the baggage claim, a flurry of kisses and hugs turned slightly weird (for anyone listening) when another round of kisses and hugs was set in motion as I had to make like a tree and leave to catch my flight.

Passing through security with no issues, I shoved my boarding pass and Florida driver's license in my jeans and booked it over to the gate, where my boarding zone was called within five minutes.
Q. How does a former Irishman, (now naturalized U.S. citizen) who lives in Hawaii via Rhode Island end up with a Florida DL?
A. Easy - marry a beautiful naval officer.

Settling in for the five-hour flight, things were under control, and I looked forward to a long, but productive weekend of writing and waffling.

I landed at 6:23 and by 7 a.m., was standing in front of a smiling Enterprise Rent-A-Car associate.

"Good morning, sir, do you have a reservation," she chirped.

 I know "she said" is industry standard, but I'm six-foot-two, and with only two scattered hours of sleep in an enclosed space known as "economy plus," she really did chirp.
To be continued…


Jessica Therrien said...

Hey Mark...I think I did see you there. Were you in Jennifer Silva Redmond's Non-Fiction seminar? I thought I saw you sitting a few tables away, but I had to leave early so I didn't get to say hi. I hope it was a successful conference!! I was a busy beaver...so I didn't get to mingle much.

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