Friday, September 29, 2023

Lucky Louise!

It's been an intense time for me recently, 
but as of today, everything has worked out!

In early May Terry discovered a repositioning cruise from Honolulu to Sydney,
and he asked me what I thought about going on it.
Duh!  It's been my dream to see French Polynesia, New Zealand, and Australia,
but I never hoped that Terry would consider an eighteen-night cruise across the Pacific. 
You can be together for forty years, and your spouse can still shock you!!!

Mount Tohiea 
Mo'orea, French Polynesia


Terry warned me that we wouldn't be able to see all the places I wanted to visit on this trip.
Royal Caribbean was moving the ship from the summer season in Alaska 
to the summer season in the South Pacific, 
and the Ovation of the Seas was only calling at a few ports. 
But we would be able to see some of the places I longed to visit.
Something or nothing?  Nothing hard about that choice!
Something is always better than nothing!!!

But he wouldn't book it.  
He had a deal in his sights, and I couldn't budge him.
I was beside myself, while he calmly waited and waited, 
until the price dropped to its lowest in late July, and he jumped on it.
On the final possible date in August, Terry paid the balance and said to me,
"There's no turning back now, because the money is unrefundable."
Whew!  I could finally dare to believe that we were going!

Ovation of the Seas at Sydney, Australia

My dreams of seeing the Southern Cross and the Magellanic Clouds,
crossing the equator, viewing the volcanic mountains of Mo'orea, 
and standing on New Zealand and Australia were about to come true.

The Southern Cross
This wide-field image shows the Milky Way stretching across the southern sky. The beautiful Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) is seen at the right of the image glowing in red. It is within this spiral arm of our Milky Way that the bright star cluster NGC 3603 resides. At the centre of the image is the constellation of Crux (The Southern Cross). The bright yellow/white star at the left of the image is Alpha Centauri, in fact a system of three stars, at a distance of about 4.4 light-years from Earth. The star Alpha Centauri C, Proxima Centauri, is the closest star to the Solar System.

The Route:  Honolulu to French Polynesia, to New Zealand, to Australia


Our plans proceeded smoothly until the end of the first week in September.
When we tried to take a photo of me on my iPhone for my Australian visa,
the Australian government rejected it.
We tried to retake my photo dozens of times over the next several days,
but it was always rejected.
It had worked for my New Zealand visa.  Why wouldn't it work for the Australian?

I thought it was my wonky eyes, because it's difficult for me to look at a camera.
Terry thought it was my awful passport photo which had been giving me difficulties
with TSA officials at airports and customs officers at borders.
Regardless, the computer program refused to match my face with my passport photo.


I referred to my photo as MushFace.
I have no idea how my passport came back with this barely recognizable photo when it was issued.
  

 
Finally, in desperation, we decided I should try to apply for an emergency passport.
A wonderful government worker at the National Passport Agency
told me to call the Colorado Passport Agency early on September 19th
and to make sure the person understood I needed a visa as well as a new passport.
Otherwise, I'd have to wait to October 2nd to call.

The days leading up to the 19th crawled by.
I was lucky that the office was in Aurora.
The next nearest offices are in Phoenix and Chicago.  

I landed an appointment last Friday and scrambled to get photos and documents together.
I was in at 10:00 am and out within an hour.
The officer took one look at MushFace and approved me for a new passport.

Overheard from an applicant explaining his lost passport:
"My dog ate it.  He usually goes for my socks."
Believed no teacher ever, but it worked for the passport officer.
 
I picked up my new passport on Monday at 2:00 pm!  
I'm recognizable, and you can't believe the security improvements 
that have been made since my old passport was issued over five years ago!

We raced home, filled out the Australian visa application, and took my photo again. 
It went through. 
I dropped my head on the kitchen counter in relief, and then Ding!
My phone alerted me to a text message:  Planned System Maintenance.



"You're cursed!" Terry said.  "You have a black cloud hovering over you and following you around everywhere you go!"

It was only 7:00 a.m. in Australia, so we had to wait an anxious hour until we could call to find out what to do
because I had submitted my application during the blackout.

An hour and five minutes later, Ding!
My phone alerted me to a text message again. 
My Australian visa application had been approved.
It had gone through anyway.  
I was drenched with relief! 





New Zealand had already granted me a visa,
but now I had to update it with my new passport.
Five minutes after submitting my update, my phone dinged again.
New Zealand had received my visa update 
and would let me know if it was approved before we traveled.
Give me a break!

No time to sit around and worry though.  It was Monday night.
We had an 8:10 am flight to Vegas on Tuesday morning, just overnight,
so we could earn a free pass for me from Denver to Honolulu and back early next year.
Terry wasn't going to pass up a deal like this!

Hurry Up Train!  Heading to the Airport!
Aurora, Colorado, USA
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

We made our flight, had a delicious Thai dinner at 8 East, gambled a little,
and I watched a great cover band, Alter Ego, until it finished its third set at 1:00 am.
Terry had gone to bed.  
He can barely tolerate standing with me at the barrier in front of the stage for one song,
let alone three hourlong sets.

Terry Drops Me Off Near the Stage
Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Thai Beef Jerky, a Scrumptious Appetizer
8 East, CIRCA, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

When it was over I decompressed at American Coney Island at the D
with a classic hot dog smothered in chili, relish, mustard, and onions.
I was wired after Alter Ego's last set which featured heavy metal.
I could still feel the beat of the amplifiers thumping on my chest
and Metallica's "Enter Sandman" ringing in my ears.

Back in the room I found Terry wide awake under the covers.
"You don't need to worry about me!" I told him for at least the thousandth time.
But he does, because "Things happen to you!" he says.

Alter Ego Members:  Johnny Douglas (Guitar) and KV,  Kevin Vecchione, (Bass)
 DC, Daniel Conway, (Drums) pictured on the screen  
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






A Street Cleaner Gets into the Act and Revs Up the Crowd  
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Riding SlotZilla's Super-Hero Zoomline 
(Starting 11 Stories High)
Under the Canopy and above the Stage
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue  
All Rights Reserved




Alter Ego Member Rich Embry (Vocals)
Accompanying "Hotel California" Acoustically
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Me Enjoying the Show
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






Johnny Douglas and KV,  Kevin Vecchione
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved






I Hate That I'm Going to Miss Teddy Swims' Concert!
Johnny and DC Getting Ready for the Next Set
Main Street Stage, Fremont Street, Downtown Las Vegas
September 26, 2023
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


Up and at it early on Wednesday!  We left for the airport at 1:30 pm.
Everything was tickety-boo, until I lost my purse on C Concourse.  
I felt sick when I flashed on the contents of my purse:  driver's license,
health insurance cards, medicare card, credit cards, boarding pass, iPhone, and money.
I could not believe it!
We hadn't stopped anywhere!  
Where could I have lost it?

We ran back 23 gates to security.  
Several professional and calm TSA agents searched the area for my purse,
while another scanned the security tapes looking for me.
There I was at the last bench slipping my purse over my shoulder and exiting the area.

Terry suddenly remembered that he had a locator for me on his iPhone,
but he didn't know where it was or how to use it.
A police officer, who was also helping us, took out his iPhone
and walked Terry through the process using his family's locators as an example.

Terry's iPhone spotted mine immediately and placed it in a map of the concourse.
It was stationary near a Burger King back beyond the 23 gates.
The police officer walked us back with a plan to scan the vicinity of the Burger King.
If we didn't find it, he and Terry would start asking people if they had seen it.

C Concourse Stretching into the Distance

"Does this happen often?" I asked the police officer.
"All the time.  People are traveling, hurrying, and distracted.  
They put something down without realizing it, and they don't remember where."
I didn't have the heart to ask him how many things were actually found.
I just hoped my purse would be one of them.

"Well, at least I'm getting my steps in," I remarked, looking at my FitBit.
"So am I," the officer answered looking at his.  Simpatico! ~ lol.

When we reached the end of the concourse, the officer told me to wait by a water fountain where Terry had filled his water bottle, then they left to search.
I couldn't handle standing still for more than a couple of minutes.
I realized that the restaurant we had entered for a meal 
before our flight was by the Burger King.
I raced to the hostess stand at the entrance.

"One for lunch?" the hostess asked.
"No!  Did you find a black purse?"
"Yes, we did.  Let me go get it."
The gratitude I felt when I saw her walking toward me with my purse was profound.
Terry and the police officer entered the restaurant from the opposite side 
just as I was tearing through my purse to grab my iPhone and call them.
They knew from the look on my beaming face that it was my purse.

Black purse, black seat, wonky eyes.
I couldn't see it when I had automatically slipped the purse 
onto the chair where I was about to sit for lunch. 
And when I realized that I didn't know where my purse was, I had panicked.

"Thank you!" didn't seem adequate when I thanked the police officer for his help.
I gave him a big hug and he disappeared into the crowds.

I hugged Terry too.  He had been so kind and supportive.
He never once gave me The Look
or said, "I told you so!  Things happen to you!"

We made it home, and I checked my email for something from New Zealand.
Nothing, after six days.
We rushed to see a recording of the "Survivor" premier for its 45th season.
We had seen every episode of all 44 previous seasons,
and we were not going to miss this one!
Afterwards I checked my email again.
My New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority Visa had been issued.

I managed to sleep before rolling out of bed yesterday for my latest blood draw at LabCorp.
Then a couple of hours later I was off to CVS Pharmacy for my Covid and flu shots.
Then time to write my post.

I have no idea where I found this 9 years ago.


I was too tired to stay up late into the night to finish it,
so here I am on Friday afternoon typing away.
My blood test results arrived today and are in the normal range.
If they hold for several months, I should be able to have my eyes operated on.

It looks like smooth sailing ahead!
I'm not cursed!  I am Lucky Louise!

πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   πŸ™ŒπŸΌ πŸ€   


I'm sending a shout out to all the dedicated government employees
and public servants who work hard for Americans every day.
The vast majority are wonderful and often work in difficult, essential jobs.
It's almost guaranteed that many will be required to work 
in stressful situations without pay starting tomorrow.
Be kind to them, and they will be kind to you.

Our Congress will be paid however!


Have a great weekend!




Till next time ~
Fundy Blue

  My next post will be soon! πŸ€ž



On the Bay of Fundy
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


 

   

25 comments:

  1. I am beyond thrilled for you - and smiling so widely my face hurts.

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    1. Thanks, Sue! I am delighted that I will finally visit your fascinating country! Hugs to you!

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  2. Darn, you really had loads of fun and excitement with a side of hurry up and wait lol Good you don't give up easy. No curse will stop you haha or luck, even if the cat thinks both of those things are fake. Free flight is a win. Go a certain umm sitting thing haha no cat out of the bag from me. Great of the officer to help too and no I told you sos or looks from Terry haha hopefully you can now enjoy your trips and nothing else will occur. Is it sad I didn't even realize you needed visas for those places? Just figured it was like the US and here. Passport and go.

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    1. Thanks, Pat! More and more countries are adding visa requirements or electronic authorizations to travel if a visa is not required. Security, irregular migration, and public health concerns are behind the trend. Also, some countries collect small entrance fees to curb the number of visitors (over-tourism) or as a sustainability tax. Everything is getting more complicated! Have a good week, my friend!

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  3. OMG so much stress before leaving on your cruise! That would have killed me stone dead from high blood pressure and anxiety. But so glad it all turned out well in the end! Looking forward to hearing about your cruise and seeing your photos from French Polynesia, NZ and Australia. We did a French polynesian cruise about 10 years ago -- lots of natural beauty among all those iconic islands!

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    1. Yes, the stress has been difficult, Debra! But I'm still kicking. I remember when you went on your French Polynesian cruise. I can't wait to see the islands and the other places. And you know I'll take a lot of photos ~ lol! Have a great week! Hugs to you!

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  4. Oh, my goodness! I was holding my breath when the purse was lost. I could breathe again when you found it. Congratulations on ending up as Lucky Louise.

    Love,
    Janie

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Janie! I was holding my breath too. OMG, I don't even want to think about what a mess I'd be in if I hadn't found my purse. At least I had Terry with me. He's very levelheaded and calm most of the time. Thank goodness for the kind security people and police at airports. They will really try to help you. Have a great week! xox

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  5. Lucky you found your purse whew! Exciting cruise ahead! Take care.

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    1. Thanks, Christine! Now that I finally know that it's happening, I'll be able to enjoy the anticipation. Have a lovely week! xox

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  6. Wow, what an adventure. I didn't know that they cruises like that, but I would have jumped on it too. And loosing your purse must have been frightening. Thank goodness you found it. Happy start to the new month which is almost here. hugs-Erika

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Erika! Losing my purse was frightening! Every time I thought of what I'd have to do to replace everything while I was searching made my brain freeze. I couldn't believe it was actually happening, that I was there hunting for my purse. It was a nightmare! But it turned out happily, and I will never lose. it again!!! Have a great weekend! Hugs to you!

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  7. You do indeed have a black cloud following you! Wow, total miracle everything worked out. Can't wait to hear about the trip.

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    1. Thanks, Alex! It was a miracle that everything worked out! I'm going to appreciate every moment of our trip, because I despaired of it happening! Now I just have to get my IWSG post written ~ lol. Have a great week, my friend!

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  8. You definitely lead a fabulous fun lifestyle

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  9. OMG, please tell me you are going to write your memoirs some day ... I am so happy for you that you get to take this dream trip, but I get the frustration and stress of all that is leading up to it. Your telling of the events made me LOL (sorry). I would say "Only you " ... but I am living a similar drama as we speak :) I had to renew my passport and sent it in early (like 4 months ago). It came right away and I stuck it in a drawer without looking at it. Last week when I got it out to scan for my Australian Visa (yes, I have plans to travel there in January) it turns out they sent it back because they didn't accept my photo. I have resubmitted it, but they say it will be 7 or 8 weeks before I get it and then I have to (fingers crossed) get my Visa. I hope I don't live your nightmare ... my son and his wife were able to get theirs easily. So, Louise, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy and then post the pictures of your dream trip. I am so looking forward to it. And I repeat ... you should write a book about your life. I would read it cover to cover 😁

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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  10. Wow what an ordeal with the passport. Looks like a great tirp though.

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    1. I'm excited, Nicole! I just saw my endocrinologist this morning, and she's from Adelaide, Australia. She said that I would have a great time in the Sydney area. I've been seeing her for two years, and this is the first time I've seen her face! I'm so glad that the pandemic is behind us! I live to travel! Have an awesome week!

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  11. What drama. I'm glad it all worked out and will look forward to hearing about your trip. In 2011, we took such a trip from Europe to the US--19 days with stops in places like the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, etc. It was great. Jeff https://fromarockyhillside.com

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    1. Thanks, Jeff! I'd love to take the cruise you were on. My brother and sister-in-law did it this summer, but without the stop in Newfoundland. I really want to see Greenland. I've been "walking" around it for over two years. I have to live a lot longer to squeeze everything in ~ lol! All my best to you!

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  12. Dear Lucky Louise, OMG, things definitely won't get boring with you! You've had exciting days, but I'm so happy for you that you're able to fulfill your dream!
    All the best and a happy new week
    Traude
    🍁🌾🌻πŸͺΆπŸ‚ πŸͺΆπŸŒ»πŸŒΎπŸ
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2023/09/ruckblick-auf-den-rostrosen-sommer-2023.html

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    1. Thanks, Traude! I'm so relieved and excited! Happy new week to you too! xox

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  13. Black on black. I know exactly how that happened -- and you had to feel insane until it was found. What an adventure, just getting ready for an adventure! It sounds fabulous though -- or will be, now that all is in order!

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    1. Thanks, Jeanie! I'm so relieved that everything in order. I was insane, mostly in a horrified brain freeze and barely breathing mode, but with fast feet ~ lol. Yesterday I updated my Global Entry/TSA Precheck. I love that GL/TSAP because I hate taking my shoes off in security. I have to wear lightweight hiking sneakers so I can walk better, and it is a royal pain to take them off in security. I won't grouse about TSA though. They're my heroes! Well, at least after that underwear bomber, we don't have to take our underwear off! I hope that you're having a great week! Hugs to you!

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  14. This is thrilling and unbelievable story. I felt sad how despite you managed to get new passport you had to delay the travel dear Louise.
    I could relate each moment to everything you mentioned here because of circumstances I have been going through since many years. If I will try to explain it can stretch long.but I will try to point it out the way I understood it through a scientific definition.
    In the universe everything is paired with opposite. For example the more goodness you have you have probability to face equally badness.
    I am not hundred percent sure but I found it quite true when tried to reason things in my life some years back.i felt exactly that may be I am cursed or so because whatever It is it tries to fail you break you or defame you. This reality made me utterly alert and since then I am trying hard to stay mentally Awaken.
    Heartfelt Best wishes and prays for your upcoming eye treatment my precious friend!
    You are not cursed but fortunate and loaded with talent and wisdom. Please stay strong and keep growing stronger. Hugs ❤

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Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.