aesthetic outdoorsy: another summary of my week

I miss writing weekly emails, so here’s one from this last week. Shout out to Wayne’s family for inspiring me to get back into it with their consistent missionary-style emails. This week I watched General Conference in real life for the first time back home in Utah, road-tripped to Yosemite, visited the Bay Area, and finally landed in San Diego again.

I have a long-standing theory that there are three general categories of outdoorsy people: 1. Athletic outdoorsy (high-adventure, grade-a gear, marathons, drive to summit), 2. Redneck outdoorsy (hunting, fishing, Cabela’s, camo, campfires), and 3. Aesthetic outdoorsy (crying at views, strong hippie tendency, Nalgene with stickers, old-school gear, takes too many photos, sunrises). Obviously I’m 100% aesthetic outdoorsy and I have concluded that the Sandholtz family outdoor culture is a mix of aesthetic and athletic during our trip to Yosemite together. That’s a great combo.

Some of my favorite General Conference memories were:
– sitting in the vast conference center and standing as President Monson entered the room in unity with my fellow saints
– realizing how comfortable I finally feel on my home turf after adjusting back from my mission
– picking up Moses, a deacon of less than a month, for Saturday afternoon to find him already dressed in a suit in anticipation for seeing his very first priesthood session live that evening
– traditional girl’s night with my great-grandma, two great aunts, mom, and baby sister

Some of my favorite Yosemite memories were:
– exploring peanut butter cups with my fellow peanut butter aficionado Carrie
– LaMyrl’s sunglasses put together with chewing gum
– how amazing food tastes when you’ve been hiking all day
– struggling to get up a steep trail with Carrie, Wayne, and Ben that we thought LaMyrl and the rest were supposed to be going up, assuming this couldn’t be the right trail because it was way to steep to take a wheelchair up, and then being wrong and delighted to find LaMyrl and her four noble steeds at the top of a mountain
– soaking in the hot tub with Wayne and Ben
– hanging out with Heather and getting to know Uncle Bob on the drive to the train station

I arrived in Berkeley ready to spend time with my wonderful sisters and of course with Kurt and Taylor. I went with Eva to her book club and met some of her friends, visited Mills campus with Lula, accidentally ate four cupcakes, got lunch with Taylor, and ate some really good food (besides the cupcakes, of course). Eva is a true foodie and took me to a little place in China town where we ate rice porridge ft. beef balls and pork belly, baby bok choy, rice noodle dumplings ft. roasted duck, and egg rolls of course. It was a feast. It’s so good to be with my sisters. We have known each other for so long that we can convey novel-length amounts of information in just a few words, usually for the purpose of a compressed comedic monologue.

Traveling from Oakland to San Diego was kind of an ordeal but in a fun way. It was the kind of adventure that would have a shoddy flute cover of Fucik’s Entrance of the Gladiators as its theme song (do you think I can request that from the shoddy flute people?) so just play circus music in the back of your mind while you read this. Because I am what my family calls a Cheeto Person (basically a cheapskate), I was flying on Spirit Air, a Cheeto Airline for Cheeto People. My flight was at 6am so I shared a bed with Lula (who instructed me that I was not to talk to her while she was sleeping and that I could not wake her upon leaving but that I could give her a peck on the cheek) until my alarm went off at 3:30am. I tried to call an Uber but because I have been traveling so much my bank account and PayPal account were both shut down based on “suspicious activity.” Eva charitably summoned an Uber for me and I grabbed my suitcase and went on my way. I discovered that Spirit Air charges for carry-on luggage and actually charges more than for checked bags, so as a Cheeto Person I took the option that was $7 cheaper and checked my small suitcase. Because of all my accounts being locked, I paid in a pile of crumpled cash, which I miraculously had enough of. I got to the gate and found that my flight was to be delayed, putting me in Las Vegas a mere fifteen minutes before my connecting flight. What follows is an account with my negotiation between me and the young employee working at the gate, whose position I do not envy. What we actually said is written in standard text and what I imagine we were thinking follows in italics.

Me: “Pardon me, I’m worried that because of the flight delay I’m going to miss my connecting flight.”
“Please, can I pay you my final $5 to be dead right now rather than awake at this airport at 5am?”
Him: “Yeah, it looks like you’ll be cutting it pretty close. You may have to take the next connecting flight in Las Vegas.”
“I should go back to school. I’m awake at 5 o’clock on a Saturday morning. What am I doing in this job.”
Me: “When is the next flight from Vegas?”
“Please please please please don’t make me spend a minute longer in Las Vegas than I need to. Hopefully it will just be an hour or two later.”
Him: “It’s not until this evening.”
*a line of fellow disgruntled passengers begins to form behind me*
“Where the hECK is Brenda. Why can’t she ever show up to work on time.”
Me: “Oh.”
“Oh.”
Me: “Can I take the next flight out of Oakland instead and spend the day here?”
“Here = bed = good. Las Vegas = no bed = bad.”
Him: “Oh yeah, we can arrange that. Let me make arrange for it and I’ll call you up to the counter.”
“Please, Brenda. How am I supposed to deal with these animals on my own. I’m going to give Brenda my two cents if she ever gets here, I’ll tell you that much.”
*a million years pass, the plane begins to board*
Me: “Hi, did you get me a boarding pass for tonight?”
“You forgot about me, didn’t you.”
Him: “Yes, let me just finalize that!”
“Oh no, I forgot about this one.”
Him, on the phone: “Yeah, tonight. Vegas then to San Diego. What? Why didn’t you tell me that in the first place? Now I’m going to look stupid.”
“You’re honestly worse than Brenda.”
Me: “I can’t wait to get onto that plane that’s about to leave without me.”
Him: “Ok just one slight problem, the flight for tonight is full. And the one tomorrow. I’ll just get you on tonight’s flight from Vegas and the only difference is you’ll spend the day in Las Vegas instead of here.”
“Please go be another gate agent’s problem. One who didn’t wake up at 3 o’clock this morning.”
Me: “Sounds great, thank you.”
“Sounds terrible, a day in the Las Vegas airport is not comparable to a day with my sisters.”
Him: “You still might be able to make it onto your original flight if you rush. There’s a few other people hoping to make the same connection.”
“There’s a few other people who I’ve been trying to prevent from rioting.”
Me: “Ok, will they take my boarding pass for tonight and transfer my luggage if I make it to the earlier flight?”
“Can I bribe the pilot $5 to fly faster?”
Him: “Yeah, that should be no problem. Just talk to the employee at the gate in Las Vegas.”
“I can’t wait for this group of cranky people to be someone else’s problem.”
Me: “Ok, thank you.”
“I’m 80% sure they’re going to lose my luggage and have a problem with my boarding pass but I just heard the final call for my flight.”

I got on the plane, read The Power of Everyday Missionaries and dozed, and we were to Vegas in a jiffy. The flight crew were very helpful in getting the San Diego-bound folks off the plane and I totally made it to my flight as scheduled! Obviously they hated that I had the wrong boarding pass but they figured it out and they assured me that my bags would land in San Diego with me. Obviously they didn’t. I had a really nice flight making faces at the cranky 3-year-old who was acting the way I felt (until she finally curled up with her pink stuffed otter in her mom’s lap) and her responsible-oldest-child 5-year-old brother who offered to rub her feet. We got to San Diego and, as you can imagine, my bags did not get to San Diego with me. I spent some time filling out a form, including “Contents of bag: 12 dresses, 1 pair running shoes, medication that I really need to take every day please please, 2 pair leggings” and then spent 30 minutes on the phone with my bank, PayPal, and a very longsuffering Wayne so I could call myself an Uber to get to home base. Wayne said, “I can tell you’re very very tired because you have kind of a crazed look in your eyes.” Because of the earliness of my flight I was wearing yesterday’s clothes and of course my toothbrush was lost with my bag and of course I hadn’t eaten yet so Wayne lovingly made me chocolate chip whole wheat banana pancakes and I took a shower and put on some of Wayne’s fresh clean PJ’s and took a very long nap. In the evening we went to Forever 21 and grabbed a dress for $7 so I wouldn’t have to show up to church in the same dress I had been wearing for three days. All’s well that ends well. It was all very taxing at the time but the memory became fun and silly as soon as I had a nap, shower, and brunch. And I’m happy to report that all 12 of my dresses were returned to me about an hour ago! God is good.

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