I'm not sure if I have already explained this, so in case I haven't (and for those who are just tuning in...) here's the story: Hubby is a part of the Utah Valley University ROTC program. Every year the M.S.IV (senior class) cadets go on what is called a "Staff Ride" (it's a senior trip, people). The Staff Ride is a tour of a United States military historical site/battlefield. Usually they go to places like the Alamo or Gettysburg. When McKay brought it up to me, I half-jokingly said "Well hot damn--why don't you guys go to Hawaii??" [pause for thoughts] "Wait--no, seriously. You guys should go to Hawaii. Visit Pearl Harbor. The Iwo Jima Memorial. The Headquarters of PACOM (Pacific Command). This could be really cool!"
So McKay returned to his company commander the next day and asked if Hawaii could be a possibility. They discussed costs and the program budget and possible educational activities. McKay came back and said that it was a big possibility IF we could find decent prices for travel and lodging and fill a good day's worth of US military history.
Oh, man--you just woke a sleeping giant. I am the QUEEN of finding it for less--whatever "it" might be. Apparently, last year's staff ride cost the program around $1400 per cadet just for travel. To Washington DC. I can beat that - even to Hawaii.
So I set to work! With an Army Lt. Col. stepdad and Navy Petty Officer sister, both stationed in Hawaii, I've got some military hookups. And, having lived there for a little over a year, I know the ins and outs of Oahu. I got personal tours set up, created an educational and fun itinerary, and found flights and lodging for everyone. Of course, McKay did a lot of the nitty gritty (speaking with him and her and that guy) getting everything coordinated. And guess what? The whole trip is going cost less per-cadet than the airfare alone from last year's trip (thanks to a little know-how and sweet military discounts/hookups). Tell me I'm not awesome.
I dare you.
Of course, I decided to tag along. And then a handful of other wives heard that their husbands were going on a staff ride to Oahu and decided that they wanted to come too! They paid their own airfare and now we've got a bunch of cadets (and the commander, of course) and five wives going to Hawaii!
We. Are. So. Stoked.
I met with the company commander and presented my 'proposed itinerary' - it went over pretty well. We tweaked it a little and ended up with what I think will be a pretty memorable staff ride. Let's face it - it will be a once in a lifetime experience in a lot of cases. (Did I mention I got some MAJOR HOOKUPS??) We even managed to dole out a couple of days of free time! I seriously deserve a plaque or something for helping put this thing together. It's not even my job! (Kinda my fault--I put McKay up to it and then since it was "his" big idea, they pretty much put him in charge of planning everything and then when he didn't know where to start, guess who he turned to? I couldn't let him drown in trip planning chaos, so I kinda took the reins. He did do a lot of the legwork though.)
I cannot wait to go back to Oahu and see my mom and stepdad and my sister and my niece!! I'll get to do a lot of stuff that I wasn't able to when I was there before (I was either pregnant, had an infant, or lacked funds) and I'll get to show McKay so many awesome things! I get to give him the "insider" view of the island and show him a lot of things most tourists don't get to see or don't even know is there.
So. So. SO excited.
Can you tell?