Shortly after I’d written this post in 2012: Moving to Hawaii – a Dream Come True, Bear and I had to decide to either move back to Florida or be homeless in Hawaii.
As much as we wanted it to work out and be an actual dream come true, the trip to Hawaii was miserable as soon as we arrived at the airport. Our already 15-hour flight delayed, my body didn’t do well in a very long, extremely uncomfortable flight in a poorly designed American Airlines center seat with a forward-leaning headrest. At one point, my low back was hurting so badly I was in tears. There was no moving room to stretch anything on my body, and the time spent traveling in a sitting position (about 18 hours) was almost unbearable.
Three days after arriving on the island, I became ill with a terrible stomach flu that mimicked food poisoning symptoms for several days. In First Impressions During First Week in Hawaii, I give a little more detail, but I never elaborated on anything else, because everything became a shit show after that. All of it took a toll on my health. We lived next to a shitty neighbor, new allergies developed, and Bear and I were not doing well.
Bear had saved up a few months of leave, which helped with our moving transition. However, it also meant we would be together 24/7, because neither of us had jobs yet. He knew some people on the island through his work, and we’d joined a sports team to meet others. We went on boats with new friends and did some really cool things. But again, drinking was always involved. After a game, drink. Any time of day or day of the week, drink. Drinking was always a key event.
I don’t remember what the argument was about, but once again, Bear punched a hole in the wall of our newly rented house and had to repair it. Around this time, I had enough of everything – of his promises, of his temper, and of being with him 24/7. Knowing I could probably make it on my own in a tiny place (like I am now) was frustrating, because that wasn’t an option. I realized then that we had nothing in common to keep a relationship together, but I continued to stay to make it work. I thought that maybe once our finances went back to normal, we’d be okay. But that was just a portion of much bigger issues.
It took a couple of months for Bear to land a job – making $12 an hour. Not a living wage for anyone in Hawaii (or anywhere today), and it’s certainly not the six-figure income he was hoping for. (I had applied for jobs, had a few interviews, but didn’t receive calls back until we were back on the mainland.) Once his active duty ran out around our fifth month of being there, it was obvious we would not make it on his small retirement. (This was another thing he swore up and down he’d have covered, always seeing more money than reality and a big part of the decision to move out there.) It was a sad decision, and moving back to the mainland put us back into all the debt we’d paid off prior to the move.
The trip back to Florida was just as excruciating as the trip to Hawaii. We missed a flight because of the airline telling us our dog’s carrier was too small – although it was the same carrier we’d used to arrive – and they forced us to spend another $100 on their carrier and leave ours. That put us back seven hours, so our trip wound up being over 22 hours total. The airline had assured us they would care for our pets as instructed (feed/water 3 cats, walk the dog on layover). It was very important to us for the dog to be taken out especially. Imagine our surprise when we’d learned that neither fur baby had received food or water, as everything was dry and untouched! And our large dog had been in his crate for over 22 hours without a break! I wrote about it back then in American Airlines – Worst Flying Experience EVER – for Pets, too. They should have refunded us, because they charged us a grand to fly them back in those shitty conditions.
Upon arriving back in Florida, a family friend had arranged for us to rent one of her apartments temporarily. It was a really gracious gesture, but she hadn’t realized the place had gone downhill, because someone else had been taking care of it. Our neighbors fought all day and night, someone screamed and cussed at children all day and night, and their cigarette smoke seeped through the drywall. We felt unsafe and couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there. It took about a month to get into a place we wanted, which is where the marriage ended less than a year later.