Chicken and Avocado Salad; The Joys of Moving

I’m making lists.

Lists of stuff we’ll need before, during and immediately following our move. 

We’ll be homeless for a bit and lists, I have learned, are important.

When we left the US, I did not have a list.

I packed our airline tickets.

Anyone who has ever done a major move knows it’s serious business.  When everything you own is going to be in a shipping container for 4 – 8 weeks, it’s even more crucial to get it right.

After we decided to move to Ireland, and sold our house in Minnesota, we rented a house in ‘town’ to get ourselves organized. 

That was an easy, leisurely move.  
A ‘shall we sleep in the old house or the new house tonight’ kind of move.
A ‘I have to run back to the old house because I forgot X’ kind of move.

We spent the next year deciding where we were going to live in Ireland, sorting and discarding our stuff, carefully packing what we were taking with us, and saying goodbye to our city of almost 20 years.

We picked our move date, contracted the shipping company and sold our car.

We packed 2 suitcases, each, with the clothes and stuff we would need for our 6 weeks of living in a ‘holiday home’ in Ireland.  (Fortunately, those were still the good old days, when one could travel with 2 suitcases and a set of golf clubs – it wasn’t easy, but one was allowed to do it.)

We rented a room at a ‘no-tell motel’ to live in while the movers packed the shipping container.
We saved old, throw-away clothes to wear to clean the house and do the last minute bits.
We thought of everything…

The evening before our flight, we had the last bottle of wine from our former ‘cellar’; a fresh baguette, some cheese and paté were laid out on the floor for a motel picnic.

The subconscious mind is an amazing thing: before opening the wine I had the sudden, inexplicable urge to check our travel documents.  This was 12 years ago… We still used paper….

Two passports: check.  Car rental voucher for Dublin: check.  Hotel confirmation for Dublin: check.  Papers, phone numbers and driving directions for our rental house in Killorglin: check.  Airline tickets….

Airline tickets?????  Where are the plane tickets??!!??  Do you have them ???!!!???

When your life is reduced to a motel room it doesn’t take long to look everywhere.

Oh. My. God!!!  I had packed the plane tickets.

It came back in a blinding flash: Me looking at the tickets, which had been safely tucked away in my filing cabinet for months, in the folder marked ‘Travel Documents’.  The rest of the documents were on my desk and my hand was poised over the file when the movers came charging into my office.

“Ready?” they asked.  I panicked, said yes, and in a flash my office was duct-taped within an inch of respectability and gone.

Apparently, rather than adding the tickets to the pile of documents I had dropped them back into the file. 

They were now still tucked away, quite securely, in the filing cabinet, in the middle of a 40 foot shipping container halfway to New York.

Our flight left in the morning.

I had 20 minutes to get to the airline office and explain our predicament.

What I often find frustrating and mystifying when dealing with large corporate or governmental bureaucracies is how poorly truth works.

Were the tickets stolen? 
No.

It would be easier if they had been stolen, then we could get a police report and…
They weren’t stolen!

Did you lose them?
No, I know exactly where they are.

It would be easier if they were lost, then we could file a lost ticket report and refund the money in a month…

We leave tomorrow; we have no place to live here; we are homeless; we are moving; we need to be on that flight….

We need new tickets.

You can buy new tickets and turn the lost ones in for a refund if you ever find them….

The tickets were free business class tickets, compliments of our last Frequent Flyer Miles.  They had no monetary value to anyone but us.

You can buy coach tickets and sort it out later…
If I bought coach tickets we would have to pay to take the second suitcases and golf clubs.
And our tickets were FREE!  In the front of the bus!!!!

The only thing that saved us was the fact that it was so late in the evening.  They all wanted to go home; I wasn’t leaving.

After a conference amongst themselves and a few phone calls to The Powers That Be, they declared the tickets lost and as a one time favor, I was allowed to replace them for a small ‘reissue charge’ of $150.00.

Once again, we were ready to start our new life… with almost 12 hours to spare!

That last summer we rode our bikes all around Minneapolis; every trail we could find.  We would pack a picnic and explore the city, doing all the things we didn’t have time to do when we were gainfully employed.  (We weren’t unemployed,  but had part-time, minimum wage jobs that didn’t require 80-hour work weeks.  We were, as ‘they’ say, burnt out!)

This Chicken and Avocado Salad was one of our favorites, most often eaten as a sandwich, stuffed into pita bread, but also good on a bed of lettuce as a proper salad.  Either way, great picnic food! 
We would toss two extra chicken breasts on the grill the night before for a quick assembly in the morning.

Chicken Avocado Salad

Picnic Chicken and Avocado Salad

2 cold grilled, Teriyaki-marinated, chicken breasts
1 can water chestnuts, 5 oz (150gr)
2 stalks (ribs) celery, sliced

1 avocado
2 tbs fresh snipped chives
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp sesame seed oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tbs Teriyaki marinade
Pita bread, Wraps or Lettuce

Cut chicken into small cubes and put into a medium bowl. Slice water chestnuts, celery, and add to chicken. Cut avocado into cubes the same size as the chicken, add to chicken. Snip chives and add. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Add just enough to chicken to make a lightly dressed salad. Serve on a bed of lettuce with the remaining dressing (if any) on the side. Or can be stuffed into Pita halves for sandwiches.

The sad thing, I couldn’t think of a single way to shift the blame for the lost tickets to mon mari.

Sigh….

BTW – Has anyone in the world successfully redeemed Frequent Flyer Miles in the last 2 years?  I know I haven’t.

21 thoughts on “Chicken and Avocado Salad; The Joys of Moving”

  1. Yikes! I haven’t misplaced tickets (knock on wood), but our last holiday was scrapped because we were 5 minutes late to board and they wouldn’t let us through. Ah, the joys of discount tickets. Great sandwich – never would have thought to include water chestnuts (which I love!).

  2. We sort of redeemed frequent flyer tickets when we went to Florida in June. Except we had to change flights, and there were fees, and by the time we were done, we were out the miles and about as much cash as a regular coach ticket would have cost us. Sigh.
    FYI, I just made an earlier recipe, the creamy cucumber salad…OMG! It’s so yummy!

  3. You always make disasters sound fun! How do you do that??? Good luck with the current move – we’ll be eager to hear where you landed and what the next adventure is to be!

  4. Katie, I know your pain of packing your airline tickets and having to deal with airlines over that one!
    Yes, I have redeemed my miles and I’m probably going to jinx myself now but to places that everyone says are impossible and at last minute too. Probably helps that I’m only looking for one seat versus 2 or more and that I’m lifetime platinum with the airline of my choice as a million miler and I’m willing to do odd routing *i.e. 3 legs to Paris via Iceland and Spain, Go west to go east, etc.*
    Hope mon mari is feeling better!

  5. Dee, I almost misssed a flight back from the US for 5 minutes…I think I threw a tantrum… And the plane was almost empty so they let me on.
    Really, Sra, that was the tough part!
    Glad you like the cukes, Amy! Sometimes ‘free’ can be very expensive!
    Zoomie, it’s easier after a few years have passed…
    Breadchick…. How did I end up at the only airline that doesn’t do the million-mile thing? I was so jealous that I immmediatly checked. I’ve got almost 2 million, but, no cigar for me. But, living in Mpls, NWA had me captive for years! Mon mari is done and fine… we hope!

  6. That’s hillarious! What a panic!
    We had a similar panic over a holiday a couple of years ago when the night before our holiday D realised his passport had expired a few weeks earlier. Thanks to some absolutely wonderful folk at the airline and Lastminute.com, we managed to rearrange the trip for just a few weeks later. 🙂

  7. Oh.wow. That would be hilarious, if it weren’t for the fact that the airline insisted on charging you $150. We’re going through a similar thing due to a move, with an equally obnoxious bureaucracy: our old gas company. I called them to cancel our account and pay any outstanding bills in mid-June, the day we left D.C. The company closed down our account through May 30, but then opened a new account, in my name, to bill us for the gas we used in early June. Fast forward a month, and you get angry me on the phone trying to figure out why the company is trying to bill me for gas-use during the past 30 days. “But m’am, you need to call us to cancel your account”. “I DID call.” “No, you called about the OTHER account.” “THERE WAS ONLY ONE ACCOUNT, YOU CREATED THE NEW ONE when I asked you to cancel the old one!!!”
    Argh. I hope the fine doesn’t end up being $150. Sigh.

  8. Oh my. I’m so glad it worked out that time and I hope this move goes ever so smoothly for you! I haven’t had your experience, but LB did pack my computer for shipping to Hawaii (it’s okay, honey, it’s not like I use it every day or anything!! AHHHH!). And then Aloha airlines shut down right after we moved here before my brother’s wedding and we had to scramble to find new tickets because the only thing they would do is refund the old ones. But I do have to boast that we did fly LB to Hawaii on frequent flyer miles from Portland…some times it does work out!!

  9. You are the best at these stories . . . seriously. And you can always manage to weave a chicken avocado back into tickets traipsing across the US in a filing cabinet. You’re amazing.

  10. The chicken and avocado salad sounds good! Packing the plane tickets does not sound like it would be a very pleasant experience at all.

  11. Wendy, wow, you were lucky to get it rearranged! Well done! Now I have to check my passport…
    Neen, I’m terrified of writing the letters to cancel our services… I know it will be screwed up!
    Michelle, packed your computer?!?!?! And lived?!?!?
    Thank you swirlingnotions, you are so very kind ;-))
    Betty, near – to you anyway ‘-))
    Kevin, packing the plane tickets was not good… I do not remind mon mari that I did it. (he doesn’t read my blog)

  12. yes we have had issues with our miles too and this year 4 tickets to Belgrade. lufthansa would not put miles on one account, we each had to have our own accounts even the kids and yes we paid full price because we could not use th Northwest miles. That is only one of many miles issues in the last 2 years, 3 years ago no prob we traveled on miles all the time.

  13. It amazes me your ability to explain stories. If I start a post of yours, I’m hooked!!! I love the way you write too, simple and short sentences and words that I can understand… Thanks!!!
    What an experience! If this ever happens to me, I think that my man and I get divorced! I wouldn’t like to be in your place back then!
    I love your salad, have seen something similar with shrimps but chicken looks great here 😀
    BTW, I’m having a party at my blog on Friday, will you come over?

  14. There is great skill in your writing. And great bravery in your move.
    Am enjoying a great deal.

  15. Oh Katie! I feel your pain…argh! But my goodness what a storyteller you are…I was riveted! Good luck on the current move!
    That salad is delicious!

  16. Shayne, same here – 3 years ago it was easy, now – worthless! And the staff are rude to top it off!
    Ooohhh, Nuria, shrimp would be wonderful! I’ll definitely come to your party… Thanks for the invite!
    Thanks, Lo… tho sometimes I wonder if it’s bravery or foolishness…
    Joey, thanks… as to this one, we try to learn from past mistakes…try….

  17. I have only ever moved across the country (which this being Canada is over 3200 km)..we drove with a moving van and a Jeep and an 8 year old. You always have a story about everything I just LOVE it!!

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