About a month ago, I blogged about the start of our family vacation. Since that time, my list of “must write” blog posts has expanded from a couple to more than a dozen. Egads! So many stories to share and not enough hours in the day! So rather than jumping in with current RAKs, I’m back-tracking a bit to make sure I capture all the stories from the past month, lest they dissipate like the morning dew on a hot summer day.
At the end of July, my family took a long-awaited Disney Cruise vacation to Alaska. I say “long-awaited” because it took us several years of planning and saving to make it happen. As our departure date grew near, I started perusing the internet for any last-minute insights on what we might see or do while visiting the various ports. One link led to another and I found myself on a Disney discussion board forum, reading the posts from other travelers.
I saw several posts titled “Fish Extenders” and I laughed at my own naivety, wondering why on earth any one would want to make a fish longer. Intrigued, I clicked on the link to open the post and -WHAM- I suddenly found myself caught up in this magical, wondrous world of Disney Cruise random acts of kindness.
A fish extender is a hanging pocket carrier that you create and hang from a fish hook outside of your cabin door. (All Disney Cruises have fish hooks for crew members to leave messages or other forms of communication.) There are Facebook groups that people can join to be a member of a fish extender group for a particular cruise. Once in a group, you share your information and agree to a form of “RAK reciprocity” where you will give other members in your group a little surprise during the cruise and they will do the same for you. (That’s a VERY short summary – click here to dig deeper and learn more about fish extenders!)
Now you can image how EXCITED I became when I realized 1) this type of RAK even existed and 2) I could actually participate! WOOOO-HOOOO! The adrenaline rushed through me so quickly, I knew I just HAD to jump in!
Then reality hit. This was Monday night. I had to be at work all day on Tuesday. That left Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to pull all this together as our flight was departing first thing Saturday morning. Was it even worth the effort?
I don’t know when you last went on a family vacation, but the week before a trip is simply chaotic with all the planning, organizing, and packing. Add to that five family members, flying, with the goal of only 3 bags of checked luggage between us all. We had such limited time, but… but… but… how could I possibly resist the pull of a magical RAK?
I joined the FB group and added myself to the list of Pixie Dusters. (That’s a small group of people who join too late to be a part of the actual fish extender exchange, but would like to give/receive randomly.) I spent most of the day on Wednesday searching for a hanging organizer that would meet the length/width specifications as well as having enough pockets for my family of five, but after multiple store visits, I quickly realized I would have to make one myself. (Egads – I didn’t factor THAT into my limited timeline! I don’t even own a sewing machine!)
I bought some cloth napkins and a fabric table runner and got to work. It took almost the entire three days to complete the fish extender (we won’t discuss how many hours of hand-sewing), but it was finished in time for our trip! Yay!
As I was making the fish extender, a dear friend from high school, Kim, noticed my posting on one of the Dis Boards. She reached out to me and asked if I would have any use for some crystal Mickey Mouse figures. I was so excited to accept her generous gift! (And it was awesome to catch up with her after so many years!)
She told me she just signed a contract to teach first grade with a neighboring school district, so I grabbed some books of my son’s bookshelf to get her started with a classroom library.
After she left, I added the crystal Mickey Mouse figures as well as a few more embellishments, then our fish extender was done!
My next blog post will highlight the gifts we made over those three days to bless others on our trip – make sure to check back soon to read more!