Okay, this is one of those moment where I just have to vent. I hate being frustrated even though I know the pointlessness in being frustrated. Why is it that things always happen when you least expect them to or crop up right in the middle something else that’s important – then requires all of your attention? We’re finally getting to go somewhere, something we haven’t done since our daughter got married a couple of years ago… but while this was important, it wasn’t really GOING somewhere, if you know what I mean. A couple of years before that, our son got married in Antigua – that was going somewhere.
With both of us on fixed incomes, we don’t have many chances to go somewhere – but one came up: A five-day Western Caribbean cruise with family and friends and, well, we weren’t going to pass this up. After plopping down our down payment and getting a smoking balcony suite, we came up with a plan:
- Pay off the cruise before the 9/7/10 due date
- Search and get tickets for the best flights to and from Miami
- Figure out the best way to get to the airport
- Figure out what to do with the cat
- Save up some spending money
- Go on the trip and have big fun
How hard was this going to be? Since we started this in March, this was really going to work big time. Um, not exactly…
So far, everything that can go wrong has gone wrong. Banking errors, our vehicle first needing a new water pump… then a possible fuel pump failure. The regular bills still have to be paid, food’s needed for us and the cat, who needs others stuff as well. The trip’s paid for in full and thanks to an error on their part – that messed up my bank account – we even got some shipboard credit out of the fix. Now, find a flight… and that’s been a pain in the ass. Okay, so, when I first looked, it was going to cost us around $400 for our tickets; should have gotten them at that time, didn’t have the money. No problem, we still have time. The prices are still going up and even though we’re digging through every avenue to find the least expensive flight that will get us there when we need to – and get us back home – it’s been extremely frustrating.
If we could fly to Miami the day before, the tickets are so much cheaper… except we’d wind up screwing up our transfer arrangements, which are from the airport to the ship, not from some hotel somewhere. Hotel prices at the moment are as stupid as airfare – but this is Miami so that’s to be expected; factor in additional costs for food and transportation to the ship, well, we’re spending money we don’t have.
We could opt to fly to Fort Lauderdale – our transfer is good from that airport but it’ll cost us extra to make this change – another $60 to the pot. But, we’re finding that the cheapest airlines aren’t as cheap as they’ve advertised, particularly Southwest; we found that it’ll cost us over $400 more to fly to Fort Lauderdale than it would to fly to Miami – what the fuck? Oh, yeah, and then we have to factor in baggage charges which, of course, we don’t know what that’s going to be because since the trip is in November, who’s gonna pack for it in June? We could take one big bag for the both of us… but while we can guess that it’ll be more than 50 pounds – which is one price – it could wind up weighing as much as 100 pounds – a different price. The fucked up things is that by the time we pack – however we decide to do that – we will have already gotten our plane tickets and, yep, that’s probably going to be an out-of-pocket, on the spot expense that’s unknown right now.
With the car needing a new fuel pump, that fucked up getting tickets now, which is what we planned to do. Because of this, we’re now in what I call “bite the bullet” time; we’ve been trying to wait for a decrease in the price for flights to Miami and since that doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen any time soon, we’ll be forced to get them at the current price – and be pissed if the prices go down in, say, September. As Linda likes to say, “Fuck a duck!”
And we still need to set some money aside for things needed for the trip – like baggage fees, something to eat – and money to spend while on the cruise; the money the cruise line credited us will take care of the $100 gratuity thing so we don’t have to worry about that – but it goes without saying that, well, we need money. And it’s not like we don’t have the money to squirrel away; the frustration comes in having to spend it on shit other than the trip… like a fuel pump. If it’s not one thing, it’s another; it’s as if Fate decided not to make any of this easy for us and keeps tossing in monkey wrenches just to make shit interesting for us.
It’s unreal and unbelievable! We’ve reasoned that if we weren’t going on this trip, all of the things that have happened wouldn’t have happened; money wouldn’t have gotten screwed up and the car would be purring right along as usual. It just makes you want to bounce your noggin off the nearest wall a few times. I find myself clenching my teeth a lot as these thing roll through my head; my shoulders are aching from being hunched up behind all of this.
Yeah, I know, I’m stressing myself and that’s something I really need to avoid doing… but how do you really do this? Can’t act as if I don’t care; it’s not as easy as telling myself that it’ll all work out in the end; jeez, I just hate times like this! Once more, I’m learning that the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray and just for once, I’d like to know why. Is it just the way it is? Has the Fickle Finger of Fate pointed in our direction and now it’s our turn in the grist mill? Even if you don’t believe in such things, wow, it kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it? And Fate knew exactly how and where to hit us and I’m wondering about that, too? I mean, it’s like we decided to do this and, somehow, Fate found out about this and shit started happening. I know I didn’t tell Fate anymore than Linda did… but we set out on this journey and two days later, the shit started happening to us.
And it always seems that when the shit lands on you, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it except fight your way out of the shit and hope that when you do get out, you won’t smell as bad. It seems that in cases like this, you can’t prevent shit from happening; oh, yeah, some of it you plan for – but when it arrives, it’s not the shit you planned for! Then despite getting the wakeup call and adjusting as necessary – if you adjust at all – the shit just keeps coming and making you push your plans back further and further until they’re either ruined or you’re backed into a corner with very few choices.
Why does this happen? It’s even frustrating to try and figure this out. I know I need to keep a cool head about this – I don’t need to have another stroke or even a heart attack worrying about getting this done – but it has to be done and it pisses me off that other things – unexpected things – are ruining what started out to be a good and simple game plan. Is it just dumb luck or is this the result of being on that wheel that keeps going around? Damned if I know. I really don’t let this bother me a whole lot – I know it’ll get done come hell or high water; still, fuck, this really gets on my nerves, you know?
The “problems” keep piling up; we can’t commit to getting to the airport. Our Jeep is old – it’s a 96 – and it’s now starting to do that break down things tend to do when you’ve had them a long time. It could get us to Baltimore – it did before – but, you know, shit might happen. We can take the shuttle; it’s expensive as hell but at least our car is parked – and we’re not driving. But, we can’t do that until we have our flight plan together! Fuck that duck!
Then there’s Zane, our cat. When we had to leave home for a few in the past, we had someone we could trust to keep an eye on our shit and make sure Zane had food and water… but that person’s gone now. We looked at boarding her – more costs involved – and we were going to do that… until we thought about the fact that Zane’s never been out of this apartment and taking her out and boarding her might make her flip out; the last thing we need to come home to is a psychotic cat – she’s bad enough as it is. We figured that in November, it’ll be easier to leave her alone – she won ‘t be too hot or cold; we’re trying to upgrade her stuff – water and food dishes, new litter boxes – which are just more costs tacked on. Yeah, it’s only about $100 or so, but when we still have to get transportation together and spending money, it’s like it’s a $10,000 layout for us.
Oh, and Linda needs new clothes for the trip, too…
The plan was simple… and maybe that’s what attracted Fate to us. When you plan something, you automatically go the simplest and easiest route possible, which is now making me think we should have deliberately complicated things. Maybe Fate would have seen that, saw we made a huge mess of our own, and left us alone and laughing at us the whole time. But, no, we didn’t do that! Yeah, when the plan was coming together, it was a mess… but we quickly cleaned it up, trimmed it down and executed it… and we got busted. Fate, it seems, was just waiting for us to do what smart people do – simplify things – then pointed at us and the shit started pouring onto us.
Like I said, I know we’ll get it all done and when it’s time to hit the road, we will do so gladly and happily… I just wish the frustration would stay away until we do.