Tag Archives: vacation

I’m sick of high gas price hyperbole

I don’t doubt the recent spike in gas prices has caused a lot of hurt for a lot of people.

What sort of drives me mad are the people who say things like “Well, we were going to go on vacation… but it will just cost too much to drive there because the price of gas is so high.  So, we’re going to stay home.”

Now, OK.  I agree, the price of gas is higher, and if you’re spread a little thin already, paying more for gas each fill-up is probably eating into your disposable funds.  Maybe the extra $50 a month you have to put in your tank would have otherwise gone into your vacation fund, so you really can’t afford that vacation because you’ve had to spend more on gas.

But there are people – I’ve heard them first hand, I’ve heard them interviewed for news stories – that are claiming the driving vacation they were planning has become just too expensive, because the gas for the driving on that vacation will just cost too much, so they are staying home.

Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?

For me, the maximum allowable driving time for a driving vacation is ten hours, one way.  Assuming an average travel speed of 60 mph, that means a one-way driving distance of 600 miles.  My minivan – not the most gas-efficient vehicle on the road, gets about 22 miles per gallon on the highway.  That means it will take about 27 gallons of gas to get to our destination.  Right now, gas around these parts goes for about $4.30 a gallon, which means a one-way gas cost of $116.10.  Not a small hunk of change to be sure.

But if I made the trip a few years ago, before we saw the giant surge in gas prices, I’d pay about $2.50 a gallon for gas.  Then, the trip would cost $67.50.

So to take that trip today, vs. in 2004, I’d have to pay $48.60 more for gas for the trip.  Both ways, that means the gas will cost me less than $100 total for the vacation (not counting whatever puttering around we’d do at our destination, but people putter around on an everyday basis so I’m not counting that).

$100.  People are canceling vacations because of a $100 increase in the total cost of the vacation.

I hate to say it, but if $100 is really make or break on your vacation, maybe you can’t afford to take a vacation at all, and should have been staying home anyway.

Bon dia!

That’s Aruba for hello, I think.  Most Arubans speak English pretty fluently so I was, admittedly, geocentrically lazy about learning much in Papiamento, the native language.

We are back.  The trip was awesome.  I have a ton of shit to do tonight, but I wanted to say hello and I wanted to share some random thoughts about the vacation upon which I will probably elaborate more in days to come.

  • My landlord is frigging crazy.  Not like dangerous crazy, but neurotic crazy.  He noticed we weren’t around for a few days, and our mail wasn’t coming.  But despite Frank’s car in the driveway, and our stuff still visible through windows (like our plants in the kitchen window), he left me a rambly voice mail wondering if we had stopped living there and should he start looking for new tenants?!?  I think all the creepy sex between him and his hotty Latina girlfriend has decreased the bloodflow to his brain or something.
  • Frank and I went out to dinner our last night there, to an awesomely awesome restaurant.  Good food, incredible ambiance.  I can’t wait to have time to tell you more about it!
  • Lane was a little stressed out by the general situation of two whole days without Mommy in an unfamiliar place, and her stress carried over into the rest of the vacation.  Overall she handled it well, for her.  However she wasn’t keen on doing much without me the rest of the trip, and tears were shed any time Frank and I went off to do something without the kids.  But it got better as the time passed, to be sure.  I am happy to report that she learned to swim by the end of the vacation, and since I was a lifeguard/swim instructor in a previous life that has me all sorts of proud.   And she won’t do that swimming-with-her-face-out-of-the-water-for-fear-of-getting-her-face-wet business… in fact we have the opposite problem, she can’t quite figure out the mechanics of lifting her face out of the water to take a breath, so her swimming is limited to about six feet before she runs out of air.  But she swims, and floats, and there were no floaties required to get her to that point so I am all sorts of proud of her.
  • Jake loved every minute of it.  He loved the ocean, and the pool, and the toilet in the room, and eating sand, and throwing coral rocks with me and Lane, and more than anything the eight days down there cemented his Grandpa Frank as unequivocally the coolest person in his universe.  They truly are like peas and carrots, to borrow a turn of phrase.
  • I have decided I simply love Aruba and would stay there forever, if possible.  The weather is amazing (highs of 88 degrees F like, all year, lots of low humidity, constant trade winds which make it never feel really hot even when it is, and no hurricanes).  The people are friendly, and there is stuff to do without there being too much to do.  You can lay on the beach every day of your vacation and not feel like you really missed anything.  There’s stuff to do if you really are inclined, and it’s interesting and fun, but you’ll never on your deathbed regret not doing it.  It’s not a cheap place to visit… but we will certainly be back.

I think he’s going to like Aruba

This post originally contained a funny story about Jake and his love of the toilet and dog water dish.

Then WordPress did some server maintenance shit in the middle of my writing, and made me all sorts of promises that my work was being saved. They are lying liars who lie! They saved my title and my tags, but not the 450 words in between. Irksome!

Anyway… short version:

Jake likes water and tries to douse himself with toilet and dog bowl water at any and all opportunity. He also likes putting his right foot (not his left, just his right) in the dog’s water and finds it hilarious.

I thus concluded he will enjoy Aruba where wetness will not only be permitted, it will be encouraged.

Tomorrow, we leave. We return next week Wednesday. Bailey’s going to a farm.

(No, really. Our fish, however, who at least timed his untimely demise this morning with Lane’s absence, is REALLY “going to a farm”.)

There will be some posts in that time, prescheduled and not live accounts of our vacation (but I’m not ruling those out…. just not making any promises).

Later, peeps!

She’s gone :(

Well, Lane and Frank have left for the in-laws’.   They will sleep there tonight, get up in the middle of the night, and attempt to get to the airport by 4:00 a.m. for a six-o’clock-ish flight to Aruba.

I got in about a dozen big hugs, and I only welled up a couple times, and cried for about five seconds after I closed the door behind them.  The crying was a surprise, I’m not a big crier.

Lane knows that flying to Aruba requires two different plane flights and that it will be really hot and sunny down there and that she has to listen to grandma and grandpa and stay really close to them all the time and to wear a hat when grandma tells her to.  She also knows she won’t see me for three going-to-beds (goings-to-bed?) and seems totally at ease about it.  She was cheery and chipper but couldn’t say good-bye enough as she was walking away from the door and getting strapped into her car seat, and threw in an “I love you, Mommy!” or two for good measure.

Then Jake and I waved good-bye from the window as they drove off.  Jake’s really big into saying “By-eee” lately so he totally enjoyed it.

She’s such a handful and I admit, I am excited to have a little time with just my little buddy for the next couple days.  But I already miss her.

Sometimes the planets align…

…and sometimes they, well, don’t.

Today has been one of those “don’t” days.

Got a call this morning from my friend Renee.  We’d visited them last weekend, during which there was a strong suspicion that Lane may or may not have accidentally or purposefully flushed a toy down their toilet.  She said something that sounded like she had flushed a toy down the toilet, but when asked to confirm, she denied.  So while we were there, the toilet flushed a few times and all seemed well.

Not so much.  They amassed a $200 plumber’s bill rectifying the situation.  Which of course I will completely pay back, but sigh.

Then, I had our New York State tax return to sign, and write a small check, and mail today.  I give it a once-over before signing and paying and mailing, and see something odd.  I’m being charged New York City income taxes on the return… but I don’t live or work in New York City.  Neither does Frank or the kids, as far as I know.  And as much as NYC thinks it is the center of the universe, I don’t think they have the power to tax us by sheer proximity.  There has been three phone conversations with the accountant and she still doesn’t seem to think anything’s amiss.  Does she even GET that we DON’T LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY?!?  And now since we’ll be out of the country the last week before the return is due, we may still have to pay, then file an amended return to get our money back.  Um, ARGH!!  The one redeeming thing here is that instead of owing $155 I’m pretty sure we’ll get back $17.  At least it mostly covers the plumbing problem.

Somewhere in there, Lane left the door to the bathroom open and Jake wet himself up to the shoulders in toilet water.

Since Lane is traveling out of the country with her grandparents, they need a notarized letter from us that they have our permission to take her out of the country.  I wrote the letter and arranged to have it notarized today.  Told Frank to sign it last night.  Guess what he forgot to do.  Lane and her grandparents leave on Sunday; luckily a close family friend is a notary public and was willing to notarize without Frank’s signature on the letter yet because she knows he fully intends to sign it and consents to the trip.

Got all the way to the store today and realized I’d left my purse at home.

Got a package, realized it was all wrong, had to send it back.

Consoled my son more times than should be necessary because his sister likes tackling, clotheslining, straight-arming, and otherwise knocking him on his keister.

But right now the kids are playing as cute as can be.  That helps.  And one of our errands today was to PetSmart to get dog food and they were having an adoption event, with some of the cutest, puppiest-smelling puppies you could imagine.  Hearing the kids giggle at the puppies and all those little puppy nibbles and puppy kisses is healing for the soul.  If we were in a house at this point, there was a puppy there who might have come home with us.  She was just sweet and calm and gorgeous and happy and the kids were just as smitten with her as I was.  She looked like maybe she was part yellow lab, and maybe part boxer?  I didn’t ask, maybe they knew.  But man, was she cute.

Neglected piggies

It’s been a while since my toes have been pedicured, either by myself or someone else.  I tend to opt for near-nude-colored polishes, and while I am embarrassed to admit this, I removed my last coat of polish on my toes with my toenail clipper… as in, the polish was on my toes until my toenails grew long enough that finally I cut away the last of the polished nail.

Yeah, I know.  It’s really quite sad and pathetic.  But it’s winter here in the Northeast, so the only people seeing my toes were the husband and kids, and quite frankly, they didn’t notice it.  I guess I see my own toes, too.  But obviously I really didn’t care to rectify the situation as it morphed from ambivalence to laziness to downright pedicureal sloth.

But Tuesday.  Ah, glorious Tuesday.  We will wake up in New York, and go to sleep on the idyllic island of Aruba.  The forecast varies from highs of 88 to highs of 87.  At night the lowest is like 77.  There will be nary a sock to be seen on my feet.

Normally such an impending de-wintering of my feet would take me to a nail salon.  Living where I do, there are lots of nail salons, staffed by women from faraway Asian countries who speak broken English and are willing to give you a mani/pedi for like $25.  When I was working, I partook of this often.  But now that it’s Frank that would be paying for such an indulgence, I haven’t partaken since I stopped working.  I guess it just doesn’t seem fair that his time at work should finance a calf massage and a coat of polish.

So, tonight, I did it myself.  Soaked the feet, got out the pumice stone and the cuticle-pushy-stick-things, and the polish, and got the dogs all dolled up.  Frank walked in near the end and said “WHAT are you DOING?”  I wanted to roll my eyes at him but really it’s my own foot negligence that has him unable to recognize a pedicure when he sees one.

Trial run

We’re going to Aruba in a week and a half with the in-laws.  Yes, I’m excited about going to Aruba… not quite as excited about spending 8 solid days with my in-laws but I’d rather be in Aruba with them than here in the cold without them.

Lane is going down with them, two days before we go.  We’re talking up how she’s going to go to the beach with Grandma and Grandpa and how much fun she’s going to have, and all in all I think it will be good.

Tonight and tomorrow night, though, we’re doing a sleepover trial run, where she’s spending tonight and tomorrow night at the in-laws’.  Despite missing her a bit, I certainly don’t need the trial run.  When we suggested it to the in-laws, it was intended with two purposes – for Lane to experience two nights away from us before she has to do it a five-hour plane ride away from us, and for the in-laws to get a feel for what it’s like to spend 48 straight hours with Lane, without a break except at night.  For either part of the equation, I’d like them to experience any kinks now, when we’re just a phone call and a 4 minute drive away.

And… just maybe… I can get the house cleaned up tomorrow too.  Jake doesn’t have the knack for utter destruction that his sister has.  But he does like to put his feet in the dog’s water an awful lot.