In One Hand…
…and out the other.
Even now after having been gainfully employed for the last 26 years I still enjoy payday. I get paid every other Friday. It’s been that way for the last two decades and I plan everything around it. All of my bills are paid online automatically the Wednesday following payday in case of lag or bank holidays. This is actually a pretty recent development. I used to have everything set to be paid on that Friday but due to my slackness in transferring the money from my deposit account into checking as well as the bank paying folks too early I decided that the following week would be best. It’s not a huge deal but I’m very anal about when I want stuff to be paid. I generally balance everything in Quicken a couple of weeks ahead so I know what’s going out on my next paycheck vs what I can set back.
My vacation is coming up the first week of April and I have been wanting to go to Key West for a couple of years now. The big problem with that is that actually staying there is pretty much out of the question with my two girls along. Key West is more of an adult-oriented trip and even if we were to take the girls camping somewhere in the lower Keys and just visit Key West one day they would be bored shitless and I would be resentful that the wife and I got to go to Key West and not get to let loose for a couple of days. Therefore I’ve decided to put that trip off one more time until the fall or maybe 2010. I think that we need to ditch the girls and just fly down for a long weekend of debauchery on that one.
Instead, we are going with the old fallback again. Disney World! This time however, we are camping. We’ve stayed in a couple of different Disney resorts on the property but being as how I’m just a cheap bastard I wanted to get off a little easier. When we took all three kids in ’05 it ran somewhere around $5k and the trip with just the two girls this past summer cost $6k. That’s a chunk of change to spend on a fucking vacation so we are doing it on the cheap. We’ll drive straight through on March 31st and check into the Fort Wilderness Campground and stay for four nights. I made sure to only get three days of park tickets though. Kind of pointless to have tickets for the fourth day when I have a ten hour drive home at the end of the day. Fuck that noise.
The wife doesn’t particularly like camping but since it’s Disney she’s decided to acquiesce on this one. I did make sure to order an air mattress this morning when I bought the tents and shit. Orlando at the end of March/beginning of April isn’t too overbearing and the bugs haven’t gotten really bad yet so even she should be somewhat comfortable. We will do very little cooking there other than making Coffee so that’s no big issue either. I had thought about not getting the dining plan this time as it adds around $600 to the trip but when you figure the prices they charge…four people for four nights ends up being about $150 per person for eight meals/four snacks. That’s at least half what we would spend out of pocket and I’m sure we’ll end up dropping a serious dime anyway. With everything together (including spending there) I should be able to get out at right around $3 grand. Half what I spent on the last trip. Sweet.
My very first trip to Disney was in 1976. My mom and dad saved and scrimped for months on that trip. We left my little brother, who was five at the time, with my great-aunt and spent a week camping down there. It was a fucking blast. I was ten years old on for that one and still remember it. We did a lot of camping when I was young and I’ve always loved it. Back in ’76 there was just the Magic Kingdom and even with being there for a week there was plenty of stuff to do. I don’t really remember how many days we actually went to the park vs. how many we stayed in the campground though. Too many drugs and too much alcohol as a teenager I guess. It’s like one long day in my memory now but I do have pictures, which helps. Eventually I’ll scan some and maybe post them. That was another exciting thing about the trip. I got to use the camera most of the time we were there.
A ten-year-old with a camera means lots of pictures of legs and hats and bushes. Surprisingly enough there are actually a couple of good photographs in the bunch as well. I just remember how cool it was to be able to use the camera. TEN was the year I remember most fondly from my childhood…
So I’ve booked our vacation and bought camping equipment. Hell, I’m not even out of my bathrobe yet and I’m already fucking exhausted. Of course when you’ve made plans and are spending money something has to fuck up the process. Fuck it up it has. Our oven has been acting funny lately. It came with the house and so it’s not the most expensive model on the market in the first place. It’s lasted a little over eight years which isn’t bad I suppose. I hear that generally appliances last around ten years, maybe more for quality stuff and since home builders aren’t particularly interested in high quality anymore I guess we did alright.
I priced several different models and was pretty shocked to see some of the prices. Fuck, I think I would rather cook over a campfire. Out comes the Consumer Reports book. I ended up staying on the low end this time. I figure in the next ten years one of two things is going to happen. Either I will get promoted again which might entail moving, or when the wife finishes her Specialist degree in a couple more years I will either retire and just work online or may step back as a single store manager. Either way I don’t see us living here fifteen years from now and if we are going to eventually move I’m damn sure not going to put high end equipment into the house. When/if we grow up and decide where we are going to be for good, then we can start getting really nice things. I think I ended up spending between five and six hundred bucks on the oven. I did manage to find it from one of the companies listed at Consumer Reports for about a $30 less with shipping than Home Depot charges before their shipping charges. That was a fucking no-brainer. Of course we’ll have to put it in ourselves or call the handy-man we’ve been using the last couple of months. He’s the one that we initially had come look at the oven in the first place.
He cleaned some contacts and stuff off and got it temporarily working but unfortunately it is most like the thermostat rather than the igniter so rather than spending $70 for a replacement thermostat (with no guarantee it would fix the problem) plus a couple of hours labor taking the bastard apart we both figured I would be better off getting a new oven. Of course he was thinking in the $200-300 price range for a new oven, which I could probably find locally if I wanted to look really hard, but even so I got a decent deal. I’m just not interested in getting some piece of shit used equipment from one of the local rental stores.
I finally managed to get a couple of days off in a row from the job. It’s almost like a damn vacation in itself. Here we are, a third of the way through January. My last two days off in a row was December 12th and 13th. Hell, my last day off at all was December 30th. By the time I finished out that 17 day stretch I was worthless. I spent the last six days at work with a cold or the flu and it was fucking miserable. I was miserable. I guess getting sick was my body’s way of telling me I was overdoing it. While the holidays are my favorite time of the year (like the fucking song) I enjoy a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Luckily it only comes once a year and except for having to cover nine vacations (my three managers) over the next year, stretches like that don’t come too often. I have two of them on vacation between now and when I go at the end of March but unless things drastically change I now have use of one of the manager trainees so it shouldn’t stretch me too much.
Kind of a long update but I haven’t posted here in a couple of weeks. It’s about time I suppose. I’ll have to go find some scumbags to post about over at Shadowscope and then it’s off to do a bit of grocery shopping. I also have a couple hundred emails to go through as well as cleaning my desk and paying some bills but that shit’s just going to have to wait for this afternoon. Nothing like a little procrastination to brighten the day…