I find that while essentially between jobs, my life is dull. My brain is dull. I don’t have tons going on. The girls are doing fine. David is having a more-frustrating job search, but still, that’s fine. Everything is just fine. So I’m a boring blogger.
But there are at least a few things that happened in the past few months that I never had a chance to blog about. I had every intention, but didn’t find the time, and then it felt too far away. But I’m going to go back anyway.
Back in December, in the aftermath of the lay off news, I was seriously wrestling with whether or not to cancel a planned surprise birthday trip for David.
I’m sure he won’t mind me saying (ha!), but on December 5th, David turned 50. (Right after I turned 39 on December 4th.) Of course, we knew this milestone year was coming for quite some time. I have been saying at least since I was 37 that I want a party for my 40th. I want us to rent a space and have a BIG party. Not hundreds big, but 50-big (and that won’t fit in our apartment). David it’s a “have a party to celebrate ME!” kind of person, but he is a “I want to travel the world!” kind of person, so we always said, a trip for his 50th, a party for my 40th.
As the year/fall came together, I knew I couldn’t pull off the ideal trip (Europe) for his actual birthday. Not only is it in the middle of an intense time of the school year, but it’s also the weekend before the 7th/8th grade musical at Mouse’s school. The musical that I produce and for which he runs the lights. We couldn’t go away for much more than a weekend.
I considered doing a Europe trip around Christmas-time, but wasn’t sure I could swing it, financially. Then the Ex swapped Christmas for Thanksgiving, so we had the girls for Christmas, and we definitely couldn’t afford 4 to Europe. Then the job got shaky, so any of hope of swinging it was dashed.
But I wanted to do something.
He’d been talking for some time about how it would be really cool to be on Martha’s Vineyard during a storm. We are more wintry weather people than summer weather people, and I thought this could be something that would be a good get-away without breaking the bank. I checked in with my co-producer back in September, got the okay to disappear for the final weekend of the show, and started making quiet plans.
I checked out the ferry (I wanted to take our car over – the last and only time we’d been to the Vineyard, we went for the day, without the car, and I didn’t think it worked to be there without a car), I checked out off-season hotels. Prices were great ($100/night, instead of $400/night during peak). I did enough research to know that we wouldn’t be without any amenities in the winter. Getting the kids taken care of was tougher – I had talked to my mom, and while she wanted to come and help, she was a little stuck because she was taking time off to come see Mouse’s play the very next weekend. And my plans REQUIRED us to be gone into Monday, because his birthday was Monday. If we came home on Sunday – my birthday – then it would feel like I got the trip for his 50th birthday. Probably weird, but the truth. It was fine, though, because I instantly had 3 friends raising hands and offering to take the girls. (As it turns out, my co-producer not only shouldered the play for the weekend, but she also took Mouse in!)
I had fun thinking about how I would surprise him. Would I tell him the night before “I have plans for us tomorrow, we’re getting up early – no questions asked.” If anyone did that to me, I’d be pissed, and would never sleep the night before. I HATE surprises. But he’s not me. He loves surprises. And how would I get him to have his stuff? I could pack him a bag, but again, if anyone did that for me, I’d be pissed (and my laundry wouldn’t be done, so they wouldn’t be able to get my favorite clothes, and it would suck). I could tell him we’re going away for the weekend, and not tell him where, but that would be less fun.
In the end, I got laid off, instead. We were facing a huge unknown about whether we’d end up with no income at the end of February, or if I’d end up taking a 75% pay cut, or what was going to happen. The trip felt . . . wrong. But I also couldn’t let go of it. I couldn’t think of a single thing that I could do for his 50th that wouldn’t (a) suck, or (b) rival the cost of the weekend. And I got kind of upset about it.
Because of our situation, I felt that I couldn’t just up & go with the plan without involving David in the financial decision-making. And at some point in the lay off aftermath, I came clean with my plans. He liked the idea, but didn’t think we could afford it, and that it wouldn’t be wise.
Over the long Thanksgiving weekend, we started some Christmas shopping for the girlios. We had a fun day out on Small Business Saturday, and ended up at one of our favorite restaurants in town. The gift-buying had me thinking about and stressing about his birthday. I’d ask him what he wanted, and he’d say something like, “Oh, I’d really like a striped hat.” Or, “I do need a new winter coat.” And I was so frustrated. It was his 50th. It was a big deal. He wasn’t getting a fucking hat.
By the time we were at the restaurant, I was all worked up. I brought up the weekend again. He again pushed back. And then, really not in Suzie-style, I started to cry. In the restaurant. I just cried and cried. His eyes bugged out of his head, and we started to talk about a one-night trip, instead. The ferry and the hotel together would cost about the same as a nice dinner out in Boston – we can swing that. No problem. My mom had even offered to give us a night at the Inn as David’s birthday present, so we could do it. And we’ll both get jobs, and we do have savings, and okay okay okay.
So we pulled the trigger on a Sunday – Monday trip. It didn’t take long after that for us to say “oh what the hell” and put Saturday night back into the equation.
[Then, after making the decision, I got an unexpected $500 profit sharing sort of payment thing from my firm, and it definitely helped make this more reasonable.]
And I guess I’ll have to blog about the actual trip in a separate post, since this is already a novel. Preview: It Was Awesome.