It’s been a while since I’ve done any international travel, but t̶h̶i̶s̶ last month took care of that. It was not entirely logistically easy to plan this escape, between deciding where to go, where to fly out (because sometimes it makes financial sense flying from the UP to go down to either Detroit or Chicago, since any flight departing from either Escanaba or Marquette is going to go through one of those hubs, and the price tag is sometimes $7 different or $500 different. In this case it was a $500 difference, so we opted to fly out of Chicago), the rather last-minute-ness of it, and what to do with the world’s most neurotic dog while we were gone, but we made it happen.
I started to write this blog right after we got back, but between the chaos of trying to get the van put back in order for the next road trip (which I am on while I write this now, and is its own epic shitshow – my water heater has followed suit of the stupid gullwing panel and the back door (which apparently RAM doesn’t make the replacement seal for anymore, even though it’s a freaking 2022 van and under warranty….they’re just like, ‘it’s fine – it’s like you get to lay down for a shower in your bed!’) so I wasn’t able to flush out the antifreeze from winterizing Hecate, so I not only am driving around with a bucket to catch the water, which has already prompted some good old-fashioned molding to occur (but I can’t deal with that until I get my new water heater and also find someone to install the damn thing), I also have no water in the van. So no showers. No hand washing. No face washing. No washing dishes. Toothbrushing and drinking out of a gallon jug……) and carrying around the grief of my mother’s murder (which I thought might be easier due to having been estranged from her for almost a decade, but that in itself seems to be playing its own special role in my processing of the situation, and let me tell you, it’s not easy at all), I just didn’t get around to it.
Honestly, between the depression and fatigue that has crept in since that February night, along with the Jamaica trip having been a few weeks ago (and we’ve already discussed how if I don’t get to writing about things fairly soon after they occur, I tend to forget the fine nuances that make situations comical/memorable), I can’t quite get it up to be humorous and pithy while my brain is on such a struggle bus, so I’m just going to do 10 takeaways from the trip, which may or may not be discussed and/or elaborated upon in a later blog:
1. Murphy’s Law.
2. If you have the opportunity to ride a Hobie Cat, do it every day. Or multiple times a day.
3. If you find yourself needing a nap, take one. If you need to go to bed at 7:30pm, do it.
4. Just know that if immigration officers are on strike, not only you will surely get in the wrong of the two lanes that are open, maybe wear an adult diaper too, because although women will be walking by with water bottles and they will offer them to everyone but you, it’ll still take three hours to get through the system. On that note, maybe look into a private transfer from the airport, so it doesn’t take 90 minutes what should take 40.
5. If you see your seats are at the rear of the plane, and near the only two shitters on said plane, pay the extra money to move elsewhere. Have someone you like (or at least know) sitting next to you when the plane spends 80% of its time in the air in turbulence; it is awkward to sob into a stranger’s shoulder for the duration.
6. When the spa ladies harass you on Day 1 about which incredibly overpriced treatment you’d like to have, go ahead and say NO at that point so they don’t pester you every day thereafter. I made the mistake of saying maybe later on Day 1, and was badgered until Day 4, when I just said no.
7. Take some time to scope out the public restroom nearest to your accommodations, just in case you and your partner both happen to eat the suspect seafood bowl on the same night. Or for just after morning coffee purposes. Scope out the second nearest one in case the first one is being cleaned.
8. Talk to people, even if you don’t generally like people, because you might make friends with a couple from South Dakota that you just really enjoy hanging out with (Hiiiiiii to Mateya and Robbie!).
9. Jamaican weed is wayyyyyyyyyy stronger than American weed, particularly when you get someone more competent than yourself to roll it into a blunt.
10. If you happen to get escorted back to your room at 1am because you might have overly imbibed and security and management likely don't want a lawsuit, make sure to give the escort a BIG hug. Management, too. And then order yourself a cheeseburger. Get one for your sleeping partner, too.
A bonus tip: First off, find yourself an Uncle Rob to take good care of your neurotic dog when you’re gone so you can actually try and enjoy your trip. Secondly, when he (the dog, not Uncle Rob) gets prescribed a robust dose of Prozac to combat his ever-growing anxiety, just know that signs of too high a dosage can include shaking, teeth chattering, amped-up (even more than his baseline) anxiety, and general weeny-ness. Instead of just taking the edge off, as we’d hoped, he’s as high strung as ever, just without wanting to play (he’ll get in a play bow and then immediately get scared and tuck his tail), and getting his sleep and feeding schedules completely mixed up, which is a real treat for his humans.
That’s all, folks. I hope to be back at you with tales of this current adventure, but since my mother’s memorial is at the end of both the month and this trip, forgive me if I sit this one out.