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  • I am so spoiled. I can remember when I would go years without any kind of a vacation, to speak of. From 1985 to 1991, we never went anywhere on vacation – any time off we had was spent working on our house. That place needed a lot of work! We’d gotten it for a pretty low price – it was set in a lovely setting, right on a lake, but it took constant attention to keep it from sinking, and/or falling apart.

    Right around the time our son was born, we’d finally gotten the house to the point where it didn’t take up quite all of our free time just to keep it standing, so we had a little bit of time on our hands. We still couldn’t afford to do much, in the way of vacations, but we went down to the Jersey shore for a week, where we got a place cheap, and really enjoyed the relaxation and time away from our usual routine.

    It was the following year that we took the workshops that changed how we looked at our lives. By then, financially, we were barely holding it together. Vacations? Forget about it. We just couldn’t afford it. But, Kathy started to envision, and she enlisted Jonathon into her envisioning, as well, a vacation in Disney World. The idea of that just seemed so far-fetched, so far out of the realm of the possible, that I couldn’t even get past my disbelief to even try the visioning thing, myself. I was too rooted in “reality”. The reality that I was rooted in was one of “lack”. Can’t afford it – don’t even think about it.

    Then, Kathy announced that we’re going to Disney World. Yeah, right. In your dreams. Keep visioning, kiddo – maybe one day…But, she said, “No, really. We’re going. I’ve booked it. We’re going the week after Memorial Day.” I still couldn’t believe it. She just said, “Trust the universe. We’re going, and we’re going to be able to afford it.” It was really hard for me to believe it, but if she’d already booked it, I figured, what’s the worse that would happen? We’ll not be able to afford it, or the rest of our life will fall apart because we can’t pay our bills, but we’ll at least have our trip to Disney World to remember. I was still largely skeptical. But, we went.
  • That trip did something to me. It truly was magical. Jonathon was 3 ½ years old at the time, and the sheer joy and delight that it all registered with him, had the same affect on me. I simply didn’t know that such wonder was possible for someone like me, who had been through what I’d been through up to that point in my life. I felt transported to a place of joy. I don’t mean the place itself, Disney World, but just the place where we’d gotten away, together, left our daily routines behind, for a little while, and found a place to relax and enjoy life, and each other. We returned home renewed and restored, ready to take on whatever our lives had to throw at us. Our life didn’t fall apart, financially, like I thought it would. We found a way to make it work. I got a second job.

    We went back the next year. It was even better. We spent an extra few days, and again had a great time. That was when we decided to commit to going on vacation every year. We needed that. We bought into the vacation club, and I got a third job.

    The next year, we went down there three times. I would work my ass off, between my day job at the office, my second job working at the ballpark selling imported beer, and my third job delivering pizzas to college kids, just to afford to go on more vacations. It was a little crazy, but it just showed the level of commitment that we had to taking those vacations. But, truthfully, I was damn near killing myself to afford all those vacations.

    The next year, my Dad died. I spent a lot of time with him, especially his last few months, and after he was gone, I realized that the most precious commodity I had was time. I was spending too much time working at all these different jobs, just to be able to go on vacations, and decided that I would just stick to my day job, and that would have to be enough. We’d have to make do with that.
  • We moved down to the DC area, where many things were more expensive, including our mortgage, which had tripled what it was in New Jersey, but I stuck to my decision to only work the one job. I actually made $6,000 less that first year, and Kathy made barely half what she had made at her job in New Jersey, but we managed, somehow.

    We still managed to take that one vacation to Florida each year (how, I don’t know), and even added the week of July 4th in South Carolina, where my brother Chris invited us to stay at the place he rented there. That became the gathering place for my large family each year, which was what really held us together after Dad passed. Prior to that, it was Dad who really held us all together. Now, thanks to Chris, we vacationed together every year. That has continued to this day, 19 years later. As all of our families have grown, we just rent more houses down there. Some years, there are as many as 50 of us there for that week.

    In 2001, we discovered cruises. We’ve been hooked on them ever since. We average one cruise a year. Cruises really take you away from everything. I always loved being at sea, so I love that part of being on a cruise. I love the port calls. The food is great. We may or may not get into the entertainment. Some cruises we do, though most cruises, we just entertain ourselves. We get into our own shipboard routines. I like to roam all over the ship, find a good nook where I can sit and read, quietly, and enjoy the sea air. I also find it a great place to write. I get a lot of inspiration out on the sea.
  • Yes, we are spoiled, no doubt about it. We haven’t been on vacation since the first week of December. Five whole months! You’d think it’s been years, the way we’ve been counting down the days for the past couple of months. Granted, it was a rough winter, for sure. I had my New Year’s morning emergency trip to the hospital, Kathy’s mom died, we both worked hard, the winter just seemed like it would never end.

    We’ve grown accustomed to taking a week in March, but we didn’t, because this year, we celebrate our 30th anniversary, which is later this month. So, we planned our next vacation around that. For our 30th, we will be on the high seas, our favorite place to be.

    The countdown is now at five days. We leave early Friday morning. First, we’ll spend a couple days in our happy place in Florida, then we’ll be transported to our ship, where we’ll spend the next week, cruising the Caribbean.

    It’s a full five days, between now and then. I have late softball games scheduled tonight, tomorrow night, and Tuesday night – six games in all, each night playing until 11:00 pm. I have a reorganization proposal to wrap up this week at work. But, come Thursday night, we’ll be on our way to the hotel by the airport, where we’ll stay so we can be on time for our early flight Friday morning, and a week of relaxation, exploration, and celebration.
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