With problems like this…

Because I’m me, I always have to be obsessed with something. It’s in my blood to be insane I guess. I can’t help it.

My recent insanity, now that we’re in a New Year and work has slowed down, is travel. Shocking…I know. Because it’s so seldom that I think of such things.

I have a full year to fill with things and 136 vacation hours to burn. What to do?

Last year was my first with 3 weeks…finally lasted at a job past the 5 year mark. We took 2 trips to the beach and I ended up in FLA 3 times. Twice for fun, once for not so fun. I also managed to be off from December 21-January 3. That was fun and re-entry remains difficult.

2012 is posing challenges. It’s supposed to be a St. John year, but it’s just not gonna happen. There are too many boundaries.
1: What to do with the kids. We’d leave Moo at home, that’s a given. She’s NOT coming to St. John until she’s older. That’s a no-brainer. Plenty of people take little ones down there but we are so NOT those people. The thought of it makes me want to poke my eyes out. Shmuppie poses another challenge. We’d have to go in June or September because of her schedule. And, to be frank, we don’t even want to bring her. I know families should vacation as families, but don’t Mom and Dad (and MerlotMan and ChurchBomber) get a little time to themselves? My mother, in a stunning reversal, says we should leave both kids with her and just go.

2: Putting aside the hellbeast that Shmuppie would become, it’s too damned expensive. Delta and US Air seem convinced that we have unlimited funds. Couple that with the jeep, house cost, beer money and planning and St. John suddenly became more task than vacation. I know…cry me a fucking river…it’s too hard to plan a trip to the Caribbean.

3: ChurchBomber and MerlotMan also aren’t sold on St. John this year. They’re going to Ireland for a while and it’s just not meshing on calendars. Until it sinks, St. John will always be there. We’ll be back.

What to do now? My schedule is free.

Here are my plans:
Shmuppie is off for 3 weeks in March. We’ll need to do something to appease her but we don’t want to take a full vacation. We’re thinking of The Great Wolf Lodge. She went last September with my mother for a night and had fun. Moo would have fun splashing around in the kiddie pools and we could limit ourselves to one night there. Add in some coupons and it’s not a bad deal. But, the reviews are mixed at best on it. So, because I’m crazy, I had an idea while running yesterday. I was bundled up from head to toe and had a thought… SNOW! We could go snow tubing somewhere. Moo would have to stay home, but the 3 of us could take a trip to a mountain somewhere and go tubing. 15 minutes of research told me that was a shitty idea if I wanted to stay in state. Yikes…PRICEY! “Hey…West Virginia says they have snow!” I found a resort that offers free lift tickets and has a pool and bowling alley. That could work for a night. Let’s consider March closed; one night somewhere; Great Wolf Lodge for water slides or WV for tubing. 8 vacation hours gone.

April: JewelrySlut and I are convinced that we’re going to take an “us-only” trip this year and April seems to be the time. I found a cute little sound-front house in Emerald Isle that appears to suit our needs. I, obviously, looked everywhere for this trip. I found all-inclusives that would cost like $800 for the 2 of us for the whole week. Then I checked air. I’m not paying $600 to fly ANYWHERE that keeps me in the same time zone. Hell…I’d need to cross many time zones to rationalize such a flight. In the end, EI is close and easy. I’m not booking shit until I see how the next few weeks go. Things could change with my parents in a heartbeat and I don’t need to eat a house deposit because I piss them off by blinking inappropriately. If we go, there go 40 more hours.

June: Shmuppie is off again; for 5 weeks this time. My mother is taking her on their annual “Spoil the Child Cruise”. But that leaves 4 weeks. Last year we went to FLA for the 4th of July. I’m not in the mood to do that again. ChurchBomber and MerlotMan want us to come up to visit. I’m trying to figure out how to get up there while minimizing time off and travel time. We’re not buying 4 plane tickets just to go to NJ. Look at that! $1200 to fly 500 miles. “Sorry kids…put on your seatbelts…we’re going for a ride”. But the fucking ride to NJ sucks such balls. Pretty much the entire trip above Richmond is one potential disaster after another. There’s not a single mile of road between Richmond and Morris County NJ that’s not a potential traffic disaster. 500 miles could easily take 20 hours. Even if I route us west through WV and PA, it’s still a drive. I need to chew on this one. Let’s deduct another 24 hours here.

So far, it’s June and I’m down 9 of my 17 days.

September: I can’t see us all not going back to EI. Shmuppie is off again and we had a great trip last year. The weather is not too hot and the ocean is still warm. I just need to convince myself that I don’t need to go on a full house search. The house we rented in March was great, but, it was a duplex and the main deck isn’t divided. The thought of having to look at people we don’t know does not appeal to us. The one in September would work for us but the stairs were odd. You had to go outside to access the ground level. Said ground level housed the foosball table and laundry. Dock me another 5 days.

That leaves me 3 (maybe 4) days left. I can use them around the holidays and be off again from Dec 22-Jan 2.

I will now argue with myself about all of this. Because, in all this madness, I don’t have a trip to FLA planned. JewelrySlut and Moo will probably take at least one trip. Possibly 2 if Gram gets her knee replaced. But I don’t know when I could make it there AND get to NJ AND get a week with my Beach Baby in April. Because, let’s be honest; that’s the only trip I care about at this point. We have grand plans for the week in April. We plan to DO NOTHING! Sleep, read, eat, have sexy time. That’s it.

Of course, I’ll spend the next several weeks pounding the assorted sites hoping that, somehow, airfares will come down and April will land my ass on an island. But, we all know that’s not gonna happen. And that’s OK…I’ll just need something new to obsess about.

Hmmm…now about that closet of mine I need to reorganize.

2011 can eat a bag of dicks

January: We started the shitstorm of 2011 poorly. I weighed in at 190 and immediately became sickened with myself. My mother had her back surgery. Since I spent the day before and day of said surgery in the bathroom puking up my guts, I didn’t call her. After she got home, I was “sent for”. She lectured me about not calling her “What if I had died?” I told her we both knew she wasn’t going to die and if I hadn’t called then I’d have to live with it (whatever that meant), not her; she’d be dead. I then went on the assault. We didn’t speak again for months. Work sucked. It was cold. I started running

February: JewelrySlut turned 40 and I managed to make a nice mid-week dinner for her. Our planned trip to Asheville was scuttled because of my mother’s back, Shmuppie’ s inability to stay at their house without freaking out and my mother and I and the whole not speaking thing. I’m sure Moo did something cute. Work sucked even more. My feet hurt. I needed new sneakers and some $400 inserts. My feet still hurt. I got under 180.

March: Shmuppie was tracked out for 3 weeks. Grr…having her at home for all that time was evil. On a positive note, we took a vacation at the end of the month. We went to WEI and promptly walked into horrid weather. The Wii saved us from certain insanity. We won’t complain about a week off from life, but it could have been better. My feet hurt. I kept running. I got into the low 170s. On a positive note, UConn went on its run through postseason basketball. From a fan’s perspective, it was a joy to behold.

April: Pollen, tornadoes and more suck from work. It really was a horrible year at work. My main account was just terrible; both the clients and my coworkers. I worked way too much in 2011 and am hoping to not be so stressed out from work in 2012. I kept running. I didn’t like it but it was getting somewhat easier. I was up to about 2.5 miles at a time. I stayed in the low 170s.

May: Shmuppie turned 9. I don’t remember anything else happening other than that I’m sure I hated work. I ran some more. IN convinced someone else to run. She became angry with me. She was down nearly 20lbs by now too. I was in the high 160s.

June: It was hot. We had swimming. Swimming sucked. Shmuppie did not take it seriously and lollygagged through the summer. She also tracked out for 5 weeks. My mother took her on another cruise. My parents and I were barely speaking. I was fine with it. Work was awful. Running became infinitely less fun as the temperatures went up. Life was madness. Swimming 2X per week and Saturday meets. It was all a blur of trips to the Y and working on my blackberry late into the night.

July: We went to FLA for July 4th. JewelrySlut’s father was moved to a hospice facility for a “respite”. He was to stay there for a month. S was at home, mostly trying to regain her sanity and life. She’d been caring for him 24/7 for 2 years and it had taken its toll on her. We had a nice visit, ate shrimp, set off fireworks and drive home in storms. Work, as expected, was beyond bad.

August: Happy Birthday to me. I celebrated by running 3 miles. I was in the mid 160′s, having lost 25lbs and had managed to keep it off. JewelrySlut was also running and was cursing me with every step. Work was…you know.

September: Shmuppie tracked out again and we went back to EI. MerlotMan, ChurchBomber, and us all decided that we needed a good trip down there after March’s misadventures. We got it. The weather was wonderful and we had a great time in our oceanfront house. We played in the sand, ate well, and had a wonderful time. Moo really enjoyed the beach. By now, she was more than a handful. She’s developed quite the personality. Watching her play in the sand or stand in the waves with her mother was among the highlights of the year for me. Work… I went to Cleveland for a few days. I hit 162.

October: I got back from vacation and walked into a tsunami wrapped in a tornado, glazed with a forest fire. I spent the first week back waiting to get fired. My team had fallen apart in my absence and everything went to shit. I realized that there was nothing I could do to save things. I was going to have to accept that I was considered a failure and take my beatings that continue to come on a daily basis. I rode the worst of it for 2 weeks.

Then, one fine Wednesday, JewelrySlut walked into my office with red eyes. “Dad’s dying”. FUCK! We had her and Moo no a plane the following morning. We hoped that they could race Death to Florida. They made it in time. Did they ever. By Saturday, he was still alive and I had gone insane. I jumped on a plane, sending Shmuppie to my parents’ house. In typical NoGoodFamily fashion, we put the shit behind us and rallied. They took Shmuppie for a few days. I got to FLA for long enough to realize that my father in law didn’t plan on dying on our schedule. He was waiting until he was ready. I put us all on a plane and brought us home. We needed to restore some sanity.

The running continued.

November: My father in law passed away early in the month. This time, JewelrySlut, Shmuppie and I all went down to FLA for the services. My brother in law and his fat derelict family showed up. We spent 4 days not talking to one another. A year of calls from their debt collectors had soured us all on each other. The services were what they were. My mother-in-law’s family and kids all came down to FLA and it was good to spend time with our new family. Some people don’t get our decision to keep her in our lives; she is, after all, just a step-mother. We don’t see it that way and are happy our kids have another grandmother…a bonus grandmother.

I went to Lima OH for work.

There was a rash of un-friending on Facebook. Apparently, I’m a tad too much of an asshole for some.

We ran a 5K. JewelrySlut won her age group. We ran WAY too fast.

Thanksgiving was its usual bout of wine-induced fun.

December: Work started sucking a little less. Shmuppie tracked out again but spent a week at my parent’s house. The 3 of us sat around the house and relaxed. We went back to FLA for Christmas. IT was a good trip; filled with the usual insanity, but done while in shorts.

I guess we’re back to normal with my family. We talk now and think we’ve reached another level of d‚tente. It is what it is with us. We’ll never be normal or storybook-looking. Too many bridges have been blown up to ever have that. I gained a few pounds at the end of the year and finished 2011 at 168. I also finished it with a 3.5 mile jog with JewelrySlut. I don’t know who these 2 skinny runners are who live in my house, but I think we like them.

I need to lose 5lbs.
We will run another race or 2.
JewelrySlut and I are taking a vacation in the spring; just us. We need it and my parents are pushing us to do it.
It’s supposed to be a St. John year, but I don’t see it happening. It’s too much money and hassle. I prefer EI and its simplicity.
Shmuppie turns 10. Good lord.
Moo will turn 3.

I hope 2012 is better than 2011. 2011 goes down in the books as a very bad year around here. The only thing I can say about it is that we got fit. That’s good, but not good enough.