I’m over in Little Rock this morning waiting to travel home after a training class yesterday. I didn’t really do much while I was here. I rode with a co-worker so I don’t have a car. I’ve had plenty of downtime. The company I work for is on a fiscal year, so I’m at the end of my vacation time for last year and am about to get almost 3 shiny new weeks of possibilities for next year. I have never been one of those people who has leftover vacation. I burn it. I savor it. I hated leaving my last job because I’d just gotten an extra week of vacation, but it couldn’t be helped. I find myself already waiting for 4 years from now when I’ll have that extra week coming. For me, vacation time is gold. I like my work, but I love, love, love my personal life.
I sometimes kick myself because I wasn’t one of those women who married for money. At least once, I’d have loved to have snagged a rich man and at least gotten half of his money in the divorce. Or, maybe we could still be married, and he could work all the time. I just did it wrong, I guess. I married for love. It had its perks, but it didn’t leave me money for travel and fun. I have to work for a living. And, I have to budget for vacations and fun.
I usually don’t plan very much for travel because it seems to present itself. I used to plan way ahead but then somebody would call, and I’d miss out because I already had something in the works, and I can’t do it all. I’d miss out on some fun stuff. This year, I have to pay off my Costa Rica trip from November. Instead of doing what I should have done, I charged it. So, now I’m having to get that paid off before I make any more big plans. It won’t be long. I’m hoping for a little bonus at the end of the fiscal year to finish it off. Then….it’s on….
Three friends of mine from back home – Donna, Jean Ann and Lisa, are coming up in June to play in Memphis with me. I can’t wait. I haven’t spent time with these gals in over 30 years. I ran into them at the gumbo cook-off in January. They seem like a lot of fun. The theme of this weekend, I think, is going to be a party. We’re talking about Beale Street and staying downtown so it’s a bit of a vacation weekend for me, too. At least I don’t have to burn a vacation day…..unless I have to burn one on Monday! We’ve been messaging each other on FB planning the trip. We thought about Vegas, Florida and Nashville, too. But, given the party atmosphere on Beale Street, it’s just hard to resist. The truth is, I don’t go there much anyway. So, it will be a bit of a vacation for me. It’ll be fun.
One of my college roommates from the Boston area pinged me this week. I love Boston. My mouth is watering already, thinking about the cannoli in the North End. And, can you say lobster….. dripping with butter ….OMG ….I can’t wait. That’ll have to happen this year. I’d love to see Angel more than I’d love to eat that cannoli. We met our first semester at Southeastern. We hit it off right away and have stayed in touch all these years. She took a very different path from me. She’s got three kids, and is a full-time Mom. She absolutely loves it, and I LOVE spending time with her family. I visited her around Easter the year after her last baby was born, and my sister came up to join us. She took a picture of me holding Angel’s baby. I think there are two pictures in existence where I’m holding a baby. It doesn’t happen that often. And, my sister took both of them. She loves the irony of it all. And, she loves to see me squirm. I don’t know what to do with a baby in my hands. Oh, yeah, and it’s been so long since I’ve seen Angel, I don’t have any pics of her. 😦
And, of course, my friend Jascia has got something cooking, too. Jascia thinks big, though. She’s rented a house in Costa Rica. She’s fallen in love with the place. I have to admit that it’s a great deal. She knows I’m on a budget, and I think the house will cost $27 a night each. She keeps pinging me with the other great travel deals. She’s the devil. There’s not a week goes by that she doesn’t tempt me with some athletic event in an exotic location or a vacation offer. I wish I didn’t have to budget vacation time….I’d be on all of them. Unfortunately, three weeks doesn’t go very far in a year. So, it’s not money on this one….it’s time….precious time. But, I can just feel the sun on my face, hear the surf and see those surfer boys with those hard bodies and Latin good looks. Man, it would be nice. And, we’d have a house. We might get ourselves in trouble. I may be talking myself into this one.
I’m also thinking of a Louisiana vacation around my college homecoming. There’s just so much to do and so little time. I love the anticipation of planning my year almost as much as the execution. And, I love my gal pals. I love to laugh, and we laugh our asses off on these excursions. At midlife, the insecurities and immaturity have mostly faded away, and we’re comfortable with who we are. Our life experiences have taught us so much, and there is so much talk that takes us to a place in our friendships where we’ve never been before. That’s what I’m anticipating. The places are fun, but they are almost irrelevant. It’s a backdrop for something much greater. The cocktail of personalities that come together in a relaxed place with histories that intertwine is intoxicating. I almost dread the parting already. It’ll come way too quickly.