I was in agreement with my wife on deciding to cancel our Viking Alaska/Japan cruise. It was still over 90 days away, so we would retrieve most of the money spent on this elaborate adventure. It just didn’t seem to fit in our current money-saving mode. I could certainly find a less expensive way to get to my 49th out of 50 state bucket list goal. Plus, after the recent experiences of several acquaintances who either couldn’t go on a cruise because of exposure to Covid or tested positive aboard and had to spend their time in quarantine on the lower deck, it was starting to look like a pricy gamble. Staying home suddenly seemed like a good idea!
We contacted our travel agent and explained the situation. It would certainly be a costly hassle for her to change all the plans. Her reply after consulting with Viking officials was “yes, we could cancel but we would have to forego $3500 in travel insurance plus a $100 each cancellation fee.” It seems reasonable enough until they told us that we would also have to give up over $7,000 in vouchers that we had earned from previous Covid cruise cancellations. For some reason, “they could not be reapplied.” Bottom line, we’ve decided to go and take our chances. Over $10k seemed like a lot to give up! Staying home was not an option, so Alaska here we come!
We also next need to rent a car for a month to accommodate our drive up to Northern Michigan in July. Both of our vehicles have too many miles and not enough leg room to make that journey, especially after transporting them here to Florida. We’ve considered selling one of them to either get a golf cart or simply operate with just one car, most likely my wife’s precious Lexus. We would save on license fees, maintenance, and insurance, but would have to schedule around each of our usage needs. It would not result in any gas savings because the Solara does not use premium fuel like the Lexus, even though the idea of scaling back to one car was a reaction to the increase in gas prices.
I usually drive only to go to the Chiropractor, as is the case today, or some other doctor appointment. I’ve also been picking up my grandson at school but that commitment will stop in a few weeks with summer vacation. My wife uses her car for shopping and various classes. We drive together whenever possible. If we get rid of a car and don’t get a golf cart right away, we would have the option of either walking or taking a bike. It would most likely be my ticket to just staying home or at least confined to the neighborhood. As my grandson just mentioned, “Grandpa, should you even be driving?” This was just after I mistakenly pulled into the oncoming turn lane. Maybe, he’s right – I should just stay home!
Covid is cruel even though now it’s more of an annoyance than a death threat. At least we were not a statistic like the one million unfortunate soles who have died from exposure to the disease. My problems are comparatively minimal and maybe even be selfish. However, it has once again changed our plans with friends, as they are unable to visit this weekend because of symptoms and a positive test. Thankfully, they were forthcoming about it, rather than discounting the hacking to be simply allergies, as too many people unfortunately do. We will miss their company, while feeling sorry that they also had to forego a much anticipated Disney family cruise because one of their grandchildren came down with it. As a result, 15 people couldn’t go and we have a refrigerator full of food in anticipation of their visit. Ours is a minor inconvenience compared to their ordeal and no one has been hospitalized.
I did arrange for my second Covid booster last week. The spread of new strains makes me wonder if our September cruise to Alaska and Japan will ever happen. The Ukraine situation has already altered the original plan for our ship to dock in Russia. In the last year, we’ve already lost trips to Bali, St. Kitts, Spain, Russia, and Hawaii due to Covid, plus a week in Tahoe because of fires. Our Nile River cruise was also postponed until next year because of the virus. What was going to be a busy retirement flurry of travel has turned into shorter Florida getaways. We’ve done Amelia Island, Singer Island, the Keys, South Beach, Orlando, Vanderbilt Beach, and Marco Island instead. It’s good to have these beautiful resort areas nearby.
Without company this weekend, we will keep tonight’s dinner reservation and enjoy our pool. Some of the dollars we saved on these lost trips paid for the pool and lanai that we now use all the time. At least we have something to show for the money that would have been spent on strictly creating memories. Only time will tell if there will be more disappointment on the travel front, as I’m sure everyone has had their share of Covid cruelty.
Sometimes I feel like I’m trapped in a time warp where day after day is exactly the same. This is especially true in the mornings since I schedule most of my appointments during the afternoon. I get up at the same time, follow the exact same sequence of preparations for my run including stretching and push-ups, take Tally outside where I often see the same neighbors day after day, go for my run along the same route, take a short swim in the pool to cool down from the run, sit at my desk to write, and eat the lunch that my wife comes home to fix us. It’s almost like I’m sleepwalking through life.
This is why it was good to get away the last two weeks, even though the morning routine was similar. At least it was all done in a different setting with the beach as the focal point. I also didn’t have to deal with the barrage of contractors, house guests, errands, and doctors that I see most afternoons. In addition, evenings are very predictable anymore. We don’t go out as often as we did while working, trying to stay on a retirement budget. My wife cooks dinner, we dine together usually on the back lanai around sunset, and we sit in front of the TV watching series after series. Bedtime is usually 10 p.m. that involves taking Tally out for her final outing and a couple chapters of a book before sleep comes.
My wife takes Tally to the dog park every morning, enjoys an aqua-fit class every other day, and a tap class twice a week, plus bridge and book club meetings in between. She takes advantage of the vegetable and fish guys that come once a week and does most of the shopping by herself with the exception of our joint trip to Costco once a month to stock-up. She sees her life as camp, filled with activities and friendship. I’m much more of a loner since none of my routine involves a group setting. Once a month, there’s usually a Borrego Boyz luncheon that I attend and a “Meet the Neighbors” mixer that we organize. Many of our “snowbird” neighbors are now headed back to their lake cottages up north for the summer and won’t be back until September. Us full-timers, without the responsibilities of a second home, will stick together and brave the heat. See you later alligator!
“See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
Can’t you see you’re in my way now
Don’t you know you cramp my style”
“See you later alligator, after ‘while crocodile
See you later alligator, so long, that’s all, goodbye”
Songwriters: Robert Charles Guidry
See You Later, Alligator (Bonus Track) lyrics © Royalty Network