As I think I’ve mentioned before, we started planning our Washington vacation in December while the kids sat transfixed in front a red-nosed reindeer and an elf with bad hair who wanted to be a dentist. Actually, as my friend Brian will tell you, if you lip read Hermey [the elf] he says he wants to be a “den-toost.” But let’s not dwell on poor animation.
The fact of the matter is that for eight months–eight months–we’ve been making reservations, researching towns to visit, figuring out what our kids would be interested in and what to skip, and for those eight months, there’s been one non-negotiable: whale watching in Seattle. It had become like a baby I carried around–a little vacation fetus–held in the womb of my brown and aqua planning folder just waiting to come alive and make us look like the tourists we were, out on the ocean with cameras and squeals of delight.
Picture our family: all warm and full of anticipation as we packed our lunches, grabbed the camera, video camera, and Bushnell binoculars I got for free when I cashed in my Visa points. I guess they were probably about $3,000 when you do the math, but let’s just pretend they were free. It’s less nauseating. Each of our kids had their own disposable cameras and were simultaneously fighting over the free Bushnells. Sun screen? Check! Chap stick? Check! Water bottles? Enough to irrigate a small vineyard! We were ready. Whales–here we come!
The plan was to first stop downtown and see the Space Needle, which we did. Again–let’s not do the math on those tickets because it’d probably equal out to $5.29 a minute for us to enjoy the view. We were up there for 10 minutes. Like I said: nauseating. But that’s vacation, and we’re happy to do our part to spur on the local economy of Seattle. Far be it from me to stand in the way of progress and capitalism and improving a ‘fundamentally sound’ economic climate.
Anyway, as we’re driving downtown, thinking we’ve only got 5 blocks to drive to get to the wharf, I re-read our whale info so that I can plug the address into our handy-dandy-borrowed-from-the-guy-whose-keys-we-lost-in-the-swamp GPS machine. I located the digits and the name of the ferry we were to take. Great. Everything was groov—Oh. No.
Oh my word.
Say it ain’t so, captain!
I can still almost make out the words between the charred remains of the cursed email: “…take the ferry leaving Anacortes, which is 2 hours north of Seattle…”
Crap. It was almost 11 am. The ferry was leaving at 11:05 from a location two hours of where we were. [How did I miss that?!] To make matters worse, this epic mistake would not only cost me the harmony and joy of my children, but half of our million dollar deposit, as well. Yet one more example of math causing heartburn.
I had royally botched the job this time and there was absolutely no way to fix it. So, I called the company, nearly in tears, canceled our trip, and begged, pleaded, and pawned my last remaining Reece’s peanut butter cup for them to have mercy on my soul and not charge me the million dollar deposit.
I never knew Reece’s peanut butter cups could be such an effective bargaining tool. It worked! She forgave the debt and was even nice to me in the process! So we missed out on the beauty and mystery of migrating whales [which will probably be extinct before we ever get back to see them], but we did get our money and even got to ride a ferry later that day anyway.
You’re dying to know the rest, aren’t you! Well, stay tuned for that story tomorrow: Part Two: the journey from blue ocean dreams to eating lunch on dirty pavement.
Seriously, with that to look forward to, who needs whale watching, anyhow?