Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Series of Unfortunate Experiences

It began with a decline in the pool of traditional students going to attend an institution of higher learning. This decline resulted in a decrease in revenue for the college at which I am employed. The decline in revenue resulted in the possibility of possible job losses prevent job losses the institutions chose to have employees take a furlough week (a week off without pay). This was the first unfortunate experience.

To make the best of this unfortunate experience we were going to take a weeks vacation with a couple we are friends with. A trip to Florida during the winter months would ease the furlough week. As the time for our trip approached my wife began experiencing chronic pain which began in her back and then moved to her thigh. Nothing would relieve the pain. Two positions provided the least amount of pain, standing up or laying down. She spent a week on the floor. Trips to the chiropractor, 24 hour urgent care and the family physician where adjustments, muscle relaxers and pain pills were dispensed did not quell the pain. the trip to Florida looked in jeopardy.

Then, a lump was discovered. It was in the groin where the pain had now moved too and her upper leg was numb. My wife thought a cancerous tumor. The physicians suspected a hernia which should be repaired. At this point ultrasound and CT scans to located the source of the pain were coming up empty. They were not even showing the hernia. Regardless of what was causing the pain, the suspected hernia should be dealt with. Perhaps the hernia and pain were connected. Coming out of surgery, the pain was still present. The hernia had been larger than anticipated and likely had irritated the nerves to the point that only time would allow their calming. The trip to Florida looked like a possibility.

But in the meantime our travel partners had tragic news. Cancer had made a re-appearance in the husband. The trip was off for them.

The day of our flight had arrived. The pain had been a result of an irritated nerve and it had now subsided. Soon we would be on the plan to the land of sunshine. Well, not soon, the flight was delayed an hour.

As our flight approached it's destination, the instructions to secure all items and fasten seat belts were given. While my wife's pain had subsided, the three hour flight was beginning to remind her that she was still in recovery mode and the un-accommodating airline seats were not helping. These discomforts though quickly faded as she discovered her diamond wedding ring was missing. A frantic search as best as could be done was not proving fruitful. Perhaps it had come off in the airplane bathroom. Would we be going through the waste container once the plan had landed? Despite the airline attendant's instructions to store all personal items under the seat in front of us, my wife removed hers and began pulling items out of the backpack one by one. I was sure we were going to be in trouble for not heading the proper protocol for landing. My lap now full of her personal items she breathed a sigh of relief. The ring had fallen off her hand and was in the bottom of the backpack. It was now permissible for the plane to land and passengers to debark.

Now that we had arrived in the dark night an hour behind schedule with another hour to go to our evenings destination, the plan was to divide and conquer. I would head to the car rental and my wife would retrieve the luggage. Since she had just had hernia repair surgery, she was going to need to solicit the assistance of healthy young man. It was a great plan...provided she would go to the correct luggage carousel and I would beat the hoard of other vacationers needing a car. We were wrong on both counts.

My hope for a more leisure first night at a quaint B&B like Inn now appeared as if it would be a quick nights sleep since we would be arriving close to 11:00pm and departing the next morning at 8:30 to make a lunch date the next day. The sunshine state was cooler than normal and therefore the HVAC fan wanted to be recognized for it's importance in the middle of the night. A sound not unlike that that one achieves with a clothespin, playing card and bicycle tire. So much for a good nights sleep. Instead another unfortunate experience. Solution, shut the fan off. Unintended consequences, a room that slowly cooled.

Morning arrived and I looked forward to a delightful breakfast served by the Inn. And indeed a delightful breakfast awaited us. This was the first time I'd ever seen soft boiled eggs as an option. A boiling pot of water, numbered eggs to keep yours separate from others and 3 minute egg timers. I should have been less giddy and more attentive. I prefer a 6 minute egg. So when I cracked open my egg, not even all the white had been cooked. How unfortunate. Discard my first egg and use my phone's timer on my second egg. Yes, that's the way I like them.

So far each day has had it's share of unfortunate experiences. Will today prove to be the day that they end? Fanciful thinking. My wife exits the apartment on the 17th floor and takes the elevators to the ground level and out for a walk. After satisfying her desire for exercise one would think that you would simply enter the elevators and return to the 17th floor. That would necessitate pushing the button for the 17th floor. But what if there were only buttons 0-9? Was this not the same elevator that took her to the ground floor? What had happened to the 42 buttons for the floors of the apartment building? Attempts to call other elevators were futile. This one was on the ground floor awaiting to take individuals to their floors. No need for a computer to send a different elevator to the ground floor. In new environments, sometimes the obvious is obscured. The buttons 0-9 were not for floors, but for codes that might need to be entered. What we would normally see as buttons for floors was now a touch screen with the numbers of the floors. Disastrous no, unfortunate yes.

Our fourth day arrives. While the day was sunny, it was windy. Conditions that only northerners would lay out in the sun on such days. Relocating lounge chairs further from the pool and closer to the building in an attempt to block the wind were only partially successful. Off with my t-shirt and getting my 40 minutes of sunshine was now the order of business. When the time had expired I was ready to don my t-shirt and head back to the apartment. But where could my t-shirt be? It was no longer under my lounge chair. It was not in visible sight. Surely no one would have taken it? But yet, it hadn't blown into the pool. It was unfortunate not being able to find my shirt. But then fortune shone. There it lay in a submerged area for plants 12 feet away from where I had been laying.

The flight home had it's own series of unfortunate incidents. Gate moved, flight delayed.

While waiting for the delayed flight an email arrived. I had won the $50 gift certificate for businesses in Coral Cables. Unfortunately, I'm on my way home and the certificates expire before I will return to FL. This was the last of a series of unfortunate experiences.