We planned this trip months ago. We knew we wanted a house on a lake so Travis could bring the boat, and my only requirement was a hot tub. We would spend the days fishing and the evenings, mindlessly watching movies, with no worries about having to wake up in the night with the baby. It would be our first trip since Phoenix was born, alone, just us.
It was actually pretty difficult to find a reasonable lake house rental with a hot tub within driving distance, but we found one. I paid for the weekend and started counting down the days. In the week leading up to our romantic weekend getaway, the whole family got sick. Chills, body aches and a high fever mocked my attempts to get out of bed on my birthday, the Tuesday before. Travis and baby, also sick, had a stomach bug. We stayed sick for 3 days, and although we had gotten our energy back by the time Friday rolled around, we both decided to forfeit the boat idea, and to just fish off the dock at the lake house and use the weekend to rest up and recoup.
We loaded up and headed out. There was no need for music on the ride over, as we are never short of things to talk about. Long car rides have always been where we discuss solutions to world problems. We talked about how nice this was, just us, getting away, and I was daydreaming about the fish he would catch while I soaked my bones in the jacuzzi.
As we pulled off the highway into town, we couldn't help but take notice of the run down buildings and strip malls with tattoo bars, vape shops and check cashing. Across the street from the road to the lake house, was a giant pest control shack, with large roaches painted on the yellow building. The joyful energy in the car had become still as I navigated from the passenger seat through sketch town. We rolled up to the house....
A large car port with a broken down boat and an old rusty jetski sat in front of our truck. The grass was overgrown, with some clutter in the side yard. Well...who am I to judge. I cracked a small smile as I jumped out of the truck. We were here! It was going to be great. As we approached the door a woman answered. She was disheveled, obviously in the middle of cleaning, which was fine, we were a bit early. We walked inside the house. The depressing smell of ashtray mixed with Fabuloso, filled our noses. Travis was immediately turned off. I noticed the woman's pack of smokes on the table and she was still in the middle of cleaning. Surely, this smell would die down, once she leaves. It would be fine! She starts by telling us she went to shock the hot tub and realized it needed to be drained and cleaned, so she's doing that now. OK, I guess I'd rather it be new water. She gives us a tour, telling us about the crazy party's that go on there, that she is on her fourth pool ladder and how shit gets broken all the time so she has given up. The social worker in me wanted to relate to her, ease her stress. "Sure, we get it. No problem. We're just gonna chill for a couple days." I report.
She continues. The upper deck of the dock is roped off because it has rotting wood. There is no gas in the grill, but she tells us we can go fill the tank at Home Depot. OK, sure.
We didn't want to be there while she finished cleaning so we decided to go to the grocery store to get some groceries. Travis gave me a look when we got in the car, one that acknowledged the not-so-perfect situation, and gave me permission to opt out. To which I replied. "This is going to be fun! We'll get some sandwich meat and chill. This is good enough! I'm happy."
Once back at the house, Travis threw his line in the water, and spent the evening trying to catch whatever might be lurking around the dock. Florida had gotten a cold front, so it was unseasonably cold and windy. I found Dateline on cable and zoned out on murder mysteries. When Travis came in, we passed out watching Home Alone.
The next morning. I tried to get comfortable in the living room. I asked Travis to come lay with me, but the sections of the couch weren't connected and kept drifting apart, making it impossible to get comfortable. The recliner didn't work and the fabric was a kind of micro suede that felt sticky, and reeked like old smoke and fry grease. The house was damp and cold. I asked Travis to turn the heat on while I grabbed sheets off the beds to cover the couch. The smell was creeping me out. As I laid there, I felt dirty. I felt like the filth of the house was sticking to me. I did not want to eat the food we bought there. Travis had now returned to the thermostat 3 times. The heat was not kicking on . Then the realization hits me. THIS is NOT the relaxing weekend I wanted. I wanted to be home, and clean. How do I tell Travis? I've got over $600 in this weekend so far, and I wont get a refund at this point. I thought about sticking out the weekend, my stomach turned. "I think I want to go home." I said quietly. Travis said he wanted to go home the moment he had pulled in the driveway, but he knew I had planned the trip and didn't want to let me down.
As we packed up our bags a whole host of feelings came over me. I felt stupid for not researching better. I felt embarrassed for being so optimistic and forgiving with all the red flags during our initial tour. I felt guilty for wasting money and finally I felt bad for myself. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I packed up my toiletries and mourned my little weekend away. Travis offered several different options to make things better, but I didn't want to spend anymore money, and I honestly wanted my shower, my bed, my baby.
I apologized to him for planning such a shitty trip. We got into a conversation about why I felt bad and he said, "at least we still have the weekend."
He was right. We live in a society that values, making safe, low risk, conservative decisions. We get so attached to the way we expect something to turn out that we rarely know when to call it quits. Whether it’s a business venture, a relationship, a special trip, we feel like we have too much invested in it to admit, it just isn't working. We make excuse after excuse to make it fit our idea of what we want it to be, but what we're really doing is investing more resources into something that isn't working for us. We do this because of pride, and because we have a society that doesn't make it easy for us to admit we failed. Shoot, we don't even have a society that is welcoming of new ideas. We should be encouraged to explore, take new ideas as far as we feel they are still serving us, and then be free to fold when they just aren't working for us anymore. Knowing when to call it quits is a strength, something to be honored. In fact, the more you become aligned with your purpose, the more discerning you become. You start to realize what isn't working for you and quitting things that aren't aligned is a powerful choice. It would be nice if we just always chose right from the beginning, but thats not realistic. We're bound to be naive at times, have horrible ideas, lose on investments, find ourselves in nightmare situations, but you can save yourself from a lot of suffering if you find pride in failure and knowing when to fold.