Back in March, my Jewish Friend approached me with the information that the annual ALA conference is in Anaheim this year. “We should go.” she said, “my rich uncle would probably fly us out for free and we can stay at his mansion in Beverly Hills.”

Saying the word free makes almost anything appealing to me, and crashing at a mansion and basking in the sun sounds like a perfect way to spend part of my summer. So I took the time off work. Then we found out that rich uncle was going to be out of town that week and was unwilling to fly us out to stay at his house when he isn’t going to be there.

So we re-grouped. We started brainstorming places where we could stay for free or cheap.

Chicago, NYC, and Montreal were all mentioned.

Jewish Friend lacks valid passport, so Montreal is eliminated.

Chicago is decided upon, and I find a cheap plane ticket online– things are looking promising.

I get into a car accident, missing an extra shift at work, and incurring at least $500 in car repairs.

Jewish Friend’s father is hit by a truck while crossing the street, so Jewish Friend heads back home.

I start planning daytrips that I can do by myself: New Haven, Cape Cod, beach etc.

I find out that my hours at work are being cut– in half. I start reconsidering whether or not taking a vacation at all is wise, maybe I should just try to grab any extra shifts that come my way, or perhaps I should do a “staycation.” I decide to do a combo staycation/vacation and eliminate my daytrip to Cape Cod, then pick up an extra shift at work to make myself feel better.

I ask Wise Lawyer Friend if she maybe wants to go to Montreal for the weekend. Since she is a pragmatic person and hyper-scheduled, I never really expected her to say yes, but thankfully her brain was a little broken after taking an intense one-week summer class, and she needed a getaway too.

I get my car back from mechanic beautifully fixed, cleaned, with topped-off windshield wiper fluid. Mechanic informs me that I do not need to pay my deductible as he has “worked it out for me.” I want to buy my mechanic a fruit basket, but instead take business cards and promise to send him any business I can– and I will. I love my mechanic, and if you need any bodywork done in the Providence area, ask me for his number.

Wise Lawyer Friend decides to blow off work and come on my New Haven daytrip as does Male Canadian Friend. I feel a cold coming on, but pack tissues and try to ignore it. We have a lovely day ending with a lovely meal.

A little later that night I start throwing up unexpectedly leading me to believe that I have food poisoning. I spend the night in a sleepless cold sweat punctuated by trips to the bathroom.  My cold has also gone full-blown so my head, already spacey from lack of nourishment, is also full of mucus that needs to be expelled.  It was a very wet night.

The following day, I pack for Montreal, try to eat bland food, and buy some Sudafed.  Jewish Friend’s father is doing better, he’s out of ICU but a long way from being good, and she is back in town. She buys me egg drop soup as well as giving me a cold care-package.

Wise lawyer friend and I drive to Montreal without incident, and have a lovely weekend (more details later) proving that optimism and determination are the keys to success!

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