Thursday, December 06, 2007

Hawaii Conference and Vacation

Having had a paper accepted at the Cross Cultural Research Conference in Hawaii, and it being our 10th anniversary December 16th, we decided to add a few extra days onto our business trip to enjoy a vacation. As Mary started planning, she suggested drawing a clear line between business and pleasure by moving to a second island for the vacation portion of our trip. Unfortunately, her original plan for us to take the Superferry to another island fell through because the Superferry was suspended pending environmental impact studies, so Mary started casting about for alternative transport. What she found in the end was a deal on a inter-island cruise, which offered the advantages of a single "hotel" while visiting all the islands rather than having to choose one.

Mary then spent every free moment planning our trip down to the smallest detail. I was astounded at how much information was available online, including live blogs from passengers currently taking the same cruise, to an excellent blog by one of the junior waiters, to web cam images of the actual cabin we would be in; reviews in-depth of very excursion available on every island; and more restaurant reviews than Alberta has restaurants. Preoccupied with NaNoWriMo, and frankly useless at this sort of planning anyway, I left everything to Mary. I realize that this was a totally unfair burden to place on her, especially given all the other pressures on her from work and family just now, but she is just so amazing at this stuff that it is the only logical division of labour. Any time I've attempted to arrange anything, I always forget a hundred details -- like booking passage for the kids or making sure our connecting flight doesn't leave an hour before our initial flight is due to land. Stuff like that. So ten year's experience has dictated that Mary does the planning, and I try to contribute in other ways...

Such as holding her hand and remaining optimistic as everything begins to unravel. After two months of planning, we arrived at Kasia's preschool a couple of days before we are due to depart on our vacation of a lifetime to find a notice on the door that there had been chicken pox in the school. I turn Kasia around and whisk her home for the day, but it is too late: We find two clear pox marks on her chest. Off to the doctor's the next morning to have Kasia checked out.

Mary, convinced that we will have to cancel the whole trip, or at least the first half, awaits the doctor's verdict. Fortunately, we have had Kasia innoculated against chicken pox (given the very terrible experience Tigana had with the disease six years earlier) so the doctor's view is that although Kasia does have the chicken pox, that it is a very mild case, and that it has probably already run its course, such that Kasia is no longer contagious. The test, he tells us, is whether there are any additional pox that show up today, in which case she is still contagious and travel is off, or whether she remains with just the two crusted over existing pox, in which case we should consider ourselves free to travel.

Mary is convinced that we should start rebooking everything, but I have faith that the gods would not have set us up that way (too cruel to Mary, who really, really needs this vacation) and insist on our driving up to Calgary where we stay at the Delta airport hotel awaiting our 6AM flight. It is a long, nervous night.

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