“In summary, “ Patty began, “you’re telling me to write you a script for anxiety medication because your best friends dermatologist told you that you’ve got wrinkles, your husband will be going to medical school with (while making quotes with her fingers) bikini clad, pina colada drinking 22 year-old women and because you’ll be unable to watch reruns of ‘The Tracy Ullman Show’ as Netflix doesn’t work on that island. Did I miss anything?”
I shook my head and added, “So, if you’ll just write me a script for a Z-pack I’ll be out of your hair.”
“Kelly, a Z-Pack is an antibiotic. Do you have an infection I don’t know about?”
“What is the z medication?” I asked acutely aware that I now sounded like a drug seeker. “I know I read in US Weekly that some celebrity takes it.”
Mental Checklist: confirm it was NOT Lindsay Lohan who recommended that med. Her hair and make-up have been awful lately. Side effect?
“Wow! Okay, Kel, I can see you’re worried about this move. It’s a significant life change. Your belongings are in storage, you’re renting out your home, you sold your cars – but, none of that means you need anxiety medicine. You can reduce stress simply by limiting your caffeine intake, focusing on your family and learning to relax.” Patty looked at me for a few seconds and then documented something in my chart. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a note to Google Tracy Ullman.
After leaving my doctors office and returning my rental car, I sat on the bench outside of the Budget Rent-A-Car in Bellevue and waited for Taffi. I could hear what sounded like Billy Idol wailing “With a rebel yell, she cried more, more, more” and then saw Taff squeal into the parking lot with the top down on the Audi.
“Get in, beyotch! We’ve got people to do and places to see,” Taff unlocked the doors and turned Billy down. “Max and the guys are going out for bar-b-q. Manhood crack. You and I are going to Nordi’s to get our make-up done and then we’re going island shoe shopping.”
With Taffi heading towards the Square, I argued, “ I literally have zero room in my bags. Zero. I cannot buy any shoes. I’ll be lucky to get there with all of my work clothes since I have to travel.”
“Gawd! You’re so uninspiring at this moment. Speaking privileges revoked! To be clear – the shoes are for me and you will get your face done and you will enjoy it,” Taff looked over at me while weaving through traffic. “Now, turn Billy back up or I’ll make you get your nails done, too.”
Following my marathon afternoon of beauty and shoes, I was exhausted when Taffi dropped me off at the hotel. We were holed up in a Residence Inn until we left so that our renters could move into our house in Redmond. The hotel wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have 8 bags, 5 carry-on bags and the cat. The “suite” was cramped at best and Grey kept telling me how I “failed” because I wouldn’t let him hook up the Xbox.
The next 24 hours passed in a blur. Ja and I both made trips to the bank, the post office and our storage unit courtesy of Max and his “work car” – also known as a mini-van. Mitch and Ja talked on the phone several times and Mitch agreed that we’d “failed” because he couldn’t do Xbox Live with Grey. We spent our last night in Washington at dinner with Barry, Reba and Marcus at Red Robin. Grey was convinced that there would be no burgers or onion rings on the island so we settled on his restaurant choice.
Our day commenced with Grey watching episodes of ‘Alias’ on his laptop and Jameson and I frantically checking each of our bags. 3AM would come early. We had a 6AMflight to Miami, a two hour layover and then a three hour flight to St. Maarten. All in all – a 10 hour travel day for us and the cat. I crossed my fingers that the biodegradable travel cat box Sesame had recommended worked on our layover in Miami.
The next morning, really a few hours later, I rolled over and pressed the home button on my iPhone. It said 3:27. Could that be right? Quickly, I swiped to open my phone and checked. I hadn’t even turned my alarm on.
“FRAK!” I screamed while simultaneously throwing off the covers and jumping out of bed. “Ja, get up. We’ve got 30 minutes. The alarm didn’t go off.” My husband was immediately awake and moving.
It seemed that my love of caffeine had kept me from sleeping. Win. I’d start limiting my intake after we made it to the island. I ran into the other room and shook Grey awake. Luckily, as a pre-teen sleeping in your clothes was common so he was ready to go following brushing the funk off his teeth and repacking his backpack.
30-minutes of serious scrambling later, we were outside loading the “work car” when Taffi and Max pulled up in her Audi.
“Morning, campers,” Taffi shouted through the window. “I brought Krispy Kreme.”
“Sweet!” Grey chimed and grabbed the box.
“Hey,” Taffi scolded, “share those with your parents. They look like they need all the sugar they can get right now.”
A few minutes later the mini-van was loaded, Max was in the driver’s seat, Grey in the back already sleeping again and Ja and I were saying goodbye to Taffi.
“Listen – I know you’ve got the Skype,” Taff began before hugging me. Everything was always ‘the Skype’ or ‘the Target’ or ‘the Walgreens’. Jameson made fun of her and as I looked his way while hugging Taff I could see him rolling his eyes.
Our drive to the airport was free of traffic, the line to check-in at the airline was horrid and we’d only been in our seats on the plane for 5 minutes before the cat started to wail in her carrier. People were glaring so Ja said, “Hey, could be worse. We could have a screaming baby.” Cue screaming baby in mother’s arms coming down the aisle. Scratch that – there was another mom with a screaming toddler with legs and arms flailing immediately following.
Grey was completely oblivious to all of the noise. The kid could sleep though anything. Ja began reading his registration packet so I made a list of all of our expenses for this little med school adventure to date. So far, all of the expenses had come out of our savings.
· Application fee - $100
· Fee to “hold spot” in class - $1600
· 3 plane tickets from SEA to SXM - $2300
· 2 days hotel stay - $300
· Food/eating out since we weren’t at home - $500
· Baggage fee - $500
· Deposit on our SXM condo - $5600
· First months’ rent payable upon arrival - $2800
· Rental car for 1 week once we arrive - $800
· First months’ tuition for Grey’s school - $700
As I added up the 15 thousand plus dollars we’d already spent before we’d even received a loan check for the tuition alone, I started to feel nauseous. I started digging around in the seat back pocket for the air-sickness bag. Where was it? Doesn’t anyone puke on planes anymore?
“Wife. What are you doing?” Ja asked. We hadn’t even started to taxi and my anxiety was at an all time high. I could tell that a Bloody Mary would be in order as soon as we were wheels up.
“Do you know how much money we’ve spent so far? We’ve blown through a years’ undergrad tuition. We could have been sending Grey to college over the past few weeks,” I answered while flipping to the page of the magazine that listed the in-flight alcohol.
Jameson patted my hand, kissed me on the cheek and said, “Yes. I do know that. This is an investment, remember?” With that he leaned back and closed his eyes leaving me to deal with my debt demons alone.
Mental Checklist: husband fails to see the elephant in the room. The economy is in the toilet and your credit score is the equivalent of Whuffie. Remind husband to read recreationally more often.