Saturday, August 25, 2007

Shift Happens.

Ladies and Gentleman, I hope you enjoyed your flight today. Please remain seated until the plane is parked at the gate. At no time in history has a passenger beaten a plane to the gate. So please don't even try. Please be careful opening the overhead bins because 'shift happens'.

A little over a month ago:

A friend of mine asked if I would be interested in joining him on his thirty-foot boat. He wanted to sail it from Sicily to Tunis and needed an answer fairly quickly.

I'm an adventurer, and such an opportunity was way too enticing to pass up. I'm also married, and such an opportunity must be discussed with my wife, who was "maybe" going to Washington on an international conference during that exact same period.

We talked it over. It was about a month before the conference was supposed to start and she hadn't heard anything. She had no idea whether she'd get accepted or not, and was even doubtful.

A couple days later, my friend needed to know if I was in or not. Siham, doubtful the conference was a go, reluctantly agreed to let me go on the trip.

I called my buddy, said I was in, and started daydreaming about my upcoming adventure on the sea.

Sure enough, it was the same evening that Siham got the acceptance email.

"Shift happens."

She came to me, imploring, "I have to go on this conference, it's really important for my career. You have to stay and take care of the baby."

"But I promised my friend I'd go."

We came to a compromise. Siham's parents and their maid would come and help out with Zack. I was going to call my friend and tell him, "If you can find another third, then I'm out. If not, I'll hang in until the last minute and can come if I'm really needed. I'll even hang in until the last minute in case someone cancels."

My parents heard Siham was coming to Washington for a month and were ecstatic. They automatically expected that I would come to Canada. But I was handcuffed to the If-needed-sailor promise which I refused to break.

Finally, yesterday, everyone confirmed for the sailing trip and I was free to travel and do what I wanted to.

I scoured the internet for deals on flights to Canada - Not an easy task leading up to labour-day weekend. There were absolutely no direct flights from Morocco until mid September. I assume they're booked with students returning for school.

I played with different dates and different airlines and finally got something for a little over a thousand bucks. Had I waited a week or so, I probably could have saved another hundred, but I thought it was best to just head off.

Aside from seeing my family, expenses were a big part of the decision. I can't help it, but the cheap economist in me saw it the following way:

I could stay in Rabat and pay for another month of food for my Parent's in law, brother in law and their maid, not to mention periodic family guests of theirs which seem to drop in every other day for a meal. In Morocco its just expected that the host pays for everything.

They've already been here for a month and I've noticed my grocery bill has more than tripled.

Or I could buy on a plane ticket and go eat Canadian home-cooked food for a month, visit my family and friends who want to see the new baby. Do a bit of hiking, biking, and enjoying the beautiful Canadian summers. The cost would probably work out to about the same.

Poker with the boys; take Zack to see Mommy at her conference in DC; do some work; watch the new Bourne Movie and the new Harry Potter movie; golf with my dad; visit my buddies in Toronto and Ottawa; check out the climbing scene in Ontario; apply for some jobs to improve Siham's chances at getting a visa; check out the job market and try to find a promising job so Siham can get accepted into Canada more easily.

I'm not sure if my parents in law are disappointed. They've been here to see Zack for the last month. I think they also understand that shift happens!

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