When Murphy's Law Goes on Vacation with You

So the Hubs and I celebrated our 25th anniversary this past weekend, with a weekend getaway to Lake Michigan. Sounds kind of romantic, eh? Well, lemme tell ya, when Murphy's Law goes on vacation with you, all chances of romance are completely shot to hell! And it went a little something like this...

Got a later start than the Hubs would have liked. I was up late the night before (because I can NEVER sleep, and he knows this!), so I didn't get up until 10:30. I had told him I'd planned to leave sometime between 10am-Noon. Ahem, it was 11:54 when we hit the road, so was I wrong?! Anyhoots, he was miffed that we were not on the road at the crack of dawn. (Murphy is about to rear its ugly head.)

Headed over to the gas station to gas up the rig, something I thought had already been done. But nope, we were on a quarter of a tank with a 227 mile Mapquest journey ahead of us. That, to me, says fillerup! So, before we could hit the highway, we did just that.

Then we started up to town toward the highway, and I asked the Hubs if he had checked my tire pressure. I had two tires that were getting low, and I had asked him a minimum of 3 times over the previous two weeks to please check my tire pressure before the trip. He had taken my car the night before we left to vacuum out the inside and get it looking as glorious as a Pontiac Grand Prix can possibly look; so one would think he would have A) checked the tire pressure, and B) filled up the car with gas! But since that didn't happen, and since I was not going to travel that far with low tire pressure, I made him stop at another gas station to check the pressure. He was beyond unhappy about that, and we had a little spat about it...yes, about tire pressure! Apparently, the lack of tire pressure in the tires was my fault, because I didn't get out of bed until 10:30am! Yes, I can see the logic there, for sure.

We traveled for the first 45 minutes in absolute silence. That's always fun. Heaven forbid you are the first one to speak after a tiff, because that would make you look guilty or something. But since I was playing my usual role as navigator, I had to speak to direct our way. At any rate, we were fine at that point, up until we got close to our destination of Muskegon, Michigan (romance capital of the world, to be sure). That's when we got lost, courtesy of Mr. Murphy, and Mapquest instructions that were not exactly accurate!

We arrived at our lovely, old Victorian bed and breakfast, after driving through some questionable neighborhoods in our search for the right road, which was situated right next to an old folks home, and some other facility that catered to "very special people." (I can only guess as to what kind of "special" they were talking about, and I figured we were better off not knowing.)

The B&B was beautiful and perfectly matched the description and photos on its website. We were greeted by the owner, Barb, and her adorably chubby Yorkie named Oscar. We were taken to our room, which was just as the website pictures had depicted it. And it was the largest room in the B&B. It was my 25th anniversary, after all, and I wanted the best room. Everything in the room was just as described, and perfect in every way, except for one thing: the air conditioning was not working. (Hello, Mr. Murphy!) We were on the second floor, people, and it was a very warm day--and the Hubs gets hot very easily when indoors (though he can work outside all day in 90+ heat and not complain), especially while sleeping. So the A/C wasn't exactly a minor issue. We were not pleased. The owner was very apologetic, though not quite sorry enough to offer us a discount on the room that I had fully paid for upon arrival!

We tried to put the A/C issue aside and headed out to explore Muskegon. I had researched the tourist attractions in the area so we'd be sure to have plenty to do, but my first stop when we are on a trip like that is always the same: The Lake! I grew up on the west coast, so I love the water. And whenever we go on vacation, I always want to be near water. So we headed to the beach that was only a mile or two away. We headed out onto the sand, in bare feet, of course, toward the jetty in the distance. Got half way out on the jetty and, Murphy's Law strikes again, it started to rain. Not just sprinkles, mind you, but the kind of rain that sent everyone that was on the beach racing toward their vehicles! So much for a leisurely walk on the beach.

While in the car, I checked a couple of tourist spots that we might want to check out, but we discovered that most tourist attractions in Muskegon were only open between Noon and 4pm. WTH? It was after 6pm, so we were S.O.L. at that point, so we headed back to the B&B. We were both getting hungry, so we wanted to figure out where we'd go for dinner.

After careful research between pamphlets and a quick websearch (I'm nothing if not practical: I did bring my laptop, after making sure that our B&B had wireless before I even booked the room!), we settled on our fine dining experience for the evening. 25 years of marriage certainly merits an expensive dinner, don'tcha know. So we changed clothes and made our way out the door, right into the pouring rain. Luckily for me, I always travel with an umbrella in the car, and had taken it to the room with me after the rain started on the beach. I just knew we'd need it again. Take that, Murphy!

The map of tourist spots provided to me by the B&B owner, which she claimed was "the best map," got us lost on the way to the restaurant. Between one way roads (I curse the man who thought up that gem), faded and illegible street signs, and streets that were not existent on "the best map," we ended up in a part of town that can only be described as SCARY! We were fortunate to spot two police cars (I'm sure they're no stranger to the neighborhood we were in), and they were kind enough to point us in the right direction. The street we were looking for turned out to be directly across from the parking lot we were in while speaking to the policemen, but since the letters on the street sign were almost completely faded, there was no way to read them in the dark. I'm sure the policemen thought it was kind of funny, but I was beyond stressed by this time, and was rather hoping for a police escort to the restaurant!

We finally arrived at the restaurant, and the events of the entire day just kind of hit me all at once in the car. The stress poured out of me, in the form of tears and sobs, which was beyond my control for at least 5 minutes. I was at my limit of the perfect 25th anniversary getaway by this time, so I just had to let it out. All the Hubs could do was wait it out. Poor guy. Things were bugging him too, but he handles stress far better and less girly than I do, to be sure.

The restaurant was a 5-star eatery, if I recall correctly, and it had the prices to match. Everything inside was very nice, and the food selection was so complex that you could tell this was not the neighborhood diner by any stretch of the imagination. Good thing I watch Top Chef, so I could figure out what some of the food choices were. I settled on ordering a steak and crab cake dinner, with potatoes gratin and asparagus. The Hubs ordered some sort of fish (we were by the water, after all). We enjoyed a wonderful salad and some tasty parmesan garlic rolls, and waited for our entrees to arrive. But naturally, Murphy had other plans, which became painfully obvious when the waitress came to tell me that they were out of not only my crab cakes, but also my potatoes gratin! I looked at my husband, whom I am sure knew what was coming before I did: TEARS! I struggled to hold back the flood gates, pretty much in vain, while the waitress stood and watched, dumbfounded. She must have thought I was crazy, crying over crabcakes?! OK, I was not crying about the freaking crab cakes, people. It was just one more crappy thing added to an already crappy Murphy kind of day! Sigh. I had to choose a substitution for my two missing meal items, which I did. And I ate less than half of my meal; sorry, but by this time I had completely lost my appetite. At least the waitress was nice enough to deduct 10% off our over $50 bill. And the chef even gave us a card good for a free dessert on our next visit, which we left in the lobby for someone else who has better than a snowball's chance in hell of ever returning to Muskegon, let alone the restaurant. But it was a nice gesture, nonetheless.

Murphy's Law eCard

We went back to the B&B, relieved that the rain had managed to keep the room from getting super hot. But it was still muggy, which is never comfortable. We turned on the ceiling fan, and opened the French door (which led to the private balcony) and the room's two windows. Barb had said we'd get a nice breeze that way, and we did. That is, until the rain started puddling up on the sills, and looking to head with Murphy to the new wood floors. So we had to close the windows. We showered, and watched a bit of TV, and then discovered that Murphy had jumped into bed with us, in the form of a very squeaky mattress. This, of course, precluded doing anything but sleeping in that 25th anniversary bed, since there were guests across the hall and one one side of us, and I sure didn't want to be their late night entertainment. So we went to sleep.

The next day, knowing that I'd had my fill of Muskegon, we hit the only few important tourist sites I had wanted to see, along with a wonderful coffee shop that managed to restore my faith in humanity. Yes, coffee can actually do that for me these days. And we made the decision to leave the non-refundable two-night stay at the B&B, and head south to Michigan City, Indiana and its Blue Chip Casino. It was reasonable to think that perhaps we could elude Murphy, who would be left at Michigan's border, no? He certainly couldn't follow us all the way to Indiana, right?

Surprisingly, Murphy did stay behind in Michigan. We spent the day and night just gambling and eating good food. I won nothing on the slots, which of course is all I'm brave enough to play. But the Hubs loves the Roulette wheel, so he got comfy there alongside Lady Luck, and managed to win back all but $200 of what we'd spent out of pocket on the trip. I'll just point out that the hotel and the B&B went on the credit card, and he didn't win enough to cover all of that--lordy, that would have been too sweet! But between meals and gas and coffee and souvenirs...and gambling, we had spent quite a lot of cash. And it was nice that he could win back most of that.

25th anniversaries are supposed to be special, and I can't say that ours really was. But it was memorable, to be sure. And if nothing else, I can at least say that I've been lucky enough in love to make up for the crap that is Murphy's law that went with us on our vacation! I have the best husband in the world, and he actually loves me after 25 years, one unruly adult child, debt, jobs given up, broken dreams, gray hairs, tantrums, a "little" extra weight in my midsection, and everything else that makes me slightly challenging to love on occasion.

Here's to the next 25, baby!