I'll start with a couple of simple statements of fact - the Down South College Tour 2008 has been "filed under CANEX" (canceled exercise). I just got off the phone with the CheapTickets representative; though I was able to get a refund on the rental car, I lost the price of the plane tickets.
Why, you might wonder, did I suddenly shit-can the trip nine days before my scheduled flight to Jacksonville? If you guessed "an immovable work-related commitment," you're a winner. I was informed on Monday - for the first time - that I need to have a physical completed by the end of this month. Failure to accomplish this basically renders me ineligible to continue working in my current field. I was given a contact number to move this process forward. I called this number both Tuesday and Wednesday, but received no response. I had duty yesterday, so I couldn't call then. As I left work today, I was stopped and asked whether I'd gotten all my stuff done yesterday. I had no idea what that meant; I was then told - again, for the first time - that an appointment had been made for me yesterday. Since we couldn't get the ball rolling this week, it's unlikely that this can be completed in full by the end of next week. And so, though I will still take the full fourteen days of leave I've been alloted, I must remain in or near the Armpit of New England during the first week of leave. I actually could retreat back to my ancestral home, being as I could then drive to Groton the day prior to any appointment. But I'm going to stay in the area anyway, heading to Long Island in the second week.
I'm not all that perturbed about losing the vacation trip. As much as I wanted to check out the campuses I'd intended to hit up, my interest in them waned somewhat a few days after I booked the package. This was a direct result of seeing the out-of-state sticker prices on those schools. I'm now focusing more on the schools in my home state, especially Stony Brook. The financial hit is relatively minor; with the American dollars currently sitting in my bank account, I can absorb the hit of a few hundred going to waste. No, the thing about this that really gets my goat is that it's like a malignant tumor - it totally could have been prevented had I known about it earlier. I'll concede that I knew there was some requirement for a physical at the five-year mark. I was, however, completely unaware that it absolutely had to go down before July 31, and that I could have gotten started on it yesterday. And it totally doesn't make me angry - hell, I'm not even surprised at the way this played out. That should give you a good indication of how this organization and this place have jaded me.
With the status of the trip now finally settled, it's time to do the one thing that, ironically, the Navy may have helped me with more than any other - "man up and rally." I'm already hatching plans for day trips around the area. To Boston - there a lot of places that I didn't get to in my previous trips there. To south central Massachusetts - double dipping at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, and Six Flags New England in Agawam. To New York City - I'd probably need two trips to accomplish everything I'd want to, but I want to get to both Shea and Yankee Stadiums in their final seasons. Maybe even to Saratoga Springs to visit J. Raymond. Plenty of options, and many days to accomplish any or all of them. It's nearly shocking to me that I'm addressing this with such a positive attitude - and without needing to resort to the three-digit number that is my normal daily affirmation.