From Where I Sit – Play the Game

Hilary came to the farm last weekend so she could help us with harvest 2016. Because of the crappy weather, no combining was possible. So, as we caught up on Homeland episodes on Netflix, we also planned a trip.

In November, Hilary’s convocation from Royal Roads University in Victoria will see her receive a Master of Arts in Professional Communications degree. Kind of a big deal in our family. Or any family, for that matter. We recognize how much hard work it took to accomplish this while working full-time. We know how many family activities she missed or cut short because of papers to write or group work to do. We know she used vacation time to attend the required in-class sessions. We know this necessitated two-years of focused commitment. She wants to go. So, we’ll go too.

But oh, my God, the planning required to do this short junket. Some parameters to consider: use WestJet because we all had a credit soon to expire; allow enough time to do something besides attend the ceremony and dinner; be conscious of costs both in time and money. Make it all happen within the limitations of flight and ferry schedules.

So Hilary began researching the flight options. We’ve never been to Seattle so thought that would be a nice side trip. Do the side trip before or after the Tuesday convocation? Fly on a weekend or weekday? Rent a car or use cabs?

What about hotels? Can we use any of the loyalty cards we already have? Not because we have enough points for anything but to collect some more! Starwood Preferred Guest covers the Marriott properties plus Westin, Four Points, Sheraton, and more; Best Western Rewards; and Priority Club for Holiday Inns, Crowne Plazas, and more. Check out Trivago I say. Does the seniors’ discount or for AMA members help? Try AirBNB I say. I can’t believe none of our kids have ever even heard of it never mind used it. Apparently she booked the Victoria hotel using the university’s block of rooms and is treating us to the (unnamed) Seattle hotel.

How can we save money on the ferry? By riding as pedestrians or crossing with a rental car? Do we save anything by flying home from Seattle instead of Victoria? Damn near need a spreadsheet and a degree in Economics to figure all this out. Initially I was using a photocopy of a month-at-a-glance calendar page so we could visualize the week. Then a few days later Hilary sent an itinerary and ’invitation to edit’ email using Google sheets. Huh? I tried opening it because yet again, it was too miserable out to run a combine. Seems I need permission. Now I wait for that.

When did traveling get so complicated? In most situations, lots of choice is a good thing. You just have to have the right temperament or you can lose your mind in the process. Having a daughter willing to play the game helps, from where I sit.

Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.