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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Getaway Keepaway

I try, occasionally, to have nice things.

Yeah, I don’t know what I’m thinking, either. I might as well try to grow moose antlers.

This particular snafu involves a vacation. It’s winter in Boston, obviously, and the missus and I decided to escape it, for once.

One thing we I (at least) can’t manage to escape is nerd. So when we made plans to go on a warming winter cruise, we decided to make it a grandly geeky trip du ship.

“Orlando is probably currently balmy and seventyish. And I’m not talking about the average age at the local Red Lobster early bird special.”

Our boat is set to sail on Sunday afternoon, from somewhere in the vicinity of Orlando, Florida. Orlando is probably currently balmy and seventyish. And I’m not talking about the average age at the local Red Lobster early bird special.

In Boston, meanwhile, things are a bit different. Winters get chilly here, of course, but we’ve had a winter-and-a-half of mild weather of late. I heard that in the last eighteen months or so, we’ve gotten maybe a foot of snow in total. So when we made our reservations a few months ago, we had no further reservations about the weather. Surely, the winter weekend of departure would be like all the others we’ve had lately. Chilly and bracing and clear. Crystal crackling clear.

Effing poo.

As you may already know, a storm of biblical proportions is bearing down on New England, and planning to dump feets of snow overnight. The weather is dangling our vacation over our heads, taunting us with whiteout conditions and blizzardy winds. Our flight on Saturday — as well as all others, and everything scheduled to leave Boston since noon today — is canceled. Grounded. Kaput.

Not that it may have mattered much, especially. The entire state is currently under a road travel restriction which may last through tomorrow. So even if the planes were flying, there’s a good chance we’d have had to jog to the airport to get to them. And we’re not jogging to the airport. Not even in Orlando weather.

The genius of scheduling a cruise, of course — a gloriously geeky cruise — is that there’s a pretty strict time restriction in place. If you’re staying in a hotel or resort, then a day’s delay means you lose a day of vacation. Six instead of seven, say. You’ll be fourteen percent less refreshed, give or take, when you finally schlep it back to the Arctic.

The cruise, of course, is different. We’re told to be on the dock by 2pm Sunday, at the latest. If we’re a day late — or even an hour, for that matter — we’re not missing a day, or checking in late. We’re swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, or crying into our already watered-down beers with the septuagenarians at that Red Lobster supper.

This is the time for desperate brainstorming. Can we find an early Sunday flight that would get us there in time? If the driving ban lifts tomorrow night, can we drive to Orlando in fourteen hours? In three feet of snow? Overnight? At one hundred and twelve miles per hour? Can we jog to Florida?

So far, it’s looking grim. I’m considering pulling a King Canute and storming outside to command the snow to subside — but that’s probably not going to get me anywhere. I can’t even get the automated customer service phone bots to do what I want; what chance do I have against Mother Nature?

What chance? Effing poo, that’s what chance. Effing. Poo.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

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