Friday, June 24, 2011

Thrifty Rubicon

Where to begin? I am writing this post in paradise. I couldn’t be luckier and I am thankful beyond words for the fact that I am on vacation with my family in Hawaii.  My brother lives here and is getting married. My very generous parents have provided us a place to stay with them.  The only things we had to pay for were the flights, rental car and we will try to buy all the groceries, although my parents will protest.  Even with all the help it is a lot of money just to fly here from the east coast.  That being said, I need to file a complaint about “Thrifty” Rental car company.  They take full advantage of overtired and overworked husbands who need ego boosts.  
The planning process for this trip started almost a year ago, with a budget and penny pinching. Since I don’t get paid for any job that I do, and my husband is the sole provider of money in our household, I feel responsible for making sure that every cent counts and gets stretched as far as possible.  In February I started scouring the internet for flights rental cars and a short hotel stay between the two 6 hour flights needed to get us to Hawaii.  I had a vision of spending the least amount of money while still maintaining our sanity.  Mission Accomplished!  I got amazing prices on direct flights.  The hotel not only included free breakfast, but FREE dinner!  I had more of a difficult time finding a car rental for 18 days that did not send us into a downward spiral into debt.  But finally after many late night internet searches and a couple of phone calls, I got it.  A full size vehicle, WITH tax for 18 days for a grand total of.....wait for it..... $537!  Now that is still a LOT of money, but I defy any of you to find a cheaper price.  Go head, I dare ya!   
Things were going smoothly.  My husband was duly impressed with our flights and accommodations. My masterly organized, systematic packing system allowed us to check only 4 duffle bags for a family of four.   Then we get to Hawaii.  It is paradise, such a feeling of calm comes over you when you step off the plane.   Next, “Thrifty”  Car Rental. I put the title in quotes only because it truly is thrifty only if you have a mind to make it so.  There was a very long line as everyone who was on incoming flights to Honolulu, must have bargained a similar deal to mine.  Since the deal that I penned on-line listed my husband as the primary driver, I situate myself, the kids and our bags in a secure location and arm my husband with the paperwork.  This is my fatal flaw.  I send my wonderful, tired husband into the long line of the car rental dealership.  Now all he had to do was hand them the paperwork, get our full sized vehicle and get us in the car.  I wait with the kids patiently.  They are bored but still excited from the flight.  They keep asking “Mommy do you think we will get a truck/a convertible/ a motorcycle with a side car?”  I tell them “No honey, things like that cost extra.  We are just getting a regular car.”  While we were waiting, and my husband was in line, I was watching all the cars that were being pulled around for the customers.  I saw quite a few Jeep Rubicon’s.  This is one of the hubby’s dream cars.  Something he dreams of driving with a mountain bike, fishing rod and kayak in the back, four wheeling to a remote destination where he is the most interesting man in the universe.  
My dear husband comes out of the office raising his hands in the air with the rock horns You know, index finger and pinky in the air with the middle and ring fingers being held down with the thumb only one word is spoken “RUUUBICOOONNNN!”  At first I thought ‘Wow he negotiated an upgrade on my deal. NICE!’  Then he says “So, how much were we supposed to spend on the rental?”  WHAT???  Did he just say this to me?  I look at him dismayed, and bewildered.  I mean I gave him all the paperwork.  All he had to do was hand it over, sign the paper and be on his merry way!  He is an engineer for chrissakes.  He negotiates multi million dollar deals for his company.  All he had to do was hand over a paper.  Then I ask to see the paperwork.  He looks at me and says “Oh, she took it all.  We will get it back when she brings around the RUBICON”  He is positively giddy.  He tells me he thinks it was only $18 a day more?  MORE!!! Are you kidding me?  When he finally starts to realize that I am having a small conniption, he starts to look concerned.  Then I get the “What?”  Ladies who have husbands, you all know what this “what?” is.   It is the loaded question that says, ‘what did I do wrong now, and how can I make it look like you are overreacting or that it was ultimately your fault?’
We finally get the Rubicon that has 35000 miles on it. It is, let’s say, well used.  I am now given the task of securing the car seat in this metal contraption.  The base of the car seat hardly fits on the back seat of the car.  For all of you who have installed car seats, you know how difficult and frustrating it is.  For those of you who have not had this pleasure imagine trying to tighten a belt on pants that are 3 sizes too big, while not bunching up the material, or having the belt touch your skin.  Oh, and this belt and pants have to save your child’s life if there is an accident.  Once the seat is secure and I am done teaching my children new ‘bad’ words, we are off.  Oh wait, we have to pull over so my husband can learn all the features of his new ride and try to figure out how to adjust his side mirrors for 20 minutes.  (By the way, they are manual, you have to physically move them.)  The ride is not in any way comfortable. It is bouncy, rugged, and for people 20 years younger than us.  I see him try to hide his disappointment when he realizes this along with the fact that he has no arm rest.  This may not sound like a big deal but to ‘rugged man,’ it is. 
This is when I open the glove box and see the damage that was done to our credit card.  Honestly, I am not kidding when I say that it is more than double what I budgeted.  DOUBLE that which I negotiated originally.  I offer him one question, “this is a lot of money, really a lot of money, what were you thinking?”  He tells me that they said it was only $300 more for the upgrade (they never mention the extra $250 in taxes)  and they told him he had a really nice Hawaiian shirt on, for a mainlander.  Really?  That is all it took?  Some fast numbers and a stroke of the ego?  I try to remember that I love my husband and that he deserves to get a Jeep Rubicon, if he wants a stinkin’ Jeep Rubicon.  When I look over at him with fire in my eyes and I see his joy/frustration/fear at my reaction, I decide that I have to let this go.  He instantly says, “So I guess you are going to blog about this?”  Yes dear husband, yes I am. 


frances said...

HA! gotta love it, right? What do you do? guess this will cure the itch for a Jeep Rubicon (which I have never heard of by the way and will go google after I write this). Damn, that is a LOT of money...I have never been to Hawaii, please enjoy it for me! Oh, I aplogize but I guess you figured out that I am not on your flights (bummer!).

Momma O said...

Time to drive the Rube!!! that my L5, 6 & 7 discs have been coerced back into place with the help of 8 ibuprofen. RU-BA-CAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!...cough cough cough, gag, hack, cough....ow....

Momma O said...

The previous post was by my husband.... He really does not know how to follow a blog yet, so he logs on through my account.

nestor said...

very funny- Hate that "What? look- you explained it perfectly- How can i make this her fault- surely i did not screw up????
enjoy the ride!!!!