One piece of advice: delegate, but not to me

Tomorrow we had planned to get on a plane to Southern California, where we would vacation until next weekend. As you know, that didn’t quite work out. Both J. and I have been pretty sad about cancelling the trip. But in the spirit of not being a downer, especially before the weekend, I’m going to tell you a vacation story from many years ago. I am going to see if, by making myself laugh, I might cheer myself up a bit. Thanks for indulging me.

Many years back, J. and I took a highly anticipated trip to San Francisco. We were going to see our people, if you know what I mean. We had a wonderful trip. We explored interesting and scary neighbourhoods, walked our socks and butts off–San Fran is known for its hills–ate lots of good sourdough, saw lots of otters, and had a grand time.

Then the trip ended, as trips are prone to do. We were sad but resigned to having to leave. Funny, though, we couldn’t seem to find our flight when we checked for it on line. We headed off to the airport, assuming we’d sort everything out once we got there.

Now, before I go any further, I should note that the roles that J. and I have now clearly established–she is the project planner and crisis manager, I wisely defer to her in all situations but challah baking–were not as set in stone at that time. We were earlier on in our relationship and, basking in the glow of first love, J. was blind to my many areas of shortcoming (incompetence?).

And so I had, in fact, assumed responsibility for booking our flights, a task that usually fell to J. I had found great deals in both directions on two different airlines, so I booked them and printed out our itineraries. I was so proud of myself! I booked a flight, something I used to do competently on a regular basis before J. came in to my life.

Angry woman at airport check-in arguing with confused agentLo and behold, upon arriving at the airport, our scheduled flight was nowhere to be found. Airlines had just started that code-sharing thing, so we were passed back and forth between American and Canadian airline check-in personnel, but nobody seemed able to help us. Then a very wise agent, at the Canadian desk of course, had a moment of brilliance: he realized, to my horror, that the mysterious one-way flight we were looking for was indeed departing shortly, from Calgary to San Francisco. Yes, indeed, I had booked two one-way flights in the same direction. Whoops!

And so, upon realizing my mistake, I burst into tears, while my very capable crisis manager calmly asked me for my credit card so she could book us on to the next flight home. $400 later (the price of one of those flights, as I recall), the great deal I had found wasn’t so great after all. Good thing I married a partner who is so good in a crisis, don’t you think? Needless to say, I have been denied all flight and hotel booking privileges since that day.

There are several morals to this story. First, take a vacation before life gets in the way. Second, take a vacation–that’s just in case you didn’t hear me the first time–so we can enjoy it vicariously. Third, if you want to extend your next vacation a little longer, let me book it for you. And finally, delegate to your better half–there are so many reasons J. has earned that title–the tasks he or she is better at. We all (except J.) have domains of incompetence.


2 thoughts on “One piece of advice: delegate, but not to me

  1. Oh my gosh! I love this story. It made me laugh out loud. But most of all, I love your advice to take a vacation before life gets in the way. I am forwarding this post to Mr. Budget. There is no time like the present 🙂


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