That my friends was the first thing we saw when we walked out of the back of the hotel last Thursday. The seagulls were circling, the sky was a beautiful blue and it was an amazing early evening to be at the beach.
Now, for the rest of the story, I have to admit a few things to you for it to make sense. I'm a serious tightwad. I used to not be and it got me in trouble so now I will hold onto a penny so hard in the palm of my hand that you can see the imprint of Abe Lincoln in my skin when I finally decide that I have to let it go. Sweets is a bit more free spending. He does NOT spend stupid but is more apt to splurge when we are on vacation than I am. I see his point on a lot of things though and he's learned how to explain it to me where it flips the switch in my brain and I can say OK without feeling bad about it. If you are going to the beach, you should stay on the beach but my initial reaction was a big "hell no" when we first walked into the hotel and were told what the room price was.
I'm also VERY anti credit card. I hate them and believe that they are financial cesspools. Everyone and their brother wants to give you one and they want you to use them. Problem is, you have to either pay the balance off every month, make your payment at a ridiculous interest rate or you'll be thrown into evil bill collector purgatory. It's easy as hell to "put it on the plastic" but in the end you have to pay for it one way or another. A lot of people way overspend with plastic because it's easier. So, we don't use them and don't have them... although I do agree that it may have helped in this situation. But, this situation should have never happened to begin with.
And finally, about 8 months ago I got pissed off about something (can't remember what the discussion was) and cut up my bank card for our joint account. I've never gotten a replacement because I've honestly not missed it or needed it. But it sure would have come in handy for this trip darn it!
With all that explained, this will make more sense. :)
Now... some ass monkey somewhere in the world got a hold of our bank card number the Saturday before we left for the trip and made the attempt to go on a bit of a spending spree. Huntington Bank caught the unusual charges and called him to confirm whether or not they were legit. Of course they weren't and the bank shut the card down where it wouldn't work anymore. We delayed leaving until Tuesday so Sweets could get to the bank, file the disputes on the charges that did go through and get a "temporary" ATM card for the trip. Everything looked like it would go as planned. I'm a cash kinda person anyway so it was fine with me.
So... here's where the SNAFU comes in. If you work at a bank and give someone an ATM card, don't you think you should actually ACTIVATE it before they walk out of the bank?? Yeah, that's what I thought too.
We paid cash for everything while we were down there so after the hotel depleted our reserve, we went over to a bank in the area to withdraw dinner and playing money. But the card didn't work. (Yes, I know it should have been tested in a machine up here before we left and Sweets and I have already had that conversation.) So, there we were in Gulf Shores, Alabama. 800 miles from home and we had $60 in our pocket with no access to our bank account because someone didn't do something as simple as ACTIVATING a freakin' ATM card like they were supposed to.
Needless to say, Sweets was extremely pissed. Heck, I was livid too. So we called the 1-800 number for the bank and talked to the extremely wonderful Heather who tried to fix the problem but couldn't activate the card because she didn't have the paperwork. She finally concluded that we would have to call the branch in Indy the following morning. So we sat on the beach for a few hours creating a back up plan just in case we needed it.
We had packed a cooler with Dews, ham and turkey and some chips before leaving Indy. So that's what we had for dinner. Sweets wanted to go get some cheese for his sammy but I said no, we couldn't afford to spend any of our $60 on cheese (I'm laughing as I type this and just now told him I'm sorry I denied him cheese for his sammy). So that's what we had for dinner on our first night in Gulf Shores. The cooler was his idea and under the circumstances elevated him to genius level in my book because of it.
The next morning, we called the bank and got the issue straightened out. The ATM card worked fine when we tried it and the rest of the vacation went off without a hitch. I'll be writing a very strongly worded letter to Huntington Bank this week as soon as I find out who their top dog is. That's right. I'm not fucking around with this one and am going straight to the top. That was a horrible feeling that was completely unnecessary and brought on by one small, simple thing. Someone didn't do their 5 minute job of activating that card.
We now have a back up plan for when we travel. I like back up plans. I especially like back up plans when they are in place before they are needed. So, always have a back up plan and you'll be glad you did!
Next... the good parts of the vacation. Jellyfish, sharks and the food. I was literally in heaven.