Rick's List - Koster Compound Edition

I like to think that, at my best, I can at least be petty, jealous, and capable of wallowing in self-pity — typically in a waist-deep pool of tears salted with bitterness.

I TRY, anyway. 

As I look around the newsroom or talk to friends and family, most are bubbling with tales of recent vacations or happily anxious with the anticipation of glorious and impending trips. For example, people we know have been to or will soon visit Martha's Vineyard, Norway, Santa Fe, St. Thomas, Ireland, Rome and Venice, the NoCal wine country, Seattle, and Yellowstone Park.

Then there are amongst our acquaintances a select batch who OWN their own vacation getaways. I hate you people and your "family compound" and your "Vermont mountain cabin" and your "New Hampshire lake retreat" and your "Cape Cod getaway" and your "little farm in the Finger Lakes."

Do any of you ever look in the mirror and say, "Boy, it's slightly embarrassing that my family owns a compound"?

Of course you don't.

I know I don't think that when looking in the mirror because (A) we don't have a compound and (B) when I look in the mirror, I usually scream.

Well, not anymore. Screaming, that is. When I know I'm going to have to look in the mirror, I have a well-rehearsed facial expression. It's certainly not George Clooney, but it's the best possible presentation I can muster. The thing is, I'm old and, in addition to bitter, given to lapses of focus. More and more, I forget to trigger "Clooney Face" and, as per above, scare the hell out of myself. It's as though, instead of a mirror, I've glanced at the fire scene at the end of "House of Wax."

Is it any wonder I need a vacation?

We're hoping to get away in October; maybe see some of the foliage in Bridgeport. We're also going over the Koster Discretionary Income budget and checking it against online travel brochures to see what might be possible:

1. The Stuckey's on I-95 at the Connecticut/Rhode Island border rents cots out in the back room for truckers. I think the Johnny Pastrami's at the complex has a buffet.

2. Ikea in New Haven — We obtained a key and the security code from a disgruntled former warehouse person. By day, we'll hang around Yale looking professorial and, after Ikea closes, we'll make ourselves at home in one of their glorious living or bedroom sets — a different one each evening.

3. They're not making a big deal out of it, but the Carnival Cruise line has a new Cheapo option whereby impoverished tourists like us can stay in-port on one of their hot-virus ships that hasn't been bleached or cleared by the CDC yet.

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