Words: Eaten

Day 63 | $35,083 paid | $55,634 till freedom

Ugh. I hate eating my words, but it looks like I’ll probably end up doing that here. After getting back from a ridiculously awesome weekend in Asheville, NC watching my two good friends get married and hanging out with the whole crew for two unforgettable nights, I don’t think I can refuse to go to Faith and Luke’s wedding in Chicago in April.

Watching Natalie and Navneet exchange vows was completely moving. The ceremony took place outdoors at a ranch. The bride, seated next to her father, rolled up to the ceremony in a white, horse-drawn carriage. A river ran behind the arbor where the two exchanged their vows, and a small waterfall slightly upstream provided some complementary audio to the wedding songs. The sun setting behind the foothills brought out the oranges and reds on the leaves of the tall trees surrounding the small ceremony. And as Natalie and Navneet kissed for the first time as a married couple, a flock of geese flew by overhead and honked their well wishes. I was touched, thankful I was wearing dark sunglasses, and realized then and there that I could not miss a similar moment in Faith and Luke’s lives.

Total costs for this trips (excluding the flight) comes to $178.

  • Gift – $50
  • Food and drinks – $80
  • Rental car – $35 (after split)
  • Parking – $13 (after split)

Total: $178

The best financial story from the entire weekend occurred today. My buddy, Khalid, got his tickets earlier than the rest of the group, and due to reasons I still don’t completely understand, he decided to fly into Greensboro, NC instead of Asheville, which is 3 hours away. I felt bad for the guy–and this was pre-NMHD–so I decided to fly into Greensboro with him and split the cost of a rental car. Roadtrip!

Fast forward to today. Our flight left at 11:20 AM on Sunday from Greensboro, so if we wanted to arrive at the recommended 60 minutes prior to departure, we had to leave at around 7 to drive the three hours, fuel up the car, return the car, and get our tickets and go through security. That’s already cutting it quite close, and it’s easier said than done, especially since the house where I was staying was the designated spot for the after-party. As the reception was drawing to a close at around 11 PM on Saturday, we transferred the kegs and liquor to our house, cranked the tunes, and had a pretty wild party till about 3 AM on Sunday morning.

I woke up to my alarm at 6:45 AM and looked around for Khalid in the very quiet, very dark house to make sure he was rolling. I shined a flashlight on each sleeping body. No sign of him, but his clothes were scattered all about. I called his cell three times and got his voicemail each time. I assumed he was in the other house–I had seen him talking to one of the bridesmaids the night before and…well…

I got packed and then looked for the car keys for the rental car. Due to somebody’s (not mine) drunken antics from the night before, the keys were nowhere to be seen. I sprinted over to the other house in the 29-degree morning, stormed into the house, found Khalid sawing logs, and woke him up. He was completely belligerent and asked me why I was waking him up at three in the morning. I told him to focus and that we would miss our flight if we didn’t hurry.

I’ll fast-forward here–we eventually found the keys, got Khalid packed, and took off at 7:30. Now, with my driving record, I was in no position to speed, but Khalid assured me he was still drunk, so that meant I had to drive. I put the cruise control at five over and left it there. Good thing, too, because we passed not one, but two speed traps on our way to the airport.

We arrived at the airport street entrance at 10:20. We had an empty tank, and I had passed a couple of gas stations when I exited the freeway seven miles ago, but I had wanted to get as close to the airport as possible before stopping for gas. It turned out that those gas stations were the nearest ones available, so we had to make a game-time decision: pay the inflated rental car company fuel cost, or spend about 20 minutes fueling up on our own and potentially miss our flight.

Khalid told me he didn’t think that rental car companies put a premium on fuel, and that we should just drop the car off.  A part of me wanted to drive 90 mph to the gas station and fuel up, while the other part of me wanted to wring Khalid’s neck for making us late. I was extremely frustrated because I felt so completely out of control at the expense that was about to hit me. I came to the logical conclusion that it would be better to make our flight than to miss it because of my thrifty nature.

We parked the car as the attendant walked up, and the conversation went something like this:

Me: Good morning.
Attendant: Hey there.
Me: How much is your fuel?
Attendant: $5.17.
Me: See, Khalid? I told you. It’s ludicrous!
Khalid: Wait, how much is it?
Me: $5.17.
Khalid: A GALLON?!?
Me: Yeah, dude.
Attendant: It’s okay.
Me: What do you mean?
Attendant: It’s okay.
Me (in complete disbelief, some confusion, and just going along with it anyway): It’s cool?
Attendant: Yeah, it’s cool.
Me: Seriously?
Attendant: Yeah.
Me: You are an angel! Thank you so much.

The attendant than took her mobile credit card processing unit, confirmed the rental car charge with Khalid–$70–and told us to have a good day.

We paid $0 for fuel all weekend long for a savings of ~$60. That being said, Khalid is going to watch his credit card charges online for a week just to make sure we’re in the clear. We’re still not sure that “It’s okay” and “It’s cool” mean we don’t have to pay for gas. 

Also, we rented a Buick Regal–a premium car–for only $70 for three days thanks to Khalid’s dominance on Priceline as well as some haggling at the rental car desk.

Truly fantastic.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Words: Eaten

  1. Sarah L

    🙂 Sounds like a great weekend!

  2. ‘Tis etter to eat some words now and make great memories, then to keep your pride and make only regrets.

    Good call.

  3. I disagree. Any goal worth pursuing requires some sacrifice. While the sacrifices you make may be disproportionately small (not going out on a Friday night) or large (missing a friend’s wedding – a decision I just had to make myself for the sake of my studies and my wallet) compared to the goal does not really matter. What matters is that every sacrifice you make gives more steam to your cause. It fuels your fire that much more.

    In essence, the sacrifices become part of what makes the goal so meaningful – be it for better or worse. As one of the lucky people who read this blog that know you personally, I would say that making this concession is going against who you are more than it is going with it. To put it in terms that you and I both used to get so annoyed with but that I think is appropriate here, it is literally and metaphorically a withdrawal from the bank in which you have been depositing for the past two months. I get your motivations and, believe me, I struggle far more with commitments than you do on a daily basis. But I urge you to give it a second thought… not to necessarily change your mind. But to weigh your motivations for going and not going one more time.

    Walking the harder path is not necessarily a reward in and of itself, but if your goal is “good” and “true” (those terms being left ambiguous on purpose), then the path is worth walking – even if you ultimately fall short of your destination. And that is all I have to say about that.

  4. brian

    Glad to hear you went.

    Do you take into account any factors when giving a cash gift or do you simply give what you can afford. In NY it’s common to give a cash gift that would cover your plate. Most weddings here are standard $100+ so at minimum I give $100 so with me and the girlfriend would be a $200 gift.

    The amount seems very high, especially for a young couple getting married and most guests being there again and not in huge income brackets to afford such gifts. Though people continue to follow the cover your plate guidelines.

    • Pre-NMHD, I would have given $100 or $125, like I did for a wedding in March. With the combination of NMHD, the fact that this was a destination wedding, and the fact that I dropped about $1400 or so for his bachelor party, I thought $50 was sufficient 🙂

  5. Cassie Olson

    I think that going to Faith and Luke’s wedding is perfectly acceptable! What you are trying to do is incredible, but a wedding is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If they were mere acquaintances it would be different, but it seems to me like you know Faith and Luke well enough for it to be worth it! In the long run, say it takes you 10 1/2 months to pay off your debt instead of 10, but you were able to share a once in a lifetime experience with a couple you really care about it will be worth it. Even if the 10 month goal isn’t meat, having it caused you to work at it and get it done way faster than you would have before. There are a few things in life that aren’t worth the sacrifice, and being a part of the biggest day of two of your friends seems to me to be one of those things.

  6. Brandy

    I have been to lots of friends’ weddings and I can’t remember all of them. Of course, there are special ones that I remember: where the way they looked at each other was amazing, or the location was incredible, but overall missing a wedding isn’t that big of a deal. It is hard to say no, but it is perfectly acceptable and you shouldn’t feel guilty. When thinking of all the stories of the weddings I wasn’t invited to or couldn’t attend, I can’t think of one that I wish I had been at. Where I felt like I was missing out on something by not being there.

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