That's an old Yiddish proverb that some translate to this: "Man plans, God laughs." I have had many occasions in my life to use that quotation.
Don't get me wrong, I don't believe God sits on his throne laughing when bad things happen to us. There is a natural order to things; we often don't know how various events in life are related until years after the fact. I believe some of the terrible things that happen in life do turn out, in some way, for the best. Here's an example:
I think it was in April that I told Cliff I'd like to go on a bus trip to New England. He hates to drive, and I don't drive, never have; he won't get on an airplane. And when we do take long vacation trips, they never turn out well: We drive around aimlessly, getting lost and wishing we were home. Cliff agreed it might work out well to let somebody else plan the trip for us, booking the motels, planning the places of interest, and hauling us around. It worked for our train trip last year! Then I told him the price, and he faltered: $2,595 apiece, and that doesn't include most meals.
I assured him I was fairly confident I could put back enough money by the time it would be due so we wouldn't have to touch our emergency fund. Now, if you knew how small our emergency fund is, you'd laugh at the notion of even calling it that. It wouldn't handle most major emergencies you run across in life, but that's the way we roll. We live on the edge.
I stayed away from Amazon, changed some other spending habits, and, as of last month, was within $500 of having the total amount. I was stoked! Finally, we would have a vacation with no snags, no unpleasant surprises and no worries.
Then we found out Cliff had cancer. Since we don't yet know what the treatment will be, we can't plan on a trip in October: The best-case scenario would be radiation treatments, which can take an extended time to complete. Or, if the cancer hasn't spread outside the prostate too extensively, there might be surgery. Right now, our future is uncertain. I needed to cancel the trip we'd already reserved with a $400 deposit.
I had read the cancellation policy before I booked, so I understood we could cancel, this early in the planning... IF the company was on the up-and-up. I figured they'd keep the $400 deposit, but that's life. You take risks. I went to the tour company's website to see how I should go about getting a refund. They wanted it in writing, so I figured I would call to make sure I did things properly before I sent the letter. The call went to voice mail: I left a message explaining we'd just found out Cliff had cancer, were uncertain about the future, and needed to cancel.
Nobody returned my call that day, or the next, I think. I started getting anxious.
Then my call was returned: The lady politely explained that the other person in charge had been with a group on a trip to New York, and she had been out of the office for a couple of days. She assured me that I did NOT have to write, she would take care of it, but I had already put the letter in the box thinking since nobody answered the phone, maybe the letter would get their attention.
Yesterday we received a check in the mail refunding our $400 deposit.
I learned early on in life that some of the worst things that happen in a person's life turn out, in the long run, to work to her advantage, and could give you many examples from my own life. This incident is just the latest example: Our share of paying for Cliff's two scans would have been $500 if St. Mary's hadn't scheduled them both for the same day. As it was, we had to pay $250.
We had to cancel the trip of a lifetime, but we have some extra funds to handle random medical expenses that come our way. Bet-case scenario, we won't use all of it and can start planning a trip for later on. Worst-case, it won't be enough, but we at least have that much in reserve, which is a good feeling.
I'd like to recommend Kincaid Coach Tours. The lady who contacted me was polite and understanding, and explained to my satisfaction why she didn't return my call immediately. We got our deposit back in full. We may never have the funds to plan such a trip again. But if we do, I will have no qualms about booking with them.