When There Is No Fine Print: Adventures in Car Rentals

On Saturday, I was slated to leave Tennessee at around 1 p.m. to drive to Florida so I can visit my parents before I head back to California. The plan was to go to the airport, pick up the rental car, drive the car to Florida, and then return the rental car to the airport in Florida the next day.

Reader, that is not what happened.

First, we were a little late to the airport because my friend had to pick up the grocery order. That part was fine except that she forgot some of the groceries in the car, which meant my daughter and I were out of some of our road snacks. This was not entirely my friend’s fault because it wasn’t until we were almost to the airport that I realized I had forgotten the fruit. So that was sad, but you know. Easy enough to deal with.

Then, once I got to the airport I discovered that they wouldn’t rent me the car.

As I have mentioned before, I am committed to getting out of debt. Part of that commitment means that I cut up my credit card over a year ago and have gone cash/debit only. Now, on the rental car company’s website it says that they take debit cards. The website even says to double check that the location you are using takes debit cards. So I double checked, and the location does indeed take debit cards. Yet, NOWHERE on the ENTIRE SITE does it say that you cannot use a debit card for the security hold thing if you’re going airport to airport UNLESS you are scheduled on a flight FROM the airport you are returning the car to. And I know it doesn’t because I read through the fine print AND double checked the debit card policy.

So obviously I didn’t find that out until I got to the actual counter of the rental car company.

The explanation seems to be two-fold. One: it’s some kind of airport policy. Two: Because they have to put an additional hold on the debit card, I guess they don’t want to because it’s a financial thing. Which…okay, I planned for the latter and also THE FORMER SHOULD BE PLAINLY STATED ON THE CAR AGENCY WEBSITE. I mean, honestly, it’s not that hard.

Anyway, the guy at the counter told me that he thought maybe one car rental agency or perhaps another might let me rent using a debit car. I knew the one car rental agency wouldn’t–but only because they were out of cars since they were my first choice anyway. The other one–Thrifty–I had never used before so I went and stood in line for the very nice agent to tell me that, yes, I could rent using my debit card, but I could only go to Georgia, not Florida.

HAHAHAHAHA OF COURSE.

I thanked her for her time, went to find my friend, and told her what was up. She decided we go get some food and then brainstorm some solutions, which was a great idea because I was starving and all I could think was that my parents were going to have to drive to Tennessee to come get me.

After eating (and consulting with my mom and friend), I decided to rent the car to Georgia, and my parents said they would drive up there to get us. There were two options for airports, so I chose the one further south, which meant I had to drive for about six hours so my parents could drive three hours to meet us and then drive the three hours back.

Now, the original car I requested was a Toyota Corolla (or similar). What I got was Dodge Ram pick up truck with a quad cab because that was literally all that was left. It was HUGE, but also a delight to drive. For one thing, I love sitting up high when I drive, and also it was just a smooth ride.

The point is that eventually we made it, but, man, what a deviation from the plan. I couldn’t do anything I planned to do on the drive (call into my book club meeting, mostly, but also call my friend) because I had to completely focus on driving that ginormous truck. I only swerved a few times, but it was about one time too many for my daughter who admonished me to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.

(The truck was SO NICE. It only had 735 miles on it, which means it was basically brand new. SO GREAT.)

it's me, standing in front of a truck!
Me, with the actual truck. You can’t tell but I’m giving a thumbs up.

So, yes, we made it. But when I dropped off the rental car in Georgia, there was a couple at the counter in front of me going through the exact same thing. No credit card, debit card only, needed to get to Virginia, but Virginia was out of the rental car agency’s service area. I have no idea what happened with them, but what a nightmare all around.

These rental car companies really need to make these policies clear. There’s literally no excuse–especially if it’s a known issue.

It’s Wednesday & I have an ashy eye

Okay, I’m going to get into the ashy eye story in a minute, but also I just want you to know that I got a COVID test after flying across the country, and it is negative. So…whew.

But, yes, I have an ashy eye.

So I discovered this ashy eye issue the day I was packing/prepping to fly across the country. My eye had been bothering me since Thursday. It kept watering for no reason, which honestly happens to me quite a bit, but I thought it was just allergies. You know, a fire was raging, and debris was flying through the air, so it seemed logical. But that night I couldn’t sleep with my eye mask on because it felt like something was stabbing me in the eye.

Then, on Friday, my eye was still bothering me. It was still with the leaking and all, but I could smell smoke in my house, so, again, I just banked on allergies. Also, my daughter told me I looked like I had gotten punched in the eye because my eye was swollen. “Yes,” I told her. “It’s the allergies.”

Continue reading “It’s Wednesday & I have an ashy eye”

F is for Flight #PandemicAlphabet

I decided to leave California.

If you’ve been following the news, you know the wildfires are very intense there, and the air quality is terrible. The one closest to me–the Bobcat Fire–caused smoke bad enough that several friends of mine in a neighboring city were put under an evacuation warning last Wednesday night, and my job closed the campus last Thursday. Because I am an idiot (no, really this time), even after getting the alert that my job (which is down the street from my house) was closed because of extremely poor air quality, I still attempted to go to the pool. I wound up lasting all of ten minutes before I started coughing because, you know, the smoke was so bad. Oh, and Thursday night, my city was also put under an evacuation warning, though it was for the northern part of the city closer to the mountains.

On Thursday night, I finally packed my evacuation bag.

On Friday morning, I could smell the smoke in my apartment, so immediately ordered an air purifier on Amazon to be delivered the next day (they were sold out locally).

By Friday afternoon, I had booked a plane ticket for Sunday to Tennessee with plans to stay there for two weeks and then to drive to Florida and stay for two to three more weeks. My return flight is currently booked for five weeks from now.

Here’s what got me to decide to leave:

Continue reading “F is for Flight #PandemicAlphabet”

5 Books I Wanted to Nominate for My Book Club’s Middle Grade Mystery Theme & the One I Did

So my book club is doing middle grade mysteries for October, and unfortunately, I can only nominate one book. One! This is sad for me because I have a lot of books that I could recommend because I want the people in my book club to read and/or talk about them. Just for context (do I need more context?), after I taught the detective literature course at my school last fall, I said my dream would be to teach the class again and focus solely on middle grade capers or puzzle books. (I was sick of all the murdering and violence in the adult literature.) The point is that this topic lives close to my heart. 

So, anyway, here are all the books I wanted to nominate for my book club to read and the one I did wind up nominating in the end.

Continue reading “5 Books I Wanted to Nominate for My Book Club’s Middle Grade Mystery Theme & the One I Did”

It’s Tuesday & I watched some movies

Also, I guess I should confess that the new block editor for WordPress isn’t that terrible. I think last time I either got sent to some incomplete version of the editor OR I just was not in the headspace to deal with the change. Or a combo platter. Either one. The point is that it’s not that bad now. Is that because I am very enamored of the star rating block? Maybe. But also I have written/drafted my last few posts with the new blocks and haven’t wanted to throw my computer across the room, so.

But you’re here for the movies! So let’s get into them.

Continue reading “It’s Tuesday & I watched some movies”

Book Review: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Look, The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a well-written book with beautiful language, but my rating/review is probably (mostly?) more about WHEN I am reading it than the book itself.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates



The truth is this is a book club pick and if it were up to me, it is not what I would be reading. I have also read a lot (A LOT) of slave narratives and books about slavery. If I were new to the books about the slave experience game, I might feel differently about it.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates”

It’s Monday & I bought a couch

Except my couch is actually a loveseat. If you don’t know the difference between a loveseat and a couch, let me just explain to you that I now understand why it’s called a loveseat. Because, see, the loveseat is very intimate. In fact, you basically have to love the person sitting next to you on that thing because there is no space for anything between you except love.

The lump/leg on the right is my daughter.

My daughter has also made it a sport to poke me for no other reason than I am in reach. She, as I was writing this, asked me to come sit next to her so she could mess with me. It’s a lot of fun. (It’s not a lot of fun.)

I bought the couch loveseat without going to see it in person because I trust the brand and knew it would be comfortable. I also took measurements of my old couch so thought I knew exactly what I was getting into. Learn from me, people, because the length of the loveseat is the length of the non-chaise part of my previous couch, but what I didn’t account for nor measure was the size of the cushions.

It’s very plush and cute (I love the color), but those armrests take up way more room than you might think. My friend (who is moving out of the country this week–the tl;dr blog post about that is “I can’t believe she’s leaving me”) stopped by today to drop some stuff off, so got an opportunity to sit on the loveseat and test it out. She did not want to get up because (a) she made the mistake of sitting down but also (b) it is so comfy and cozy. She also said, “Our thighs would definitely be touching if we both sat on that thing.” By the time she’s back stateside (she claims she’ll be back in six months, but I’m not holding my breath), I should have a full-sized couch as well, so I don’t think it will be an issue. But I’m just letting you all know that the love part of the loveseat is accurate.

Anyway, the loveseat is the perfect size for the space, and I am very happy with it–it’s just going to take some time to be so closely seated next to whoever sits on the other side of me, even if it is just my daughter for now.

It’s Tuesday & my therapist got fired

Or, as the person who called me to tell me said, “terminated, effective immediately.”

Oh, and then a day or so later, we found out my daughter’s therapist was also fired–excuse me, terminated, effective immediately. So I’m sure you can imagine what a wild ride the last week and a half has been.

And how!

The good news is that neither were fired for patient violations of any kind. The bad news is no one will tell us exactly why they got fired, and all we can guess is that it had something to do with some kind of disagreement or something with whoever runs/owns the practice. The more pressing bad news is that my daughter and I are both out of therapists, and our therapists are out of jobs–in the middle of a global pandemic. Although, I guess they aren’t actually out of jobs since they’re both still practicing, but we are still out of our therapists that we both really, really liked because now they no longer take our insurance. So that sucks.

But, yes, because they were part of a practice, we are still patients of the practice, but we both still have to go through the business of readjusting to new therapists. I have liked everyone at the practice so far, so I have faith that it will be okay, but, man, it was a real bummer to get that news. Also, the person in charge of the practice called us both personally to check on us, and I asked her how we knew it wouldn’t happen again, and she said the fact that it even happened is rare so, basically, it BETTER not happen again. Or something to that effect.

Imagine working on your abandonment issues and this happens. What a doozy.

So, if you want to know what else I’ve been up to for the past week and a half or so besides course prep for work, there you go. Oh, I also bought a couch, but I guess that’s a topic for a different post. And here’s where I normally tell you what I’ve been watching and/or reading, but that feels out of place here as well.

W is for Water Aerobics #PandemicAlphabet

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Y closed, which was pretty bad, obviously, since as mentioned in previous entries, I was going to the gym 3-4 times per week for water aerobics and/or yoga and/or step aerobics (which I had recently decided to get back into because I figured I needed to do some actual exercise on land since gravity doesn’t care if you spend all of your time in the water when it’s time to reckon with moving your body on land). So, yes, I had a pretty good routine going, and I was bummed about the closing, but I decided to make the most of it and do the deal and start walking. And walking was (is!) great, really, but, you know, not the same as getting in the pool or even doing some more aerobic land exercises.

The thing is I’m pretty terrible at personal accountability when it comes to exercise on my own. The lack of structure means I can do it whenever I want, but whenever I want turns into the next day and then the next day and then the next day. I get bored easily when I work out by myself because every exercise feels like it takes a long time, so even though I intend to do an hour, I wind up just doing twenty minutes…if that. Also, the furniture is in the way and sometimes my XBox doesn’t load and on and on it goes.

Continue reading “W is for Water Aerobics #PandemicAlphabet”

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Y closed, which was pretty bad, obviously, since as mentioned in previous entries, I was going to the gym 3-4 times per week for water aerobics and/or yoga and/or step aerobics (which I had recently decided to get back into because I figured I needed to do some actual exercise on land since gravity doesn’t care if you spend all of your time in the water when it’s time to reckon with moving your body on land). So, yes, I had a pretty good routine going, and I was bummed about the closing, but I decided to make the most of it and do the deal and start walking. And walking was (is!) great, really, but, you know, not the same as getting in the pool or even doing some more aerobic land exercises.

The thing is I’m pretty terrible at personal accountability when it comes to exercise on my own. The lack of structure means I can do it whenever I want, but whenever I want turns into the next day and then the next day and then the next day. I get bored easily when I work out by myself because every exercise feels like it takes a long time, so even though I intend to do an hour, I wind up just doing twenty minutes…if that. Also, the furniture is in the way and sometimes my XBox doesn’t load and on and on it goes.

Continue reading “W is for Water Aerobics #PandemicAlphabet”

It’s Wednesday & I almost quit this site last week

Almost.

And only because I somehow got updated to the new block editor and almost LOST MY MIND with how confusing it is. Anyway, I am somehow way way back in the dashboard editor, so I am safe. For now. I didn’t finish the post I was working on (yet), but I wanted to get this posted first, so here we are.

Here. We. Are.

Barely.

Here’s what’s been happening since my last check-in post:

Continue reading “It’s Wednesday & I almost quit this site last week”