Gray Matter


The Best Laid Schemes of Mice and Men Often Go Awry

mice and menThe phrase, “the best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry”, has applied to me so many times I can’t begin to count them. What it means is that no matter how hard I’ve tried to plan something and follow through with it, circumstances have prevailed to trip me up.

My plans seem to fail more often than succeed. The only upside to all of this is that when I succeed, I often succeed in a big way. Of course, I’m talking about personal success. I’ve been retired from the active work force too long to care about business success.

Moving to the Philippines

My wife, Josie, and I bought our first house in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1994. I retired from active duty in the military in 1998. In 2005, before the United States housing bubble peaked, Josie and I made plans to sell the house and move to the Philippines. She had family in the Philippines (as well as relatives from her side of the family in the United States) and getting settled wouldn’t be an issue.

Our younger son, Jon, was already living with his grandmother in the Philippines, at the house Josie bought in 1988. We sold our house in Phoenix and moved to the Philippines in 2006. We had no intention of ever returning to the United States, yet we’ve returned multiple times for various reasons. It’s where we are now as I write this.

Visiting the United States

Jon and I returned to the United States in 2012. Josie was already there, living with our older son and his family. The fact that Josie and I were physically separated for more than six years (with brief periods of being together) is another story in itself, one that I don’t want to share. Suffice it to say we weren’t having marital problems.

I returned to the Philippines alone for a few months in 2013. I did not plan to return to the United States, but Josie convinced me to return for more reasons I don’t want to share. Jon joined the Army near the beginning of 2014 and Josie and I returned to the Philippines at the end of 2014.

We left the Philippines again in 2018, to visit our children in Florida and Hawaii. Our plan was to stay for with each for a few months. Things definitely went awry from then on.

Returning to the Philippines

This visit to the United States has already been far longer than we anticipated (more than two years), primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We could probably return to the Philippines as planned, but we would have to jump through a few hoops to get all the way to our house in a reasonable amount of time. Today, we would have to pay for the testing and pay for at least two days quarantined in a hotel awaiting the results.

It’s not worth the hassle. What would happen if our tests came back positive? We would have to spend 14 days in a hotel instead of one or two and again, we would have to pay for it. No, we’re going to wait until it all blows over, however long that takes.

Of Mice and Men

The book, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, was published in 1937 and the title was based on a poem titled “To A Mouse” written by Robert Burns in 1785. The phrase, “the best laid schemes of mice and men”, was transliterated from Scottish English to American English and is sometimes quoted with the word “plans” substituting for “schemes”.

I’ve never read the poem or the book and frankly, I don’t care what any of this has to do with “mice and men”. I don’t even like the idea of the mice and men comparison.

Photo Attribution: auenleben from Pixabay

Author: RT Cunningham
Date: September 27, 2020 (UTC)
Categories: Travel

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