A few weeks earlier, our human resources department at work held a meeting discussing the conversion of our benefits. Our company was bought out by a larger company several years ago, and the larger company wanted to convert all of its newest employees to the new system.
The impact of all of this was the loss of the Paid-Time-Off (PTO) system, where sick leave and vacation hours were all in one basket. Replacing that was the sick leave system, where you have fewer vacation hours. However, you do have a separate bin for sick leave – which you lose half of your unused balance every year.
Personally, I thought this penalized people who were healthy because of the reduced vacation hours. I also thought it was some corporate scheme to squeeze additional hours out of employees’ own personal time.
Regardless of what I thought, the deal was done and there was nothing I could do about it. To make matters worse, I had hoarded my vacation hours in anticipation of longer trips in the future. Now with reduced maximum vacation hours in lieu of sick leave hours, I had to take a vacation or lose some of those hard-earned hours.
So, where should I go on a spontaneous trip?
The first thing that came to mind was Yosemite.
Since this year was a pretty dry year, I knew we’d get comfortable Spring-like conditions this time of year (March). So, I went forward with some last-minute campground reservations in Upper Pines. Keep in mind that last-minute reservations in Yosemite were practically unheard of, but this year with its early-arriving Spring and Summer was unusual.
I also thought it might be a good time to start toying around with some filters and a wide angle lens for this point-and-shoot camera with some manual capabilities that I was using. It was some 3 megapixel Sony Cybershot camera that was already old for its time, but still got the job done. Besides, I was still learning how to take decent photos before I invested in an expensive Digital SLR.
Julie couldn’t take Friday off, and I intended to head out to Yosemite before dawn on Friday morning. When Mom heard I was about to go alone, she took Friday off to come with me.
And so we were set up for the trip.