The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry

mouse family - mice and men The 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, not business 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.

We sold the house 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’re at now as I write this.

That mice and men thing has worked at full force.

Returning to the Philippines

This last visit to the United States has already been more than a year, far longer than anticipated. We no longer consider it our home. Despite everything we dislike about the Philippines, we like living there more than in the United States.


We planned to return to the Philippines for the last time at the end of 2014. Unfortunately, that mice and men thing kicked in again and it won’t be the last time.

My older son, Joseph, and his wife are living in England because she’s stationed there with the Air Force. We recently learned she’s going to deploy to Qatar for six months in January. Joseph is asking that we join him for most of those months to help take care of his children.

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.

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