The beginning of March may not seem like the typical time of year to yank your children out of school and take time off of work for some fun and sun but when your in-laws invite you to their house in Florida, the last thing on your mind is making sure the kids make it to Math class or your next client.
My mother-in-law and father-in-law invited us down to spend a few days with them in Florida. They are what are referred to as ‘Snow Birds’, folks who leave behind the bone chilling winter for 85 degree weather. Thankfully, they decided not to leave us behind so in a few hours, my family and I will be on a plane headed to Port St. Lucie by way of Philadelphia to Cleveland to Orlando.
We had planned this getaway before Thanksgiving because of the massive amount of preparation my wife needed to put in to it (like she was invading the beaches of Normandy). She is a planner and this trip would be no different so giving her 16 weeks seemed like a big enough cushion.
My wife started on her vacation list (the list containing all the items and loose ends needing to be gathered or shored up before we left) shortly before Christmas. This could explain why stuck between ‘beach towels’ and ‘sunscreen’ was ‘scented candle for Aunt Anna’. Each week she seemed to add another item. Each week, the list got longer even as she crossed off the items that had been taken care of. I took a peek at it sometime around January and it was weightier than the first Patriot Act.
But that’s the way it is when it comes to vacations. We spend as much time planning for them than we do being on them. We book airline tickets, parking, and rent-a-cars. We had to make arrangements for someone to come to the house and stay with the furry four legged members of our family. The kids had to be excused from school which meant I had to craft a legitimate enough sounding excuse for them to leave for a few days (I may have said something to the effect of learning more about indigenous Native American people of Florida). We had to let our respective employers know about the trip as well as prepare them while we were gone. I needed a good 8 weeks to convince my wife we didn’t need to pack like we were going on a 2 month safari. We would have to conserve and eat the food in our refrigerator like we were trapped on the side of a snowy mountain so we wouldn’t make the mistake of leaving too much behind or go through it too quickly and have to go back out to the grocery store.
With our vacation days away, the house needed to be cleaned, load upon load of laundry needed to be washed, last minute items had to be picked up, the kids were left eating the last of the Life cereal that had been in the Lazy Susan since Martin Luther King Day, and I would need to bone up on my knowledge of CAD and spatial geometry so I would be able to figure out how to fit everything in to our luggage.
And now that our vacation is only a few hours away, the bags are packed (and zippered), the dog is confused, the cat could care less, my wife is stressed, the kids are bouncing off the walls in anticipation, and I have printed out the equivalent of ‘War and Peace’ in airline information/rental car receipts/and extended parking confirmations.
We have all put a lot of work in to this vacation, like every vacation, and now I’m ready to go. All the items on the list have been crossed off, I’m ready to kick back, go to the beach, forget about work for a few days, and pray my in-laws watch my kids for me while I take a mid-afternoon nap. I’m fairly certain we have everything ready…I’m just not sure what we’re going to do with a scented candle on vacation?