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Bless my heart, I’m on vacation.

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The approach of vacation, in our home, comes with a bag of mixed emotions.

There is excitement, as we know we will be going somewhere soon. Somewhere away from the day-to-day-ness of life, with the hope of relaxation thrown in.

There is trepidation, as my family knows that as go-time approaches, there will be a slow rise (and eventual spike) of “super critical things to do around the house.” Things that were never super critical until those waning moments just before we leave the driveway.

My husband has just strained a muscle in his neck nodding enthusiastically.

Sweetheart, this is not a “me” thing, this is a “woman” thing.

No, I don’t know why it becomes epically important to remove every speck of dust from the throw rugs prior to vacation. Those same rugs that have sat stagnant for months, attended only by our robot vacuum. Yet as I cover myself in a cloud of exploding dust during their shakeout, I think, “Phew! Good thing we’re getting this done before we hit the road!”

This time, I did try to keep my lists a bit more in check, part of a kinder, gentler campaign I’m enduring in an effort to salvage what has been a trying summer. Still, as go-time approached…so did I…with a dry-erase marker in hand…to throw just a few simple to-do’s up on the chore board.

  • Hang garden flag.

    • No, I know. It had come down months before in need of repair. One more week would not have made a difference. But what if the HOA voted on Best July Facade while we were gone? No, yes, I do know that we don’t have an HOA. Still…won’t it be nicer for anyone who does utilize our driveway to feel “Welcome” by a large cow with a flower crown?

  • Mop all floors

    • Yes, I do sweep and vacuum on the regular. Our floors probably aren’t really that dirty. Will they be eaten off in our absence? All signs point to no. But, check!

  • Wash entry rugs

    • Look, I bought the kind that can go in the washer for a reason. I just always forget that. Until we are about to leave town. Forgive me if I like to throw them in twice a year and then pace the front porch for hours as I obsessively check their “are they dry yet?” status.

  • Clean out fridge

    • Sure, we’ll only be gone a week. Less than a week, really. Sure, our eldest child is actually staying home and will likely eat food during that time. But we do have so many items in there that have expired or have weird smells. What better time than now to do a cleanse?

  • Trim garden plants

    • It’s not like I have that many. It’s not like anyone really notices whether they need trimming or not. It’s not like I actually know what I’m doing.

  • Hang beetle things

    • Right, so in trimming the plants, I did notice that the beetles had joined us and were noshing on the leaves of the few plants I have mastered the ability to grow. This does strike actual fear in me as I can only grow three plants and if the beetles eat them, then what?!?!? I resisted the urge to go to the hardware store to buy the beetle traps at 8 pm the night before departure, instead digging up a very-much expired bottle of beetle-be-gone. #prayers

Well, you get the picture. My productivity runs high prior to vacation. It was extra high this time because I was completely locked up in the packing process. This was our first camping trip since selling our RV, which should have made packing much easier. Yet, no. I could not get myself started.

How does one go camping when they aren’t taking a whole house with them?

We were heading to a cabin reserved in a Georgia State Park. In July. If you’ve not vacationed in the southeastern United States in July, think “How would I dress should I spend a week inside a sauna?” Humidity is 237% with afternoon thunderstorms every blessed day but in the style of “Surprise!! It’s happening NOW!

The dress code typically lands somewhere on: “Whatever prevents heat stroke, won’t become see through when wet, and will dry quickly.” There would be no call for formal wear. Our kids would not be joining us (though our dogs would). This should have been a duffle bag slam dunk.

This is also the same southeastern United States that I live in, so you would think I’d have a clear gauge on clothing needs. And, full disclosure, during a typical week (at home) I wear exactly one-ish outfit. No really, I just get up and throw on whatever was discarded on the endbench the previous night. I basically wear the same shorts/t-shirt combo until one of the kids grumbles about just how many days in a row I’m going for. In the winter, it’s leggings and a sweatshirt.

By my count, I could pack for a week’s vacation in a tote bag.

Instead, I approach vacations as if I’ll be called to perform multiple outfit changes each day, perhaps requested to model each, still tagged, shirt hanging in my closet. Will there be a prom to attend? No problem, I’ve brought three gowns. A pop-up mountain traverse? Great, hiking boots packed (who knew I even owned hiking boots). Shall I squeeze in my custom made guitar in case an area band needs an emergency sub? Yes, but only if they call for someone who does not understand how the strings work.

Before long, we weren’t actually sure if the dogs would actually fit in the car and had to downsize a bit. Realistically, at week’s end, much of my rather large suitcase will be full of never-worn clothes and I’ll state, again, how I definitely won’t fall for this mind trick again.

Though we all know I will.

I suppose it is a positive thing, though. Back home, a spotless house awaits any burglars that sneak in. Should it be our house that gets hit by bandits, the sparkling floors may distract them from making off with our most coveting electronics. My empty closest will likely then put the final nail of disappointment in their quest for goods.

Finally, we will return home to the bliss of a nary a waiting chore and with a wardrobe full of items that do not need to be laundered.

Now that’s a vacation.


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