Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Pre-Vacation To Do List

Photo by: Photostock
My husband asked me a very reasonable question while we were getting ready to leave on our summer vacation last week. That question was: “Why are you so grouchy right now?” 

The fact that he asked me that question means that he has no real concept of what it takes to get a family of 5 ready for a week’s vacation. I’m aware of the fact that my grouchiness is an unreasonable response to a decidedly first world problem. But I thought I’d share my to do list anyway in the hopes that at least one of you out there will let me know that it's not just me.

Because at least for me, the 18 hours that precede a family vacation are so miserable that I find myself softly whispering, mantra-like: “It’s all going to be worth it. Stop being such an asshole. You get to go on vacation. You have no right to complain. Suck it up and get it done.”

Vacation Planning/To-Do List
  • Return old library books/get out new library books.
  • Go through all the random pieces of mail that I haven’t sorted to make sure there’s nothing urgent
  • Oh right! Someone has to bring in our mail while we’re gone.
  • Text the neighborhood’s most responsible teenager.
  • That teenager is selfishly on a mission trip in Honduras and not available to get my mail.
  • Pay all the bills.
  • Return all the phone calls.
  • Clean out fridge.
  • Strategically plan all meals over the next 72 hours as to use up what we have in the fridge.
  • Buy snacks/drinks for the road.
  • Take crap out of the van and put it away.
  • Actually clean van now that crap is out of it.
  • We need an oil change. Can you do it? No? Fine, I'll get the oil changed.
  • Fill up with gas.
  • Find camera. Unable to find the thingee that charges the camera.
  • Damn it. Will just take pictures with phone.
  • Select DVD’s for van that will result in the least amount of whining/fighting among children.
  • Create packing list for kids so don’t end up with 2 pairs of underpants, a princess dress, and no socks like last time. Print lists.
  • (2 months out) Reserve spot for dog at kennel
  • (2 weeks out) Take dog to vet because needs Bordetella and something called “a fecal”.
  • (1 week out) discover that dog has yeast infection in his left ear.
  • Buy expensive dog ear medication. 
  • Call kennel to ask if they can do the dog’s ear medication.
  • Try and find a new kennel.
  • Kennel places laugh at me because next week?
  • Agree to pay the original kennel more than the cost of our hotel to give my stupid dog medicine for his stupid yeast infection.
  • Have minor stress-fueled conniption in the van driving to Target.
  • OH FOR THE LOVE OF PETE. It’s tax free weekend. Buy school supplies at Target.
  • Didn’t bring printed class supply lists because didn’t remember it was tax free weekend.
  • Download three lists onto phone. Toggle between them to buy the crazy stuff on the lists.
  • You know what, school supply list? YOU ARE DRUNK. You ask for black Paper Mate felt tips and you’ll get what they have.
  • Buy mini-wine boxes - these things should come with straws, that’s a design flaw. 
  • Between paying bills and kennel and school shopping become aware that we can no longer afford this vacation.
  • Finish the last of 17 loads of laundry.
  • Realize that none of the 17 loads of laundry have been folded.
  • Oh shit. I forgot about the hamsters. How long can they go without food?
  • Text the neighborhood’s second most responsible teenager to get mail, feed hamsters.
  • No response.
  • I forgot to confirm our hotel reservations. Have panic attack that I only imagined making reservations because was watching House Hunters International at the time and got distracted.
  • Find email with confirmation numbers and print out.
  • Google directions and print those out, too.
  • Pack gallon size ziploc with children's acetaminophen, ibuprofen, anti-histamine, band aids, thermometer, etc because if we don't have it we will totally need it and if we do have it we probably won't.
  • Text teenager and offer more money. They can do it!
  • Set up time to go over everything with them. 
  • Create list of contact numbers for us, what they need to do, etc. 
  • Print list.
  • Printer not working.
  • Scream F-word loud enough for neighbors to hear.
  • Unload dishwasher.
  • Water all the plants.
  • Make dinner (sliced tomatoes, grilled cheese sandwiches, 3 days old corn casserole, hot dogs and cream cheese-filled celery sticks. And milk.)
  • Pack own suitcase.
  • Pack snacks into large utility tote.
  • Call neighbor to see if she wants the food we couldn't finish. Bag up and walk over to her house because WE DO NOT WASTE FOOD.
  • Double check everyone’s suitcase.
  • Charge devices. 
  • Have tedious conversation about whether or not to bring the pack and play. Is useful but takes up so much room.
  • Have essentially the exact same conversation about the stroller.
  • Take a moment to breathe deeply so as not to be a huge bitch to entire family for no good reason.
  • Pack van. 
  • Take out all the trash in the house.
  • Remind everyone to go potty.
  • Get in van.
  • Drive away.
  • Hope that my blood pressure will go down and that this family vacation will bring us all together for some precious, happy, moments.
  • Give up and hope for the best.

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  1. Epic. I snort laughed in a room full of suits clickety clacking on their laptops. Awesome.

  2. I recently came back from 2 weeks away, and yes, the preparation is exhausting, but now wait till you're back and you need to put everything away in your house

  3. You forgot to add his to do list. In my house it goes like this:
    1. Take days off so wife stops nagging you to take the time off.
    2. Wake up and get in the car
    3. Complain about anything forgotten at home.

    1. AMEN!!!

      add 4. Wonder briefly why spouse seems unable to relax on first day of vacation. Then, stop wondering and enjoy 3rd beer of the day.

  4. Oh yes. Yes yes yes and yes. Although you seem to have forgotten to insert all the "Mom, can you do / find / get me..." requests that occur between EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE TASKS as well as in the middle of every one.

    Why are you bringing the pack 'n' play though? I thought your youngest was about 5 (same age as my oldest!).

  5. You are not alone.

  6. I feel that way just trying to plan for a weekend of camping!

  7. Exactly this. And more if you have "exotic" pets like chickens and children with food allergies.

  8. Thanks, I so needed a laugh today. Ironically, I would be going through the same thing if my husband didn't have to be taken to the hospital by ambulance this morning.

  9. just one question. What is tax-free weekend?

  10. Packing up and getting out of a week-long beach rental by 10am on your last day is a special hell too. Even if you don't have to clean the place.

  11. Yes. Exactly this. Only my spouse wants to play golf the day before we go, so there is 5 hours without even backup so I can pack the boys' clothes without thinking "Squirrel!" 15 times and realize when we get there that they don't have jammies or underwear. Oh, and I work from home, so there's that....

  12. I so feel you. My husband is a school teacher and we live in a tiny village in rural Alaska for nine months of the year. The other three months are spent in our hometown 2500 miles away. Prepping and planning for that trip is a nightmare, as you can imagine.

  13. I. Feel. Your. PAIN.
    Even a day trip is a hellacious endeavor. The SNACKS. The DEVICES. The layers of CLOTHES. The WHINING.

    I have no idea what it's like to go away with my family for more than 4 days...and the places we usually stay for that long belong to family/friends, so 1) I end up cooking every damn day; 2) I have to clean every damn day; 3) We end up bringing whatever foster dog we happen to have, so there's that too, which = 4) I am Uber-Bitch the entire time we are gone, and all I want to do is sleep when we get home.

    You are totally right - those mini boxes of wine definitely need to come with a straw. And a built-in blue-ice coozy. Oh, and a free bar of your favorite chocolate.

  14. Girl you are not alone! I need vacation from my vacations.

  15. I get that.. I have two teenagers and doing the same thing. The freeing thing about having teenagers or young adults-- is what they pack is their business! So you want to pack 5 bathing suits (I would too if I could wear a size 2 bikini), two shorts and three tops and the "cute" underwear-- oh well! But of course the makeup, the hair straightener and lots of high heels come as well. The running around consists of eyebrow appts, mani/pedis, and shopping at the mall!

  16. Good thing I read this. I forgot to put a hold on our mail for vacation over the next 9 days! ON IT!!!

  17. Yes, yes, and yes! This is my life! The only thing that keeps the Rage at bay is to remember there is a difference between a Family Trip (kids are involved, I will be expected to cook, clean, take kids potty) and a Vacation (me, on a beach, eating room service, sleeping in past 7 am). Family trips are important, but they are NO vacation.

  18. Love this! So true. Beyond the packing nightmare...there is just SO MUCH DO TO to get us all out of the house.

  19. HILARIOUS!! So, so true!!! My husband wisely just let's me fly around like a maniac chicken on crack before trips & warns my kids to 'stay out of Mom's way' ;) it's TOTALLY worth it, right? Family freaking memory making, people!




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