Next Step Therapy Blog: ‘Vacations Are Swell, The Preparation Is Hell’

Tracy 1Tracy Cowles, CEO and owner of Next Step Therapy, submitted the following article: “Vacations Are Swell, The Preparation Is Hell.”

Having worked with many of our fine parents and staff over the years, I know for a fact that I am not the only certifiable mom out there. There are a lot of us. Let me share my pre-vacation breakdown with you, as I know you’ve been there.

My hubby works fourteen hour days. At least five days a week. Sometimes six, and occasionally seven. He is in charge of a coal mine, and several times in the past five years, he has worked 21 days straight without a day off. The point is, he needs vacations.

I, in fact, have developed a love of all things Caribbean, and I love vacations. My eleven year old, E., is a fabulous traveler, and one of his favorite things to do is to go on vacation. So, lots of vacation love here at my house.

However, the PRE vacation debacle is enough to make me a blithering idiot before we ever hit the airport.

Once the family agrees on a vacation spot, hubby hands me a credit card so that I can book it. This invariably results in me locking up the computer, getting bounced out of the computer, getting stuck in the middle of flight reservations, or getting stuck in a vacation planning site that will not accept my newly created password because it is too long/too short/too easy…blah blah. These episodes ALWAYS result in me saying dirty words and walking away from the computer.

When reservations are finally completed, and my blood pressure has come down, I start on the serious work of getting ready for a vacation. Now please understand, my hubby is a wonderful guy who spoils me rotten, and I love him with all of my heart. The problem is, he will count down the days (19 days to go!), and not do anything to get ready. Then, the night before we leave, he pulls out a suitcase, throws handfuls of clothes in it, and declares himself ready to go.

In order for ME to be ready to go, I had to notify all three of E.’s teachers by email, complete with a plan on how to ensure that all of his school work would be done. (E. is in Cyber School, so vacations can be taken whenever). I then had to push E. to do an extra class per day, and three on the weekends so that he would not be behind. This has resulted in an abundance of tears and pouting.

I had to call in ALL of our prescriptions (and of course, not all on the same day), and pick them up. I had to make reservations at the kennel for the dog. I had to notify my parents, my neighbor, and E.’s drum teacher. I had to notify work. I had to notify hubby’s children. I had to balance the checkbook, pay all bills due during the vacation, and go to the bank to get cash and have them put a “travel code” on my debit card so it would work out of the country.

I had to mail my fathers’ birthday present ten days early. I had to buy a second litter box for my newly acquired cat, and extra cat and dog food.

I had to clean the leftovers out of the refrigerator and make sure all possible stinky items went out in the trash. I had to notify the post office to hold our mail.

Since we are going to someplace hot, I had to pull out all of E.’s summer clothes and have him try them on, which he did the night before the trip. Clearly, I am an idiot. Half of them no longer fit. As I scramble to find him enough clothes to take, I start to lose it. I can feel my brain start to swell in my head, as I realize just how much I’ve done, with no help, and I am slowly working myself up into a frenzy.

Meanwhile, the dog has learned what suitcases mean, and the instant we pulled them out tonight, he began to cry. And cry, and cry, and whine, and cry. My teeth are gritted so tightly I might pop an eardrum.

Tomorrow morning, for the first time in four years, I am getting a mani/pedi. Any man reading this would not understand, but I trust that you ladies will. Once the mani/pedi is done, I will be unwilling to do anything with my hands that could possibly mar my brand new paint job. Ergo, everything I want done has to be done tonight. Right?

God help me, I have been running around like a lunatic for four hours. I have packed E., and myself. I have remembered the beach bag and the sunscreen, the camera, the phone chargers, books to read on the plane, and the water shoes.

It was at 9:00 at night that I realized that E. would want a pair of goggles, and all of the goggles are outside, in the pool equipment box. In the dark. Its 23 degrees.

It was 10:30 when I realized while looking over my list that I had not gotten the Passports out, which are in the bedroom, in the firebox, where hubby is sleeping. THE PASSPORTS!!!! We aren’t even going through airport security without those.

Since I am now thoroughly disgusted with myself, and everyone else is sleeping, I’ve decided that I must give up/give in for the night and accomplish the final details tomorrow (which include, but are not limited to: shave legs, take dog to kennel, get mani/pedi, have E. do some classes, get the goggles, get the passports, pack the meds and bathroom supplies, water the plants, turn off the fireplace, lock everything up, give kitty two clean litter boxes and food and water.)

The hubby will sail in (probably 2 hours earlier than he told me), all relieved that he’s off work for a week, and say, “Woo hoo! Vacation! Are you ready to go?”

Man, I love the vacations, and am lucky to be able to take them, but the getting ready part……it’ll all be worth it when I’m looking at the ocean. With a frozen daiquiri in my hand.


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