Friday, June 03, 2011

Vacation Preparation

We are leaving for Texas tomorrow.

We are renting the last available minivan in Cincinnati and driving 16 hours with four children strapped into their carseats. We are driving with 40 hours of audiobooks, a cooler of snacks, four sippy cups and four special blankets. We do not think this equipment will make the trip pleasant, but we comfort ourselves that at least we are not taking the train. Thank you, invasive nanny state, for child carseat laws. Not because they save lives, but because they keep the whining an extra foot or two removed from our ears.

We are leaving tomorrow and my home is a mess. Every trip I tell myself that this time I will leave a clean house. This time I will make sure I have an ordered home to come home to. And every trip, as the departure time draws nearer, I abandon more and more planned cleaning in a desperate effort to get us ready to go on the planned date. One year we blew out a tire two miles down the road and we could not leave town until the next day. That was the only time my house ended up clean before we left. Mostly clean, anyway.

And every trip, as the departure looms and I begin cutting extraneous chores from my to-do list, I approach the tipping point between feeling like a failure for the state of my house and ditching self-criticism as one more unnecessary chore. Self-flagellation is a distraction. We mothers, we warriors of the family vacation, we ain't got time to bleed.

There is a load of laundry in the machine, the children are watching their second movie of the day, the youngest is napping, our stomachs are full of Chinese leftovers and doughnuts, and I, patiently awaiting the next load to fold or pack, am blogging. Take that, guilt. I defy you. I will leave you here at home as we drive blithely into the day, sojourners to welcoming arms and grandma joy.  You have no power over us.

At least not until I get home.


  1. Glad to know I'm not the only one that feels this way about cleaning the house before vacation! {grins} Great post! Have a safe and relaxing vacation....

  2. Hello from a fellow CIncinnatian!

    I hope your trip goes as well as it can. That does not sound fun. I almost cracked doing CInci-Chicago with a two-year-old and 6-month-old.

  3. I do this every Friday as we head to my MIl's house for dinner and the occasional sleep over. I always find 500 last minute things that need doing before the weekend and rarely, if ever, have the house tidy enough to feel good coming home to it.

    Also, there are cookies that need baking. :)

  4. Let me know if you come through Austin! Not that you'll probably feel like stopping to socialize with random bloggers, but you can just slow down by my house and I'll run a bottle of vodka out to your car.

  5. Jennifer, I would love to meet "random bloggers" - in fact I am likely to meet three this time! But I won't be in Austin this trip. We are going to the Dallas area.

  6. Aw, man! Well, I'm sad to have missed you, but if you ever make it further south, do let me know!

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