I am not a Boy Scout

If you are on a tight budget, but would still like to take a vacation, I strongly recommend finding a friend who has children and who would also like to take a vacation.  Then swap houses.  It does not matter where the friend lives, or where you live.  It doesn’t matter that there is “nothing to do” in that area.  Middle of nowhere, no cultural venues, no recreational opportunities?  No problem.  As long as the friend has toys, your kids will be perfectly happy to stay put.  Pack a good book and a laptop (for yourself) and chill out for a few days.

Friend and blog reader, Kris, was so very kind and offered us her house when she learned we were coming to town.  Kris and her family were heading out of town for an annual family reunion, so we showed up as they were heading out.  Kris has only met me once, and I’m not sure which of us is crazier.

My only moment of panic came when she asked me to take care of the pet geckos.  During the day, the light to the tank needed to be ON, and at night, the light had to be OFF.  That was all we had to do, but it still had me worried I would mess up.  We left yesterday and she wasn’t coming home until today, so I stressed out a lot wondering if I should leave the geckos in the dark or the light.  I finally asked the neighbor to come over in the morning to light them up.

I’m just happy she didn’t have fish.  I have killed every fish I have ever had.

My children would have been happy had we just stayed at the house and allowed them to play with the toys and the Wii, and watched movies.  Unfortunately (or fortunately) for them, they have parents who have little inkling to sit around and do nothing when there is a whole city out there to explore.

And so we dragged them all over, spending very little time at the house.


Last night, as our trip was nearing to an end and Bill was lamenting not having brought appropriate footwear for all the walking we did, I concluded that I really need to spend a full day – 12 to 14 hours – to properly get my family packed up and loaded, and to get my house put in order.

“If I’m only going to spend half that time to prepare for a trip,” I told him, “the job will only be half-@$$ed {ahem}.  And if I’m only going to spend 3 or 4 hours to pack up, then the job won’t even be half-*****.  Basically, I did a quarter-***** job preparing us.”  Now, the footwear issue is not my fault.  A grown man wants to pack boat shoes for a sightseeing weekend, that’s his problem.  The kids all had shoes appropriate for walking.  But there were other items forgotten, that I would have remembered had I used my checklists (pre-made, stored on the computer) and/or had 15 minutes of peace and quiet in which to just think about what I was doing.

We had lots of police-people telling us to STOP.  Good advice.

More on things left behind later.

Poor kid, dragged hither and yon.
Finally, a good place to stretch out and relax.

Being unprepared also had the detrimental effect on the general mood of the trip.  The kids would have been grumpy no matter what (is it just my kids?  Tell me it’s not just my kids who aren’t very good at doing new and different things, breaking with the routine or walking 5 miles over the course of a day, for 2 or 3 days in a row).  But normally, I am not a grumpy person and my joy and enthusiasm is, if not contagious, plenty enough for all of us.  But if I’m stressed and aggravated, then that mood certainly is contagious.  Poor Jenny, who really has a very hard time rushing and being spontaneous, was so upset when packing that she said she just wanted to go the next day.  She knows, if I don’t, that it’s much better to take the time to do it right.

My normal, happy self.

Sometimes it’s contagious.

He has his own brand of happiness.

3 thoughts on “I am not a Boy Scout

  1. Jim and I laughed so hard about the geckos!! Who are still alive as we speak! Glad you had such a great time!

  2. I always enjoy reading your post and enjoy them even more when there is pictures of the kids. Tell them I said hi and I miss them very much.

  3. I will tell them Stephanie. They miss you too. Mary and Peter asked about you several times. 😦

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