I am of the good fortune that my employer gives paid vacation every year. I have fifteen days to use as I please. During the year, I squeeze in a day off here and there for the dentist, grocery shopping or to catch up on laundry. Occasionally, I make assurances for the luxury of a family trip.
We afforded our first vacation when the kids were little and we were, just as many families with small kids, broke. A friend said we should take a short trip just to get away. Her exact advice was, “Take a hundred dollars and rent a hotel room for a couple of days.” We followed her suggestion, grabbed a little cash, drove two hours from home and rented a room at the Holiday Inn. Kids ate free at the hotel subtracting from the food portion of our weekend budget. We left on a Friday night, visited the museum, browsed the mall, swam at the hotel pool and came home on Sunday. I think we had twenty dollars remaining when we disembarked.
One year, we went camping in western Nebraska stopping on the way home at a water park and hotel. A real bed and shower was a welcome change after days of stinky-feet-tent-smell.
Another time, we trekked to Minnesota shopping at the big mall and saw a unique bridge by Lake Superior. By chance, we discovered an amazing restaurant built in an old warehouse on our visit to Duluth.
Once, we flew to Las Vegas, saw the lights, lost some money, toured Hoover Dam, lost some money, ate good food and lost some money. Our hotel had the most amazing swimming pool.
One year, we opted out of the family vacation and replaced the basement of our home. We attempted to convince our kids that painting, spackling, moving furniture and hanging drywall was what kids vacationing at Disneyland actually did. Mere propaganda cover-up distributed by Disney was that kids, playing in amusement parks, actually did home repair work except they had to wear those sweaty Mickey Mouse hats. Any picture of other amusement park behavior was photo-chopped and we were exempt of headwear only because of location. The children didn’t believe us.
Beginning that holiday, we did laundry. On Monday, we patched cracks in the living room wall. On Tuesday, we framed a cement slab and patched more cracks. Moreover, the neighbor needed a sidewalk fixed so we dug up a heavy concrete slab, axed out the offensive tree root underneath and put up framework. Word in a small town travels fast and only minutes passed before another neighbor discovered a cement delivery was going to occur. We agreed to repair a crack in his sidewalk as well. On Wednesday, we put up new gutters. On Thursday morning, the cement truck arrived. That afternoon, we drove twenty miles for our youngest daughter to finish her driver’s exam, returned home and did the dishes. Friday, we painted the living room. Saturday we did laundry, again, and Sunday we took down cement forms.
After the week, the family was tired of our makeshift Disneyland vacation and ready to go back to real jobs. The kids were tired of hearing, “Move that there. Make more spackling. Put this away. Pick up that tool.” The most work they ever had to do on previous vacations was to pick up dirty socks, keep wet swimsuits in the plastic bag and dust potato chip crumbles off the back seat. The plus was, not once did I hear, “Who’s feet smell? Stop looking at me. He’s poking me!”
We are planning an eventful family vacation away from home in the future. We’d like to tour the Grand Canyon or visit to the real Disneyland, not the one where they spackle and paint. Usually, no matter our touring choice, by the time our break is over, everyone is ready to take a vacation from vacation. It takes longer to unpack then it does to pack and the laundry pile is bigger upon our return. Truth of the matter is that when we stay home for remodeling, by the time we pay for all the carryout, because we can’t reach the kitchen sink, the sodas, because we’re dehydrated from working up a sweat and the sunscreen, because we spent the hottest day of the year laying cement, its much cheaper to leave town.
About the Author:
Four grown children visit often and the grandkids cause beautiful havoc.
All her life, she paid attention to things around her, stories from her parents, friends, grandparents and great-grandparents and one day she compiled those stories together and wrote a book. That one book that started a wave of ideas and characters just keep pestering her so she continues to write all the time, work when necessary and vacation as much as possible.
http://annettesnyder.atspace.com, her Fifty Authors from Fifty States blog http://annettesnyder.blogspot.com where she blends her love of travel with her love of writing and pick up her work at www.whiskeycreekpress.com or many online outlets and stores across Nebraska. You can connect with Annette on Face Book searching for Annette Snyder-Novelist or add her on Google Plus.