I’m Good On the Vacation Now

So I mentioned the other day that we are on vacation. Specifically, we are visiting family in Central Oregon. This will be the longest visit we have ever made here.

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In the past, we’ve come up for two or three days at a time. This time we made it a ten day jaunt; and let me tell you guys…on Day 7 I’m ready to go home.

There is no such thing as a “vacation” for mothers.

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Sorry, but there isn’t.

Anyone that tells you she has small children and was able to go on vacation with said children and actually came back feeling relaxed is a fucking liar.

I’ve still been doing laundry. I’ve still been ref’ing the fights. I’ve still had to cook and clean and administer medicine and answer “can I have a snack” thirty to fifty times a day and tuck in and bathe and homeschool. And then there was that whole incident when I learned that they had not packed appropriate clothing for the weather.

It sounds cliche, but by the time we get home Sunday night I’m going to need a vacation from my vacation.

My husband caused some major shade to be thrown my way by his family.

The first three nights we were here, we stayed at his grandparent’s home. But when it was getting to the point where he had to fly home for work and a job interview, he realized that the arrangements there were not going to work for the whole ten days.

Besides their bedroom, they have a very uncomfortable couch, a double sized bed in a tiny extra bedroom, and a whole lot of hardwood floors. Beyond that, they go to bed around 8 o’clock every night, and get up around 6 o’clock every morning. So from the time they go to bed until the time we go to bed, we’re desperately trying to keep everyone quiet. And then first thing in the morning we’re woken up with their chores, their music, their breakfast, and their bickering.

For a few days, we could all cram into that space and deal with it. But for ten days? It’s not very realistic, especially with the dog sleeping halfway up my asshole all night long and the children getting more and more difficult by the day from having been woken up so early every morning.

So my husband drove down the street to the first nice hotel, and checked us in for the remainder of the trip. He then flew home for the whole work and interview thing I mentioned before; then tomorrow he’ll fly back and enjoy the comfortable beds in the hotel room as we have all week.

In response, since he flew home, I have gotten some major shade from his grandparents over the issue. They don’t think it’s right that when you stay in the same town as family that you would stay in a hotel. They think we should all just deal with being uncomfortable, and that it’s not a big deal to have to get up early every morning for 10 days.

They’re old; they’re set in their ways – I get it! But that didn’t make the flack I’m catching daily any easier to take. Tonight his grandmother yelled at me that when he gets back tomorrow night, I should let him sleep on the bed alone and sleep on the floor to give him space to rest. Because he works so hard.

FUCK THAT is about all I have to say to that one.

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There isn’t a lot to do here.

We’ve shopped. We’ve eaten. We’ve shopped and eaten more. We went to the lone, local museum. Then we shopped and ate again.

Now everyone’s bored. Today I knitted an entire scarf. Yesterday I did an entire scratchboard drawing (that typically takes around 12 hours to do).

And the children are going stir crazy. If they have to do one more puzzle to keep busy, I may have to coax them down off a ledge.

We’re city folk. How terribly hillbilly and rednecked for me to say that, but it’s damned true. Of course we enjoy the peace and the quiet. The vegging out on the couch eating loads of Italian food while Clark Gable movies play in the background.

But we can only take so much. We’re getting antsy and bored. We’re ready for our regular lives to resume.

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You know, there was once a day when I would have loved to go on a vacation and never come back. I could live on hotel food and in different rooms weekly without batting an eyelash. I guess as I get older, though, I have become more of a homebody. As if what came shuffling through the front door along with my 30s was a sense of stay-put-edness. Or maybe I’m just on burn out with the visiting family thing – I need a vacation to somewhere exotic where I know no one, and can therefore be entirely myself.

Whatever the case may be, our daily routine of tennis-school-tennis-school-laundry-clean-laundry-cook never seemed so attractive.

 

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So I Wiped My Dog’s Butt The Other Night

We are on our annual, fall vacation. No big deal, just a little jaunt to Central Oregon to visit my husband’s grandparents and my great aunt. My husband drove us up, then after a few days flew home for work; the trip will end next weekend with him flying back to drive us back home.

There have been a lot of…shall we say…revelations so far on this trip. Realizations? How about realities. There have been a lot of realities presented to me in the few days we have been here; I am sure as the days unfold even more will crop up.

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1.

My dog is way cool with me wiping her butt.

Just when I thought I was never going to have any more butts to wipe, my dog got diarrhea.

The situation was as follows: we fed her a lot of different things on the way up and the first two or three days here, because – well – it’s actually really hard to travel with a dog that eats homemade food. Anyone who has ever had a dog knows that with the majority of them, a change in diet is a recipe for diarrhea all over your carpeted floors.

So we’re sitting there the other night, watching Full House (because what the hell else do they have on TV here in the middle of nowhere-Oregon?), and all of a sudden I realize that just across the room the dog is taking a massive shit on the carpet.

By the time the dog has finished and moved on to return to eating kibbles, my daughter has jumped up and yelled “it looks like chocolate pudding!!”

A wonderful visual for you all, I am sure. “It looks like chocolate pudding,” though, means one thing, and one thing only, to me: the dog’s got the runs.

So we get up to clean it and then I notice the dog still has “chocolate pudding” all over her backside. Being concerned that she would scoot around and destroy even more of the floor in this place we are guests (I mean, obviously at home I wouldn’t give a shit what she does – which says a hell of a lot more about me than I’d like it to), I realize the reality of what we have to do.

We have to wipe the dog’s butt.

I won’t go into any more details about this; I’ll just say that she was very OK with it. Disturbingly OK with it.

2.

My regular life is really stressful.

It always takes these little vacations, away from my daily reality and regular life, to get perspective on things.

The perspective I have now is that my regular life is really stressful. It’s full of problems I shouldn’t have to deal with. Stressors that are beyond my control, even though they should be within my grasp.

And my newest development: a myriad of bullies that I cannot walk away from, because – gasp, big surprise here!!! – they are family.

In fact, my myriad of bullies has stopped me from writing. Writing on this blog. Writing my next book (yes, there IS a next book in the works). Writing even in my journal – perhaps the most important part of a writer’s day.

Now I knew they were bullies before the vacation. I knew that if a family member told you you should move out of town, concluded with a “Bye Felicia” …well, if they said something like that, you could assume they were intentionally trying to be mean to you. (By the way, I had to look that up, because I had no idea what it meant – in spite of the fact that I’ve seen all the Friday movies.)

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And I knew that the gossip had reached a fever pitch, as well. It got to a point where I felt it was necessary to post this:

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But I also was trying to give everyone the benefit of a doubt. Maybe they were just joking when they told me I was an asshole for saying I was tired of cleaning up the mess from the renters that lived in the family condo we moved into in June. Perhaps excluding us, and only us, from family events was just oversight on their part.

I am far too nice.

Since we got here, I’ve been posting TONS of photos of family on my Facebook page. Every day. I haven’t heard so much as a peep from any of my bullies – big surprise, right? Then I realized that this is the way it ALWAYS goes. They NEVER pay attention to the good stuff. The important stuff. The positive stuff. The fun stuff.

But say a man accosted me in my parking lot and I’m not happy about it (true story), or that I got a bad haircut at a salon their friends work at (a real life tragedy), and they are ALL OVER IT. And by all over it, I mean sitting right there, just waiting to tell me to shut the fuck up, and that I’m wrong for whatever it was I did or said.

As usual, at the end of my vacation I’m affirming that I’m not going to tolerate it anymore. But, then again, I always say that…

3.

I am again reminded that if I want something done right, I have to do it.

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For some reason, I thought that we had reached a point where I could give a list of things that needed to be packed for vacation, and that those things would actually be packed.

The list was very simple:

  1. 2 outfits for cold weather
  2. 2 outfits for warm weather
  3. 3 pairs of pajamas
  4. 4 sets of underwear
  5. An extra sweater
  6. A jean jacket

Guess what was packed?

  1. 1 outfit for cold weather, pants don’t fit anymore
  2. Nothing for warm weather (it’s going to be in the upper 80s and 90s for the rest of our trip)
  3. 1 pair of pajamas
  4. 1 pair of underpants, no undershirts
  5. 4 sweaters, 1 sweater dress, 6 pairs of tights
  6. No jacket

What’s more disturbing is that there was a 20 year old adult (the babysitter) assisting in this endeavor, so I have to ask just why the shit my list wasn’t followed.

 

Nonetheless, I had a little meltdown about it today, because after all the expenses of moving and the possibility that my husband will be changing jobs and taking a slight pay cut in the near future, having to go buy ANYTHING, when we have plenty of perfectly adequate things at home, is upsetting.

So in short…

…this trip has been a little strange. Eye-opening. I’ve realized a lot, and been reminded that there really is no such thing as a vacation when you’re a mom. I’m still doing laundry every day; having to wipe everyone’s assholes; cooking, cleaning… It’s really just the same old shit in a different place.

But at the end of it, I will say one thing: it’s nice to have gotten my head out of the smog. Both the literal smog of California, as well as the metaphorical smog. There may not be anything I can do to change these situations in my regular, every day life, but at least I can acknowledge them and act accordingly. It’s much less stressful to know things for what they are, than to hide under the veil of denial. For that reason, and that reason alone, I’ll call this vacation a success.

Oh, and there is some pretty amazing shit to look at here too…

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