A few weeks back, Dr. Husband noticed he had multiple days in a row without any shifts scheduled at the hospital. Since the baby is (so far) really easy (knocking hard on wood here), we decided to take a little trip. I was thinking maybe a cabin in the woods so the two-year-old could run around outside all day and Dr. Husband and I could enjoy the glories of an internet-free life. Dr. Husband had other plans.
“You’re going to hate this idea,” he began one night after the kids were in bed, “but I think we should go to Vegas.”
Um, no thanks.
“Think about it.”
Um, no thanks.
While he was thinking "quick flight," “fancy hotel room on the cheap,” and “random fun activities involving rides and games and exotic animals” I was thinking “babies crying in fancy hotel,” “babies burning in hot sun,” “babies suffering eczema outbreaks from constant sweating,” “babies overwhelmed by people, noise, and flashy lights,” and “babies eaten by sharks and tigers.”
No one in our family does well with heat or overstimulation or clowns. We are people meant to spend vacations in cabins in the woods, not places teaming with strippers and magicians.
Eventually common sense—or my bad attitude—won out, and Vegas was nixed. I think just to spite me, a cabin in the woods was also nixed.
And so, our staycation was born. Five days of ferry rides, breakfasts out, hikes in the woods, and trips to random small towns to eat strawberry shortcake in senior centers.
Five days of changing diapers in random dirty places, eating greasy food, nursing while perched on rocks and coming home at the end of every day to laundry, dishes, crumbly floors and counters and tables, long to-do lists, a leaky bathroom faucet, a clogged bathroom drain, two small plastic potties begging for disinfectant, and a needy cat. Five days without preschool. Five days without a babysitter. Five days without a single childless moment, save for sleeping—in a bed badly in need of fresh sheets.
Plus we still had the internet, the answering machine, and our cell phones beeping, blinking, reminding, taunting.
We watched an old episode of Modern Family in which the extended clan goes to Hawaii. Someone chastises Claire for being such a tightly wound stress case and she snaps, “I have three kids. This isn’t a vacation, it’s a business trip.”
On the last night, as I was overstuffing the washing machine—just as I had the previous four nights—Dr. Husband announced what a great time he’d had. “I think our staycation was a grand success.”
I glanced up from the laundry, past the dishes and the crumbs and the to-do list languishing on the counter and bit my tongue—hard. If a vacation with kids is a business trip, a staycation is a business trip without the trip. We probably should have gone to Vegas after all. At least then we would have had clean sheets and maybe one of those cool flattened souvenir pennies. Instead we stayed home and all I got was this stupid t-shirt—and three basketfuls of other dirty clothes—to show for it.
photo courtesy markmiller, morgueFile