My brain before a vacation
(a stressful stream of consciousness)

Stop the mail.

Stop the paper. Wait, why do we even get a paper? I didn’t subscribe to this.

Why can’t I email to cancel? The website says to call them to cancel. This is why no one gets the paper. They are stuck in the 20th century. I don’t have time for this nonsense. The newspaper industry is going under, so why in heaven’s name, are they delivering a paper that I never subscribed to? I don’t have time for this.

I have so much work to do. I’ll never get it done before I leave.

I can work on the plane.

I need to sleep on the plane.

I’ll work in the hotel.

No, I won’t. The whole family’s coming. I won’t get anything done around them.

It’s not a vacation if you take your work with you. If I don’t get my work done, how will I relax?

What’s wrong with us Americans? Why are we always working?

This is why people don’t take vacations. They’re too stressed out to leave and de-stress.

So they walk into post offices and start shooting.

No, that’s just post office people.

Why are they stressed? All they do is sort mail.

Everyone does that. I do it every day. And I have to pay bills out of it.

Postmen don’t pay bills while they’re sorting mail.

Why am I even thinking about the post office right now? I need to pack my books to read. I always take too many books on vacation, but I’m always afraid I’ll run out. There’s nothing worse than not having an extra book in your suitcase. (Check out a good vacation reading list here.)

I have to go to Target. They have books and everything else.

I need travel size everything—why does each little bottle cost $1.00?

I need vitamins and sanitizer bottles and wipes. You have to wipe down everything on an airplane. It’s flu season.

Of course it is. I have 1 sick person in the house right now.

How can we take a sick person on vacation?

What are the cancellation rules?

Why isn’t sickness a good enough reason for refund?

Why do I always buy discount everything when I know they won’t give us refunds?

Because I need a vacation that badly, and I always think everything will work out perfectly.

And it never does.

I need to make some calls right now: confirmations, changes, re-bookings.

I’ve got to pack my suitcase.

Why don’t I ever take anything pretty on vacation? I want to, but it always seems so unnecessary. (Another blog about this here.)

Is that because my family is all men?

We hike and play and go to sporting events. You only need lycra for that.

Extra underwear, layers, socks, sweatshirt, hat, leggings, interchangeable outfits.

All in a carry-on because losing my luggage is one of my worst travel fears.

Next to crashing or doing any sport in the air. Or running out of books.

I don’t want to be stuck without clean clothes and facial cleanser. And I don’t like buying clothes under duress. They won’t be on sale.

When I do something nice or artsy on vacation, I wear jeans and keep my coat on. Nobody will notice a cute top underneath a jacket, anyway.

Umbrella, boots, rain jacket. How many kinds of coats do I need?

Why do I always take a coat, you ask.

Because we always have bad weather on our vacations. Even when we go to nice tropical places.

It’s a family joke that nobody laughs at until years later when we look at the pictures.

Rain in Florida. Florida. Florida. Florida. (Pick any name that ends in “Beach.” We’ve been there in the rain.)

Rain in Maine.

Rain in California.

Rain in Jamaica.

Rain in New Hampshire.

Rain in England.

Rain in Connecticut.

Rain in France.

Rain in Virginia Beach.

Rain in Costa Rica.

No rain in Italy or Cancun. Just stinkin’ hot there.

Sun poisoning in Cancun. That was 25 years ago, but I’m wearing the proof on my face now.

(Note to all you sun goddesses out there.)

Cute clothes are really about the pictures, anyway. It’s about the Christmas card and the picture you’d like to frame in the hallway.

Everyone else takes those nice vacation pictures on the beach or in front of the Eiffel Tower. Their families are color-coordinated and smiling as the sun sets behind them. The girls have their arms crooked and their legs bent to look thinner. Like super-models or something.

Everyone has sun-streaked hair and golden tans.

Not us.

Our pictures are selfies with someone’s head cut off, everyone sweating (because we take it on our one sunny day), and my legs and arms are un-flattering and straight. And hopefully far enough away so you can’t see the cellulite.

And someone isn’t smiling because there was a brief argument prior to clicking the picture about why we have to take another picture with all of us in it.

Because the last one sucked, that’s why.

This one will, too. But I will put in on a card or in the hallway because it’s all I have. And someone will ask me come December, “Why did you use that picture of us?”

And I will want to hit that someone, but I won’t because they belong to me. And it’s Christmas.

Christmas. Neighbors. Oh crap, I need to tell the neighbors we’re leaving, get us a ride to the airport, and buy snacks for the road/plane/whatever. Even though the snacks will be gone by hour 6 and someone will ask “When are we eating?” and I will wonder how this is a vacation for me.

We need to eat everything in the fridge, but nobody wants carrots and milk and yogurt, so I’ll have to cook tonight.

I don’t want to cook. I’m trying to go on vacation and not leave any leftovers.

Just a few more days to go, right after I finish my work.

Or not finish it.

I hope I can relax in the rain.

Maybe they will play in the rain and let me read a book.

I really need a break.

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