The Getaway Plan

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The Article

By the time you read this, I’ll be back, but right now my family is preparing to go camping. The girls are collecting the towels, bathing suits, and bug repellent, my husband is filling the coolers, and me? I’m dusting my bedroom.

If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because you are missing the crucial nesting gene. I have one, which may surprise most who know me, because it only manifests itself when we are preparing to leave. On a normal day I may be perfectly content living in a home with stacks of unopened mail scattered around the dining room, dust bunnies plotting a takeover of my house under my bed, and unidentifiable contents in Tupperware containers lurking near the back of my fridge.

But when we are leaving these things are absolutely out of bounds, as anyone with any self-respect would agree. Unfortunately, my husband and my children do not share the gene, and so they have the gall to become frustrated with me, and to express this frustration in unpleasant ways, when they think that I am letting them “do all the work” of packing and “holding us up” and “wasting time” instead of actually contributing to the camping cause.

Mysteriously, they fail to see how my actions contribute to a holiday. After all, what’s a holiday if you have to come home to a messy house? So as I’m collecting our clothes, I notice the dust more than I do on normal days. Or when I’m piling suitcases in the hallway I notice the floors could really use a mopping. Don’t even get me started on what happens when I go through the fridge to figure out what we need in the coolers.

By the time we actually exit our premises, then, our house is in tip top shape. And yet instead of lauding me for this spurt of high energy cleaning action, my family feels resentment because they want to “get going”. Honestly.

My husband even had the gall to inform me that one day he is going to announce a magnificent, surprise holiday, just so that I would clean the house. Then, with all the suitcases packed and all the floors sparkly, he would tell me that we’re going to stay home, because it’s so nice to live in now. I was not impressed.

Cleaning, though, is not all I do when we’re preparing to depart. I also have that compulsion to attend to all the errands I’ve been nonchalantly ignoring. I may have decided they’re not urgent for three or four weeks running, but when we’re about to leave the house for five days, they become a priority. And since I’m running to the bank, why not check out the sales at some of my favourite stores, too?

Then, of course, there’s the email I must answer, and the thank you notes I must write leftover from business engagements a few months ago. In short, whenever we go on vacation, my to-do list magically gets to-done.

Naturally this makes vacation preparedness a very stressful activity, and one might wonder if getaways were even worth it. But I know the answer to that one. It’s found in sitting around a fire, eating smores and not caring if you get marshmallow on your sweatshirt. It’s found in playing cards inside the camper when it rains. It’s found in getting up one morning and reading an entire novel just because you can. It’s found in having time to walk, hand in hand, with my husband for hours because there’s nothing else to do. Vacations are bliss. And I’m just glad that, thanks to me, coming home isn’t so bad, either.

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