Wednesday, June 29, 2011

somewhere else

There is a 4"x6" index card with a list of my lists, so I don't lose one along the way. There is a list for what to pack, what to buy, what we need, what we are supposed to do before we go, what we are supposed to do the day we go. There is a list for each person even though two of them can't read. There is a list of things to take care of that actually says, "Wax eyebrows" underneath "Suspend mail service." It still feels disorganized. Maybe I should color-code something. Then I can colorize it. Can I colorize a black and white list?

"What? Why are you laughing?"
"Because you are writing comfort lists. Look at you." Index cards are strewn across the kitchen table. A stack of printed out lists of things to pack from websites of people who are equally anal. (One site suggested I make a list for myself for when I get home that reads, "Turn on the AC." It's hotter than a two dollar whore on the Fourth of July. I don't think I will forget to do that.) A half empty (nothing is half full right now) can of Diet Coke and I hate Diet Coke. (It burns me throat, but I need the caffeine.) My pen furiously bulleting lists of lists.
"I need to be prepared. How many pairs of shoes are you taking?"
"You are listing and not doing."
I stare at my amused, calm husband. "The sign of intelligence is less doing and more planning. Haven't you ever heard that, Georgia?"
"You know, you spend the majority of your time making a sound plan and only have to DO once. Geesh."
"You are cute when you are nervous."
"Oh, shut up."

We are leaving on vacation. On Saturday. To Alabama. Or an island off the coast of Alabama. For a week. We are meeting all of Sam's siblings and their families and his mother and aunt. Someone sent an email to my husband with directions to the Wa.lMa.rt, you know, so we can go grocery shopping.

Sam inevitably utters the words that make me go bat shit crazy. And those words are, "Relax, honey, it always comes together."

It's not magic. It doesn't just "come together". It isn't the great cosmic zipper of life that "comes together" seamlessly to pack a family of four and prepare for a week away. No. It is me, forcing the weight of the universe into three 22" x 14" x 9" carry-on bags, preparing for every emergency, freak travel nightmare because of brute force and unholy pacts with the Sky Gods.

I love being a stay at home mother, but vacation is not reallllllly a vacation. It should not be called vacation. It is exactly what I do all day except without the stuff that makes my job easy, like toys, high chairs, cribs, noise machines, knowing exactly where everything is and all the little tricks you develop throughout the years, like coloring stations, craft bins. It should be renamed Perhaps Dismaycation. Or Flaycation. Or simply Going Somewhere Else. I remember when I was a kid everyone just said, "I can't play tomorrow. We are going away." Where are you going? Away. What did you do this weekend? We went away. Where? Away.

Away. Away to the land of nothing easy, but much prettier.


I started a poll on Facebook about whether or not I should pack my Omega Juicer. I think it is worth it, the 25 bucks for an extra piece of checked-in luggage if I get to maintain one regular, daily routine. Every morning I juice celery, romaine lettuce, ginger, lemon and apple. Sometimes I juice for lunch too. That might involve beets, apples, perhaps a lemon. I need the vitamins, no? I need the comfort more. It would be my only moment to focus on my joy. My friend who is a constant traveler saw me yesterday and first thing she said, before "Hello", or "What up, Dawg?" was "You can't take your fucking juicer on vacation."


I wear black every day.
I have dusky feet.
You could probably fry an egg on my hair in the summer.
I don't like to be in a swimsuit in polite society.
I read an article that we can't eat the seafood.
My boobs are too big.
There was just a giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, right?
Babies and beaches are like a nightmare. Seriously. Sand gets in places where you just can't get it out. Have you ever seen that? It's terrible.
It is hot in Alabama, like the inside of someone's mouth hot, except that it is hotter than 98.6 most days, so like the inside of a feverish man's mouth.
I don't really have any good shorts.

I am not really designed for a vacation to an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Every day I come up with a list of reasons why this might not be a good idea. Except that I really want my kids to know their aunts and uncles and cousins and MomMom. Two-thirds of which they haven't seen, well, ever (in the case of Thor) and in three point two years (in the case of Beezus.) My husband misses his brothers, sister, mama and aunt very much. And so I am a brown girl, willingly flying to Alabama on my only vacation in two years because that is all that matters. Even though I bitch a lot, I also have a soul. And I love my husband. And actually, I really adore my in-laws, especially psyched that my sisters in law agreed to read a book together. (Ann Patchett's new one, hollah!)

Is it okay to admit that I will be pretending its Iceland?


  1. I've got my lists strewn about, too, but it's my family we are visiting and the water at the beach we are at will be really, really cold.

    Bring the juicer. No crazier than my friend who travel with their own fancy coffee maker.

    Hope you have a great trip! I've got to go look up Anne Patchett's new book now.

  2. OMG, I'm a list maker of epic proportions too, drives my dh insane!
    I hope your holiday is really great...and no, don't take your juicer!!

  3. Fellow list maker here!! Hello, I'm a virgo. Possibly a crazed one at that. I think I need a list now, for all the lists I need to make.
    We're going away next weekend, but thank god only for three days. But it is cold there! And we're going to where there might be snow! Snow!! I have only seen snow once. Angus has no snow gear. I have no snow gear! As you can see, I'm doing many of the same freak outs you are, just for different seasons. Maybe we should switch? Three days really will be about all I can handle in "some place new", as let's face it, it never really is a holiday (vacation) when small children are involved.
    Good luck, and HAVE FUN! I'll try and do the same.

  4. I will totally switch with you. A cold place with snow?!? Awesome.

    Thank you, Sara, for supporting my juicer insanity. When I argue with my husband, you have now become fifteen people who agree with me.

    Jeannette, I love you, but I don't think you understand how awesome this juicer is. It is beautiful.

  5. I'm a list maker too, though it doesn't sound as if im as extensive ans you are. I typically make a list that is about 3 pages(college ruled notebook paper front and back) of all the things that i have to pack for the baby. By the time everything is packed feels like my entire house! My boyfriend wonders why i want a minivan. HAHA!
    PS- The juicer sounds like a good plan!

  6. Dude, pack the juicer. I'm sure you're packing everything everyone else wants and needs for a week, the least you can do is treat yourself, too.

    I agree, "vacations" are no longer vacations. They're part adventure, part torture, part anxiety attack, part photo op.

    I completely relate to your list making. Sometimes, and I am not exaggerating, I make lists of all the lists I have written. And I ALWAYS put something on the list I can be sure to easily cross off, like "use restroom."

    Have fun :)

  7. Derp, just realized my list-of-lists was your first thought here. My point: I do it too!

  8. Angie, I will be driving through Alabama tomorrow night and then again on Sunday. WTF?!!! We will be pretty close to each other very briefly this weekend. I also am dreading this trip, but like you, have a soul and must accompany Jeff to get his kid.
    Once you get there, you will probably relax more. The heat won't knock you over so bad after a couple of days and everything in the south is air conditioned inside. Oh, and you'll hear plenty of that southern drawl you like so much ;) Be safe Angie

  9. I like lists. A lot.

    You know, I only live 26 miles from Alabama. I suspect that you will be tremendously far away from my bit of Alabama, but we should look into that.

  10. If the list weren't black and white, you wouldn't need to colorize it, now would you?

    Yes to the juicer if you can take it as a carry on, or if you're already checking luggage and it doesn't matter. Hell- just yes to the juicer.

    Safe travels, love.

  11. I'm so impressed with your daily juice habit! Wow. I can only take on healthy habits on the understanding that I will adhere to them in the most flibberty-gibbit of ways.

    I completely agree, though on that "it always comes together thing" - arg! Only because I'm madly running around *making* it come together!! Given all the work this vacation is taking for you, I reckon you've got a good claim to that juicer.

    Have fun - hope you get some moments of gorgeousness (islands are usually good at that) as well as the satisfaction of list-ticking.


  12. Have a great trip! Yeah, I'm also a fellow list maker and my hubby also manages to drive me up the wall by saying nonsense like, " always turns out okay."

    Um, yeah, the reason is turns out okay is BECAUSE of me working like a fiend to bring it all together...days of packing usually. If we rely on hubby to pack, we end up with his past successes like a diaper bag with no diapers in it and kids going to swimming lessons with no towels.

    Last "holiday" I took was to take the two kids to see their relatives alone...30+ hours travelling (Australia to Canada), multiple husband to help, then five weeks of me solo parenting. Still makes me wonder how I did it...

  13. This was absolutely perfect and made me laugh out loud: "It is exactly what I do all day except without the stuff that makes my job easy, like toys, high chairs, cribs, noise machines, knowing exactly where everything is and all the little tricks you develop throughout the years, like coloring stations, craft bins."

    I couldn't go a week without my citrus juicer. :)

    Hope you have a lovely time.

  14. *waving" Another list maker here - I sometimes list things I have already done for the pleasure of crossing them off!! (And a list of lists - what a fabulous idea!)

    And Iceland - they have volcanoes. Maybe Greenland?

    And I have no opinion on the juicer, really since I'd be using "going away" (definitely NOT vacation) as a reason to snaffle chocolate croissants for breakfast!!


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