thursday stew: a random collection of unrelated miscellany—the pre-vacation edition

We leave for our annual summer vacation at the beach in several short days and I am excited! Also, totally freaked out as I have a trillion things to do before Saturday. Here’s a little round-up of the pre-vacation goings-on around here.

Packing is not for amateurs (or husbands)

This is my vacation master packing list. It is 6 pages long. There are the “to pack” pages, the grocery list and general shopping list pages, the meal plans page and the crafts-to-do-with-the-kids page. Every year we take the same vacation: 2 weeks at the beach. Before I had kids, I could pack in about an hour and simply get in the car and drive to the vacation. For a few dumb years after my kids were born, I wrote a new list every summer, racking my tender brain-folds to recall everything we would need. Then it occurred to me to type it up, save it and revise it each year. (Duh.) I do the same for my weekly groceries. Yes, I am type A. You didn’t know that already? If you’re new here, welcome!

I start working on the list about 6 weeks before vacation. I start hunting and gathering about 3 weeks before vacation. I start packing the week before vacation. I sleep only 2 hours per night lest I go off task or schedule. I eat once per day. I check and recheck. I am more thorough than the people who pack for the president when he travels. (Although I really have no idea how that works. I’m just assuming.) I forget NOTHING.

Steve (not his real name) on the other hand, packs 7 minutes before we leave. He is relaxed even before we get there. It takes me about 5 days to settle down which is why I need to vacation for 2 weeks. Or maybe forever. That would about do the job. Probably. Despite the brilliancy behind my master packing skills, I think maybe Steve (not his real name) is actually the smart one here ...

Like I'd ever forget my green tea...

Here is a little excerpt from my soon-to-be-released novel, Talking Underwater, wherein the main character, Amy, and her sister, Heather, prepare for their 2 week vacation at the beach:

“Have you started making your vacation list yet?” Heather whispered to Amy.

“Vacation is not for three more weeks,” Amy whispered back.

She cocked her head, raised one raised eyebrow and peered at Amy in the low-lit room. They sat on the carpeted floor of the mezzanine above the grand ballroom of the Copley Plaza Hotel.

“Okay, yes, I have,” Amy admitted.

“I knew it! Can I borrow it? You never forget anything.”

“I’ll print a copy for you.”

“Because of course you have it saved on your computer,” she said and giggled at Amy.

“Shhh!” Amy said and then laughed because they weren’t supposed to. They got up and stumbled to the bathroom where they laughed loudly.

“Oh, shit, we better hope that bride didn’t hear us!” Amy said.

“No way. That chuppah is completely insulated with fifteen thousand dollars worth of hydrangeas.”

They went back to the mezzanine and watched the groom break the cloth-wrapped glass. Kisses and mazel tov! and the guests were whisked to a different room for cocktails while hotel and event staff poured into the ballroom like ants to sugar. They worked fast, transforming the room from formal ceremony to dining and dancing grandeur.

When the room was ready, Amy, Heather and the other event staff went to a bar around the corner for snacks and a beer or two to wait out the wedding when they’d head back over to clear it all away.

When she got home, before she crawled into bed to curl up next to Matt after peeking in on her sleeping girls, she printed off a copy of her master vacation planning list for Heather.

“You can laugh at me all you want, but what would you do without me?” she’d asked her sister earlier.

Heather had put an arm around Amy’s shoulder. “Honestly, I have no idea.”

Summer Homeschool (is a joke)

Look at all the wonderful materials I lovingly and painstakingly researched and gathered for our summer homeschool studies! All of which we have not cracked in weeks. Why do I think we’re ever going to do schoolwork when there’s a perfectly good beach right up the road? Why in the world would we do that? I’m not entirely certain this is an appropriate point of view for a homeschooling mother to possess. Or maybe it’s perfect?

(I’ll save these for fall.)

Summer reading (if I had 80 uninterrupted hours)(I do not)

Look at all the books! Just look at this delectable, wonderful pile of books. Am I taking all of these on vacation? Yes. Can I possibly read all of them? Absolutely! If I ignore my kids. So, I suppose no then ... So why am I taking all of them? Exactly. But in all seriousness, you can really never have too many books in your possession. I mean on your person. That’s what your pocketbook, your reusable grocery bag, your fanny pack and the like are for, people. Books save lives. I don't know if that's literally true, but I'll bet that somewhere, sometime a book saved someone's life. Perhaps metaphorically, but saving is saving. And you never know what's going to happen. It’s better to be safe than sorry. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Keep on keep on keep on keep it keep on dancing all through the night. Just make sure you have at least one book on your person at all times is what I'm suggesting. Or if you are really serious about this, 3.

I’m also breathlessly awaiting the arrival of a new homeschooling book in the mail and I’m going to take that one along, too. I also won’t get that one read. You just keep trying, though. YOU. KEEP. TRYING.

This is NOT a desk. (Or is it?)

You know how I told you I spend 85% of my time in the kitchen? Well, that might have been a bit of an exaggeration because evidently this is my desk now.

THIS is supposed to be my desk. But evidently it’s not. It’s actually my Mem’s old sewing machine table. But it’s supposed to be my desk. Facts of my life. I hope they interest you.

The aforementioned is actually Mem’s super-cool round end table. There are two. One is at the end of the couch and holds a lamp and sometimes the tv remote. This one is a desk. Or not. No, it seems to be.

Okay, I have 14 more hours of packing so I’d better get to it. I’ll see you in 2 weeks! Happy summer!


Find my novel, The Mosquito Hours, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or order it directly from the publisher. And don’t forget your local independent bookstore! Look for my next novel, Talking Underwater, to be publisher in September 2015. Question: would you like to stay up-to-date on news about my books as well as have my latest blog posts conveniently delivered to your inbox? Then subscribe to my newsletter! Click on that little box right over there on the right. See how easy I made that for you? (You’re welcome.)