If you've ever read Jeffrey Archer (and if you haven't, you must!) you will recollect his last short story in 'Twelve Red Herrings' has a few different endings. So he popped into my head this summer, like so many other unrelated, disconnected things pop into my head and I was inspired to write these pieces. In the same vein but not exactly short stories and not different endings but more like different moods I've written about my summer of staying home. Do vote for the one you like the most. Don't be shy now :)
Glass half full
So, for a brief period of time since we decided not to run off on yet another vacation we were quite alone in our town. For once we truly had a vacation. Tedium set in like sweat beads on the forehead of a slow burning afternoon. Boredom set in with no sudden guests and drop ins, last minute invitations to parties, programs, sleepovers and playdates.
No one called, no one was there to call. They were all busy vacationing. I heaved a sigh of relief. No packing, laundry, bad sleep and airport schedules to follow. There was still a twinge of jealousy, I should be doing that … isn’t this quite lame that we don’t even have any plans in the city. No evening out, no sitter to enjoy our staycation. No vague attempts to shield our total lack of dignity by embracing complete abandonment of expected decorum during a long weekend. The gall! We loosely maintained bedtimes and the kids were none the wiser.
I got work done and prepped food and when he wasn’t working he rested and napped and played with the kids. We also had hours of not doing anything particularly productive or engaging with the kids even. They were allowed to watch the tele and loiter about the backyard. It was a total disregard of society’s norms. So blasphemous.
We did not even have the courtesy to catch a movie, order food from outside or make an elaborate meal of some sort. Worse, we did not even make plans to catch the fireworks for the fourth of July.
It was in reality quite awesome! We bonded as a family and got some much needed rest. We played card games and had tickle fests with the kids. We sat and read, even my little one who does not yet know how to read took to holding her favorite books and sitting in silence with us. We went to the park to play catch, tended to our garden (it still looks quite dead but we made an effort) and had long conversations. It’s not for everyone and not for every time but we needed this. Our natural instinct in this day and age is to resist boredom. There’s so many options, so many places to go, so much to do that not doing anything feels like a crime. But, it really was blissful and boring in such a good way!
Glass half empty with a dose of dark humor ;)
We were miserable. We didn't find any joy in each others company enclosed within the same four walls. We had the same old food and though we tried to do different summer things it was still in the same old city and neighborhood we already lived in so it was underwhelming.
Staycation my foot. They make up that stuff to make the less fortunate like us feel better about our situation. I don't need your pity. I'm quite capable of making myself miserable, thank you very much.
We get cabin fever and since you just might try to kill each other here's a few thoughts on how to avoid a staycation
- get your work to send you somewhere and tag the family along or not
- attend a 'conference'
- drive to someplace if flying is too expensive
- camp out if hotels are too expensive
- visit friends and grandparents but only stay there for the obligatory amount of time while you paint the town red if camping is too expensive
- get a hotel in town if friends and relatives are too much to bear
- threaten to walk out of your marriage
If that too fails and your spouse looks more than happy to oblige here's what you do to make up for the lost vacation over summer
- learn how to speak Japanese, mandarin and Swahili
- become an Olympian
- blog about everything you cook from Julia & Julia & sell the movie rights
- create a magical backyard garden
- write 3 bestsellers
If those are not achievable, then, as a last resort in what I call an emergency situation this is what you do to survive
Pretend you're in any one of these movies
- panic room
- savage harvest circa 1981 (man-eating predators outside your house)
- Groundhog Day
Only you're not, so reality should feel much better. Happy rest of the Summer!
Now that you've read both flavors please vote below to pick the option you like :) Option 1: Glass Half Full Option 2: Glass Half Empty with a dark dose of humor