I’m about to leave on vacation. A LONG vacation. The longest vacation of my life, I think; at least since I was a child and had summers off and thought they were boring. This one’s a TWO WEEK vacation, friends. And just let me clarify here — I’m talking about TWO WEEKS IN A ROW — which is UNTOLD RICHES as far as I’m concerned and like WINNING THE LOTTERY and is entirely thanks to my mother who’s unreasonably generous and my father who’s also unreasonably generous but likes to be gruff and grim and mutter under his breath, “She wastes all the money on the children.” 

I’m as ecstatic about vacation (VACATION!) as I am embarrassed and hidey and reluctant to confess I get this one. It’s a strange world inside my head, because I love to tell you our gross poop stories, and I’m happy to write about humiliating myself in public, and I love so much – SO MUCH – that we momrades wave to each other in the dark, but I’m realizing I’m upside down and backwards, because the good things are sometimes harder to report. The things like TWO WEEK VACATIONS, because I have a kind of survivor’s guilt. 

It’s just that I remember the times when we needed a break in those earliest parenting years, and we couldn’t afford one. Couldn’t afford it financially, although we often cobbled together an excuse for spending more than we had. And couldn’t afford it emotionally, because as much as I wanted to be away from the littles, I hated it, too. I was drowning without kid breaks, and I was drowning when I brought them along, because, it turns out parenting is hard all the time. On vacations or not. With kids or longing for them. And, let’s be honest; even if you can afford one, breaks are rarely breaks in those early years. Not to be dramatic, but thinking I might get a break and then having that expectation dashed on the rocks of ruined dreams and wasted hopes was the worst. The worst

And so I find myself reluctant to talk about all the things that are good and easy now, the total miracles of kids getting older, like the fact that they put on their own seatbelts these days (!) and wipe their own bottoms, like, 92% of the time. It’s been a week now – a WEEK – since I’ve seen anyone’s butthole, you guys. And, sure, I woke up the other morning to a little boy penis in my face because “LOOK! There is fuzz on this thing, Mom,” (psst… it was dryer lint) and I can’t pick it all off by myself,” and we had to have a cute little chat about penises and faces and what other solutions there might be for defuzzing one’s man parts, but STILL. No buttholes! These things eventually happen. Are eventually possible

It’s a whole new world, I tell you.

Now, here we go. In one day’s time, we leave on VACATION. With ONLY TWO CHILDREN! Because we’re terrible parents, of course, taking some with us and leaving some behind. And also because our 14 year old – the one who has special needs and anxiety issues and just HATES vacations (a lot) (a lot, a lot) – will be at camp for a week. And because our 12 year old will be there, too. And because our 15 year old was all, Do I HAVE to go?” And I was all, HELL, NO! STAY HOME!” Except it sounded like, “Oh, baby, we’ll miss you so much, but if you REALLY want to stay in town with your friends, I’ll allow it.” So, although we’ll all meet up for the second week of vacation (in order to collectively torture the 14 year old, of course), this first week will be… dare I say it??… relaxing as we cruise for a week to Alaska and back.

We booked the cruise at the last minute because they’re way, WAY cheaper that way, (hint: check out, especially their 90 Day Ticker <– not a sponsored ad… just the way we’ve been able to afford trips), and cheap is how we roll. 

So cheap, in fact, that Greg and I weren’t planning to stay in the same room on the ship, because the cheapest rooms are too tiny to accommodate 4 of us, and we weren’t willing to spend the parents’ money on more expensive staterooms. It was going to be me + a kid in one room, and Greg + a kid in another. But WHO CARES? It’s still VACATION, right? I mean, we’ve arranged awkward conjugal visits in the past. Heck, we live with 5 children, half of whom sleep in our room every night. We’re like the reining World Champions of Awkward Conjugal Visits. We could teach classes. 

But the Vacation Fairy shined down upon us. 

You guys! You GUYS. Greg answered his phone yesterday. Which isn’t unusual at all, because my husband is an extrovert. When his phone rings, his response is like a Golden Retriever’s when someone’s at the door. It’s a person! It’s a person! It’s a person! Someone’s at the door! At the door! At the door! A PERSON! WOOHOO! And he tackles the person on the phone and licks them to death. Because JOY! 

I, on the other hand, am an introvert. My phone is on silent all day, and I often don’t get my messages for hours and hours, which drives my teenage daughter INSANE. I don’t answer the phone at the dinner table, and I’ve spent years – YEARS – mocking Greg for his inability to ignore a ringing phone, even when he doesn’t recognize the number. Rolling my eyes. Lifting my eyebrows in a silent seriously? SERIOUSLY?” To which he responds, “But it might be IMPORTANT.” 

He’s answered EVERY CALL. For TWENTY YEARS. Every sales call. Every political pitch. Every scam. EVERY CALL.

Yesterday he took a call from an unknown number. From our cruise line, it turned out. Offering to upgrade us for free to a suite. A SUITE. For FREE. Instead of two, teeny, non-adjoining rooms with life boats in front of our windows, for which we were genuinely excited, we get a suite with a BALCONY. And amenities. And fresh flowers. And an extended room service menu. And a complimentary mini-bar. Who even knew that existed?? That that’s a thing?

So here we go on VACATION. A vacation with LUXURIES. And I know I sound like a loon and a Neanderthal. And I know I never, ever, ever get to give Greg crap again for answering the phone, which is a significant loss to my marital repertoire. And I know we’ll probably embarrass ourselves with wide eyes and oooohhing and aaaaahhing and gushing about free laundry service to our cabin steward. But right now, I can’t bring myself to care. Because VACATION.

I hope you’ll bear with me over the next couple of weeks as I talk about vacations and family and, well, resting. I know it’s not the usual fare here. And we all know someone will get sick and vomit all over the fancy suite and make it all OK eventually. In the meantime, I’d love any tips you have to offer, especially if you know how to be fancy! We can use all the tips you have.

More soon!


P.S. Greg asked me what canapés are. Apparently they bring them to our room every evening. I said, in my very best I-can’t-believe-you-don’t-already-know-this voice, “They’re hors d’oeuvres. Appetizers. Duh.” Then I googled “canapé.” I was right! Woohoo!

P.P.S. I also went on the Google to look up how to spell hors d’oeuvres. 

The End

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23 responses to “Vacation!”

  1. Thanks, Beth, for the VacationsToGo tip; my husband and I will be going on a cruise in January to the Caribbean, to celebrate him turning 40, me turning 40, and us celebrating out 5-year anniversary. (Okay, so my actual birthday is right smack in the middle of the cruise, but hey, those other big things are both happening within 5 month on either side of it, so they count, too, right? Right?)

    The grandparents are coming over to our house to hang out with the kids, and we’re spending 7 days in the sun! I would never have even considered a cruise if you hadn’t pointed me to the website and their email list a few months ago. The under-90 day ticker really worked out well for us! 🙂

  2. What’s the name of the ship? I want to see if I can arrange to send a tray of ‘amuse-bouches’ to your cabin just to mess with Greg.

  3. I think it’s wonderful that you’re getting a vacation. And a vacation in a suite with your husband? Even better! I hope you’re having an amazing time.

  4. What great news! The momrades are rooting for you to have a great holiday. Call the cruise line and check what the dress code is for the evening. Often, there will be at least one evening, “a gala evening”, where you should be very nicely dressed (your children and husband, too!). Dressy pants and a special top, if dresses aren’t your thing/in your wardrobe. Your husband may need to wear a tie on occasion. Better to go prepared. Cameras, binoculars, chargers for your technology. And it can get very cold out at sea so maybe something snuggly. Again, the cruise line should be able to give you some advice. Enjoy the freebies 🙂

  5. I am so excited for you!! We went on an Alaskan cruise on our honeymoon and it was wonderful! So happy you were upgraded to a suite with a balcony. We were able to see whales from ours! Enjoy the fancy any way you want; there are no rules on vacation! Or calories. And if your steward makes fancy towel animals take pictures and share. I love those as much as my 6yo would. 🙂

  6. Yay!! So happy for you! Thrilled about your upgrade. I am still kneehigh in buttholes, but got our first night away in six years last night! Don’t worry about fancy- ENJOY!

  7. SO JEALOUS, but happy for you anyhow. I can’t offer any fancy – acting tips, sorry. I haven’t ever had a vacation that didn’t involve Priceline and STILL didn’t break our lousy budget. The only upgrades we’ve ever received were in Atlantic City and they do that so they can ultimately get the rest of your money.

  8. I can relate to your reluctance to share good news. You’re compassionate toward others and don’t want to make someone else’s hardships glare brighter and more painful in the bright sunlight of your good fortune. Plus as a writer you know good news is boring and doesn’t provoke interesting conversations. But know that good news is welcome and uplifting and hopeful and truly everyone has some good fortune and blessings and we should hold them up to the light and enable ourselves to be fully present in the enjoyment of them and treat these gifts with and show their givers the gratitude and cheer they have brought us. So gush and ooh and ahh with wrecess abandon and know that you are doing it right.

  9. On the practical side: bring a small extension cord or longish surge protector, motion sickness pills, and if you have any binoculars, don’t forget them (like I did). Also, I don’t know what cruise line you’re using, but the one I went on had 24 hour room service. For Free. And, a kids adventure type-thing that you can send them to for most of the day. Awesome.

  10. Beth-

    I’m excited for you about your vacation BUT I think this fine vacation would be much more fun if it didn’t include anyone under the age of 18 with your same last name. Just saying because someone will get motion sickness probably all over your bed or worse, you. Secondly, unless it is a Disney cruise your children will be whiney, hot, have motion sickness and there won’t be a single chicken nugget to be found at any port you may embark on. You are a brave woman but then adding the rest of the troop during the second week should far outweigh any whining, barfing, and crabiness you remotely felt the first week. WBC will be in full force and you will entertain the idea of “hiding out” for the remainder of your cruise or becoming a stow-away ON ANOTHER SHIP (for sure). Can’t wait to read all about it. =)

    WBC = whining, barfing, crabiness

  11. We did the Alaska cruise as our “babymoon” a few months before my son was born. We went around Labor Day so it was very late in the season. The weather wasn’t great the whole time, but especially on the first day at sea when we got hit by a HURRICANE! I was by no means the only person puking on that boat. But once we got to the inside passage everything calmed down. Then it was just 50’s and rain (a lot like Oregon in the spring or fall). You will hopefully get much better weather in July.

    Alaska is beautiful, stunning, amazing, incredible (i’m running out of adjectives). We did the helicopter to the glacier hike in Juneau which I highly recommend. You will never see anything else like it. That color of blue just doesn’t exist anywhere else. We also did a whale watching trip in Ketchikan that was great because we were in these small (6 people?) boats so we were able to get quite close to several Orcas and see lots of other creatures.

    I can’t help you with fancy. We oohed and aahed and took pictures of the boat, etc. just like the tourists we were. We had room on the back of the boat (Norwegian Pearl) which was perfect. We saw humpbacks and dolphins playing in the wake. We got to go to a reception in the fancy suites up top and those were pretty amazing. I hope that’s what you get!

    have fun! Can’t wait to hear the stories.

  12. Oh yay, VACATION. I need one of those and am so happy to hear about anybody actually having one. Have a great trip and enjoy the luxury and the fancy.

  13. At least you don’t pronounce hors d’oevures “Whores doo vores” like I did. Because books teach you a lot, but not how to pronounce French words when introduced in the middle of a novel.

  14. Have a wonderful trip!
    And by the way when you told him they were hors d’oeuvres did you pronounce it horse devoures? That’s always the way I see it. So I’m pretty un fancy too!

  15. I am thrilled to hear about your good stuff and VACATION (especially while I am in the middle of a very short 2 day get away with my husband while my mom watches our boys)! But most especially because the way you tell it makes me laugh out loud so much people at the hotel poo. Are staring as I accidentally snort with glee. It is so good to laugh, so good. Can’t wait to hear all the tales, have fun.

  16. I am totally there with you on the whole “having a hard time talking about the good” part. It is so hard because I know that there are people having a hard time wishing for good times. But I always try to remind myself how much I *love* hearing about other people’s good times and I just hold in my heart that there is someone out there who is going to love hearing about my good time. Just like I loved reading about yours 🙂
    PS I am totally with Greg about having to answer the phone. In fact, I work for a cleaning service right now and I have a physical reaction when a phone rings in a client’s house and I am not allowed to answer it. I know I am a little certifiable. Especially because I am a complete and total introvert. For me it is less about loving people and more about paranoia that some horrible thing is happening that I need to know about right now and if I don’t answer the phone “bad things” will and truly happen. Funny thing it, I don’t know that it has ever been an emergency…
    PPS Your description of the Golden Retriever at the door is *exactly* how my black lab is. We have tried everything to train him to calm the heck down but it is impossible because, people! We have decided it is much smarter (read easier) to just roll with it.

  17. I completely understand! I have been planning to escape to Iowa (ok, not as fancy as a cruise! O My Goodness! Yay for you!) on a train (cheapest way to get there!), by myself! Three days to get there, four days there with my Aunt and Great Aunt, and three days back. NO KIDS or anyone with me on the way!!! (fist in the air, mini dance!) I have been very reluctant to mention that I am leaving, escaping, because I have friends that genuinely need a break too. :/ The only reason I get to go is because my husband rocks, and understands that I don’t have very many family members left (and his family is huge, as in small reunions go well past 50 people and all my known relatives I can count on my two hands)and this is probably my last chance to see my Aunts. I leave in 30 days!

  18. I hope you have a wonderful time! And I’m so glad you got the special room… you deserve it so much and it will be an amazing memory for years to come. It will become your new mental “happy place” where you will go to escape the crazy for the rest of your life.

    My vacations are the same as yours. Cheap. No kids (yet) just broke vacations. We are also lucky to have generous parents but vacations with parents are almost as annoying as vacations with kids except they pay for dinner.

    But once I get a real job, holy crap I wanna take a real vacation!

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