"It's like Dillinger once told me: 'Remember, it's always the darkest just before they turn on the lights.' " - from Anything Goes
I have this theory about vacations: they are for children, resort towns and swimsuit retailers. In fact, I suspect they were designed by swimsuit retailers exactly the same way Valentine's Day was cooked up by card companies. The gym is probably in on it too.
It's pretty genius, actually.
Glossy posters and shiny TV ads tantalize with photoshopped beaches that are a sharp contrast to my gray cubicle walls. Images of people carelessly flung across a padded lounge chair haunt me as I wake up at dawn to sleepily pull on work boots and feed chickens.
I buy in, and plan a vacation. It goes something like this:
1. Decide on time-off.
2. Hope Matt and I can get the same time-off.
3. Apply for time-off.
4. Change time off-because Matt couldn't get approved for the same time.
5. Breathe a sigh of relief because we finally got the days in sync.
6. Find a place to stay.*
7. E-mail approximately two dozen people to ask exactly "how handicapped friendly are you?"
8. Find a place for the dog to stay.
9. Find someone just crazy enough to want to take care of chickens and still be relied on to not let them become skunk bait.
10. Convince Katie to keep four baby turkeys for a week. "They've only flown out of their cage twice. Very easy."
11. Confirm beach rental.*
12. Confirm all animal keepers. Use lots of flattery to butter them up and ensure the well-being of animals.
13. Mulch garden in attempt to prevent jungle tendencies.
14. Use Round-Up on everything else.
15. Do laundry.
16. Find all the pieces of all the bathing suits. Surprisingly difficult.
17. Attempt to have the whole house clean at one time. It's never been done, but why not try again?
18. Mow grass within an inch of its life - must be done within moments of leaving . Obviously.
19. Cram two weeks worth of office work into one week. But do it in a way that does not imply that I can be relied on to work at these speeds when I get back.
20. Schedule and pay contractors working on inspection punch-sheet for the house we're selling five days after we return.
At this point the ocean shines brighter, the sand feels sunnier, the beach house more charming.
It is in the preparing for a vacation that the need occurs. This is how the resort towns guarantee they'll stay crowded, the swimsuit retailers sell ill-fitting spandex, and the gym gets money for exercise.
I plan to go enjoy the pants off this vacation next week. And not only because I couldn't find all the pieces of my bathing suits.
For a more poetic, sentimental view of our annual vacation, you can read what I wrote last year.
* I actually didn't have to do those things this time around. Thanks, Dad!