Up ‘til the economy tanked, “staycation” wasn’t even a word. There’s a reason for that. See how only half the word resembles “vacation”? That’s a hint as to the outcome of most staycations. At best, they’re kind of like a vacation. At worse, they’re more like a week spent in the Gulag.
Charlie and me learned this the hard way a few years back. We’d never taken a staycation, so we thought we’d give it a try. We even made a plan, well kind of. We’d scrape and repaint the deck the first weekend, ‘cause it needed it wicked bad. Then we’d spend the rest of the week doin’ little day trips, you know, makin’ it up as we went along.
Trouble is, once we started, the deck project just wouldn’t end. ‘Cause that’s what house projects do, right? They take at least two, three times longer than you think they’re gonna. Why do we have to keep relearning this?
We must have scraped for two days straight. We’re already startin’ to snap at each other. Then we put a coat of paint on. That took forever. Then we gotta wait for it to dry between coats, so why not clean out the shed? And heck, why not mulch the yard, while we’re at it? Maybe wash the windows, inside and out. That sounds like fun. It never ends. It never friggin’ ends!
Oh, our friends were wicked impressed. “You two got so much done together!”
“Yeah, well, don’t think for a minute that it had anything remotely to do with takin’ time off from work.”
I did put my foot down about cookin’ suppers. In my opinion, if I have to plan and cook dinner, it’s not a vacation. That’s why I’m not big on rentin’ a condo or camp or something. That always ends up with me cookin’ supper like I do most every night of the year, only with a better view. I don’t mind stayin’ in a motel with a kitchenette, though, ‘cause that’s not a kitchen. It’s “a small cooking area”. That leads me to believe that only small cookin’ should happen in a kitchenette. I’m good with that. Makin’ breakfast or throwin’ together a light lunch is fine, but when we’re on vacation, I draw the line at dinner.
However, on our staycation, the last thing I felt like doin’ after a relaxin’ day of manual labor, was gettin’ all dolled up and drivin’ to Bangor for dinner and a movie. So, I had Charlie go pick up a couple of Italian sandwiches one night, meatball subs the next, a pizza and, oh yeah, a pint or two of ice cream since he was out anyways. And we watch some movie on the tube and see how long we lasted.
To be honest, we did take a couple of day trips, but frankly, it was a relief to go back to work, just so we could rest up!
Don’t let this happen to you! If you’re thinkin’ about tryin’ a staycation, plan it like you would your vacation. First off, no house chores, period. That’s ‘cause you’re on vacation, remember? Come up with some things you’d like to do and schedule ‘em in. Don’t want it so set in stone? Longin’ for more spontaneity? Take your list of things, write ‘em on pieces of paper and put ‘em into a small bucket, a jar, a basket, whatever. It could be just the name of a nearby place you’d like to explore or a restaurant you’d like to try. Every morning of your staycation, draw one outta the basket (or more, if they’re small), and do it.
This sort of thing works great for your weekly date, too, or long weekend getaways. Have an ongoing “fun jar” or “date basket,” and if at any time you hear or think of something fun you’d like to try, write it on a piece of paper and put it in. Can’t think of anything to do with your spouse this week? Bored with the same old, same old? Not when you have this whole bucket load o’ fun things to choose from. And if one of you happens to draw “redo the deck” or “straighten the shed,” just ignore it.
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
May 26: Book Reading Finding Your Inner Moose, Old Town Public Library, 11:00 a.m., Old Town, ME
May 26: Book Reading Finding Your Inner Moose, Pittsfield Public Library, 6:00 p.m., Pittsfield, ME