Just The Notes

Parenting Note #772 – Sabbatical

parenting note #772

(Even though I took the week off from work, I didn’t take a break from journaling each morning. Here’s my entry from the second to the last day of vacation.)

It’s the second to the last day of vacation. Maybe it’s actually the last day. Is the last day of vacation really a part of vacation?

There’s usually nothing enjoyable or relaxing about the day. You’re still away from home but must vacate a hotel room before noon or a rental by 10 AM. Most of the morning is spent gathering up belonging and cleaning up the place enough to give the impression that your family isn’t a gaggle of farm animals in human clothes.

If the last day of vacation is spent packing, driving, flying, unpacking, doing laundry, and preparing for regular life the following day, it’s not a vacation day. It’s just a road trip starting from a different location and ending at your house.

The final day of vacation is like a Sunday night. Sunday nights are the worst.

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We spent the week in Lake Placid, New York, renting a house off AirBnB. Living in a stranger’s house for a week is always a strange experience. The house is your home, refuge, and shelter for a specific number of days until a specific hour, and then you’re not allowed to go back in.

It’s a much different feel than staying in a hotel. A hotel always feels like a place of business. There’s a desk and a uniformed worker ready to check-in guests, take credit card information, point out all of the amenities, remind people of the check-out day and time, and gives the entire experience a transactional feel.

Renting a house involves paying a stranger, getting a key code to the front, and a handwritten and slightly passive-aggressive note not to fuck anything up for the next couple of days. The note typical bullet points all the things you’re not allowed to do and highlights the transgressions of past guests.

“Front cabinet is locked. Contains owner’s property. Don’t open.”

“Please only flush toilet paper down the toilet.”

“The bathtub is not a makeshift cooler for your White Claws.”

“If you’re going to kill and roast a goat, please use the backyard and NOT the spare bedroom.”

Other random observations during my first real vacation in years:

  • This particular rental is a home split in half. The owners live on the other side. It feels like having someone else’s parents in the next room, ready to ruin your fun at any moment.
  • I forgot the owners were on the other side of the house until an Amazon package was delivered to our side of the house. I spent a few minutes feeling up the package, trying to figure out the contents. I concluded there were more notepads inside to tell the next guests to remove all goat parts before vacating premises.
  • I finished a book while on vacation. It’s the best and worst feeling ever.
  • I packed more bathing suits than there were days on the trip, so at some point, I must have assumed the rental was submerged underwater.
  • Our hometown had tornados rip through and experienced massive flooding while we were 328 miles away. I received several text messages from people to alert me of this news. I had no idea what to do except offer to send some of my extra bathing suits.
  • I tried not to do any work while away. I did answer emails and still did my weekly roundup of the funniest parenting memes of the week. I don’t know if that’s considered working but whatever.

Several times, without being asked, the kids told me this vacation was “amazing,” which is really all that matters. Since I don’t see them as often lately, I got to hang out with both for an entire week. We climbed two mountains, experienced a part of the country we’d never seen, hung out with friends and family, made S’mores over a fire pit, played board games, laughed a lot, and lived different lives for a week.

I wanted to leave a note for the owners to thank them for letting us stay, but I couldn’t find any pads or pens. They were probably locked in a cabinet or got flushed down a toilet.

And now it’s back to reality…

STUFF I DID BEFORE I LEFT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH PARENTING

PARENTING NOTES YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED

 

***

Thanks, everyone.

Have a great week, and be kind to one another.

– Chris

Chris Illuminati is a freelance writer and published author. Follow him on Twitter (@chrisilluminati), Instagram (@messagewithabottle) or email him at cilluminati@gmail.com.

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