How Momma G Gets Ready for Vacation

A few years ago, my brother Eric and his wife Colleen invited me to go on vacation with them.  I assured them that I would love such a venture, and maybe someday I would join them.

“Maybe someday.”  It is one of my most often used phrases.  Maybe someday I will buy the car of my dreams, with heated seats to warm my stiff back during  the chilly New Hampshire winters.  Maybe someday I will spring for real percale sheets that lie cool and soft against my skin at night.  Maybe someday I will have a real manicure and pedicure.  Maybe someday I will go away for a vacation and see places that I have only read about or watched on Discovery Channel.

The problem with “maybe someday” is that someday rarely comes.  There is always something more important that comes up- a dental procedure, a car repair, someone who needs my attention.  I don’t really mind, because life is full of unplanned realities and pipe dreams are just that- dreams that go up in smoke.

But last winter, after several discussions and lots of budget balancing, I decided to join Eric and Colleen on a cruise through Alaska’s Inside Passage.  There is a new decade looming in front of my next birthday.  I’m not getting any younger.  The time is now. For months after I agreed to go, I thought of all the reasons why I should not, but I was committed and once the reservations were made, there was no backing out.  Strangely, the reasons for not alaskagoing began to fade, and my feelings of excitement began to grow.  I spoke to other people who had gone on Alaskan cruises.  Their enthusiasm was unfettered and contagious.  I began to dream of the whale watch and salmon bake we chose as an excursion.  I nestled into the idea of spending seven nights at sea with the choice of what to eat as my biggest decision.

My plans began to unfold.  I booked a hair appointment the Saturday before our departure, so I’d be sure the silver streaks that are beginning to take over my head would be well hidden.  I planned to splurge on a manicure so my cuticles would be well-trimmed and my nails smooth and even.  I would spend the long Memorial Day weekend leisurely packing and preparing, spend one last day at work on Tuesday, and depart on Wednesday.

But we all know about the best laid plans of mice and men.  I woke early Saturday morning, unable to sleep because my sinuses were throbbing and my head aching.  I swallowed a few ibuprofen and sipped coffee, grateful that I had plenty of time before my 9AM hair appointment.  After a shower and breakfast, it was still only a little after 8 so I decided to clean my wallet.  Coming across the appointment card at my hair salon, I glanced at the time and gasped.  It read “8AM.”

A quick call to my stylist ensued, and she agreed to fit me in at 9:30.  By the time I left the salon, my face and head were pounding like a bass drum, so I called my doctor’s office and made an appointment.  I was less than a mile from home, when I noticed steam billowing from under the hood of my car, and by the time I reached my parking lot, it was clear there was a leak in my coolant system.

carMy mechanic was closed so I called a dealership.  “Yes,” they said, “We can look at  the car but not until Monday.”  I hung up the phone, seeing dollar signs drifting from my wallet into the air.

After seeing the doctor, I filled my prescription and settled on the couch and thought about the directions.  Take two hours after eating and one hour before eating.  Or is it two hours before eating and one hour after eating?  I swallowed a pill and hoping for the best, got up from the couch to retrieve something and tripped on the cord to my laptop, sprawling on the livingroom floor in front of my son.

“I’m fine,” I assured him as he helped me up, and urged him to go out as planned.  After the door shut, I rubbed my stiffening shoulder, hip and knee.  “No way am I going to be a baby about a little fall,” I thought to myself, and decided to clean the bathroom.

As I scrubbed my stomach began to rumble, protesting the assault the antibiotics had waged.  My face ached.  My muscles were sore. My stomach churned.  And yet, I was scouring the tub.  “Why am I doing this?”  I asked aloud.headache

“What if you get attacked by a grizzly bear and die in Alaska?  People will come to your funeral and then they will come back to your apartment to have food and conversation afterward, and they will see how dirty your bathroom is.”

Really.  I kid you not.  That was my thought process.  And that is when it dawned on me.  Vacation is supposed to be fun.  And relaxing.  They are for enjoyment.  Who cares if people can see your gray hair?  What matter is it that your nails do not look like a model’s?  And if you get eaten by a grizzly, people will not be looking for soap scum in the bathroom.

I put the sponge away and sat down on the couch.  I’ll figure out the car before it is time to drive to the airport.  I’ll pack tomorrow, after I’ve slept in.  Late. Like 7 o’clock.  When my stomach calms down, I’ll take some more ibuprofen and go to bed.  I’ll dream about whale watches and glaciers.  And come hell or high water, in a few days I’ll be on vacation. Because someday is now.

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