Firstly, this is a Sunday Afternoon Coffee Musing, as I slept in for a change and wasn’t even awake until almost 10 a.m. This is unusual for me, the woman who gets up at 6 a.m. regardless of the day. I’m just hardwired that way. When I do sleep in, it’s because I didn’t get to bed until after midnight, or I’m unwell. I didn’t get to sleep until after 1 a.m., so my body made me stay in bed past my usual wake up time.
Secondly, Dear Husband and I are on vacation this week. We are doing more of a staycation this time, as we spent our money on a new roof for the house. Not to fret, it was a planned purchase, and we got it for a third of the original quotes we had received for getting the roof done.
Vacations are funny things. Unless you have lots of money to spend, mostly you are just not going to work for a week. You still have to make meals, and clean up after yourself. You might go catch up on some movies you haven’t had the time to see, or you might go do some things you don’t normally get to do, such as have a picnic or go to the beach. Some people pick large projects in their houses or out in their yards to work on.
Two years ago, our vacation project was cleaning our basement. It was well past time – we had years of accumulated junk, it was moldy and nasty and I was getting physically sick every time I went in the basement after a rainstorm. We hired a friend to help us, we got a dumpster, and we went to town. We completely filled the dumpster before we even got to our barn.
Last year our vacation project was cleaning the house of the accumulated clutter. We filled our minivan with boxes of items to donate, found friends who could use some of the goods and dropped other items off at the local thrift stores for the tax deductions and space.
This year, we are working on repairing the RV. The overcab bunk was completely rotted, and we are in the process of replacing the wood and insulation we removed with new wood and insulation. Eventually we will make that a storage cabinet for lightweight items, and we will be able to move on to the other repairs that are needed before we take it out camping.
When I think back to vacations I went on as a kid, I only remember two that my father accompanied us on. One when I was very little, with the whole family staying in tents and a main tent being set up as the kitchen and dining area. Someone in the family had acquired an old Army tent which was used for this purpose. There are pictures of us in the tent, me in my little chair, along with my sister, toddling around. So probably the summer of 1968, my mother pregnant with our brother Victor.
The second vacation I remember my father going on is also the last vacation I remember him going on with us. Our families had rented cottages on an island in Cape Ann, three of them in a row. (this is the vacation of the dreaded Tuna Sandwich debacle) My father was ill-at-ease, and went for walks all over the island. He found a shop that was selling used books, and bought three children’s books for us. I was six, my sister was 5, and our brother was just 2. I got the first worst sunburn of my life that year, completely red as a lobster and couldn’t sleep because it hurt so bad. Dad gave me the books to help me keep my mind off the pain, and I can remember laying on my stomach and reading while Mom slathered Noxzema on me. (We didn’t know anything about Aloe Vera because this was in 1971.)
Mostly what my father did while we were on vacation was renovate the house. My parents bought the family home in 1974 (I don’t know why I remember watching the impeachment proceedings of President Nixon at the time, but I think my Dad must have been listening to the TV while he was putting up wallpaper in the new house) and my Dad spent all of his vacation time, spare time, and what little money he had to make it ours. We would go away for a week and come back to a new bathroom on the first floor, or the kitchen would be completely changed around. I thought he just didn’t like going on vacations with the family. Now I know it wasn’t that, or rather, it wasn’t just that; it was just easier to do some of the electrical and plumbing work, to rip up a floor and put down a new underlayment and then the linoleum when you don’t have to deal with four kids running around underfoot. If you are the only living thing in the house, you don’t have to worry about someone forgetting there is no floor in the kitchen and falling into the basement.
My maternal grandfather was the same way. He would go on the vacations with us, sometimes. Sometimes he’d just stay home and suddenly the front porch was a new bedroom, or the back porch was now an enclosed porch, and a half-bathroom would be added to the kitchen in their house. He spent most of one year digging out and expanding the basement under the house so he could have his workshop. (it was built with field stone, there was a huge boulder under one part of the house)
I guess it’s not uncommon for some of us to just spend some of our vacation time working on our own projects after all.
I’d still rather be at the beach.