I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Preparing for Vacations and Other Terrible Things You Can Do With the People You Love.

November 11, 2010 - My wife informs me that Spring Break is coming up. (Wha...?) If we act now we can get a cheap flight to Vegas and meet her family there. I explain that there are no "cheap" flights, and that it isn't that far of a drive. She explains to me that I am incorrect, at which point I am forced to agree... or pass out, she has applied a textbook triangle choke hold. (tap, tap) No driving this year. Flying isn't all that bad, maybe I can sell a few extra pints of plasma a month and get it paid off before the kids head to college.

November 15, 2010 -  After discussing it with her family, it is decided that spring break will be happen at her dad's house on the Central Coast of California. I can come too; or whatever. The good thing is that they will pay for our flights, the bad thing is we don't get to go to Vegas with our kids and play the don't look at that billboard or those flyers on the ground or those newspapers and please please please don't look at that advertisement over there oh God we are going to have to have "the talk" sooner than I anticipated game. Her dad lives within walking distance of the beach, (or stumbling distance, if you include the infamous July 4th of '98, but this is a family blog so we won't discuss that here), unfortunately, whenever we visit the weather seems to take a turn for the worse. Inevitably, the week before we show up the weather is awesome, sunny and around 80 degrees. When we show up it is 60 degrees and windy. Every time. March, June, August; it doesn't matter. I think California is allergic to me.

January 1, 2011 - My wife is starting to get upset that I haven't packed yet. Spring Break is only two and a half months away. What am I thinking? What if I get hit by a truck and fall into a coma and everybody thinks I am going to die and they are going to pull the plug because I don't want to live like a vegetable for the rest of my life and then the doctor says you can't just pull the plug within the first couple of minutes that you are in the hospital you have to wait a couple of hours at least, maybe even a day or two before making a rash decision like that and then you play "Monty Python's Holy Grail" in a continuous loop so I will wake up and then I do wake up and all I can say is "and the number of thy counting shall be three" and then I lapse back into a coma then I get better but by then it has been two and a half months and we have to leave tomorrow and I haven't packed. WHAT THEN?! I don't know if it is stress or what, but fighting seems to accompany our vacations like poor judgement accompanies tequila. Preparing for vacations is so fun.

March 1, 2011 - Two weeks to go, and the conflict level is high. Last night we had a fight about socks. (I think) One minute things were fine and the next we were yelling about the best way to fold socks. Either this is vacation stress or we're rehearsing for Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf and nobody told me. The car has been rented, our itinerary is taped up on the fridge. And the bathroom mirror. And underneath the toilet lid. My kids are starting to get excited, and their school work is suffering. My middle child was only able to bully three kids out of lunch money this week, as opposed to the five he normally extorts. My wife and kids are wearing the same four sets of clothes over and over again. They aren't allowed to touch the bags stacked up by the front door,
"Those are ready to go, leave them alone."
"Mom, I think you packed my toothbrush."
"You can brush your teeth on vacation" (Just kidding. My kids wouldn't notice their toothbrushes were missing if you asked them what they would use to get tartar off of teeth. "I don't know... Fish?") The energy around our house is palpable. I mean Palpatine, that emperor from Star Wars. If she could, my wife would fry me with purple lightning bolts for not taking vacation seriously enough. We just prepare differently, she makes the plans and prepares and reserves and packs, and I show up. Usually. With most of what I need. Like seven times out of ten.

March 16, 2011 - We leave tomorrow at like zero-dark-thirty. I haven't started packing yet, but I did manage to go out and play disc golf for a couple of hours. Then I come home and decide to start a major home improvement project. Activity calms my nerves, and keeps me out of the house. If I actually go in the house, we re-enact the final scene from Rocky. We start fighting about the silliest things before vacations, "I thought you were going to grab a memory card for the camera", "you didn't ask the neighbors to feed the cat?!", "did you start a fire in the bathtub?" I know! Petty huh? Well, it's almost 9:00pm, and the driveway is mostly demolished, so it's time to pack. I dump three or four of my drawers in a duffel bag. I'm all done packing. Time for bed, vacation starts tomorrow.

to be continued...