Trip Preparation: Husband vs. Wife

Please don't hate me. I'm going away with my husband. Alone. No children. To a warm sunny climate. To a warm sunny climate where the hotel is paid for by the company for whom my husband will be working all day, leaving me with nothing better to do than lounge by the pool for three days straight.

I'm not excited. That won't happen until I'm actually parked on said pool chair, but by then I'll be too exhausted from preparing for this trip that I won't remember what it was I was supposed to be excited about.

For four weeks prior to this trip I will do the following:

Bribe, beg or call in the mother of all favors to arrange child care for my kids; make lists; try on every bathing suit and piece of clothing from last summer; start drastic diet; contemplate tanning booth; grocery shop, make and freeze lasagnas for families taking care of my kids plus one for church supper scheduled for two days before departure…

Change dental appointments made six months prior that fall on the Tuesday I'm gone; arrange dog care; try swim suit again; vow to walk more; make another list; make manicure appointment; get permission from Vice Principal for son to take different bus home; arrange rides for kids to extracurricular activities; pay for next week's lessons in advance; pay all bills due while gone; get stressed; eat entire box of Thin Mints; toss vacation bikini onto closet shelf and get out fat suit…

Write and deliver notes to bus drivers, teachers, coaches saying it's okay for sitters to pick up my kids; sort, wash, dry, fold laundry for every family member; put clothes away or into pre-packing inventory piles; shop for extra socks and underwear; retrieve luggage from attic; print and copy trip itineraries for sitters and parents; get stressed, bite nails; cancel manicure appointment…

Purchase travel-size toiletries; take dog to vet; write and attach insurance cards to permission forms for sitters to obtain medical care; pick up prescription refills, dry cleaning and cash; attend meeting at one school, work book fair at other; wake in the middle of the night panicked I forgot something; pack kids', husband's and my suitcases; alert neighbors of our absence; arrange for pick up of mail, paper and recycling bin; wash dog's blanket and kid's P.E. uniforms; realize I have nothing to wear; panic; call girlfriend for advice; then stay up until 2 A.M. repacking my bag…

On departure day, after a fitful night's sleep, I'll double check flight times, put gas in car, adjust thermostat and curtains, scrub toilets, empty trash cans, run dishwasher, load minivan, deliver instructions to dog sitter and kids to respective homes. Put makeup on in car on way to airport.

On departure day, my husband will transfer his sunglasses and briefcase from his car to the prepacked minivan and drive us to the airport. He'll affectionately slap me on the thigh and cajole, “Come on Honey! Act excited!”

Karen Rinehart is a magazine humor columnist, public speaker and the creator of The Bus Stop Mommies, a newspaper. She is also author of Invisible Underwear, Bus Stop Mommies and Other Things True To Life. You can read more of her work at Karen lives in Concord, North Carolina with her two kids, one husband and goofball dog, where they attend St. James Catholic Church. (Well, they leave the dog at home.) She enjoys hearing from readers across the States and as far away as Australia, Japan and England.

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