I love the ocean. It causes me to have bouts of tranquility. I am zero percent Zen. But if I ever was, I left it by the oceanside.
The problem is I don’t live close to the ocean. So if I want to experience it, there has to be a whole production. My husband likes the ocean well enough. And he really likes it when I am Zenish. So we try to take family summer trips there.
That is exactly what we did last week.
To say that my preparation for a trip is methodical, would be an understatement. I wear my OCD with pride. My brain likes things a certain way and she isn’t going to hush until I comply. I have a process and one simply doesn’t stray from a process.
The day before departure is a big day. Huge. There is much to be done. Sure, you could argue why not start the checklist a few days earlier. I agree with your line of thinking but no. My brain says, wait as late as possible or they will just undo everything that you have done. I cannot go on vacation unless the house is spotless. I have five other people who live with me, so that is a pretty tall order.
As normal, I fed my children lunch Friday. The way my children consume meals, can only compared to farm animals at a trough. Disgusting. So with two out of three meals down the hatch, it was a good starting point. Seemed rational enough. I began to clean.
I vacuumed, polished and cleaned windows/mirrors. I attacked the bathrooms like a maniac. I sanitized toilets, sinks and tubs. I noticed an unidentifiable slime on my cream kitchen cabinetry, which required me to clean the exterior of all the cabinets. What a rush.
Time for floors. I cleaned all of the hardwood and tiles throughout the house. I went as far as to encourage my children to sit on the furniture and play iPad games, all in an effort to keep them off of my pristine surfaces. The house was clean. Well, as clean as it could be with kids still there.
Now I needed a dinner plan. A meal that would allow for the least amount of damage to my clean kitchen. Exactly. Delivered pizza, eaten outside on the patio, using paper plates.
It’s hot! There are flies out here! Whatever. They lived through it.
Operation Clean House was over. On to packing.
My husband does manage to pack himself. But I have to….suggest that he do it, ten or so times. He is a last-minute kind of guy at certain things. But that was NOT going to work in my vacation preparation process. He finally packed just to shut me up.
Aww,feels. I love him.
It was up to me to pack five people, half the kitchen and most of the bathroom. This year we had a condo, but you can never be 100% sure what is going to be in there. I needed things like dishsoap, dishwasher pods, laundry detergent and peanut butter. I couldn’t go without vacuum-insulated,double-walled, stainless steel cups and wine bottle openers. You know, staples. The last thing I want to do is arrive at the beach and have to immediately go battle other vacationers at a super store.
FYI that still happened.
I gathered items and placed them in boxes on the counter. Done. Next I had to take a shower. Yes, I said shower. My brain said if I went ahead and took my shower tonight, I could go ahead and pack my shower routine items. Thank you, Brain.
Next it was off to the kids rooms. I placed four suitcases on the floor. One child at a time, I packed. Then I advised them to sleep in comfy clothes, because that is what they would be wearing for the seven plus hours drive that we were embarking on the following day. And I was NOT about to leave dirty pajamas in my laundry basket for an entire week.
Done. I was off to pack myself. I started grabbing every product that I could get my hands on. I had to be prepared for anything. Sunscreen, creams, lotions, rubs, scrubs. You name it. Hair products, hair dryer, hair straightener, It was all there.
Now wardrobe. It was a seven-day trip. So I packed seven shorts, ten shirts, athletic clothes (for a bunch of runs along the beach, that absolutely did not happen). I packed eight pairs of shoes and four swim suits. Things to sleep in. Things to lounge in. Things to lounge/sleep in.
I overpacked. I literally wore like two pairs of shorts and my old-school airbrushed TONJA 2016 Panama City Beach shirt, that I purchased on the trip. And my flip-flops. But in all fairness, I also didn’t use any of the products that I packed. And my hair was usually in a pony or bun. And no one wears makeup on the beach.
Everything was packed. I was high on life. It was midnight. But I was high.
Up early the next morning. Pop Tarts were for breakfast. Pop tarts on paper plates. I did a final load of laundry because my husband bucked the system and refused to sleep in his travel clothes. Men. Finally, all of the clothes were clean, all of the dishes were clean. Everything was put way. I cleaned the counter surfaces, threw away any perishables in the fridge that wouldn’t last the week, cleaned the fridge shelves, spot mopped the floors, and begged my husband to remove the kids from the home.
He had already packed the Suburban, like a boss, I might add. He shares my love of organization. Once he had the kids outside, getting them settled into the vehicle for the ride, I raced like a mad women, spot cleaning all of the bathrooms again. I mean, do you live with young men? Ew.
The house was shiny, the kids were outside and my brain was smiling. I was a little nauseous from the stress I had put on myself. But elated nonetheless.
As an aside, the older I get the more my OCD/Perfectionism takes over. There is probably medication in my future. That or we won’t be able to take trips. Either way.
The house would be spotless upon my return. And I was ready to head off on our adventure! The Bell’s don’t go anywhere without madness ensuing.
There’s always that one kid who refuses to be photographed.