Last week I was able to take off work for a few days. I must say, it’s nice to be missed.
I had several people say they missed my weekly column last week and I appreciated it more than you know — flattery gets you everywhere with me.
And I must say, rest was a relative term during my short vacation.
The main event during this mini-vacation was Norma Jean’s 90-years-and-two-months birthday celebration. Despite her real birthday being last May, the family delayed the big celebration so families from both coasts could join us for cake and ice cream.
This also is just the polite way of saying that us Ohioans were really just waiting for Aunt Marjorie from California to come into town because, let’s face it, she is everyone’s favorite relative anyways.
Since this was a big occasion we had lots of family members scrambling for places to stay in Miami County. A few waited until the last minute to book hotels and found that Miami County is not a sleepy little roadside burg when it comes to finding a clean bed in town. We had the annual skating competition at Hobart Arena and a small, quiet gathering called Country Concert to contend with last weekend.
So that meant one thing: relatives were coming to stay … at my house.
I’m a firm believer in the “mi casa, sous casa” hospitality as long as you leave your barn boots at the backdoor. Yet, I had a list a mile long I needed to do before I could truly relax.
The first part of my vacation was spent preparing my own little 11-year-old traveler for his annual trek to San Antonio to visit his paternal grandparents and cousins. I spent a whole day hunting down swim trunks, insurance cards, and charging cords for various entertainment for the plane ride. That was my first day off. Eleven-year-olds are notorious for losing their favorite set of headphones moments before they leave to travel thousands of miles away.
With his bags packed, and with a hug and kiss, I sent off my darling boy to enjoy his lakeside vacation with his family.
As a single parent, it’s a catch-22 when the love of your life walks out the door for a week without you. First, you are sad to see them leave you behind. Then you are happy they are going to make memories with family. Third, you quickly cram everything you’ve been wanting to do for the last six months sans kids into 72 hours. I went to T.J. Maxx by myself! I didn’t step on one single LEGO block for a week straight! I watched an entire season of “Orange is the New Black” in three days. I got to pick the restaurant that didn’t serve chicken fingers! And then, you miss them. And then they return and all is right in the world.
I spent the rest of my vacation cleaning every inch of my house preparing for guests.
It should be noted that weeks before, my father and I had installed the backsplash — grout and all — before our guests arrived. There was a thick film of grout dust covering every inch of my kitchen counters. Scrubbing walls on vacation is a humbling experience.
Then I vacuumed, dusted, mopped, changed sheets and scrubbed tubs for three days straight.
And so, all was right and tidy in the world when my sister and my two nephews arrived to stay at Aunt Sissy’s house for the weekend.
Trust me, it was worth the “Wow Mel! You actually cleaned” comment I got from my twin sister as she walked through the door. Blood, sweat and tears went into that one small, victorious moment! Victory! I’ll treasure it for the rest of my lifetime.
And so, the rest of my vacation was spent visiting with friends and family. Norma Jean’s birthday party was a success judging from the empty punch bowl at the end of the afternoon.
Now I need a vacation from my vacation.
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears on Fridays in the Troy Daily News. The highlight of our family’s stay in Miami County was the visit to K’s Hamburgers.
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