Here is the problem with going on vacation: You can take a vacation from work and you can take a vacation from school … but you can’t take a vacation away from your loved ones.
Trust me, I’ve tried.
I was able to close out 2015 by taking some time off from work. I had my entire week’s schedule lined up, most of which consisted of important chores such as the following: sleep in late, wake up, eat Ramen noodles, watch football and “Beverly Hills, 90210” re-runs (Andrea Zuckerman is the entire reason I went into the newspaper business) and fall asleep wherever I happened to be laying down at 3 a.m.
Much like when I had the great idea to have a urinal installed in our home restroom, however, my wife had other plans.
For starters, she had actual chores she wanted me to accomplish, most of which were, technically speaking, beyond my “skill set.” She wanted me to do such high-level tasks as: laundry, dishes and something she described as “picking things up off the floor and putting them back where they actually belong.”
Apparently, she must have thought I would have a team of NASA scientists, the 2014 graduating class of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and McGyver at my disposal.
Furthermore, my wife was not on vacation last week, which meant I was to accomplish all of these tasks by myself.
And said, in my infinite wisdom, I said the following: “Can’t I just sit around my house in my underwear like you do when go on vacation and I have to work?”
It’s funny, I’ve often heard the phrase “steam coming out of someone’s ears,” before, but up until that moment, I always kind of figured it was just some sort of colorful metaphor. It’s not. I am pretty sure I literally saw steam coming out of her ears. It’s statements such as that one, I’ve come to find out, that have me sleeping on the couch more often than not.
Not only was I charged with accomplishing my wife’s seemingly endless list of back-breaking chores (She wanted me to run the vacuum, for crying out loud!), however, but I would also spend large portions of my vacation with the unenviable task of keeping two human beings alive.
Since my kids were out of school for a large portion of my vacation, it would be my responsibility to make sure they did things like “eat” and “sleep” and “not play with flamethrowers.” Apparently, my wife had forgotten whom she had married 14 years ago. Fortunately, my kids are at ages (8 and 11) where they have become largely self-sufficient. They know how to use a microwave (sort of), how to call 9-1-1 and how not to run while carrying scissors. Once we went over those ground rules, I figured I could take a lengthy nap while the warm glow of the television watched over my two precious children.
It’s this type of thinking that likely will win me a father of the year award at some point. No sense in coddling the little tykes. It’s important to teach self-reliance. I hope my kids are ready to move out into their own apartment by the time they graduate … from the sixth grade.
Other than those delights, however, I suppose my week’s vacation was largely uneventful. Both of my children lived through the week under my care, I didn’t manage to set the dishwasher on fire and I managed to get a delicious dinner on the table for my wonderful wife every night when she came home from work (thank you, Tupperware, my mother and a microwave).
I can’t wait until I go on my next vacation. I hope when I take my time off from work, I’ll be able to travel to someplace exotic.
And I hope my family stays at home with their chore lists while I’m gone.
Troy’s very own David Fong appears on Thursdays in the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong