I think the first trip my husband and I took together was to Las Vegas. Neither of us had ever been, and I’m not sure what prompted it, but off we went to end up at a fairly seedy hotel and casino somewhere off The Strip and that no longer exists. We drove across the hot desert with not much on our minds but the glimmer of a possibility of hitting a jackpot — on a roll of nickels per day.
Although I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to have visited and lived in a variety of places (due to a somewhat nomadic early childhood and the military) my husband had not. So, we’ve made an effort to take time off and get away as much as we could over the years. Rarely has our travel been exotic, as the cost alone was something challenging for us to afford. Sometimes we took my two older boys, leaving the youngest, a toddler, at home, and others we’d take all three boys and throw in my mom for good measure. Often, we’d leave everyone behind, escaping by ourselves. We like each other. And although it’s lovely being together as a family when we’re traveling, the kids don’t always need to go, nor is it always fun for them. No, I’m not rationalizing. Yes, I’m picturing that faded blue VW bug my family had chugging through Spain with either a perpetual ruckus in the back or a stony silence in the front. *memmm-reeezzz… like the corrr-nerzzz of my mind… misty water colored mehhhh… mreeezzz… of the way…we were…*
We’ve been lucky when we’ve traveled because there has always been someone willing to keep an eye on things around the house. At first, it was my mom. We all shared a home for a time, and so it was easy to take advantage of depend on her. Then as my two older boys grew, we were terrified felt comfortable leaving them to the responsibility of the old homestead. Unfortunately, that came to a screeching halt when the oldest had one of those notorious parties where people never seen or heard of before show up looking for free booze and someone else’s bed to copulate on. And barf all over. Have you ever smelled clove cigarettes? And tried to scrape damp leaves off the floor? I’ll save you the rest of the gory details. Suffice it to say we weren’t so anxious to leave home again.
When we moved closer to the ocean, it became a bit easier because my husband’s parents willingly, graciously, thankfully came to stay while we went on our little excursions. Although they are fairly close, being residents of North County, they used to take the opportunity to treat their stay here as a mini vacation of sorts. We were at ease knowing all was well with our home and animals, and could count on our stellar neighbors to take an unfriendly swipe or two at them over inane things in anonymously written cards left on windshields. Ahhh…the perks of living in Paradise.
That’s all more difficult now. This last vacation, I had to ask my middle son if he could keep an eye on things. He works fairly close to our house, so the possibility of saving some gas money, and an offer to pay him for his time sealed the deal. The money will come in handy for his school books this next semester. Well, since I usually give him some money anyway, that would be rationalization. There was just one glitch. He had plans to visit Magic Mountain with his friends for an entire day. Hmmm… the dog would be a huge problem, bless her barking, pooping, howling self. I thought about taking her with us on our road trip for about a second and a half. She loves riding in the car and sticking her head out the window, but the thought of all the 409 I’d have to spray on the back seat every time we went around a curve…well, you understand, right?
So I began to wonder about my older son, a lovely mix of creative wonderment, and perpetual curiosity. I should have purchased a shirt for him long ago that read “Makes Sudden Turns” because he can be on the straight and narrow path, then vanish. For days. Like he was a figment of our collective imagination right when we thought he’d be there. Where he was supposed to be. Doing something he said he’d do.
As I was mulling over these thoughts, my middle son asked whether he could put a towel down or something. You know, in case the dog peed. Uh…no. The condition of the carpet by the garage door already effectively leads one to believe a race horse enjoys a stall in our home. So, there would be no towel.
All was worked out, because upon our return, the floors were vacuumed, the pet dishes clean, the floor swept, trash emptied, patio free of dog poop, and plants watered. Dishes were done, counters were wiped and windows strategically open so air could come in, but the barking dog wouldn’t inspire our not so lovely neighbors to send us their notes.
And the refrigerator was clean. Totally. Shelves wiped — even the shelves in the door. Even the one that had a variety of jars and bottles stuck in the petrified fudge sauce I’d been meaning to clean for about three years or so. No moldy cheese. No pickle jars sporting a lonely slice and pickling spices. No out of code marinade, or radioactive peach barbeque sauce I forgot to throw out before we left. Spotless. Imagine!
We were also left a note:
I left at 2PMish Friday. Ms. B went pee & poo 2x this morning. She likes to bark at her/your neighbors on her walks!!! (She so doesn’t do this when we walk her…) Blackitty and Precious are fine and have lots of fleas. (Oh, really? And does a chicken have lips?) (My kitties don’t have fleas and they are poor [East County Hood] kitties not rich [Paradise] ones. (We’re middle class posers) Check out Petmeds dot com for some flippin’ sweet deals. (Uh…I did apply one of those little vials of poison to the back of each of their necks on the very morning we left. I think the fleas like the way it tastes.) Thanks for the food. (Frozen pizza, taquitos, burritos, and the like. Oh, and ice cream. And root beer.) I cleaned up every day and [older brother] cleaned out the fridge on Saturday. He said [the RT’s] bed smells funny (You couldn’t pay me to sleep in that bed either, but the bedding was freshly washed and what would someone who frequently sleeps amongst the dirty laundry in his car know, anyway?) so he slept on the floor with Ms. B and 2 fighting, hissing kitties on the living room floor. (So maybe we’re even for the wild party all those years ago?) See you all tomorrow afternoon, RC >=B–<
And then he left this present for the RT who watched about 80 hours of Family Guy in the back seat of the car on our vacation.
My middle son said some of the crew at work got wind of his house sitting gig and wanted to know where we lived so they could “hang out.” I’m sure they were referring to the windows. Or something. About 17 of them. Sheesh. What a close call. Maybe that’s why the house was so clean, now that I think of it.
Ahhh… I just love my boys. I think they’re swell.