When It Doesn’t Pay to Take a Staycation

7 Jan

UnknownWhen my husband Chris told me he wanted to take a family vacation during our children’s winter break, I resisted.

I told him I didn’t need to spend oodles of money traveling to some faraway place just to retreat from society, lounge in sweat pants and gorge on fattening food. I do that every day without leaving the house.

If we stayed home, I contended, we could vacation for next to nothing by using iTunes gift cards to bribe our teenage kids to make us meals, retrieve us drinks, and give us mani/pedi’s.

He looked skeptical. Then I told him the truth: that during these fiscally conservative times when we are forced to reprioritize, we must learn to focus on categories that provide the greatest payoff.  For me, that meant purchasing a new set of silk drapes for our bedroom.

So after two decades of marriage, three kids, and a recession, I convinced my husband to take a “staycation.” And I ordered the drapes.

We chose a beautiful weekend to kick it off, beginning with a family hike at the Delaware Water Gap.  We spent the afternoon running from pesky animals— poisonous snakes, hungry black bears, and drunken hikers—while trekking through unchartered wilderness and scaling sheer vertical cliffs. As the temperature dropped to 38 degrees we no longer prided ourselves on how clever we’d been to dress for the unseasonably warm weather in cotton shorts and T-shirts.

We capped off the day with a stop on I-80 at Dairy Queen for chili cheese dogs. When we returned home we enjoyed more family bonding time while we removed brambles and clinging nettles from each other’s hair. Then we climbed into bed and promptly fell sleep.

At 4:00 a.m., Chris awakened to a raging case of heartburn and sent me out for antacids.  At a nearby gas station I grabbed the Tums and pulled out my wallet.

“Hello,” said the clerk. His nametag said, “Tom.”

“Hi, Tom.” I handed him my credit card.

He held my card with blackened fingers that indicated he also did car repairs. He glanced at my card. “Gas, Lisa?”

“Heartburn,” I replied.

“Are you buying gas?”

“Uh . . . no, no.” I said, my face flushing red. “Just Tums—for my husband.”

“Personally, I prefer Maalox,” Tom offered. “Or if you don’t want to spend money, just have him drink a glass of milk.”

Who knew gas station clerks were now licensed to dispense advice on octanes and medical conditions?

I considered calling home to ask Chris his preference but realized I had left my cell phone at home. By the time I pulled into my driveway with the Tums, Maalox, and a gallon of milk, Chris was gone. He had left a note on the kitchen counter saying, “Feeling worse. Drove to the emergency room.”

I prayed it wasn’t a heart attack and raced to the local hospital. The doctor took me aside and explained the situation. In the treatment room, they removed his shirt and brought out an electric shaver.

“No!” I yelled. The medical staff ignored me and proceeded to shave off his chest hair.

“Why, why couldn’t you wax?” I cried silently, knowing he preferred a clean look.

The staff had moved on—a sonogram, an EKG, a nuclear scan, and an enema (for good measure).  Then the doctor told us that as he had suspected, Chris had acid reflux. We were handed a bill for $2800.

On the drive home my car began to falter. “What now?” I growled.  I considered calling Tom for advice, but was half afraid he’d tell me to pour some milk into the carburetor.  Or if I wanted to save money, just drink the milk myself.

“Your transmission needs an overhaul.  That’ll run you $2500,” my mechanic said later that day.

Back home I drew myself a relaxing bath. As I ran downstairs for a glass of juice I noticed water cascading through the ceiling light fixture into the mudroom below. In response to my screams of dismay, Chris yelled from the next room, “Turn off the water!”

“Okay, Okay!  Don’t have a heart atta . . . er, acid reflux!” I yelled.  An hour later, the plumber had come and gone, along with $275.

It had only been two days and all Chris and I wanted was for our staycation to end. We fell into bed, exhausted.  I turned to Chris. “I guess a staycation isn’t all its cracked up to be.”

“No,” he said, and took a sip of milk. “But at least my acid reflux is better.  By the way, next year we’re vacationing in Hawaii.”

“Why Hawaii?” I asked.

“Because it’s cheaper than staying home.”

 Special announcement: It is with mixed emotions that I announce that I will be scaling back my Musings from once a week to once a month in order to pursue other writing endeavors. The good news is I have started working as a Parenting and Lifestyle blog contributor at Manilla (the company, not the similarly spelled country). I will also be taking a fiction and nonfiction creative writing course that will help me achieve my long-term writing goals. The bad news is, I already miss you . . . 

It’s not goodbye, it’s see you again next month!

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68 Responses to “When It Doesn’t Pay to Take a Staycation”

  1. shelleyburbank January 7, 2013 at 10:14 am #

    Good luck with your new endeavors. This sounds like the staycation from hades. Hawaii does sound much nicer. Mahalo.

  2. Krista Fuller January 7, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Still bringing the funny! It sounds like you’ve been studying the best methods for prioritizing your life. Good luck with all your writing plans. It appears that good things are on the horizon.

  3. Jean Gogarty Thomson January 7, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Good luck, Lisa! Your writing plans and opportunities sound wonderful. I will look forward to my once-a-month “musings” fix!

  4. Pamela E. January 7, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    so funny! You should have gone back to Israel with us!

  5. joehoover January 7, 2013 at 11:05 am #

    Always go away, I regret staying in London for Xmas and some hole in the North of England for New Year. Good luck with the writing!

  6. Paprika Furstenburg January 7, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Congratulations on your new writing gig, Lisa! I’m so happy for you, but I don’t know how I’m going to get through a Monday morning without your Musings 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 7, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

      Thanks, Paprika! That’s sweet of you to say.My musings are a way for me to process life. I hope cutting back doesn’t land me in therapy.

  7. Carrie Rubin January 7, 2013 at 11:35 am #

    We had a staycation ourselves. Well, my husband and boys did–I pretty much worked every day. But unlike yours, ours was hassle-free. And heartburn-free. Good luck with your writing endeavors!

  8. sportsattitudes January 7, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Best of luck with the new projects Lisa. We’ll see ya back on “Main Street” soon!

  9. simonandfinn January 7, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Sorry to hear about your vacation tribulations 😦
    But congratulations on the new horizons!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      The good news is it’s all things that can be fixed, albeit not cheaply. Thanks for your support!

  10. Burns the Fire January 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Glad to hear your great news. Mazel tov!!

  11. WordsFallFromMyEyes January 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    Great post 🙂 – your greatest payoff being silk curtains!!

    Although a single parent and struggling at certain times, there was once when I had enough, & so I did: I bought deep burgandy coloured satin bed sheets. I am actually laying in them right now, 6.56 am Tuesday 8th January, and they remain a luxury to me, & a recall of very hard times – in the middle of which I indulged. I reckon I’ve had fine payoff from them.

    I love it when you describe your family interactions. I can so imagine. What a wonderful family unit you are.

    Happy new year 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      It sounds like you get a mini staycation every time you climb into bed! Your satin sheets sound delightful, as do you. I enjoyed your comment, thank you.

  12. NurseMommyLaughs January 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

    Those sound like the most expensive silk curtains ever! Glad the health of your hubby and car are better now. Congrats on the writing gig! Will you be posting these as well, so we can still hear from you more than once a week?

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      For what my drapes cost, it’s a shame I can’t also wear them. Thanks for your congratulatory wishes. I will be posting those blogs but not until next year. Manilla has first-year rights. We’ll still see each other weekly on Facebook! 🙂

  13. rebecca2000 January 7, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    lol I suggest Maui. Sounds like an adventure for sure. I will look forward to your once a week posts.

    • morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer January 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Hi, again, Lisa, if any other family had that staycation experience they would probably weep and wail. You have absurd things happen and tell the tale in a way that makes us laugh; you are priceless, Lisa, and I wish you great success with your new venture.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Then aloha, Maui! Thanks, see you next month!

  14. Perfecting Motherhood January 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Hmm, I guess that’s why they call it “heart” burn, right? I met one blogger who described chest pains and she thought she was having a hard attack. She had this one time what I get on a more regular basis. Gas bubbles that travel throughout her chest. They are very painful but harmless!

    Good luck with your new writing opportunities. I’ve created a list of excited goals for this year too and I’m hoping they lead me somewhere good!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Yes, it can be so painful! And the thing about chest pain is that you always have to take it seriously because, of course, it can be a symptom of something far worse than heart burn.

      You seem like a determined person and I have a hunch that your goals will lead you to some rewarding places!

  15. Debbie January 7, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    I’m so happy for your new writing adventure! None of us can afford to do everything — good for you to recognize there such a thing as time constraints. I’m sorry your staycation didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, but hey — won’t it be nice next year in Hawaii?!!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Thank you, Debbie. I appreciate your validation. It was a hard decision for me, but I think it was the right one.

  16. Shalagh Hogan January 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Aha, that’s what you’ve been up to. Good On You. I am excited for your hopefully paid contributions to Manilla. And for more writing courses! I am busy querying the world for opportunities. Congratulations. We’ll suffer for a good cause.
    Love Ya’,

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 10:54 am #

      Thanks, Shalagh! I won’t be paying the mortgage with my earnings, but it’s something. It’s wonderful to hear that you are “querying the world for opportunities.” That’s how things happen– by getting out there! I got this gig by attending a BlogHer conference. BlogHer is an organization I highly recommend. Thanks for your support and encouraging words!

  17. Huffygirl January 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

    How hilarious. Sounds exactly like what would have happened at my house had we tried the same thing. I had a similar trip to the ER that turned out to be Sphincter of Odi dysfunction. Tell your husband to get that next time – it sounds more important than acid reflux. And I really think drinking milk would not have helped – it just curdles in the acidic stomach environment.

  18. LuAnn January 7, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    I am already missing your musings but am excited for your next adventure. Your staycation sounded horrible but I must admit that I laughed through your entire post! I wish you much success with your new writing endeavor. 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 11:08 am #

      That’s nice of you to say, LuAnn. It brings me great joy to hear that you laughed throughout my post. Thanks for your good wishes.

  19. Jana January 8, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    You are doing what should be done in every new year: growing. And you have the grace and sense not throw us fans under the bus. I’ll follow you here, there, in magazines, on bookshelves. or in e-readers if it comes to that. I am taking a course, too! I need to grow (in the writerly sense. In the waistband sense I don’t need any help at all.) Stay in touch 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 8, 2013 at 11:14 am #

      Ha! Yes, let’s keep the growth to our careers, not our pant size! I appreciate your encouraging words, Jana. I’m happy to hear that you are pursuing your career goals as well. I hope you enjoy your coursework.

  20. cindyricksgers January 8, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    Oh, good luck with all of your new projects! I’ll look forward to your monthly posts here, always good for a belly laugh. Thanks, Lisa!

  21. Lori Young January 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Ha! LOVE…but how was the rest of your week???

  22. earthriderjudyberman January 8, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Lisa, I wlll miss your weekly posts. But I’m glad you’re only scaling back and not slipping off into the deep woods to reconnect with marauding bears and “scaling sheer vertical cliffs.” I wish you the very best on your new venture.

    I loved your staycation. Those “little” unplanned incidentals really do add up. Chris is right … next year, Hawaii. 🙂 Glad he’s OK.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 9, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

      Thanks, Judy. Ha, love that– scaling back, not scaling cliffs! I appreciate your good wishes.

  23. winsomebella January 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    What a saga! Will look forward to your musings and happy your writing journey continues :-).

  24. carolynpageabc January 10, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Loved this post; it had me laughing and feeling very good… Thank You… 😉
    As for your new endeavours; all the very best with them…
    See you next month… 🙂

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 11, 2013 at 10:58 am #

      So happy to hear you were laughing and feeling good. Mission accomplished! I appreciate your good wishes. 🙂

  25. christinavl January 13, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Great post! Congrats on your new gig!

  26. kriskkaria January 14, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Congratulations on your new writing assignment! Love the story.

  27. I suck as a parent January 15, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    So funny! I hope that you’ve booked your trip to Hawaii already.Congrats on the new writing gig!

  28. Terri L. Spilman January 15, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    Congratulations! I panicked when I didn’t get my Monday Musings and decided I’d better go back and read last weeks, and I’m glad I did. If you are following your own advice, you must be one organized gal now. Have fun and I’ll visit you there.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 16, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

      Thanks, Terri! It feels strange and lonely now not posting on my blog every week but I think my new monthly schedule will work out better for me. Thanks for visiting me at Manilla!

  29. Ruth2Day January 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    brilliant blog 🙂 best of luck with your new writing ventures

  30. Dawn@lightenup! January 22, 2013 at 11:38 am #

    Well, sorry about all your bad luck.
    Congratulations on your writing gig! That’s awesome! Good luck also on your writing dreams. I am doing same thing! Kind of.

  31. Main Street Musings Blog January 25, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    Thanks Dawn, good luck to you too!

  32. Ellen Dolgen January 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Congratulations on your new gig!

  33. Katie Checkley February 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    That picture is great!

  34. Lynda February 15, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Lisa, I can guarantee that Hawaii will be more relaxing and infinitely more fun! Good luck with your educational and writing plans!
    (Thanks for visiting me today!)

  35. YellowCable April 28, 2013 at 7:54 pm #

    I thought a staycation is the one that you do not need another one afterward. In your case, it seems that you may need one.

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