Slices of Life

by Jill Pertler

A return to reality

 

Ever noticed that returning from vacation creates a need for vacation? First off, let me say that vacations are the best, or at least better than a regular day not on vacation. Whether it’s a long weekend or extended 14-day excursion, I love a day on vacay.

The only thing better? Two days (and so on – to infinity and beyond). Vacation is filled with untethered time. You wake in the morning free to wonder what sort of adventures and entertainment you should pursue today. Work and chores and stress and the electric bill are off the radar.

It’s all about fun, fun, fun!

After your week away you return home and suddenly your time is tethered again – by responsibilities of normal life, which can put a damper on the sunniest of days. Normal means setting the alarm clock. Making the bed. Brewing your own coffee in the morning and cooking your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is clearing your own dishes and washing them.

Normal is not as exciting as vacation. It’s more work and less free time.

This return to normalcy can leave one feeling empty – as in empty fridge and pantry. Chances are, you and the brood returned home hungry and food isn’t going to purchase and restock itself. It takes a human being to do that. Too often that human is you. And the first thing anyone wants to do when coming home from vacation is head right out to the supermarket.

But before you can grocery your way to a full meal and belly, there’s the pesky problem of a full laundry bin. Returning from a week at the beach or theme parks means one thing: dirty clothes. Who wants to take time during vacation to do laundry? They call it time off for a reason. Time off from laundry.

Before you can do the laundry you have to unpack it. I wasn’t born with the unpacking gene. I could honestly go weeks without unpacking. Eventually the unopened suitcase becomes a regular part of the room landscape and you don’t even see it anymore. It’s invisible to the naked eye.

I’ve learned ignoring a suitcase isn’t a good idea. The longer you wait to unpack after returning to home sweet home, the less sweet your laundry pile will be – if you catch my drift.

Speaking of freshly laundered scent, I won’t even go into the overwhelming aroma that will abound if someone forgets to flush a toilet before departure. Flushing the toilet is an imperative task to complete prior to leaving for vacation, not upon returning from. I am fairly proud to report we are consistent flushers and as such haven’t encountered a problem in this area – so far.

What else piles up during a vacation? The mail. If you’re like me, you’ll come home to a hefty stack. Hopefully more junk mail than bills. Hopefully no bills marked overdue. Hopefully maybe even a couple worth opening – like a check or credit card offer. (You are pre-approved!)

I haven’t even touched on work. Not the work and chores you do at home, but the work someone pays you to do. Even if you attempted to work ahead or complete projects before leaving on vacation, chances are something came up while you were gone and work will be waiting for you. Probably a pile even bigger than your laundry or unopened mail. (Think of it as job security.)

And yes, you will have to go back to work. But that’s okay. Because work, while undeniably a four-letter word, is the very entity that makes vacations possible. And gives you time – during breaks and lunch and maybe office meetings – to plan for your next.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning writer and syndicated columnist.