On Saturday, we’ll hop in the car and head southeast down to Emerald Isle. Boy…that’s gonna be nice.
We haven’t really had a vacation in a year, since we last went to EI. Having a baby and taking 3 days off from work does not a vacation make.
We’re describing this as the easy vacation. The more difficult one is coming up and looming on the horizon. But back to March.
What we most look forward to is the bridge. After you’ve passed through Swansboro NC, you make a right turn and head towards the water. Looming ahead of you is a tall bridge. You start to cross the bridge and pass over the sound and Intercoastal Waterway. Usually, at about the halfway point, we can feel it…we’re on vacation.
In the fall of 2008, we took a long weekend trip to EI. Work, as was the case at the time, sucked balls. We probably hadn’t completely gotten over the Great St. John Disaster of 2008 and I had been on the road non-stop. But, when we crossed that bridge, we felt a wave wash over us. We were back on EI and all was well.
So, we’re heading out this weekend. This will be our first time away from home with the baby. Anyone with children knows what that means; we need to hire a moving van. The volume of space needed by a child is exponentially inversely proportional to their age. Shmuppie gets a part of the suitcase and a clothes basket. We let her fill the basket with toys, games, movies, etc. If she doesn’t pack it, it doesn’t go. She’s on her own. As a result, we end up with some odd things in the house, but, as long as she stays in her basket, she’s fine.
Chicken, on the other hand, is fun to pack for.
Let’s outline what we need to bring for her:
Clothes: Approximately 47 outfits per day. Yes, we have a washer and dryer at the house we’re renting, but any parent worth anything knows to prepare for a baby explosion at any time. One night a few months ago, we went through 6 pairs of PJ’s in an hour. One must over pack for a baby.
Seating: Sure…we could rent something, but our experience with the island’s gear rental agency is mixed. So, we pack seating. The bumbo will likely go because it’s small. We’re not sure if her table-top feeding/smearing chair will go or if we’ll pack the collapsible one. She’s still a bit too small for the collapsible, so the other chair (not collapsible) may have to go.
Pack and Play/crib: This must go because the child needs to sleep and be contained somewhere. This does fold up, but it’s still big.
Things to play with/drool on: We’ll need assorted chew toys. While small, they need to be accounted for at all times.
Linens: We’ll need all 700 spit rags (the affectionate term we use for them) with us. One can never have enough of these. We’ll need sheets and blankets…again…you always need 3 or 4 sets.
Consumables: Diapers, creams, bottles, formula, etc. We won’t need too much because there’s a supermarket within walking distance of the house, but we still need to bring some.
Of course, we’ve already blown through the available space in the car and are moving on to the roof rack…all for a relaxing vacation 2 1/2 hours from home.
Yes, this is relaxing.
The adults will need some clothes I suppose.
I’m allowing myself a wine box for my goodies…there’s a separate wine box that will be filled with cheap wine. My one box will hold my cooking essentials. Because, of course, I go on vacation too cook dinner every night. Trust me, it soothes me. Cooking a dinner of fresh seafood while watching the sun set over the ocean relaxes the hell out of me. But, this means I need to bring essentials:
Knives – I can’t trust the house. I’ll need 2 or 3 good knives
Pans: I had to buy a pan last spring. I have a large non-stick “vacation pan” and a shallow Le Crusset (perfect for cooking fish)
Seasonings: I’ll being my little bag of tricks from St John Spice along with other essentials like sea salt, olive oils, and other things like ketchup and mustard
Dry goods: I’ll bring rice and couscous. I could buy it there, but it’s in the house already
Real food (This goes in the big cooler): We’ll pack cheeses, breads, hot dogs, these lovely little dumplings that Trader Joe’s makes, bacon, sausage, and other things of the sort. I’ve been hitting on sale items for a while now to prepare for the trip. Again…I could buy all of this there, but if I can buy it for 40% off at home and bring it, why not do so?
Booze: We’ll bring a case of $3 Chuck and I’ll provision the rest at the local ABC store.
We also need things like beach umbrellas and little sun shade house things for Chicken.
We’re gonna look like the damn Clampetts as we pull out of town.
And, yes, this is the easy trip.
I’ll be less than 3 hours from home and have access to real supermarkets. The house’s water will work and there will be no termites. Saturday morning will be frenzied and JewelrySlut will stay out of my way until I reach the point where I declare “Fuck all of this. It’s not fitting”. At that point, she’ll pack everything and I’ll seethe.
This is the easy vacation.
I’m already terrified of July’s trip. There’s so much on the line for that little island and our future on it. Will the flights be on time? Will the bags (and cooler) make it? Will JJ’s be open? Will the house work? How soon after landing will one of the 4 of us need to strangle Shmuppie because she’s mad that there are no go-karts or zip line tours on St. John?
A lot of my dorky island friends seem to be engaging in a competition lately. They’re all trying to prove to one another who is the “most St John”. They do this by going down 4 times per year and putting off car payments…just to go over and over again. I’m not one of them. We’re all prepared to walk away should this go wrong.
But…next week…it’s the easy vacation. And I look forward to it.