Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When Travel Brings Out the Worst in Us

It’s the one time of year, or possibly one of the many times a year for some, that you look forward to getting away and leaving responsibilities behind.

Vacation.  I know I dream about it from inception to delivery.  I look forward to the day we say goodbye same old and hello new adventure.  Being as lucky as we are to live among some seriously fabulous European cities our vacations can be exciting.

And this summer it’s a mixed bag of opportunities.  

The beginning of July my husband will be participating in a charity bike ride from Germany to Prague, Czech Republic.  Then we will we heading to New Jersey to visit my mother in law and I will be attending a conference in DC for part of the trip.

The other night we were talking about July and we were kicking around how hubby would be getting back from the airport with his bike and bike case (the thing is HUGE) after his trip and also fit two kids in the car (we have a small sedan).   The bike and case will also be going on vacation with us as Hubby has a 24 hour cycling race on the Nurburgring days after we get back. So he needs to train while we are on vacation.

Here’s the conversation:

Him: I know I’ll just rent a car at the airport.

Me: Well that seems like a waste of money. {ever the frugal oneSurely we can work something out getting it in the car with the kids. {even if they ride on the roof}

Him: But we’re leaving the next day for the US so we’d have the rental to drive down to Frankfurt with all the luggage.

Me: Huh? 

Him: To go to my moms and your conference…

Me: The VERY next day?!!

And I’m thinking Dang it.  The entire week leading up to vacation when I NEED help with the kids so I can pack all of us (because somehow the kids are always my job to pack) he will be MIA.  Fab.u.lous.  Whose idea was it to go the next day anyway?

Me: Whose idea was it to leave the very next day? {said with annoyance in my voice}

Him: Umm, yours if you want to go to that conference.  You said you wanted a day or two to get adjusted before you went to DC.

Me: Oh.

Oh, yeah, I did say that. Darn it!  So already I’m annoyed at having no help the week leading up to vacation.  My mind plans and then forgets things easily.  I would never remember anything if it weren't for my phones calendar and a whole truckload of sticky notes.

It’s always the little things when we are on vacation that cause irritation.  One of us forgets something, says the wrong thing or didn’t read the other persons mind and on occasion the trip starts to look like a bad movie.

I know that as much as we travel, I get nervous on planes no matter that we fly several long haul trips a year and I tend to have far less patience than I probably should.  There’s some magic switch inside that tells me to get tensed up the second we get in the car to leave.  The kids seem to fight more, hubby and I argue about stupid things that don’t matter and I in general end up not getting to participate in much of the relaxing part of the vacation.  Living in hotels and seeing sights and eating out it all adds up to more stress and tension.  

And lets not even bring up visiting family for 'vacation'.  Everyone wants your attention from family to old friends.  For us we spend half our time running from Target to the nearest mall to stock up on shoes and clothes for the kids, American 'stuff', books, videos and foodstuffs. We rarely actually sit and do nothing.  Add in dentists visits and going 'home' becomes far more stressful than actually staying home.

Why do we do this?  

A vacation should be fun not stressful.  I don’t remember my parents being so stressed out when we traveled as kids.  However we have yet to forget our children anywhere (cause you really can't count that one time...) and we've remembered to pack underwear for everybody.  Socks though  are a completely different story.

What is your ultimate stress free vacation?  What do you do to insure you're not tempted to throw the other person overboard?  



Susan said...

Hey Andrea, I'm laughing hystercially! So true!

Perfect vacation? No kids. Sorry little ones, mommy loves you but usually not so much on vacation! ;)

I could camp out on my local contaminated river edge, with hubs and a bottle of wine and be content. As.long.as.there.are.no.kids.

Cajoh said...

I always say that any trip is an adventure— even those that we take every day. My wife likes to be prepared for everything whereas I tend to want to rely on my resourcefulness to get by. This causes a lot of conflicts when we prepare to go places since she's always asking me "did you pack…" and I tend to not want to bring that.

MakingChanges said...

How true is this? I have a friend whose sister was planning on getting engaged but wouldn't say yes until they took an extended driving trip with each other to see how they handled it. I had to laugh, but seriously, it's true.

The best trip I think I've ever taken was this last one where we were in 2 separate cars. Sad, but true. We didn't fight about the kids, which is usually the biggest reason we get mad and then we snap at each other. This time- it was great! Just a recommendation.

valerie said...

Oh I just love road trips with the kids. NOT! I actually liked it better when they were smaller. Then they fell asleep as soon as we got going and didn't fight much with each other. Now the "he's looking, touching, my side,making noises" just drives my hubby bonkets. Me too sometimes, but then I can tune them out much better than he can. lol

TisforTonya said...

I did once manage to leave home with no spare undies... for a 4 day trip... and after everyone got done laughing at me we did manage to get to the right store...

"vacations" need to be re-named!

Kimberly Zook said...

Before we had children, our ultimate vacation was a 7 day cruise to Alaska and back from Seattle. The entire trip onboard and off the ship was so easy, because we didn't have to plan for anything (meals, activities, entertainment, etc were all at our fingertips). We've talked about trying to do this again in the future with our children, but I'm not sure if it would be the same ultimate experience. I really can't think of an easy vacation to bring young children on since their schedules will be out of whack and that changes how they are. Maybe just a vacation anywhere with only my hubby!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

This is exactly why My husband and I will NEVER be able to do the Amazing RACE...we travel all the time together but have a hard time of it! lol! :)

The Blonde Duck said...

Ben and I still haven't been on our honeymoon...three years later. But we've taken plenty of trips to see family and go to various weddings for friends. The easist one we went to was a all-expenses paid wedding last year where we had no responsibilities. Family trips are always stressful just because there's so much to do in such a small amount of time and with the puppies, there's two little creatures to terrorize everyone else.

I've told everyone that when we have children, the only time I'm leaving is to go somewhere with Ben. Alone. Otherwise, they can come to us.

Until then, there's tons of places I want to go...if I can ever get time off!

Missty said...

Great topic!! We have traveled alot as a family and as a couple. Love it! And with kids - I am all for all the electronics yo can pack!!! lol DVD players, gameboys, whatever!!

One vacation, Matt had a business trip before our vacation. He shipped his business clothes home, and we met him at the airport with a suitcase of vacation clothes for him. He got off one plane, and 2 hours later got on a plane to Hawaii with us.

With kids - I think cruises are the best. Tons of entertainment for them. We had to BEG our kids to just eat dinner with us. THe rest of the time they were with there friends in the kids club areas.

wendy said...

Well, when you get my age, vacations are AWESOME - no kids, do what I want. sleep in as long as I want - eat where and when I want ---vacations are all about ME after all.
But, ya gotta enjoy those kids while you got them as I do miss those little hell vacations as well.

Anonymous said...

Susan -I hear you! No kids! No kids!

CaJoh - You sound like my husband. No matter how long the trip he packs the night before or the morning of the trip. Makes me crazy!

Youngblood - Oh, I like that idea. That's a great test.

Valerie - Sounds like the drive home from school everyday...lol

T - No spare undies, that had to be interesting.

Kimberly - I like the cruise idea. We just went our first, a Disney one with the kids, but we both completely want to do another without them!

Shelle- LOL!!

Blonde - You need a honeymoon. You like Germany? ;)

Missty - Cruises are awesome. Even though we've only done one, I completely agree.

Wendy - Hell vacations! That made me laugh out loud.

DGB said...

WonderWife™ and I travel very well together. So far, we've done pretty well with the Bean also. But we have less of a stellar travel record since Sprout has come along. Though to be fair, it was a horrible trip cross country, followed by three hours in the car out of our way to visit grandparents. So nobody was happy.

We're having our first real family vacation next month. (Real meaning not traveling to visit family.) Wish us luck.

Anjeny said...

That is why I hardly travel..lol. The last time I took a trip with the hubby, the oldest was eight, I think, and I had the four kids at the time so the youngest was 2 so I split them up in twos and left them with a couple of friends. My husband was going on a business trip and some of co-workers talked him into taking me so it wasn't really a well-prepared plan cuz we spent the whole trip fighting, I was missing the kids and we were worried about how the kids were doing so I was miserable.

Now looking back, I shouldn't have left my 2 year old with the person I left him with because when I came back, it took him a whole year to get over the experience...everytime I drove by my friend's house, my 2 year old would start crying and begging me not to leave him at that house.

I've gone on two trips after that back to the islands, just me and the baby, it was a lot less stressful trip for me but I did wish my hubby came with me though.

I guess no matter how prepared we are when it comes to trip, there will always be something amiss but I still wouldn't mind going on a trip. I just hate airports though.

Love the post blogging mama.