Getting Away- Let’s Try This Again, and Why Not Take the Train?

 

 

vacationfamily truckster

I embark on “vacations” with a sense of trepidation.  Last year I was supposed to have two entire days of peace and quiet at the campground with just Clara as company.   Instead I got five days of Jerry barking orders at me- and to make it even more miserable, I had a wicked sinus infection throughout the whole “vacation” which lingered on for about 10 days after.

It was not fun.

How do I explain to him that part of the point of taking a “vacation” is not having to run and fetch for him?  When I think of a vacation I’m thinking of margaritas and pool boys and beaches and sleeping and reading.

tahiti

 

A vacation for him is never a “vacation” for me.   It is more reminiscent of boot camp.

boot-camp-55842982115_xlarge

Every time Jerry has ever imposed himself on one of my “vacations,” I’ve been happy as hell to get back to work.

I still want a couple of days’ peace and quiet with nothing but canine company.  It probably won’t happen.  I will be stuck running after beer (which I don’t drink) and lottery tickets (that I don’t play.)  I’ll likely be recruited to perform home improvement projects and maintenance for him that I am not very good at doing.  Then I will get nine kinds of shit about how bad I suck at hanging blinds or cleaning gutters.

The nearest establishment to the campground that sells beer and lottery is about six miles away.  Then *while I’m out- ha-ha* I will get demands to procure obscure items at hardware stores (even further out), to fix food and to run divers errands, until my head spins.   He will want me to take the dogs out at midnight, just because. There will be no quiet.  There will be no resting.  He will make a concerted effort to drive me completely apeshit.

I’ve taken vacations with my parents and/or Steve-o which do afford more relaxation time, but Mom and Dad can prove grating as well.  Mom’s insanely pokey and doesn’t get motivated easily.  Dad is constantly wanting to stop and go munch somewhere, which means it’s pretty much impossible to adhere to any kind of schedule.

solo traveler

Perhaps it is just my wiring that makes the fun vacation (for me) the solo vacation, where I can operate on my own itinerary and do what I want when (and if) I feel like doing it.

33 states honor my Ohio CCW, which is a comforting thought, as I don’t generally travel unarmed.  Most of the places where I would routinely travel are quite fine with concealed carry. The bad thing is I really, really want to see the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.  But my CCW is not valid in Pennsylvania, which really sucks.  I have to ponder this one.  Is it worth it to travel unarmed and run the risk of being carjacked, robbed, raped and/or pillaged?  I will have to find out if open carry is legal there, but it’s probably not.  Once the gun control weenies ban concealed carry, they usually aren’t cool about open carry either.

It’s about 500 miles one way, which is a day trip to get there, overnight in a motel, all day at the museum, then another night at the motel and the trip back.  It looks like this trip is three days- if I drive and take it leisurely.

mutter museum

I’ll have to find out if it’s in a safer part of town.  I won’t go alone if I can’t carry and it’s in da hood.  Having a good time at a strange destination is all about the research.  I’ve traveled alone many times with little more than some scribbled directions and a general sense of where I need to go.  I remember going to one series of meetings (two days) with about 15 minutes notice and I ended up having to buy toiletries and a change of clothes at a freaking Odd Lots store. It was sort of fun but also quite harrowing to try to get by with a weird sized curling iron, soaps and makeup I’d never heard of, and clothing that was less than flattering.

I’d rather research the area, know where I’m going, and have my reservations ahead of time.

One thing I have planned for my brief upcoming hiatus is a train ride- the Hocking Valley Railroad offers a short day trip through southeast Ohio on a passenger train.  I’m planning to go next Thursday and I hope the weather cooperates.  Better yet, I hope Jerry shuts up long enough for me to actually enjoy the scenery.

 

Pennsylvania_Railroad_Passenger_Car

 

 

 

Ignorant and Blithely Oblivious, Part 1

sword of Damocles

It’s going to drop.  Murphy’s Law says so.

It has been said, “ignorance is bliss.”  Perhaps in the short term that’s true.  It’s sort of hard to have fun when one can see the Sword of Damocles hanging over one’s head.

I remember the most miserable vacation I’d ever had.  When I was in seventh grade I had a rather difficult time with math, and I didn’t particularly like the math teacher to boot.  She was one of the teachers that assumed that since I had aptitude for and achieved in every other subject that I should excel in math as well.  Yeah.  Right.

Reportcard1915

In those days you got a report card every six weeks, that your parent/guardian/resident adult had to sign and return to the teacher.  In my family it was worse than that- DAD had to sign it, as his signature is rather ornate and hard to copy.  He always perused my report cards with particular scrutiny before signing them.  Anything less than straight A’s usually got me grounded, and usually the only subject that was difficult for me to get an A in was, of course, math.

That six weeks before Thanksgiving break I’d barely ended up with a C- in math class, as well as the teacher had included a nasty note on the report card that implied that I was a horrible slacker because I didn’t do well in her class.

The signed report cards were due back the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Joy.

Dad wasn’t particularly worried about report cards that Thanksgiving break as he was preoccupied with a long-planned trip to my grandmother’s in St. Louis.  Normally I would be thrilled about getting to see my grandmother (Mom’s Mom) who I only got to see once or twice a year and, if I was lucky, for a week or two in summer, but this was a miserable trip.

 vacationfamily truckster

I’d rather have been stranded with the Griswalds.

I kept wondering when Dad was going to ask about report cards, and/or when my oldest sister would remind him.  She was normally quite anxious to get hers signed.  She usually got mostly A’s and a B now and then.  Dad didn’t usually give her any trouble unless she got below a B in anything.  But even my sadistic oldest sister wasn’t in any real hurry to show off her report card this go-round. I would discover later that she had gotten 3 B’s and a bad conduct comment from the gym teacher, which wasn’t quite normal for her either.   Her conduct usually was bad- no surprise there- but she was generally very good at hiding her sadism from adults.  It was unusual for her to get caught.

My other sister always got crappy grades (Dad usually didn’t get on her if she at least got C’s)- but she had mostly C’s and one D- so she wasn’t in any hurry to have Dad sign her report card either.  None of us had the courage to hit Dad up for signatures until the last minute- mostly because nobody wanted to spend an eight hour road trip (one way) listening to Dad seethe and fume on about how bad our grades were.  I know I didn’t want to be around Dad in close proximity for four days when he’s pissed.  Let him be pissed on Monday when he’s at work and I don’t have to deal with it.

Even so, all I could think about the entire trip was a.) the inevitable browbeating I would get over Mrs. Vitriol’s (not her real name) catty comments, and Dad’s predictable volatility and malaise for the next six weeks. I wouldn’t be going anywhere besides school and the library for a long time.

teacher_behaviornote_sample

Mrs. Vitriol’s note was NOT this nice.

I actually tried to find an example of a “nasty note from school” online, and uncovered nothing more than vapid entreaties to parents that they should encourage Suzie or Jimmy to be his or her “best self” tomorrow or similar tripe.   My note was to the effect of, “Your daughter is lazy and doesn’t care if she achieves in my class or not.”  A little something to make Dad go medieval on my sorry ass.   Which he did- with extreme prejudice.  Nothing got Dad hot faster than having any teacher accuse me of slacking in school, warranted or not.

The sad irony is that math was the only class I ever really did study for.  It just didn’t make sense to me, and still doesn’t once I get beyond what I call “accounting math-” the basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division one needs to navigate in daily life.   I can balance a checkbook, I can figure out what kind of mileage I get, and so forth, but that’s about the extent of my mathematical ability.  It was a real struggle for me to get to the point of having that much understanding.  I have about as much aptitude for things mathematical as I do for sports.

I would have had a lot more fun on that trip to my grandmother’s if I hadn’t gotten that report card until after vacation.  In that instance maybe ignorance would have afforded a little bit of bliss.

life easier when stupid

Perhaps, but intellect has its advantages.

The Grateful Dead said, “I may be goin’ to hell in a bucket, baby, but at least I’m enjoyin’ the ride.”  Apparently that’s how the ignorant go through life.

hell in a bucket

Biker Wisdom 101

One thing I can say for that philosophy is it probably cuts down on stress.  After all, most stress comes from worrying about things that never happen anyway.  Unfortunately I find myself taking the Murphy’s Law approach most of the time.  I figure everything’s going to go wrong anyway.

In all seriousness, though, worrying about things that a.) will happen anyway, and b.) I can’t change, really is a waste of time.