About this time each year, my wife and I start thinking about a vacation. I don’t know if we are still mentally programmed for winter and want to escape the cold, but we usually start brainstorming about now.
As I am writing this column, we are awaiting an ice storm. The likelihood of being housebound tomorrow is pretty high, so I figured I would get the obligatory conversation with the wife out of the way tonight so I can spend tomorrow drinking coffee and watching Lee Marvin movies with the cats.
We never can agree on a vacation spot. My wife likes the beach, but we live 30 minutes from one, so that’s not a particularly big thrill for me. I imagine if we go to the beach, that beach, we can always run home for something if, when we check into the hotel, we realize we have forgotten something important like the little plastic cup I put my dentures in.
We once went to Baltimore for a few days to visit family and when we got there, I had realized I had forgotten to pack pajamas, so I was offered a pair of sweatpants from our hosts. I didn’t mind that they were powder blue. After all, I was only sleeping in them. It was at breakfast that first morning that I realized that they were not only powder blue, but had the word “juicy” in large block letters across the posterior. For the rest of the trip, my wife kept calling me “Juicy.” Now I pack the pajamas first and everything else second.
I suggested we go to a city we had never been to before. I provided a list of major cities within a five-hour drive. My wife came back with the crime statistics for all of them but one. None of them were suitable and the person who compiled the crime statistics for the last one was killed in a drive-by shooting. I had never been to any of the cities and was willing to take a chance, albeit a heavily armed one.
My wife was not. Scratch a big city adventure off our list.
My wife found a wonderful resort in the Caribbean. The price was right. The amenities were incredible and it looked to be a perfect choice. It was one of those all-inclusive deals where you pay one price and everything except tips were included. It sounded like a great idea and my wife was about to enter the credit card information into the reservations website when I noticed something in the small print of the resort description: It was a clothing-free resort.
It wasn’t one of those clothing-optional ones — this one was all the way. Now I know what I look like and I know what my wife looks like clothed or unclothed and if we look the way we do, most everyone else is going to look the way we do and I really don’t want to see that. Besides, I like carrying a little bit of cash on me at all times and I wouldn’t know where to put it. I had already nixed one beach vacation, and I could wear pants on that one. I didn’t want one where everyone stuck to the barstools and beach chairs.
We thought about going to visit our kids. We lived with them long enough, so that was easily decided. I mean, we love our kids, but we didn’t count down until their adulthood for nothing.
We found ourselves at an impasse.
I thought briefly about a mountain resort, but with an impending winter storm coming, I wasn’t too keen on snow. I don’t know how to ski or snowboard, I get cold easily and I don’t like being the least bit damp. My wife doesn’t like the snow because, at her age, the cold weather makes her ache. There was no sense in going to the mountains if we were just going to stay inside and drink hot chocolate. We can do that at home. Swiss Miss is Swiss Miss wherever you drink it.
I brought up Europe and my wife asked where. She is a picky eater so a lot of foreign destinations are not appealing to her because she won’t be able to eat. I suggested Ireland and she reminded me that my brother lives there and we would have to spend time with him and his family and she knew that mine and his competitive natures would kick in and it would be a week-long game of one-upsmanship. I asked her what she meant by that and she told the tale of a few Christmases ago when my brother and I and a bottle of Irish whiskey caused quite a scene and the destruction of not only one, but six Christmas trees.
Finally, we agreed to just stay home. My wife and I can knit and I can watch Lee Marvin movies with the cats. We can use the money we save from traveling for something else ridiculously expensive. You know, bills.
Award-winning columnist Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.