(A handy guide for the travel-challenged single working mother.)
So! You say you’d like to take a brief recreational trip? How lovely! What a wonderful idea! You deserve a little getaway. That’s right; go have some fun! Just a few minor things before you go….
One month before departure:
Shop online for tickets. Compare prices. Weep. Make a deal with God that you promise to be especially worthy if he will just allow you to do this one thing FOR JUST YOU AND NO ONE ELSE without too much angst. Find acceptable fare. Book it on your credit card. Hope paycheck comes before credit card bill. Make ex think it’s all his idea to take the children for an extra couple of days. Remind God about that whole worthy thing and thank him profusely.
Two weeks before departure:
Mention casually at work that you were sort of hoping to take a future Friday off, and you really don’t need that Monday holiday, so could you possibly work the holiday and then take the Friday off? Yes? Thank boss profusely. Consider making a list of things to do before the trip and things to pack. Decide it’s unnecessary.
One week before departure:
Find yourself grappling with a sick child, causing you to miss some work, just a short week before you’re to take a day off. Agonize over the newness of your employment and wanting to look professional and not miss too much work. Grab child via Vulcan Mind Meld and command him to get better. Receive credit card bill. Practice “going to your happy place.” Bring suitcase upstairs.
Three days before departure:
Get food poisoning. Well, maybe you should skip this step. But if you don’t, be sure to remember that 1) you haven’t packed, 2) you need to do laundry, 3) your tickets are nonrefundable. Oh, be sure to drink plenty of fluids.
Two days before departure:
Feel better. Mostly. Phew. Decide that since you have all-wheel drive, you don’t really need to clear the driveway. Pack the kids’ bag for their dad’s house. Throw a load of laundry in. Consider packing. Decide to do it tomorrow. Check bank account. Paycheck deposited! Pay credit card bill. Do a little victory dance. Go to bed early.
One day before departure:
Go to work and simultaneously accomplish nothing while freaking out about everything you have to do. Pick children up after work. Attempt to run errand at store that closed ten minutes before you arrived. Do not curse in front of the children. Run alternate errand at a different store, and be shocked when–after a long day and now on the second errand–one of the kids has a spectacular meltdown. Leave store without completing errand, to stereo sobbing. Go home, throw snacks at children, go out to shovel the snow they just fell down in. Transfer children to their father when he finally shows up (late) (surprise). Pull laundry out of dryer. Think about packing. Realize you have no list. Realize you have nothing you want to wear. Realize you can’t find your favorite purse. Realize you can’t find your motion sickness bands! Realize you are a humongous dork who should not be allowed to travel out of your house, much less to a different state. Take a deep breath. Polish toenails. Pluck eyebrows. Do a facial masque. Pack (something! anything!). Fret over what you’re surely forgetting. Consider cleaning the house before you leave. Once you stop laughing over that, continue running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
The night before departure:
You didn’t think you were going to sleep, did you? Ha! Consider mentioning on your blog that you will be away. Decide you’re probably a big enough geek to blog anyway so it isn’t necessary. Select books to read on the trip.
Day of departure:
Remember to put your suitcase in the car. Go to work. Drink a lot of coffee since you didn’t sleep. Call to check on kids. Leave work. Go to airport. Get on plane. Take a nap. Enjoy your weekend. Try not to do anything dumb. (Okay, try not to do anything dumber than usual.)