After four days in the North Carolina mountains with The Wife, I came back rested, relaxed, and with an updated list of vacation rules. Yes, dear reader, even vacations have rules. And if you want an enjoyable relaxing time with your better half, print these out and follow them to the letter. You’ll thank me later.
To start, this is not a complete list of rules. To print all of them would take too much space, so I’ve listed the most important ones. Those would be the ones that came up during last week’s trip.
What is at the top of the list? Don’t, for any reason, disturb The Wife during nap-time. And while on vacation, nap-time can occur at anytime.
Almost as important as the first rule is the second: diets also go on vacation when we go on vacation. If you suggest otherwise, you will be not rested and relaxed, but battered and bruised upon your return.
The next one is the hard one. You must magically forget about all those things that worry you during your daily life while you’re not on vacation.
You know, all that stuff that caused you to need a vacation in the first place. The shrinking value of your home, mounting bills, and all those problems at work must not be talked about endlessly. All must be forgotten, not mentioned whatsoever, and above all else, not worried about while on vacation.
Sorry, my love, I’ll work on this one.
If you have kids, this next rule is for you. Never, ever, bring the kids on the grownup vacation. If you want to, you can go on their vacation each year, but each year you and your better half must take your own vacation without them. What? You mean you actually brought kids with you? Well, let me introduce you to rule number four.
Never bring kids on a grownup vacation, especially if the kids you bring aren’t your own. If your son or daughter wants to bring their friend on vacation, this is what you should say, “When you’re grown, moved out with a job of your own, then and only then can you bring your best friend with you on vacation. By then, they won’t be your best friend, but if you still want them to go, it’s fine. Besides you’ll be paying for everything at that time, not us.”
Saying anything else will certainly lead to disaster, and it will not be a relaxing time for you or the wife. And if it’s Spring Break in Panama City Beach, Fla., the only ones guaranteed to have a good time are the kids.
You’ll just have to trust me on this one. A five-hour drive, 72 hours without sleep, multiple unanswered cell phone calls, and I didn’t even get a t-shirt.
Now that the kids have been left at home, the next rule comes into play. Don’t, for any reason, call home to check on them, the pets, or plants. Don’t laugh; I know this guy who’s really fond of his giant cactus. And no, it’s not me.
The second part of rule number six is even harder to obey – don’t take any phone calls from the kids. If you thought they were old enough to be left at home alone in the first place, they should be old enough to handle any emergency that comes up in your absence.
Besides, they just have to remember how to dial 911, that’s three numbers. And if it’s really bad, that’s why you have insurance.
Whether it’s a day getaway, a romantic weekend in the mountains, or even that rare five-day, four-night vacation you always cut short by one day, make sure to remember the most important rule of all.
The time spent with the one you love is time you will never get again. The future is never here, the past is forever gone, but the present is a gift to be enjoyed and lived with the one you love.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, has been a firefighter for more than two decades and a columnist for The Citizen since 2001. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.]