What Vacation Type Are You?

By Ellen Rothberg

I’m on vacation. I have been on vacation since July 1. It’s an experimental vacation, as my husband calls it, because he is working, remotely, from our vacation spot in Vail, Colorado. Working remotely, is a new phenomenon brought on by smart phones, computers and other electronic geniuses we now possess. I am not working remotely, unless you consider trying to orchestrate the movements of the people in my life that I left behind in Houston. Electronic gadgets do not work quite as well for my purposes as they do for my husband’s. His experiment has been a limited success. Mine, not so much.

So, why when I left the heat of Texas for the beautiful, coolness of Colorado, am I not considering the experimental vacation a success? Well, there are several reasons, most of them pretty reasonable. Let me share them in no particular order:

  1. I have an elderly mother, well taken care of, but still pretty dependent on me for social interaction. .Unfortunately, she often thinks that close friends and family are out to get her. This leaves me to smooth over the hard feelings and try to help her reframe the misconceptions. This feat, despite being a mental health professional, is often too much for me at home, let alone from 1000 miles away.
  2. Colorado is a young, vibrant, fitness-minded, outdoorsy place. I am not young, vibrant, fitness-minded or outdoorsy. I will not wake up one morning and say to myself, “I can’t wait to go on a five mile hike at 8200 feet above sea level”. I live the other eleven months of the year in a city at or below sea level. My lungs can’t take the altitude change and anyone who’s ever been to Houston knows there is nothing to hike up to. This is not to say that I can’t enjoy a nice walk by a babbling creek in 65-70 degree weather in July. I am just not going to dream about it.
  3. One of my children is about to be married. The wedding is two weeks after I return home. I think that anybody who has ever been even remotely involved in the planning of a wedding knows what I am thinking. Enough said!
  4. I am one of  number of education professionals who have some part of the summer off from work. I won’t get into the debate about how educators have the whole summer off or how we are paid enough for the job we do. I will only say that my school year kicks off on August 10, the week after my return from the month long experimental vacation in Colorado.
  5. Oh, did I mention that my month long vacation in Colorado took place in a fancy condo rental? Yes, it is beautiful, but I still did laundry, dishes, cooking (OK, not that much cooking), and cleaning up. The hourly rates to have the condo cleaned on a daily basis was more than I make per hour as an education professional. Oh, I forgot, I wasn’t going to talk about that.

What is my ideal vacation? One where I sit on the beach, holding my second or third frosty rum or tequila concoction of the day as natives serenade me with whatever island specialty tunes they choose to play that day. Oh, and where the trials and tribulations of my real life back home take care of themselves for the time I am gone.

 

 

Mother’s Day By Ellen Rothberg

Mother’s Day has always seemed a bit superfluous to me. After all, isn’t every day Mother’s Day? The moms, more often than not, are the conductors of the daily life around the house. Aren’t we the ones who wake the children, dress the children, make sure the children have their homework tucked safely inside the blue folder in their backpacks? Oh, I know, Mother’s Day is our day off from those responsibilities, but really, do we ever have a day off? Even if dads are supervising mom’s day off, the potential for disaster is looming in the distance in the form of a missed playdate or, heaven forbid, a lost baseball uniform. So, on this Mother’s Day, I offer the top ten things we don’t want for Mother’s Day. You can call it the “Yes, I’m a Mother ________________. Don’t Mess With Me Day!” official Mother’s Day anti-gift list.

10. We don’t want flowers from 1-800-FLOWERS. They usually require us to do our own arranging which, unless we’re Martha Stewart, we can live without.
9. Don’t BBQ and call it a Mother’s Day meal because we know we will be the ones doing the dirtiest part of the clean up. You know that’s true!
8. See #9 we are not OCD about cleanliness, so we don’t need a t-shirt
proclaiming “People With OCD do it over . . . and over . . . and over”. 7. Breakfast in bed — this is really not necessary since we hardly ever eat breakfast unless you call driving by Starbucks for a Skinny Latte, breakfast. I know it looks cute and cozy on tv, but it is just messy and uncalled for in reality.
6. Bath salts in provocative fragrances. We rarely bathe because we’re too busy trying to do everything else!
5. Like #6, we don’t want perfume in a scent we’ve never worn. Do you know what we usually wear?
4. Here’s a hint — don’t say I’m not your mother and therefore you do not need to do anything special. That’s lame.
3. Anything the children made. I know, that sounds awful, but do we need another clay jewelry holder? How about some new jewelry to place in the fifteen holders we already have?
2. Time for ourselves. Well, we do like that, but it doesn’t mean that we all stay in the house and the family tries to give us some quiet space. It either means that everyone leaves (yes, the father will probably be the driver) or I leave and get a massage, pedicure, manicure or all of these indulgent things.
1. Ah! The number one thing that we don’t want for Mother’s Day is the
total absence of our beloved families. Because we work hard, we totally love hard. Being a mom is the hardest, best job anyone could have and we do it with pride, fierce protectiveness and a sense that in the end, we wouldn’t trade one minute of our family memories . . . Well . . . there was the time the kids ran through the neighbor’s sprinkler as we were leaving for their aunt’s wedding . . . that’s a story for another time.