Taking a vacation? Here is your “pre vacation stress check list”

Preparing for a family vacation may be one of life’s most challenging obstacles for us parents.

It’s not so much the beginning stages and planning of the trip. It’s the few stressful days leading up to the departure that really get my nuts in a bunch.

I speak of this as I just broke out of a family huddle at 11pm Eastern time on my couch that has left me $1000 poorer, my wife not talking to me and my kids disowning me.

Booking our vacation initially was quite easy. If you happen to be like me you borrow your sister and brother -in-laws Visa mileage credit card. Proceed to book a $5000 vacation to Mexico on a random Tuesday after a night of slamming Tequila Sunrises off your partners dirty belly button. You both have absolutely no idea how in the hell you will pay for this trip. Your only saving grace is the credit cards 30 day payment policy. As stressed out irresponsible parents you collectively throw your balls and tits on the line and hope for the best. Only way it should be!

It always seems to work out. Most of the time.

What just transpired in my household has ultimately left me speechless. Well. Not really. That would be impossible.

It was 10:45 pm and my wife and I along with two curious children gathered around our living room sofas and coffee table for a vacation meeting. I felt trapped and began to sweat uncontrollably. I was embracing for the “pre stress vacation check list” that was about to be dropped on me like Rocky Dennis at childbirth.

Pre-vacation stress list as follows:

1. Confirmed reservation. My wife insists I must call the Resort in Mexico at 11pm the night before arrival to confirm our hotel reservation even after we have received 329 email confirmations in six languages. I asked “what if they say we don’t have a reservation?” She replied “shut the fuck up.” So I dialed the number to confirm only to be put on hold. I patiently waited and listened to a terrible rendition of La Bamba for 86 minutes. The helpful customer service representative who appeared to have been a bottle and a half of tequila deep returns to the phone line walking me through the confirmation process like he’s the best man giving a speech at an El Chapo wedding. I honestly still have no idea if our reservation is confirmed. All I heard was a Mexican man choking on lettuce for 6 minutes.

2. Luggage weight. My wife is so concerned the luggage will weigh more than the allowed amount of 50lbs she placed the luggage on the treadmill trying to shed a few pounds. She walked around the house with this weight testing device measuring and weighing tooth brushes and bars of soap. She has officially lost her mind.

3. Clean house. My wife must have the entire house cleaned before we leave. I explained it’s ok to relax and clean when we get home. Not her. She set up scaffolding to clean the tops of window treatments and ceiling fans. She’s running around the house with 3 different types of vacuums sucking up every type of dust mite to ever be discovered. I walked into the bathroom and her legs were hanging out of the toilet bowl as Pandora radio belted out “I want your sex” by George Michael so I turned around gracefully and went about my business. I returned after she completed her hard work and dropped a “Red Lobster” inspired deuce. I honestly felt horrible. It was either the clean toilet or the micro- suede couch.

4. Man scape. My wife just realized we didn’t man scape me properly in order to take the trip. Now that the bathrooms are cleaned we must now figure out the best option to remove this unwanted fur in order to avoid embarrassment at the Resort. So we run down to the local CVS and purchase 3 gallons of Nair. We then tie me up to a tree and hire Edward Scissor Hands to trim me up. Does it matter? Like I give a frogs fat ass if somebody witnesses a few hair follicles on my shoulder blade in Mexico? The answer is yes. I must look my best for the Mexican cook wandering around the pool with cubic zirconia teeth and a tattoo of Richie Valence on his cheek passing out sun ridden mad cow disease double cheeseburgers. It’s all about image.

5. Pill dispensers. You would think my family travels as a group of four individuals requiring Hospice care at all times. At first glance it appears our immune systems couldn’t defend against a piece of liverwurst. We consume more daily medication than Michael Jackson at a Neverland reunion. I never realized this until tonight. Combined family daily pill intake just north of 37. Should I be concerned?

6. Medical safety. My wife panics and must pack every pill, cream, patch, gauze, tape and any other medical remedy in case any of us trip and scrape our knee caps on the poolside concrete. My wife’s vacation survival kit could most likely save soldiers at war. Ironically, my kids resemble burnt shriveled hot dogs after the first day of vacation as a result of sun poisoning but if they stub their toe, my wife has them covered.

7. Money concerns and excursions. I must be honest. I just dropped $5000 I did not have and my wife wants to know how much cash I’m bringing to an All Inclusive Resort. Seriously? I’m showing up to the airport with enough money to buy a gum ball and a bottle of tequila. I’ll figure the rest out. I hear her mumble under her breath “I hope you bring enough money so we as a family can ride a Mexican Flipper.” I tried to explain to her the Dolphins in Mexico are not like the graceful animals we encounter at Sea World. She believes we will all hop in the water with a friendly Mexican dolphin and it will kiss and wave to us, drive us around the water so we can take cute photos to post on Instagram & Facebook.

I don’t agree. I believe we will
jump into the water with no life jackets as 27 sleep deprived “Montezuma
Revenge” infected dolphins will bite down on our cankles and induce rabies upon us as our mouths begin to foam just in time for our new Instagram profile pic.

8. Let’s make memories.  I get it. I’m on board with this one. It’s important to document these moments. I also need a constant reminder of WTF I actually spent this money on. Problem is this. My wife and I have different interpretations of memories. For instance, my wife will make every attempt to snap a memorable photo of our family eating a cheeseburger. A timeless action family portrait of us all walking on sweltering hot stamped concrete. It’s nice. My interpretation of a vacation memory is slightly different. I believe an iconic vacation moment consists of my wife and I climbing up to the hotels clay Spanish tile roof as our kids sleep below and we toss rocks at the Mexican planes flying above running out of fuel. Then we make triplets on that same roof and come home to tell our friends we gave birth to Mexican children. We then try to negotiate our children’s heritage for free college tuition. Now that’s a memory. My wife wants to buy a poncho and some jumping beans and she believes that’s a memory. Please.

I have many more but I’m tired. I would love to hear all of your “pre vacation stress” rituals and requirements.

It’s vacation. It should be relaxing. Stress free. I get it though. You are leaving the comfort of your own environment so it’s only natural to sometimes stress and worry.

It’s all worth it once we all get to our destination and get a drink in our hand.

Feet up. Relax. It will be over before we know it!