I have been looking forward to having some time off work for months and at last I am on my two week break. Time to relax and recharge. Time to catch up with things I like doing and to chill out. Time for myself without feeling guilty.
What a fool I am. I forgot what a total stress-fest going away is. Not only because it is stressful for the the best of us but also because we are doing self catering. This means I need to bring the entire contents of the food cupboards and fridge, as well as all the required clothes and bits and bobs.
My first task today was the holiday food shop. I have been out of touch with food shopping for months, as Mick does it, on a strict budget, and today I was sent out with set funds to buy all we needed. Flipping heck prices have gone UP since I last did a big shop.
Mick is clearly a wizard, he manages to buy all the family food each week on a tight budget and save up for treats. I think he must know some black market contacts that I am not aware of because I am sure there is no way he is buying all the food we eat legitimately.
On returning home after that alarming activity I started to pack all the food we need to take with us. We have to take everything with us because a) Charlotte cannot eat out due to her (self) limited diet and due to her Aspergers and; b) I refuse to buy food once there as I know from experience that, if I thought it was expensive out in the real world, the prices in at CenterParcs will give me an aneurysm. There is so much of it though, so many bags to carry all the breakfast, lunch and dinner essentials, as well as drinks and and snacks. There are so many bags I am not sure there will be room in the car at this point for the other luggage, let alone us.
Then moving on to to the other luggage.
We can fit all our clothes and toiletries, for the three of us, into one holdall. Result.
But we also need:
- Towels for swimming
- Buckets and Spades for the artificial beach
- Two laptops because Mick and I cannot live without them
- Charlotte’s tablet, phone and DS as well as a bag of toys and stationery
- A CD player so Charlotte can listen to speaking books to help her sleep
- A couple of board games
- Note books and pens for me
- Books and magazines
- Various other items that I have not thought of yet
I seriously think that once I have pulled it all together there will be about 10 bags of food and stuff to fit into the car. For three of us. For four nights away. We do not travel light.
I remember before we were parents, and when we had money to burn, when we could eat out whenever we wanted and stay in hotels, that Mick and I could pack a small bag each, whizz off to a hotel in the UK or abroad, and be relaxed and chilled from start to finish. It does make me wonder the benefit of doing it at all now we are a family.
But all of this is just me being a grump. Charlotte is so excited to be going. She is looking forward to having Mummy and Daddy all to herself with no work or other things to get in the way. I am looking forward to walking in the woodlands, splashing in the pool and even floating along on a pedalo, making Mick do all the work. Once I get there and we have put all the stuff away I know I will feel great.
I am also looking forward to Mick and me spending time together, chatting and playing board games, and just being together because in the normal course of life we don’t get much time just to be together, and I miss that.
There is a price to pay to get there (on top of the extortionate price of the holiday itself) but that effort will be worth it in the end and if I can just keep that in mind over the next few hours I will get through it. (Not without having a strop and shouting at people for perceived misdemeanours. – Sorry Mick and Charlotte for this.)
I am going to keep powering through, safe in the knowledge that I will forget all the stress within moments of arrival and will end up booking us on another holiday almost as soon as this one ends. But maybe one day, if I can get Charlotte to relax a bit, I can book an all inclusive trip somewhere and keep the packing to a much reduced minimum.
But then there is a risk I might not appreciate it as much without the work before hand.
However, it is a risk I am willing to take.
(By the way – to any burglars out there – we have people looking after the house!)