Anyone who knows me well knows I hate holidays. I have many stories of the disasters we have endured while having the time of our lives.
Like the time Mack was eaten so much by midges that we had to take him to the Majorcan doctor with suspected chicken pox.
Or the time Llyw had a fit (a proper one, not the “I hate shopping so I’m going to kick off” type) in the Metro Centre and we were treated to Newcastle NHS finest ambulance ride and hospital bed.
I’d much rather stay at home and have my regular, normal disasters in the comfort of my own home.
When you have kids, I don’t even agree with the term “holiday”. I much rather relate to the “Modern Family”quote “it’s not a holiday, it’s a business trip”.
But the “idea” of holidays is lovely. Imagine being invited on an all expenses trip to Spain with some of your favourite people in the world. Imagine being invited to a luxury villa where breakfast is provided for you and there are two swimming pools for the kids to play in. I mean why would you possibly say no? What could possibly go wrong?
Then I remembered why I hate holidays.
First of all you have to pack.
Oh so easy.
4 days before holiday
Sixteen year old son who never communicates or comes out of his bedroom has outgrown all his clothes. So I have to take him shopping. I decide on the easiest course of action:
Invite his girlfriend and get her to make him come. I arrange a date and time when I know Torin will be in playgroup so not requiring entertaining.
Except playgroup finishes a week earlier than I thought. So Torin tags along.
Then I find out Mack’s girlfriend hates shopping nearly as much as Mack does.
Three stressful hours later and Mack’s wardrobe is “complete”. I pretend not to remember Mack will need winter clothes at some point.
2 days before holiday
School ends and the time comes to take Adelaide shopping who has also outgrown all her clothes. And is the most fussy, particular clothes wearer that ever set foot on the planet. Maddie, a normal healthy teenage girl recognises a shopping trip when she sees one and rearranges her timetable to ensure she can come too. So shopping trip #2 includes Maddie, Adelaide, Genie and Torin.
My first mistake was not checking everyone had had breakfast before we left the house.
Maddies low blood sugar kicks in after first ten minutes and she starts complaining of the shakes and her mood plummets. But we’re arm deep in clothes and I refuse to leave the shop before we’ve broken the back of our list. So I put up with her for another half an hour.
Shop#1 done and we go to PoundStretcher to buy cheap crisps and drinks.
Except they don’t sell crisps by the packet anymore. They only sell multipacks. And Genie is the fussiest crisp eater ever. She only likes ready salted (and a random assortment of ‘crisps’ like Quavers and Wotsits). So we agree on a multi pack of McCoys. Except apparently Genie only likes flat crisps. We get to the counter and I remember I don’t have any cash (this is entirely normal, I am, actually, the Queen). So I start to plan all the things we need that could take the bill up to the credit card minimum spend. I’m sure we are in dire need of a JML floor sweeper or a saucepan set…. Luckily they were happy to put the £2 odd on the credit card.
So back we go to shop number #2: Matalan, to continue shopping. Except any professional shopper knows it’s much more difficult to find the last things in your list. Especially when you have three very very particular shoppers. Shoes are too pink. Shorts are not pink enough. T-shirts are the most amazingly beautiful things and cannot be lived without (even though we already have 200 each).
After shop #5 I am losing the will to live. Random things are bought because I have no more energy to say no. I contemplate making Adelaide wear size 4 flip flops (on her size 2 feet) because apparently the third week in July is the time shops think we want to buy winter coats rather than sandals.
Finally I can’t take anymore and we go home and I resort to Amazon prime. I pray at the alter of the Amazon Prime Gods and swear never to desert them again. All shopping from now on to be done on Amazon and maybe Next because you know 9pm is totally the time I’m shopping and you can still get it next day. (Hooray!)
1 day before holiday
Now to fit everything in the suitcase.
Which is totally achievable. Eight people including a 3xl man with size 13 feet and 3 (nearly) teenagers who believe you cannot go on holiday without the contents of Boots. Yep definitely will fit in one suitcase. Actually two because you have to plan for one being lost in transit and therefore split everything entirely evenly between each suitcase.
Packing done. Genie sits on suitcase 2 while I close it.
Cry a little.
Consider holding suitcase together with string.
Cry a bit more while emptying precisely folded, neatly packed suitcase onto bed ready to repackage (a little less precisely, a lot less neatly) into two smaller suitcases.
Exhausted I decide on a little nap with Torin.
I set alarm for 4pm as have to take cat and dog to cattery/kennel between 4pm and 5pm. I know where everything is, I just have to wake up, load up cat and dog into car and drive the 5 minutes down the road. Simple.
Nothing in my life is simple. (Even this blog which I’ve already written once and my iPad decided to delete)
Wake up. Snooze alarm because totally can.
4.15: look for cat and dog vaccination cards. Know exactly where they are.
Cat’s card not there.
Dogs card says vaccination ran out in April which can’t be true because I take the dog to the vets practically once a week. Because when you chose a dog you chose one with no breed-related issues. You chose one that is bred to work on a farm and therefore hardiness is more important than looks. So you end up with one that likes to play with cars and is allergic to grass and gets ear infections from too much hair. So in my once a week trips they would definitely tell me he was due his injection. I must have forgotten to take the card to be stamped. So decide best course of action is to “forget” card.
4.20: put cat carrier in the car and grab cat. Cat bolts and looks at me like “I don’t think so”. Every attempt gets cat more adamant he is not to be caught. Cat is master of the house. If cat doesn’t want to be caught, he’s not going to be. He hides behind a wall, fence and bush. Call in reinforcements and pretend to not be encouraging Llyw to climb things I repeatedly tell him not to.
4.35: cat caught
Cattery won’t take cat without card.
Frantic few minutes trying to get through to the vet in an area with no phone signal. Vet confirms cat is up-to-date till November. Cattery happy to take cat. Crisis overted.
Run over bollard trying to reverse out of cattery. Bollard has to be retrieved by cattery owner who now rethinks decision to take cat from this clearly unhinged woman. I drive off before she can give me cat back.
Drive to kennel.
Have lovely long chat with kennel owner who is a lovely friendly woman who has met me before (and has admitted to reading these blogs! Yay! Fame!) and knows I’m generally in control of my sanity. As I’m leaving she asks me to text her photo evidence of the vaccinations because if she’s inspected she’d be fined.
Damn woman appealing to my honesty.
Drive to vet to ask for some evidence.
Vet said no, vaccination expired in April as per vaccination card.
Get dog’s vaccination (and as its one consultation fee, get ears checked since completing medication for ear infection: ears not inflamed but hair in ears means he could easily get another one; and ask vet about dog still scratching and vet recommends antihistamines for life, because, like I said, he’s a breed designed for health and hardiness) and drive back to kennel.
Kennel owner says she can’t have the dog for 3 days after vaccination (so Tuesday, 3 days after we leave for Spain) as its a live dose. She tried very very hard to think of a solution and I thank her for her kindness. I will have no hesitation in going back again. If I can ever put myself through this “holiday” business again.
Consider staying home and Google flights for Friday (after Rhys’ funeral). About £300-400 including extra transport costs.
Agree dog will go to Doug’s brothers for holiday with the provisos that dog cannot stay if Doug’s father comes home during next fortnight and I have to take dog to Bargoed in the morning (and extra 1.5 hours round trip drive). Great.
Doug decides I have to fill my car from 7am with the four youngest including the totally prohibited Llyw-Adelaide combination. Double great.
I decide holidays are exhausting and so drink wine to forget.
And hasn’t even started yet.
To be continued.