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Santa Maria Sun / Humor

The following article was posted on July 23rd, 2008, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 9, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 9, Issue 19

My summer rental

Luggage, laundry, and ludicrousness

By ROB KRIDER

Vacation is supposed to be for fun and relaxation. Back in the day when I was a carefree kid, vacations were fun. The toughest decision I had to make at 10 years old was which roller coaster I should sprint to next. Now that I am a parent, vacations are less relaxing and more like a lot of work—the very thing I was trying to take a vacation from. As an adult, I have to make reservations, buy tickets, get directions, make sure everyone has sunscreen, pay for parking (check for any possible validation), and locate a restaurant where everyone in the family likes the food (if such a place exists on the planet Earth).

Face it: For Mom and Dad, vacations aren’t relaxing at all.

Vacation in my family means trying to fit two metric tons of luggage into the trunk of my car. Then I drag that luggage through a hotel parking lot, up some stairs, only to drag it back down stairs the next morning.

It never fails that the same luggage that came out of the trunk of my car the night before suddenly won’t fit the next morning. It’s not like the car shrunk overnight. It means my wife is loading up the luggage with overpriced cheesy vacation trinkets. Apparently, you can never have too many pot holders that say, “I got crabs at Joe’s Crab Shack.”

All that extra luggage weight isn’t exactly good for gas mileage. Gas prices are approaching levels so ludicrous that even environmentalists are considering drilling through a

family of baby seals living in the middle of a rainforest just to lower the price of fuel they put in their hybrids (which still use gas, people!). I think it might be cheaper to leave the luggage at home, travel light, and buy what you need when you reach your destination.

That’s how I roll. When I go on vacation, I am a minimalist. I’ll pack a couple of T-shirts, and when I say “couple,” that is counting the one I’m wearing while packing. I will wear one pair of cargo shorts and the same flip flops for a week. For good measure, I might bring some extra underwear. Every time I pack, my wife asks, “Please, I’m begging you, take some more underwear.” I’ll also grab a toothbrush (I’ll bum toothpaste from my wife who brings an entire drug store in her bag). I pack so little, I can forgo the luggage. I’ll stick the T-shirt, underwear, and toothbrush in the pockets of my cargo shorts, and I’m ready to vacate.

My wife, whom I love, packs quite differently. In fact, I’m not even sure you could call it “packing” for vacation. It’s more like “moving.” We take everything from our entire house and bring it along with us, “just in case.” After I spend a half day stuffing all of her belongings into the car, right before we back out of the driveway, my wife always has to say, “I hope I didn’t forget anything.”

“How could you?” I’ll ask. “You packed everything. What did you forget, the light switch covers? You want to go back in and grab the garbage disposal?”

Ironically, no matter how much we empty the house or how many 50-pound bags of her luggage I tie to the roof of the car, she always ends up in some sort of panic in a hotel bathroom. The last vacation we went on, she forgot, of all things, her hair dryer. She wigged out. It was such a gigantic crisis, I thought notification should have been made to the Department of Homeland Security.

And if gas prices and massive luggage don’t get me down, the hotels are working hard to make sure I’m as un-relaxed as possible on vacation.

Recently, I checked into a hotel and requested a non-smoking room. I was told that they could accommodate me without any problem since my room was designated “Smoking Optional.” That translates into this ridiculous meaning: If I choose not to smoke, then the room is non-smoking; if I “opt” to smoke, that makes it a smoking room, which, based on the smell, is exactly what every previous tenant did before my family and I occupied the 300-square-foot ashtray ourselves.

And if that didn’t win me over, the hotel put a $500 hold on my credit card just in case I was going to order 100 pay per-view-movies, make 20 long distance phone calls to China, and order room service eight times in one night. This doesn’t seem like such a big deal since I didn’t watch Superbad, call Beijing, or gorge on room service. But regardless of my actions, and even though I checked out of my room and paid cash for my hotel bill, the hold on my credit card remained for a week. Yes, coincidently, that was the same week I was on vacation and could have used an extra $500 just to fill up the car.

The next time I go to a hotel on vacation, so I’m not disappointed, I’m just going to ask for this specifically: “Could I request a smoking room right next to the ice machine, directly below the family of kangaroos who check in at 2 a.m. and then jump up and down above my ceiling for an hour? Also, I would like to request that housekeeping ignore the sign on my doorknob and walk into my room at 7 a.m. when I am standing naked in the bathroom. And don’t forget to lock up my credit card so I can’t use it again for a month. Oh, and by the way, my wife will need you guys to run a hair dryer up to our room. She left hers as the sole remaining item in our completely empty house.”

Rob wanted a vacation from his vacation, so he locked himself in the bathroom.




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