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Musings on a staycation, or expectations vs reality

You know, the holiday where you stay at home. Because going away often isn’t actually a holiday for Mum.

So two weeks ago, having survived the Christmas festival I brightly entered a world of late nights and sleeping in, rest and recreation. My best intentions were listed and I was going to return to work tomorrow having used my break to relax, get fit and enjoy myself. I can’t WAIT to get back tomorrow!

I am REALLY looking forward to going back to work. My youngest monkey is eleven but that doesn’t mean mum isn’t needed. Taxi duties for the Kid and Mister Seventeen who started a second job and qualified for his desired university course “No Dad it’s not Biomedicine it’s biotechnology. The industrial application of biological processes. Like if you could get cows to eat iron and shit gold we would put that into production” Right, that’s something to look forward to then.

The Kid got an electric guitar for Christmas. It’s my fault. I took him to a Queen tribute show when he was four. I had done the Wiggles with the first three and we knew one of the band members. So until last November he genuinely believed that “Uncle Freddie” was a distant relative and cheered for him when he came on to the radio. I broke the news late last year and it was harde than any of the Santa or Tooth Fairy conversations I have had (Santa still stops at the monkeyhouse). So there were sessions to help him learn to use it and random guitar-related paraphernalia to be acquired. And schoolbooks. A source of great celebration – this is our nineteenth consecutive year at the same primary school. We are the old hands at hitting the book supply stores – we know what an A4 7mm quad book looks like and we know better than to consider buying contact because we value our sanity. Not the relaxing, holiday kind of shopping though.

I went to Bunnings. And Spotlight. Warehouses of torture. I bought stuff to make craft things with the Kid. And Taff and I made a pallet garden. Google it if you are interested. The Kid and I made glitter bottles (his worked, mine didn’t) and slime. The slime is excellent – I now have a captive jar of blue non-Newtonian fluid. Fun on tap! We made a chocolate mudcake one day too.

I was going to read a book. A new, paper delicious decadent book that I bought with a gift voucher before Christmas. I haven’t opened a page. I did read The Tall Man (about the Palm Island case) heavy going, but worth the effort. I sometimes wonder if what you are reading can affect your emotional state? Beware if you are reading this you may become unbalanced.

I was going to walk, and spend a whole day at the beach. The weather and a late job advertisement sorted that. I have spent my quiet hours this week writing claims against selection criteria. Too many words. My head is tired.

I didn’t walk as much as I wanted because of the crazy weather. My dog looks hard and sad at my shoes every time I pick up my car keys. I resolve to get back into that routine. Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow. I did walk the strand which was very pleasant. I still haven’t braved the hill – 5 am starts don’t fit my life.

I didn’t cook (too much) this is a good thing – Taff and I are both older parents and are trying to manage our weight. I lost the two kilos that came with Christmas, enjoyed some wine and meals with friends. Nothing original for my food blog though, sorry. It’s too hot. I love mango sorbet. We froze a whole tray of mangoes just for that.

I didn’t really have a New Year’s resolution so I signed up for email reminders which would give me an organised house within 52 weeks. I told Taff and he nearly dropped the bundle. Then I explained I didn’t intend to follow the scheme just look for a couple of good ideas each month. The top of my kitchen cupboards is now clean and I can access all my serving bowls and platters. That was kind of fun. Before and after pics on instagram and kind remarks from my friends. I also listed and discarded about 70 cassette tapes. And found I really need another bottle of gin.

We saw some movies. Quartet is excellent. Les Mis and The Hobbit. Quality seems to be the holiday theme this year. Visited several op shops. When I buy op shop clothing I have a rule that I must donate three items per purchase. That helps with self restraint. Went to the museum (there were dinosaurs), went to the rainforest (there were spiders). Used the pool a LOT. Built some Lego. Didn’t finish the parental torture balsa wood thingy. There were board games too.

I was going to start a crochet project, but haven’t. I did some writing. I have a vague feeling that I haven’t “relaxed” as much as I would have if I was really committed to being on holiday. But I think it is a good thing that I manage to fit so much into my day- to-day life that I am happy to go back to it.

Recently there has been a lot of talk about Facebook making people think others have better lives than they do, and possibly causing depression. That definitely is not my take on social media. My friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter are a wonderful cheer squad who make me believe the small stuff I do every day has value, that my opinions matter, they share pictures of kids and food and beauty and Doctor Who related stuff and it makes me smile. In these days when the news channels bring us videos and images and stories of horrific disasters or the most evil mankind can commit against itself I think social media is a light in the dark, a chance to share the good news, and be a cheer squad for those we know when their life isn’t exactly what they expected.

So count the good things. A moment shared, a smile at an update, a gift of time or money to a charity, time with family, a good meal or a drink shared with friends. Thank you to all who made my staycation what it was. Not what I expected but definitely not bad – just exhausting!

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