Post Vacation

Vacation is over, I am sad. Whenever I come back home from the beach, my town seems positively Midwestern. But it’s just inland N.J. in the summer: buggy, humid, blah. I heard the locusts (or whatever they are) buzzing in the trees for the first time this season. I remember at the start of college (Villanova, not that far from here) someone from California saying that the noise was freaking her out. It is definitely an oppressive, somewhat creepy sound. Chitter-chitter-chitter-chitter.

To counter my post-beach depression I have spent an inordinate amount of time on realtor.com looking at beach houses, private islands, and the like. I alternate between deciding to save my pennies so I can buy this island someday, and finding the cheapest possible form of housing available at the Shore so I can buy it tomorrow and be back down again by next weekend.

I need salt air. I think it’s a medical condition.

I know what you’re thinking: you were on vacation, no cares in the world, now you’re back to reality. Of course you’re depressed. Maybe. But I swear I would rather clean up a swim diaper full of poo that basically exploded all over the beach so that I had to go around with the shovel and scoop up the tainted sand — I would rather do THAT once an hour on the beach than be at home alone all day with a bag of frozen M&Ms and a good book and peace and quiet. All right, maybe not, but in general, a bad day in Ocean City beats a good day anywhere else. Especially if you know you are going to wake up the next day and still be in Ocean City.

In all seriousness, it was a great vacation, as far as vacationing with kids goes. We did most of the stuff we wanted to do, we had some lazy time, some time with the grandparents and other family and friends. I felt rather proud of myself in that my husband went back home for two days and I not only got by without him, but still took the kids to various places. (Disclaimer: I had a sitter come for a few hours in the morning of those days.)  My daughter proved to be a total waterbug; the first day at the beach, she ran into the water and just kept going. She was fearless to the point that we started to wonder if she was a bit touched in the head. But it was fun. Now I have two waterbugs and one sandcastle guy; luckily I’m a waterbug too.

I was also on vacation from frugality. Not that we needed much beyond the beach, but the walks to get ice cream, the quarters at the arcade, and, especially, eating out all added up. But it was a husband-financed vacation, so, as I’ve written before, I didn’t really watch what I spent. I didn’t download my bank account transactions or use my Mint app. I didn’t coupon. I felt odd not composting and using the dryer, but not exactly guilty. The central air and the ease of one-floor living — especially a main-floor laundry room — that might be what I miss the most. Not to mention having my own bathroom attached to my bedroom. All things you don’t get in hundred-year-old houses like our “real” house. “When are we going back to our real house? I miss the guinea pigs.” I heard this every night from the two youngest. Mommy didn’t miss the guinea pigs, or the cats, or cleaning up after them.

Home is where you hang your bathing suit

Home is where you hang your bathing suit

Vacation is like a temporary experiment in minimalism; you leave all your crap behind, and bring only the essentials. It was just like my regular life (dishes, cooking, cleaning up, playing with the kids) but stripped down and cleaner. I enjoyed it so much. Maybe I need to incorporate more true minimalism into life around here. (Here’s a good minimalism site.) For me, it’s not so much not buying stuff as not hoarding stuff and reducing clutter. Visual minimalism. Knickknacks, random tools, old notebooks, old magazines, kids’ artwork, broken bits of something that belong to something else that might be important… they really have to go.

I guess I’ll put “become more minimalist” on my list for August, after we get back from Vermont. Those last couple weeks of August are looking pretty empty right now, and I’m glad, because this week I have my best friend’s daughters staying with me for four days, and next week I have to gear up for Vermont. Things are busy busy right now.

One last thing: I started using My Fitness Pal, a free app that is somewhat similar to Weight Watchers, because I really need to lose weight. So far it is definitely helping me: I’ve lost a couple pounds, am exercising more and am much more aware of my caloric intake than I was. The only thing I don’t like is that I feel driven back towards processed foods, because they are “safer” in that I know exactly how many calories they are. Cooking, baking, etc. seem dangerous to me right now. Hopefully as I get more into this, that will change. Obviously, fruits and veggies are the best and simplest choice, but I need carbs and protein too.

Speaking of eating healthy, I took the kids to Whole Foods on Monday; afterwards, my oldest told me he was going to start an all-junk-food supermarket. Great, son, that’s just great. I’m so glad I just spent $$$ on organic grapes, Back to Nature “Oreos,” and Annie’s mac n cheese. 🙂

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