Paradise evolved

Vacations as an adult are so much more evolved. Or devolved. Back in the days of my youth, we traveled in a gigantic Pontiac Parisienne; a rolling, steel Turducken filled with parents with children with pets with toys with snacks. We went where the people with the steering wheel told us we were going. There were pit stops and pee stops. Roadside attractions and wayside defecations. Nestled among these holiday treats were the tourist spots. The Worlds Greatest something. The Biggest Other Thing in The Tri-County Area. We were small humans easily impressed by novelty sized anything. To this day I am still fascinated by lottery winning cheques. My four-foot wide wallet is dying to have one of those stuffed into it. For a lot of reasons.

Holidays as an adult take on a much more serious nature. I should specify that these are holidays as an adult without children present. Our kids are old enough to be left to fend for themselves for weeks on end. We set them up with food and emergency numbers and head out the door faster than you can search up the phone number for child services. When I was a child, my parents used to leave us under the care of my oldest brother. We were lucky to have a bowl of water and some frozen Swanson meat pies left on the counter for us. My parents too understood the requirement for the no-kids vacations. I have re-branded it for my generation as an Anti-Homicide vacation.

Please excuse the implication that the Adult Holiday is a full-on hedonistic va-cay teeming with drinks and Greek classic art-style frolicking. There might be some of that in there, but mostly it becomes the opportunity to re-connect with your partner in the absence of The Demanders.

This year we decided as adults to return to Costa Rica. We went last year without the children, and have every intention of retiring there one day, also without the children. Society makes me feel like an unfit parent sometimes because the vacations we take are primarily without the kids. I refuse to be shamed for this and suggest that those who have not holidayed without their children are afraid of nudity and fun.

No no…I couldn’t possibly have another

Our children are all old enough now that the demanding has been pared down from bathe-me-fee-me-comfort-me to a more sustainable feed-me-address-the-slow-wifi-for-me-feed-me. As they begin their foray into adulthood, they are filled with questions and skill-gaps that make our job a little more crucial. A 2-year old will instinctively eat crumbs off the floor, cigarette butts or things they find in their car seats. Teens will instinctively know how to set the house on fire by leaving the gas on, or having a family of raccoons move into the garage because they leave it open. All. The. Time.

Our adult vacations now allow us some freedom from the day to day managing of adolescent crises. Our arrival home is enough to remind us that crisis management is part of the job title for parents. Leaving it alone for a week does not pause it. It simply runs like malware in the background while you live your mango filled life.

This time when we returned, we were only greeted by the permeating stench of burned microwave popcorn and an undrained bathtub. The racoons were nice enough at least to put the recycling out.

Current status: No pants, BBQ sauce on keyboard.

I work from home right now.  When I tell people this, it is received with equal parts contempt, disbelief and patronizing smiles.  This is just the way it worked out for me at this moment in my life.  Another moment in my life might look like me woking at Build-A-Bear full time, creating Franken-bears for terrified children, but at this moment right now is working at home.

To maintain some semblance of consistency in my days, I try to stick to an itinerary.  Not the kind of itinerary with the subject line indicating it had been sent by a competent secretary after having been planned through a reputable corporate travel agent.
Re: Trip itinerary – Prague – Depart 03/18/2017 – Return 03/29/2017 *arrive 2 hours prior to departure times*

My itinerary is more like the email from that uncle who brings a bag of oranges to a baby shower, and insists he cured his gingivitis with Coke Zero and nicotine gum.

Truly, there is a lot going on in that second email, and when I have the time, I will address it all.  Meanwhile, we can talk about how my day-to-day plan is a little more ‘freestyle’ than ‘actually planned’

When the children are here, my day starts by getting out of bed minutes before they have to leave for school, then yelling about their horrible time management until they have all run from the house.  Once they are gone I will build my first coffee and asses the day before me by ranking and redistributing all of my options.  My system relies heavily on notes from the previous day which highlight my efforts and where I left off.  In theory, these notes should provide an evolving timeline of momentum and progress.  Reality is not as optimistic however, and I am left on a daily basis with the same notes written in an honest intent that tomorrow will be different.  Tomorrow is the same note in different handwriting.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Working from home is a luxury which is completely wasted on me some days.  In my own defence however, you don’t really want this kind of employee in your office either, so I’m doing you al a favour by not taking up your precious time or offending your public sensibilities with my lack of bottoms.

It’s like the movie The Birds, but with fewer birds and more Cathy’s.

I’m not sure if I’ll be back to write again, because there might be some kind of bird epidemic going on at my house and there is a chance I will be consumed by it before the end of the month.

My husband called me out to the front yard this morning to ‘come see something’.  When I got to the door I assessed his face for clues about what I would be seeing.  Based on his expression I could only assume he had either bought me a puppy, someone had stolen our fence, or there was a human body on the front walk.  It turns out I’m horrible at reading his facial cues.  Maybe it’s no surprise how upset he was when I laughed after he bumped his head on a wooden beam that left him with a good sized bleeding gash.  I swear his face said something more along the lines of ‘I squirted grapefruit juice into my eye by accident, or ‘I think I gave the wrong address to the pizza delivery guy’.  Hilarious either way.  Bleeding out in the basement apparently less so.

When I got to the door, he pointed to a spot beneath our tree to a lifeless looking pile of feathers.  He told me he had been standing outside drinking his coffee while taking in the lazy Sunday morning and probably squeaking out a few farts in solitude away from me, when he head a clatter in the tree.  He looked up and witnessed an actual live death.

An artist’s rendition of my husband and I just before he showed me the bird. His face tells me he’s letting one sneak out right now. What a smug bastard…

Is that oxymoronic to say it like that?

There it was. A crow lying under the tree in an I’ve-fallen-and-can’t-get-up pose, yet no medic alert button was going to save this bird. He was done.

My first thought was thank God it wasn’t about the fence or a human, because I’m not a monster.  However, now that I was done feeling relief about the fence, I changed tune and swung into crime scene mode.  What if people saw us standing out here around the body? Would they think we had done it? Crows are loud and we complain about them every morning at 6am when apparently their stock market opens up because its all BUY SELL EAT GARBAGE screaming outside our window.  We fit the person of interest profile perfectly.

In an effort to cover my criminal tracks that had not been left, I phoned our city department of What The Hell Do I Do With This and was greeted by a happy woman named Cathy.  She seemed more down to earth than the Cathy with a K Cathy’s, so I was happy to be dealing with her.  K Kathy’s can be real loose cannons.

I explained my situation to her, then blurted out at the end that we certainly did not kill the bird (all calls are recorded for quality assurance and sketchy confessions).  She giggled at the picture I laid out for her.  Now I knew how my husband felt…my face was clearly distressed and she misread it however impossible that would have been with this being a phone call. Still, it felt a little more like something a Kathy might do.

She told me how since it was on my property and was not a larger animal like a bobcat or a moose, the homeowner was in charge of removing it.  Or, she offered, I could wait until the next day when someone from the city could come clean that up for me.  I asked her about delivering the bird to their secret testing department to make sure the bird hadn’t died of a sudden antrhrax exposure or cholera.   As she was explaining to me this was not a real department a car rolled past our intersection, darting their judgemental eyes between us and the dead bird while probably shaking their heads.  I couldn’t have this body resting in my yard all day and be labelled as the neighbourhood killer, so I cut short her made up story about the secret department not existing and told her we would take care of it ourselves.  I thanked Cathy/Kathy for her time and poked one more We Didn’t Kill The Crow into the goodbyes.  Better safe than sorry.

With a shovel in hand and a plastic bag lined with paper towels for comfort, we scooped up the sudden death from our lawn.  I said a heartfelt goodbye to the bird because all life is meaningful, then tipped him into the garbage can.

I’m not convinced it died of natural causes or high cholesterol from all the garbage it eats, and for the foreseeable future, every slight upset stomach or tingling sensation in an extremity will be because of the horrible unseen malady that killed the crow.  My husband’s face right now is expressing that either my assumption is ridiculous or he has misplaced his keys again. I guess we’ll never know.