As I’ve mentioned, winter here is long. And cold. And long. Invariably, people who can afford to, escape for a week or two to someplace tropical. They come back all brown and relaxed and remind the rest of us how cold and poor we are. So, we like them a little less for a while.
Even if you don’t have time off work, summer is still more vacation-y. At the end of your day you go out to your car, put on your sunglasses, roll down the windows and turn up the music. And there you are, enjoying your sunny commute. Ahhhh. Life is good.
The thing is, like most Americans, we have debt. Not all of it is the good kind (if there is such a thing). I see our debt as a large, soul-sucking monster perched on my shoulders, digging its talons into my skin and breathing down my neck. I want it gone. Feeding the beast with a high-priced beach trip seems counterproductive.
For breakfast, she took me to a restaurant called Miss Shirley’s Café. (I still think about that meal, by the way, weeks later.) She said it was the place she recommended to friends visiting the Baltimore area, her stomping ground.
It’s the ugly truth. When three members of your party are perpetually hot, hungry, and tired of walking, whining happens. Whining that could make your ears bleed. A trip that should be leisurely and relaxing becomes a PLEASE MAKE IT STOP! living hell.
I spent the entire trip chasing him. Which is to say, I spent the entire trip running in hot sand. Yelling. In my bathing suit. In public. And, I’m not skinny. Can you say spectacle?
I no longer have to fight with strollers and diapers and drippy cups and nap time and HELP ME FIND YOUR BROTHER!
Suddenly, the world around me has opened up again.
It occurred to me when Charlie learned how to make himself a peanut butter sandwich that there should be some sort of parenting badge for that. Come to think of it, each step toward preparing your child for independence, starting with the mack daddy of parenting hurdles: toilet training, should garner at least a gold star, if not an embroidered patch.
This summer, I’m making it my mission to find my favorite (inexpensive) local spots. If I only make it as far as my deck, well, at least the sunshine is free. I can be brown and relaxed, too.
*If you were curious, the four major U.S. cities I can day trip to are Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and New York. I've never actually day tripped to New York, but I know other people around here who have. So, it's possible.