People are funny — they keep asking me what I’ve been doing, when for me, the whole point of a vacation is to sit in a chair in a lovely spot and read books, interrupted, if I’m lucky, by stretches where I actually get some writing done. This is why, if you are leaving a beautiful house, with dogs, and a tricky koi pond, and you need someone who wants to hang around the house a lot, what you’re looking for is a writer (well, maybe not a poet — sometimes they don’t notice things like the koi pond pump going out, or that one of the dogs has wandered off. They’re poets. We love them, but they’re unreliable.)
Work has been crazy since before Thanksgiving. And the last six weeks or so I’ve been trying to work at home while the entire back end of my (not large) house is torn up because the MH has been renovating my bathroom. It will be great when it’s done (and I’m looking forward to seeing it when I get home on Saturday). But it’s been stressful, and I’ve been anxious, and even this little housesitting gig had me a tiny bit worried because the little family on vacation is facing some scary medical scenarios and the last thing I want to do is lose one fo the pets, or have the pump go out on the koi pond, or anything else go wrong. And four days into it, it’s all okay. The dogs are good. Even the chihuahua, who is scary, and hostile, and hates everyone, wanted to come sleep with me last night (kind of scary, when she decides she wants to cuddle — does she really? or is it just a ploy?). So it’s all okay. For the first time in weeks, everything feels like it’s okay. I’ve had a couple of days to sit, and think, and read (which is probably why I got a cold — typical for me, to crash once the pressure is off).
When I was a kid, we’d go to Northern Wisconsin for two weeks every summer. We’d stay in a cabin at a resort, a cabin with electricity but no phone or TV, a cabin with a big screen porch, and an old icebox with a real chunk of ice in it, and we’d all sort of do nothing for a couple of weeks. Sure, we’d water ski, and the parents would play tennis, but as I recall, there was a lot of sitting on the dock in the sun, reading books, making sure the kids didn’t drown, and going up to the lodge three times a day for meals. They didn’t even really get newspapers — they were always a couple of days late — and there were always a few Dads who were made nervous by this because they couldn’t get the latest stock prices. But we all thought they didn’t get it. The point was not to be home. The point was that someone else cooked your meals and made your beds and your job was to read, and swim, and water ski, and play tennis, and have cocktails on the porch at five before going down to the lodge for dinner. Then you’d come back to the cabin, build a fire, and if you were lucky your parents would read you a story and tuck you into bed (it’s the only place I remember my parents married, that resort). That’s my idea of a vacation. A lot of not much.
Aside from the cold, this has been a great vacation. I’ve seen two of my closest friends — and I’ve had a blissful two days hanging out on the porch, reading, writing, walking dogs.