Vacation Truths, Ghosts Of Dog Dander’s Past, and Rain Drops Keep Falling On My G*#@!*& Head

October 19th, 2022 : 1:15pm

As I sit at the dining room table in the lovely Air BnB my wife booked for us months ago, I realize I’ve gone full curmudgeon. Sonos sound system is playing Oneohtrix Point Never throughout the house, giant ribeye steaks sizzle on the grill out in the Michigan sunlight, and I sit at this table and tell you my secret: I’m full curmudgeon now.

I think it’s been happening since puberty. I went right from voice dropping and facial hair forming to a week later well on my way to curmudgeon-y old coot. I felt it happening whenever I saw cool kids listening to hip hop or dance music and I knew I wasn’t capable of locking in to NWA and Young MC because it just made me feel awkward. Skateboarding, roller skating, and BMX racing? No way, too dangerous. Getting high after school with the stoners and “bad kids”? No thanks. You’re a moron and I don’t want to be like you.


But today as I’m supposed to be enjoying the lake view, comfortable home, and family togetherness I only feel maudlin and out of touch. I just can’t lock into these vacation vibes. I miss my house, my bed, my fridge, my bathroom, and my chair. Hard as I try I can’t find that vacation groove. The dog is feeling it, too. He looks lost. Just like me. Plus there’s a constant wheeze coming from my lungs. There’s some mystery dander in here that’s hitting my allergies pretty hard.

It doesn’t help that I’m just now seeing sunshine for the first time in two days. It was cold and rainy when we arrived Monday afternoon, and stayed that way till this morning. We woke up Tuesday morning to heavy snow showers. A year ago it was in the 70s and we were all wearing shorts. Last year we also only stayed two days. It felt like we needed to fit as much in to 48 hours as we could. It was sunny and great hiking weather and canoe weather and play games on the screened-in porch weather. All we’ve done so far is sit on the couch and watch streaming television on weirdly uncomfortable furniture. Even taking the dog out on his leash for toilet walks is kind of miserable. Rainy, muddy, and messy. If I loved the smell of wet dog and being in damp clothes all day it’d be fine. But I don’t like either of those things.

October 22, 2022 : 9:25am

We came home a day early from our Michigan vacation. We were supposed to come home on the 21st, but due to the fact my wife needed to be at the high school at 8am in order to chaperone a band trip to Indianapolis we would have had to have left the Air BnB at 6:30am. Also, I felt like I may have been working towards being really sick.

Last year when we were there I noticed some sinus stuff going on with me, which should be expected with a rental that allows pooches. I may be more allergic to cats than dogs, but big dogs or dogs that shed a lot do affect me quite a bit(that’s why we’re a Miniature Schnauzer family). But the two days last year weren’t bad. This year I’d wake up at 3am and feel like I had a weight on my chest. My head was pounding pretty much the whole time there, and I just didn’t feel good.

The place was immaculately clean(though there was a large amount of flies that was kind of disconcerting. Like Amityville level.) The home, the view, the feel was still there from last year, but thanks to absolutely horrible weather we were basically landlocked in this pretty house that wasn’t our own. Hard as you try, a rental is never your home. That’s why it’s important to be able to do activities. You get out of the house in the day and have fun, then return home and chill. We pretty much just never left.

The most fun I had was getting up early Wednesday morning and heading into Three Rivers to get donuts and steaks for the afternoon grill. Wandering around the butcher shop, Aldi, and Meijer was a nice change from sitting in mildly uncomfortable furniture watching streaming shows. At Aldi there were three older women in the odds n ends aisle trying on these giant Halloween masks. They sort of looked like “Manga” animal masks, huge heads you put over your own with a fine mesh you could see through. They were cracking up and it was nice to see, especially at 9am at Aldi on a Wednesday morning. As I walked with my cardboard box of food supplies to the checkout I heard a voice say “Excuse me, sir?” I turned around to see this woman dressed to the nines with what looked like a giant squirrel head on. I said “yes?” “Would you possible take our picture?” as she handed me her iPhone with the camera open. “Absolutely” and took a picture of three middle-aged women laughing with delight with giant animal heads over their own.

I know, I know, this sounds like a whole lot of whining. And yes, it is whining. But we don’t often get away for anything. And the past 12 months had its share of not-so-good, so I was really looking forward to getting away. We were still together, and for about 15 hours during this week all five of us(as well as the dog) were together under one roof. Breakfast and steaks were shared before our 19-year old had to head back Wednesday. This vacation was sort of indicative of how the last year and a half has been for me. Life is changing under our roof. There’s new normals now, and this vacation was proof of that. Even during a supposed week of R&R the gears are constantly shifting and people are coming in and going out. I’ve gotten used to it in the everyday(for the most part), but it’s still an adjustment when we’re all supposedly on vacation together.

Also, the not being able to breathe part wasn’t great.

Despite the lousy weather, the truncated togetherness, and borderline Bronchitis I’m thankful we had some time away together. Vacations, despite the name and attempt at happy fun time, are just as susceptible to real life creeping in and crapping on your R&R(this still wasn’t as bad as our 2020 visit to Brown County to a cabin that smelled like a wet ash tray and dog urine.) I guess you just need to be prepared for it all, 24/7. Set those expectations to the bottom rung and hopefully you’re surprised. Make sure you bring raincoats. And always remember, nobody’s chair is as comfortable as the one that sits in your own damn living room.

That’s a fact.

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