Notes from a Jersey Girl

by Lisa G Westheimer

Going on “Vacation”


Am I the only one who feels like preparing to go on vacation is like deploying troops overseas to invade a foreign country?  There is just so much to do!  All the work on one’s desk must be done and in a good place so that someone can keep it going while away or to pick up seamlessly the moment one returns.   It also doesn’t hurt if the work supposed to be done while away got done in advance so that sweet vacation state of mind can last a few days after the plane lands.  And that’s just the work (take a look at my other blog to see what I mean on that front.)

Forget about “work” work, let’s talk about the house.  There are the pets.  Pet sitters need to be lined up.  Instructions drawn up, calendars scribbled on, emergency contact info printed out, food supplied, guest rooms cleaned.  If one uses a service as we do, several e mails fly around the ethernet.  There has to be enough cat and dog food and treats, and is the dog limping, and why is the cat sneezing?  Oh and the phone call about Buddy- his feet need trimming and they need a check by Thursday, and have you lined up people to ride and exercise him while you’re away?

There are the services that need to be suspended.  The mail, newspapers and cleaning service.  Mountains of laundry must be done to have the widest selection of clothing for packing.  There are instructions for the handyman who will work unsupervised, so that list better be hyper specific.  Bills must be paid and mailed and checks need to be left here and there.  Family must be contacted so they don’t call the cops to break down the door if we don’t return their call for a few days.  Oh and I forgot to write thank you cards for my birthday!   The a/c system must be tested and working.  Ditto for the watering system.    For some reason I just had to have the guest room rug cleaned and those damn curtains washed and ironed in that room lest the sitter have trouble breathing or something dreadful.  Certain things need to be put away, like filthy muck boots, helmets and other assorted dirty tack lying around in conspicuous places.

If you’re anything like me you need to drag out 3/4 of your closet, stuff it into a suitcase then change your mind, drag it all out, repack, then have doubts and do it again.  I always need to take something that just doesn’t fit anywhere or is totally unnecessary but oh wouldn’t it be so cool if I brought it with me!  OMG.  Plus the house needs to be SPOTLESS.  It needs to be ready for a photo shoot.  It needs to be spic and span and wonderful and sparkling in case God forbid something tragic happens and we don’t return.  I want to make a good impression on whoever has to come and sort out my personal effects.

Let’s not even talk about the trip.  When traveling with my husband the word “vacation” is a euphemism for “a life threatening event.”  My husband is not happy unless my life is passing before my eyes.  We can’t go to the beach.  We need to go sailing along reefs in high winds.  We can’t walk in the woods.  We need to ride single track on mountain bikes.  We can’t go to Europe unless it’s on a bike going straight up the Alps.  We once went to Tennessee where after the 9th mile of going uphill I turned around in misery only to discover that the only thing worse than going uphill for 9 miles is going downhill for 9 miles.  (someday I’ll tell you about that trip.)

This trip will be slightly different.  Yes biking is involved.  But this time no organized ride for the ladies.  Angie and Larry, who are hosting us in Colorado and going with us to Santa Fe have a daughter who has had the presence of mind to throw her bridal shower on race day.  Too bad, us girls will just have to get all dressed up and stand around with a piece of cake in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other instead of peeing in port a johns and eating power bars in the middle of the God forsaken desert, avoiding snakes and tumble weeds.  Jesus wept.

Gotta go pack and repack, more from the road.  Adios amigos!


Author: Lisa G Westheimer

I am a ceramic and glass artist living and working in West Orange, NJ, USA. I have a masters degree in ceramics from Montclair State University and teach at the Montclair Art Museum, both in Montclair, NJ. Prior to this I was co-owner of "The Manhattan Expedition Inc" and was a NYC Building Code and Zoning Specialist in Manhattan, my main claim to fame as a Loft Conversion Specialist in Soho and Tribeca in the 1980's and 1990's, and a specialist in Landmarks Preservation and Special Places of Assembly, particularly the Fashion Shows in Bryant Park and any weird sort of thing happening in Manhattan worthy of getting thrown out of the Commissioner's office. But mostly I'm a Jersey Girl, born in Rutherford, schooled in a private school in Montclair, did a stint living in Greenwich Village then Soho before fleeing to Llewellyn Park in West Orange, NJ where I learned how to clean and restore stuffed bald eagles!!!! I can mostly be found in my studio or on the campus of The Montclair Art Museum (where I teach) or on the back of my horse Buddy, either in my backyard or at a farm in Sussex County.

2 thoughts on “Going on “Vacation”

  1. lol you are so funny and yes going on vacation needs another when you get home……………btw i am leaving on Friday on a road trip to Florida….4 wild women uncaged……… lol…..not an adventure like yours however an adventure non the less……… 8 days of no children no pets and no husbands………oy vey


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