October 12, 2010

Not Quite

I have a friend who refuses to cook a meal on vacation. But not me. I love to cook. I look forward to vacation when I have lots of time to leisurely prepare gourmet meals for my family. We all look forward to spending hours at the table chatting over good food. We rarely eat out on vacation, not because of cost (while this is indeed a HUGE cost savings) but because we have so many happy times in the kitchen and at the table together.

The irony being that in order to cook all those meals someone has to do the shopping. And the last thing I want to do is spend time in the grocery store.  On the topic of shopping, in case you didn't get it, I HATE IT!  Grocery shopping more than any other you might name.

The island we call our home away from home, boasts only a small, poorly stocked IGA Market, to boot.  You can buy any type of beer or wine you could ever ask for (we don't drink alcoholic beverages) but there is not one can of baking powder to be found.  In order to find all the specialty items I want for all those meals I am dying to cook,  we have to make a trip to the next island inland.

You might imagine that shopping for our family is not a small ordeal anyway.  We rarely leave walmart of Target without at least two carts.  Now imagine that times three weeks!

Another thing we really enjoy on vacation, is the smallness of our little town.  We park and walk just about everywhere for three weeks or so. 

Therefore, I try to get all the groceries and house hold goods we will need for the duration in one trip to the Walmart and Publix on the day we arrive.  Now that is a vacation to me.  Not having to enter a store for 3 entire weeks! 

I do spend time planning my menus and shopping lists in the week before we leave.  It is not such a bad deal, even for someone who hates shopping.  The kids each get their packing assignments and gather all their things into the suitcases.  Emma and the boys are responsible for common equipment like tennis rackets and fishing rods, board games and all the jazz that we need for all that R&R.  Kaitlin and Brianna go through each list and check to make sure everyone has all that they were supposed to pack. 

That means, I packed only my own suitcase.  I was responsible for Elisabeth's, too, but she wanted to pack hers when she saw Emma packing so Emma helped her.  This system works out great.  In fact, Allen and I were the only ones who forgot something... my camera charger (ouch) and hat (I managed just fine without it, thank you).   Allen and I decided that someone should make us a check list next year.

Anyway, as I was saying.  The only other duty I had this year directly related to the vacation preparations was my menu and shopping planning.  So the plan goes like this.  After our Suburban is packed with passengers and luggage for nine, there is no room left for groceries, toiletries, laundry, cleaning and paper goods for nine to last three weeks.  What we have found works for us is to pick up our house keys and drop the family off at our vacation home with the remains of the nice picnic we always take along and the luggage.  They are responsible for unpacking, opening the house and settling in. 

We drive back over the bridge for provisions.  Which fills about four buggies and takes more time than I care to think about.  Then Allen and I have a bite of dinner.  When we get home the kids carry everything up to the kitchen and unpack it while I soak in the jacuzzi tub.  You see, not so bad a deal.

But here was the point I was getting to.  You know how sometimes I talk about the funny (and not so funny and down right rude) things people say when they see a family of our size?  Well, here was a great one.

As we are checking out, we were having a delightful conversation with the two ladies (yes, it took two) who were ringing and bagging and carting all the trappings.  As we got near the end of our order, (now remember we are in a coastal town) one of the ladies ran to get another buggy to put the bags in.

With total seriousness, the other lady asked, "Are you shopping for the coast guard?"

Of course, Allen couldn't resist messing with her. He starts by saying, "Some might call them the Coast guard but we call them our kids."


  1. The woman's comment was classic. :)

    You have this whole vacation thing down pat to the letter. I love it!

  2. Kat,

    I can only imagine the looks on their faces with just you and Allen there and none of the kids.

    This was such a warm smile to receive from you today. Thank you for always being a great friend.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. I just LOVE your blog!! I could keep reading and reading but I must go. I will be back. I just read your post about "Are they all yours" and laughed!! I used to be asked if we were a kindergarten!! Another comment (when we had only three children) was "Breed, breed, breed!!" I was asked all sorts of things so you just brought back all those funny moments.

    Your shopping for your vacation was also hilariously familiar. We couldn't always bring the food and would shop when we got there.

    We have also been asked if we are Amish...Once I had to explain that we drove up in a fifteen passenger van, not a buggie!!

    I like it that you post your church service for those who can't make it out.

    Thanks for joining up with my blog and sorry it took me so long to visit yours.