Vacation included seven people - Mom, Dad, me and the Pennsylvania crew of my brother, nephew, niece and pretend-nephew. Plus three dogs. And a surprise entry. So you know the planning was extensive as we were all staying together at a campground in North Myrtle Beach. And you know how planning sort of overwhelms you - even when you are just plain ready to roll.
Now, what do most smart, normal, sane people do the day before they leave? Probably wrap up the little things - last minute packing, last minute grocery shopping, getting gas for the car - stuff like that. I say 'probably' because what we did was, well, not that.
Instead, after a brief phone call with my mother on the Friday before the Sunday we left - we decided the best way to spend an already busy Saturday was to drive north of Raleigh to deliverance and pick up a kitten. A brand new kitten. Who does that?
Well, just look - and tell me, who wouldn't?
So we did.
We drove him back to Raleigh to my house and then my mom drove him back to Pinehurst to their house.
Wait a minute, you say? Weren't you just getting ready to head out on vacation? Oh fear not - this little guy didn't know it - but he was getting ready to be introduced to the motor home in a big way. Yes, he has spent twelve of thirteen days of his new life living in the camper with his new best friends - the collies.
And the rest of us spent these days being reminded of what it's like to have a kitten. You forget just how high they can jump (onto every flat surface and many that aren't quite so flat). You forget just how cute they are when they sleep (if you can get them to stop moving enough to take a nap). You forget how curious they are (as he cuddles into an eighty pound collie with all of his two or three pounds of weight). You forget their climbing abilities (Curtains? Check. Human legs? Check.). You forget that they don't know that it's the kitten food they are supposed to eat (as he samples anything he can get his paws on - often directly from some non-guarded plate). You forget that they have to be, well, reminded to use the kitty litter (he'd actually sign in relief being placed in the box).
And then you remember just how sweet a tiny boy can be. And how he was just what the doctor ordered to help heal a heart that was broken recently by another cat's passing.
Clearly Jigger is bonding just fine with his new family - and totally taken with his new surroundings. Today he will arrive at his 'real' house to spend his first significant time out of the motor home. Now, knowing how wide open he was in that small space - I can only imagine what he'll get into with all that new space to play in.
Oh - and his name. "Jigger" is the name that was once used for sand wedges. Keeping up with our golf themed pet names. Even though none of us actually plays anything more than mini-golf.
Once we had settled into our campsite, the next thing on the docket was to go pick up the Pennsylvania group from the airport. They were slated to arrive at noon on Monday. Because we like to keep ourselves on a tight schedule - we opted to be up and out of the motor home by nine and off to Costco before heading to the airport. The wrinkle in that plan was Costco not opening until 10am.
The other wrinkle is that we had eaten sparingly for breakfast - knowing that Costco would be a mecca of samples. Except they didn't have any out so by the time we got done shopping we were about to tear into a twenty pound bag of anything in the snack aisle. New rule: There is nothing wrong with pizza at 10:30am.
The day then turned into one of those 'hurry up and wait' episodes. First the flight from Philly to Charlotte was delayed as they had over fueled the plane. Really? How'd that work out? Not so great - the flight was then delayed further as the fuel had to be balanced. Still, should be okay. Back we went to the motor home to wait it out.
We prepped for the next departure time (this was a two car operation). And then learned the flight still hadn't left Philly. And when it finally did - there was a pretty big question as to whether the kids would make their connector in Charlotte. But since they were in the air we really weren't sure.
We kind of goofed around waiting for the text saying they were on their second flight. We kind of planned to be on the road to the airport. We got the text. Saying they'd missed their connector. Back to the relaxing.
We got a note saying they were on a new flight and in their actual seats. We prepped again. We got a note saying there was now a mechanical problem, so they'd be delayed. Back to relaxing. We got a note saying they were taxi-ing out. Back to relaxing. That should have been 'Back to prepping' because after all of this - they arrived at the airport well before we did. Whoopsie.
So the noon arrival was now a 3pm arrival. But, as I always say - any flight that lands safely is a good flight. Even if it does cut into our beach time.
Vacation was officially underway. To be documented on a giant dry erase board to include daily schedules and meals. This was no shoddy operation. We had an agenda for each day of the week and we kicked ass.
The dry erase board also included chore lists for each participant. My dad almost got away with one here - for his name didn't quite appear in the chore list. Until it became apparent that there would be one job requiring a keen eye and cat like reflexes: