Coping: 9-Ways to have a Great Vacation

Back to blocking and tackling.

I think everyone has some shade of “blues” over coming back home after seeing the kids and being back on home turf again.

I’ve tried to prevent some of it this trip by implementing certain travel moves that keep stress from coming back…at least for a few days.

1.  Pay Important Bills in Advance.

Yeah, this sounds silly, I know…why do that?  Well, we happened to come back a few days after the first of the month.

So before we left, I took a number of recurring bills and made up envelopes, so that I could simply pull the amount and then be done with it.

2.  Have a Reliable Home Sitter.

We’re lucky – Panama and his bride live here at the ranch, but they have an offer out on a nice home – and they’ll love it if the deal comes together as I expect this one will.

But in the meantime, having someone look after the place who can fix any plumbing, electrical, legal, or whatever issue is a dandy thing to have in your back pocket.

Even when they move, I’m not above paying for house sitting…it ensures that people are around to look after things.

3. Have the mail “sorted”.

This one is great:  I can home to four piles of mail.

One pile of bills and general “stuff”.  A couple of Peoplenomics subscriptions (not everyone likes online), a pile of magazines and flyers, and then a pile of boxes.

This allowed me to run through 3+ weeks – hell almost four now that I look at the calendar – in one easy session.

The odd bills that came in were scanned and in the mailbox by 10 AM.  The weeding of flyers and magazines took only 10-minutes to look through what was really worth loading the brain with.  A couple of articles in Family Handyman  and a few in Mix Magazine looked good. 

Other than that, it was a round-file episode.

The Peoplenomics paperwork was done before noon, too.

4.  Don’t travel too far in one day. 

While we had a number of 8-hour days driving, we would trade off.  On the way back, Elaine would drive one day, me the next.  Every other day was a 4 to 5 hour day so we had plenty of time to “catch up.”

An 8-hour day will get you almost 500 miles.  Pee and food stops slow down the average.  Half-days 250 is a good number.

5. Don’t Bring a Lot of Clothes for the Travel Part.

We found that we could wear the same clothes for three days easy enough.  When you stay at a nice hotel, tip the bellman and let them schlep the bags – for a decent tip, of course.

But no one is going to see you checking in, at dinner, and then again at breakfast…so who cares if you’re wearing the same shirt?

A shower, change of shorts and socks…then three shorts and three socks is what you will go through on a 1,500 mile trip. 

Save the “git up” for when you land at your main destination.

6.  Time Cig Cities to Avoid Rush Hours

Better yet, we worked so that mostly we were able to avoid big cities on the way back on any7thing but a weekend.

Coming through the Zones of Perpetual Construction is a breeze at 10 AM on a Sunday.  10AM on a weekday?  Not so much.

7.  Over Budget – a Lot.

We weren’t frivolous, don’t get me wrong.  But we did a few very nice dinners out with the kids and we had some very tasty food.

That isn’t the time to be cheap – and I tend to tip 20% because that’s how a lot of people make their money these days.

8.  Plan Awesome Home Meals.

We stopped at the store and loaded up on extra lean meat and some great steaks before landing at home.

The reason?  Well, everything was gone from the fresh larder when we left, so restocking was necessary.  But with some more expensive than usual meats and good salad fixings, the transition to “regular” home cooking is less severe.  A bottle of two of not too pricey Champaign helps things, too.

9.  Get Back on Lists – Quickly.

I don’t make and “do” lists when on vacation.  I probably work about as hard, but not so methodically.

But first thing this morning, it was back into Excel and working out what happens in what order in the Life of George & Life of Elaine.

So there you have it – the management notes on the trip.

AirBnB was delightful – our host Ron has a perfect places to stay for us and we’ve already talked about a long-term stay next year.

The further ahead you can plan, the better your outcome will be.

There’s a nickel’s worth of free vacation consulting for you.

Bottomless Lakes?

We had our last dinner out in Amarillo at Kabuki Romano, where they do Benihanna –type cooking (teppan-style).  And we got to talking to ther nice folks at the table from Oklahoma.

Learned a number of things, but the most striking bit of local lore from OK panhandle is this discussion of “bottomless lakes” nearly.

Sure enough, there are some listed in New Mexico, but they are not exactly bottomless – but 90 feet is mighty darn deep when most places a cattle watering hold 5 feet deep is “big water.”

Also got a rancher’s view of global warming.

The grandfather of the family explained that when he was young, snow drifts in winter averaged about 10-feet with occasional 15-food depths reported.

But here lately, say the last 20-years, or so, they have only been getting 5 or 6 foot drifts and the 10-footers are exceptionally rare.

He didn’t know if that was because winds are dying down, or if it’s from just less precip.

But computer models aside, ranching up that way has been great and last year, the ranchers were getting 5-cuttings of hay, although the fifth cutting wasn’t much to write home about.

The economic reason for mentioning this?  Outlook for well-contained meat prices seems pretty good and the feed lots along I-40 look pretty near full.

Life in the Cellular World

Captain Midnight is back – and Saturday Peoplenomics readers will have a new – and quite amazing take on Climate.  He is working on a book.

He’s an ingenious writer and I feel inadequate even speaking to him about writing…

A funny bit from this morning.

I call the Captain and we chit-chat a bit about the report which arrived on CD Monday.

“Say, my wife an I are in Normandy France…and we’re about to eat lunch….would you mind if I keep this short?”

Yep…that’s the New World.  the Captain’s  cellphone and you never know which country he’s in…

I’m so old, I remember when the world was a much bigger place.

Hmmm….maybe another good morning for a nap… 

28 thoughts on “Coping: 9-Ways to have a Great Vacation”

  1. I’d read a story that the UN is intending to tax meat at exhorbitent rates, with the goal of making it too expensive to eat. For the earth, of course. I guess the flatulent cows were cleared of gas-related earth harm, but some other reason had to be invented.

    • The UN is a supra-national organization that is trying to re-invent itself as a government. It isn’t. It derives all its power from its member governments. Only if these entities give it power by ceding their sovereignity can it tax anyone on anything. If I ate meat, I’d create a fallback plan to avoid the tax, but since I don’t, I can spend that energy inventing ways around all the other ridiculous regulations that entity wishes to impose. I do think we should reconsider our membership, and perhaps require them to relocate outside our country. Amexit, anyone?

  2. Let me start by saying: I have dreams that come true. Not all the time, but enough in my life to not dismiss it. Three nights ago I dreamed about Fire. Everywhere. Volcanos, lava and everywere fire. Two nights ago I dreamed about Floods. Clear skys and starting slowly, then water everywhere. Then last night the most disturbing. Clocks. A full night of clocks. I awoke this morning with an ominous feeling. I thought you would like to hear this.

    • You by chance didn’t happen to watch the “2012” movie several nights ago, did you?

      For the past several years, I’ve had a recurring series of dreams involving a “huge wall of water.” There a three I can remember. From what I foggily recall upon waking from each (I don’t have crystal clear dream recall like George), the wall can best be described as a tsunami. In one dream, I was in a glass front building which seemed to be a restaurant at a beach resort as the wall of water bore down on me. In another, I was on a cliff overlooking the ocean as I watched the tsunami approach. In still another, I was in the air (in a aircraft?) There were other people around in the first two (not the airborne one), none of which I recognized. Aside from the Freudian implications (drowning in my job, a past life experience, the news or a TV show), I wake with a sense that something major is about to happen. I do not often have such dreams, nor do I tend to dream in recurrent themes. Most dreams I recall are very mundane, but these . . . quite vivid.

      • yer givin me the heebie jeebies, CA has been having minor spasms all down the state.

        Oh..and that blonde thing, just goes to show that the “Politically Correct police are alive & well”..can’t give a physical description of a person without someone categorizing it as “PC Incorrect”…can’t buy into that mania….

  3. I pay my electric bill once a year in advance,figuring that the cost of stamps exceeds the interest lost.

  4. Captain Midnight is back

    The radio serial? The pirate radio movie? The HBO hack? The Apple ][ software pirate(s)? A name for the publisher of Midnight Engineering? Or someone else…..

  5. As a regular reader and subscriber to Coast to Coast, where I first listened to you with your future reading machine, I became interested in your views. Although I never hear mention of Cliff or the future machine anymore.

    But I’m writing because when you use terms like “we both married blondes.”, and “Panama’s bride,” you infantize the women in your life and put off younger readers. And you date yourself which I’m sure is not your intention.

    Kudos to your recent trend to use spell checking.

    • really:

      But I’m writing because when you use terms like “we both married blondes.”, and “Panama’s bride,” you infantize the women in your life and put off younger readers. And you date yourself which I’m sure is not your intention.


      I’m 36 so somewhat young. You young whipper snappers need to get over your feelings and toughen up.

      • I kinda agree with both of you, but my view is that any feedback from a customer is good to hear. The Wsnapper being a customer.

        We shouldn’t dismiss them and tell them “whipper snappers” to toughen up unless you are ready and willing for them to toughen up their wallets, and at the same time accept nothing you have to say.

        In other words, you get nothing for being critical. You stand to gain by being pragmatic and welcoming of other notions and ideas and feedback.

        Just my two cents from some of my years between 37 and 50.

    • Good Lord, would ‘ya lighten up? George is a geezer talking to us other geezers, so if you’re not one maybe you should STFU!

    • it’s infantilize, not infantize. Could be why George hates Hillary, she’s smart and articulate. (For some, Women can only be babes/sex toys and nothing else).

      That being said, I’m female and appreciate George’s open mindedness (maybe not towards women)and hard work cranking out his daily columns.

      • Hillary is articulate? She has brain damage and reads from a script. When was her last press conference?

      • If you are going to call Over The Hill smart and articulate, you may as well continue and call her a criminal and psychopath as evidenced by Mr. Comey, Loretta Lynch, and Bill Clinton. The rest of us just cannot agree with you that George hates her or women, but millions of us do dislike her strongly.

        Sign me, Woman for George.

    • Since everyone is appropriating my name, I’ve changed it to something more distinctive.

      There’s absolutely nothing infantilizing about the terms “blonde” and “bride”. Both are accurate and are terms of endearment – certainly so in that sentence.

      I had the pleasure of meeting Elaine(and George) years ago and Elaine is very definitely a blonde. She’s also charming, smart, and any number of other things. I’ve not(yet) had the pleasure of meeting either Panama or his bride, though I trust George that the aforementioned bride is also blonde.

      When and if I again have the pleasure of having someone to call my own, I’ll most certainly think of her as my bride, as it connotes a woman that has been chosen above all other women as a lifemate. It also implies someone eternally beautiful and desirable. My millennial daughter, who is very smart and beautiful fully realizes the power of appearance, poise, and charm. She uses these things, along with raw intelligence every day to improve her station in life.

      • Beautiful tribute, thank you. It is an honor to be treasured by my husband in the same way these gents treasure their brides.

    • What a joke!!! Don’t you respect your elders?? Are they supposed to spifiup their language to suit you??? Oh, cause George sells something, he is supposed to change his ways to make his customers happy? Are you even a customer or a freeloader?? If you are a customer, then do me a favor, first of all wake up, and second of all grow up, you will never gain any benefit from anyone else if you cannot allow George to express himself as WHO he is without censorship. Facts are, they ARE BOTH married to blondes and Panama’s bride IS his wife, so where is the beef??? Blimey, you wouldn’t last a day in bloody old England!!!

  6. George, My wife and I call it “reentry” after getting back from a vacation. I don’t care who you are it kinda sucks. You have spent time like you have all the time and money in the world (even when you do it on a budget it feels that way). Then you get back to realize that the reality is you don’t have all the time and the resources to be in a consent vacation or do whatever you want, all the time. But then again it lets you start looking forward to your next vacation, which it sounds like you’ve already started to do. Thanks for your column, even when you are on Vacation!!!!

  7. George
    With regard to your “driving” distances on a trip,
    my wife and I have been driving from northern Vermont to north central Florida yearly, for about
    20 years now. I have found that on a normal trip, which I consider to be one without accidents,
    huge construction delays, or bouts of really bad
    weather, if we start out between 7 and 8 in the a.m., and quit between 5 and 6 p.m. and include “rest” stops, meal stops, and occasional walk around for a few minutes stops, we will travel just about 500 miles a day (give or take 20 miles)
    If we leave our home in Vermont Sunday morning (for example) we can just about count on being at
    our Florida place between 1 and 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

  8. Tax meat? Let them eat cake at the UN. People will raise chickens in their yards surreptitiously. Pigeons will become extinct. Dogs will become dog meat.

    The Chinese will bomb the UN headquarters in NYC.

    It will be revolution.

    Tax idiotic ideas.

  9. “Time [B]ig Cities to Avoid Rush Hours”

    FYI George: you can use the app Waze (bought by Google) to check when the best time to make your trip would be. Just check it ahead (even the day before), tell it where you need to go & when you want to get there by, and it’ll tell you the best time to leave based on traffic patterns.

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