I’m getting ready to take a vacation.
Instead of going to some corporate, overly commercialized resort, we decided to take the family to Disneyland.
This may be our last chance as a family to visit the happiest place on Earth, with the noted exception of North Korea. Because according to North Korean state media, North Korea is the happiest place on Earth.
The last time we took this trip, our children were much shorter, which justified the use of a stroller. The stroller was great because you could put all kinds of stuff in it — coolers, cookies, sunscreen, shotgun shells, pretty much anything you’d need to enjoy a day in Disneyland. We filled the stroller so full of stuff our youngest wound up walking.
However, now we’re going to have to figure out how to do this trip without the convenience of a stroller.
It’s just one of the many preparations needed before making this trip.
We’ll have to pack all our clothes. This includes clothes for each day, plus extras … you know, just in case.
In case of what? Well, what if after 80 years of doing without, Donald Duck pulls a knife on you and demands you hand over your pants?
At that point you’ll be happy you have a spare pair in the hotel room. As it turns out the Disney people frown on anyone except Donald walking around their family theme park without pants.
It’s not just making sure you have plenty of pants. You have to plan ahead for every contingency. What if it’s cold? You’ll need jackets and sweaters. If it’s raining, hopefully you packed ponchos and hats. Smoggy? Respirators and HAZMAT suits.
Not only do you need clothes, but also snacks, drinks, sunscreen, phone chargers, pillows, sleeping bags, cameras, notebooks, portable distilleries and pliers.
Then you have to figure out how to pack all this crap into the van.
The first step is to clean out the interior, which includes several hours spent with a vacuum, Armor All and your wife’s good dishtowels.
The actual packing is really easy, as long as you don’t have any passengers. However, when the whole family minus the dog is going, you can’t just throw suitcases on the seats.
That’s when loading the van becomes the most frustrating game of Tetris ever.
Before loading it, you have to get the van ready for the long drive.
I’ve already replaced the spark plugs, changed the oil and given the exterior its annual washing.
But now the tire pressure light is on, even though every tire is right at 38 PSI. There’s a squeak in the brakes that aren’t six months old at this point, yet the squeak is there all the same. There’s always a little bit of worry whenever you go somewhere as you wonder … how far can my kids push a fully loaded van?
Also, I have to mentally prepare for the mess that is southern California. Will there be power? Will the fires burn down everything before I arrive? Will there be a riot? What if the Californians find out we’re from one of the top Trump voting counties in the country? Will Nancy Pelosi personally deny me entrance at the border?
This may be the last time we take a vacation together as a family, and not just because I’ve been trying to sell my children to a farm.
You see my kids are getting older and bigger. They’re to the point I don’t have many more years left that I can physically force them to spend time with me in uncomfortable cramped spaces like the van, Disneyland or North Korea.
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