Friday, June 22, 2012

Fun for the whole family

Ok, first of all I believe there is NO SUCH THING in the entire world that can be described as 'fun for the whole family'. Whenever I see that advertised I know that someone is going to miss out. At this point I believe it's usually me. All of our holidays as a family (and I use the term holiday loosely) have involved (for me) more work than I would normally have to do at home. I know it won't always be this way, but while they are little that's the way it is.

We have a weekender coming up as we must travel to a surf break between Geraldton (Gero) and Dongara (Dongers) in a few weeks. It's part of the Surf Tour that The Surfer has been doing for two years now. It sees us make several trips down south and further north each year, sometimes three weekends in a row. Although I look forward to these missions as a break in routine, I am always reminded of previous trips and how much 'mum work' is involved. The boys usually have an eat-sleep-surf mentality on these trips.

Mum work: There is the packing and this usually starts two days beforehand. It's not just clothes and toiletries for five people, it's toys, books, nappies, dvds, (yes we need a moment's peace here and there), food, linen, towels, wet weather gear, beach gear (yes even in July) and first aid. There is always some minor injury. ALWAYS.

I pack every item of clothing the little people own. Even then I still need to do a hand wash somewhere. I usually pack my own bag in the last five minutes I have spare, and even though I think I am packing all the right things, I am horrified when we arrive at our destination with absolutely nothing appropriate to wear. Why don't I own a tracksuit? What makes me think that four Alannah Hill skirts will be required on a trip to Gero? Why don't I learn from previous trips that this method of packing does not work?
The car trip starts off well. The 'are we nearly there's?' usually take about 30 minutes to kick in. Despite the healthy fruit snacks I cut up we always end up eating crappy, oversalted chips from some servo stuck in 1979. Barnstormer will always nod off which sounds like a good thing but in the long run, isn't. Hammerhead will not participate in the enforced toilet stop but will then desperately need to go within five minutes of starting the car again, which can make HM get just a bit shirty. HM may also get a little vocal on the drive, particularly if we get stuck behind a convoy of grey nomads and their caravans. This is highly likely on the Gero trip. Many of his 'shed' words are used and the kids see this as an opportunity to join in. The shed words are then used in many more situations for the duration of the trip.

If we are staying at a friend's or relative's abode, I take photos of every room before anyone else is allowed inside, to ensure that when we leave it will look exactly the same. I am meticulous about this.

In a couple of weeks we head to Dongara where we have a lovely beachfront cabin. I am really looking forward to this and think I will be the most relaxed I have ever been on these surf missions. The clean-up is minimal so it should be fun. And hopefully the weather will be nice. Anyway, I'm going to pack my bag well in advance this time and make sure that I have appropriate clothing.

So now, tell me about your family trip. Make me feel normal.


Transient said...

Do what I do and have a permanently packed bag for yourself. Double up on toiletries and clothes to avoid the whole last minute trying to remember and wasteful time trying to think about what you might have forgotten. After forgetting the one last minute inclusion of underwear on one occasion I now double up on that as well. Truly living up to my Transient name. xx

Triple Jane said...

Thanks Transient,
You were always so organised when it came to travel. Said with not a hint of sarcasm. I imagine you are a seasoned traveller by now and have all bases covered. xx

Anonymous said...

Or just pack two weeks in advance like I do and wear all my least fav clothes leading up to hol!!!

You so don't want to hear about my recent packing;
Packing house up to go into storage to be moved at some point in the future to France!

Packing all our stuff we need to survive and live untill our main stuff gets sent over; toys, clothes, household etc etc - really hard to know what you're gonna need in five months time in another country but did a lot of guess work!

Before move to France stayed with my mum after sold house so had to pack everything we needed immediately for an English winter/ spring!!! Whilst everything for France was for summer!!!

Packing all our stuff for immediate and untill our main storage stuff got shipped which could be 6 months or in a years time!!!! Then had to get it all in an estate car and trailer, plus two young kids!!! Used lots of space saver bags!

Then stayed at my sisters apartment first in France untill we found our own place; part unpacked.

Finally got our own place; repack everything, load in car and move; easy after all that previous experience? No!!! Hubby, sister and sisters fiancé all gone off to their jobs in Sardinia leaving me to do it all on my own with a 2 yr old and 4 year old!!!

I'm not moving again!!!!! The fabulous Cote d'Azur is stuck with me!!!!

You don't want me to tell you what I had to do to get the apartment, set up bank accounts, register for health care and get the kids in school ! Let's just say it involved multiple copies of passports, birth certificates, vaccinations and so much other paperwork that I used a reem of paper to print them out! The French do not do joined up departments even within the same department; so when you apply for your kids to attend school canteen you have to provide all the paperwork again even though the education department already has it all! They just shrug their shoulders, purse their lips and say well that was THAT department, you need to give us it now!!!!

But walking along that beach makes it worth it! The moral being nothing worth having comes easy including living the dream!!!!!!
Your pommy pal

Triple Jane said...

Good grief! That really puts it into perspective. I can't imagine what a hassle it would be to move to another country that doesn't speak English with toddlers. I have enough trouble filling out the paperwork for them NOW let alone in another language with its own red tape. You, my pommy friend, are truly to be marvelled at. I would have ended up definitely separated and in a padded cell with all that madness I would think. And you did it on your OWN! At least now you ARE living the dream. Enjoy. xxx