A list of staycation dreams

Stacey Gross Times Observer Reporter

Things I planned to do on staycation:

1. Finish the living room and dining room

2. Put kids on the bus for the first day of school

3. Naps

4. Bullet journal agenda creation catch-up.

5. Snacks

6. Read for pleasure

7. Coffee

8. Write for pleasure

9. Cook food

10. Not go to work

Yeah. That was an adorable little list of dreams, wasn’t it?

I made that list in my head, day in and day out, for the entire second and third weeks of August. I just want to grab the me from last week and pinch her little cheeks and call her sugar.

I just needed a break. Ya know? From life. All of…this. So I cashed in what time I had and planned to do a lot of hiding in my little den, which I’ve constructed using a weighted blanket and a heated mattress pad.

Isolation can be self-care. Don’t look at me like that.

What I failed to remember, though, is that work is where I go to de-stress from my life. Except for that weird span of about six weeks in June and July. But that was an anomaly, I’m sure.

It’s like that, kids. It’s like all of that. My life is a great big old stress sandwich with extra stress mayo and stress sprinkles on top. Even the metaphor is stressful. What kind of psychopath puts sprinkles on a sandwich? I don’t even know. And now I’m going to be chewing that over in my head for days.

Thanks a lot.

Finish the living room and dining room I did. For the most part. There are still pictures to re-hang, but other than that it’s basically a brand new space ready for brand new memories to be made. There’s still a long way to go. I still need to paint the kitchen and laundry room, and then there’s the entire upstairs to contend with, but progress has been made and the process of throwing out massive amounts of crapola as I put the rooms back together in their new, neutral, chic-gray state of normal has been reparative to say the least.

Still, major atmospheric changes correspond with major emotional adjustments for me. Sensory sensitivity is a circumstance that makes even minor alterations to environment difficult to recalibrate to.

It’s just the nature of the beast.

An entire layer of relational patina has been stripped from the first two rooms of my house that anyone experiences when they walk in the door. It comes with good feels and bad feels. All of the things that happened in that room have been erased from the apparent record. Like when a Realtor flips a house after someone shot themselves in the breakfast nook so she can sell it to someone else. But the things that have happened remain, in my chest and in my guts and in my heart. I’m going to need a few weeks to adjust, is all. But as I zero in on making those adjustments to what’s a vastly improved environment, the emotions surrounding such an abrupt about-face continue to shudder.

Put kids on the bus for the first day of school? Did that one too. On Wednesday. After spending Tuesday driving to Erie to discover that Waldameer was closed on weekdays.

Because ADD folks. Inattentive type. Live and in the flesh, and on flagrant display, 24/7. That’s my life in a metaphor.


Hahaha. Haha. Ha.


Agenda-making catch-up?

I was still current in my bullet journal agenda when staycation began. Now I’m a full monthly and weekly spread behind.


Don’t even get me started on the snacks, y’all. I have bought, and yelled at my kids for not saving for school, more snacks than I could have dreamed of in the last five days.


Shoot. I’ll tell you all about them kids and some snacks.

Need to eat some dinner, too, while they’re at it.

It’s fine. We’re all fine. I’m not mad.

We aren’t reptiles. We do not eat our young. Just keep repeating it, Stace’.

Reading for pleasure I have done. Kinda. Sorta. I’ve read a lot of micro-flash. Mostly fiction. Status updates, I think the kids call them? I’ve read a lot of those this week. Because I haven’t had cable for ten days because I thought I could be one of those hip millennials who could live in a shed in the desert and has zero need to feel connected to the world, but I was born in 1983 and I need my MTV because it’s how I dissociate without getting drunk. So basically all I’ve done is look at Facebook for hours at a time.

Shut up.


Yeah. Yeah I made coffee happen just as much as I do during the week. If not more. Because it’s the only drug I do these days. My coffee game was tight this week. I’ll give myself that.

Writing for pleasure?

I will say that I have spent this week developing a strong and distinctive micro-flash voice. It’s really evolved to display a large amount of nuance – many shades of gray.

Alright. Fine.

Status updates.

It’s a legitimate niche genre that’s very interactive, alright?

Mind your business, Susan.

And mine.

It’s all right there on Facebook for you to peruse.

I did do a small amount of cooking, but it was awkward, what with the fridge being in the living room for while. So I was only lukewarm about any meal I made, and I felt kinda wrong and icky afterward too. Like the way Sunday feels after you blatantly waste every second of it and then want to cry yourself to sleep around 8 p.m.

Clearly, I failed pretty spectacularly at the tenth item on my staycation to do list. Because here I am, at work, writing a column. Even though, when I walked in the door Thursday, I got the same reception from my coworkers as the cat you take to the vet when he comes home in the infernal box of doom smelling like…the vet.

General confusion and mild disdain.

A little hissing. A little yowling. Ambient hatred.

I felt right at home, actually.

It was great.