Sunday, August 21, 2022

Don't tell the dog we're going on vacation

because she gets nervous. Or maybe I am the one who gets nervous. I don’t know where this comes from, my travel anxiety. My need to scour the entire house, for example, before we can walk out the door. 

I mean, I love vacations, I just don’t like the part where you have to prep, to pack, to travel to get wherever you are going. My husband knows this about me after many many years of witnessing it, and mostly he goes with the flow. 

Okay, he says, I get why you want to have clean sheets on the bed, why you want the bathrooms to be clean, why you want to leave a detailed note for the dog sitter, but why are you—what are you—? 

He stops mid-step into the kitchen, where I am presently taking an orchid plant apart in the sink. 

(What led to this was we have an orchid that’s been dormant for two years and I thought it was dead and was ready to pitch it, but this morning I saw a Tik Tok video that shows step-by-step how to revive an orchid plant. It is truly amazing.) 

My husband is slowly shaking his head.

I was cleaning the sink, I explain, which led to me cleaning the windows above the sink and then clearing the plants off to dust the sill, and then I saw the orchid… 

He’s still shaking his head, and I notice him noticing the food I have set out on the counter, the travel snacks I’ve planned for the road. Tomatoes and basil I picked from the garden, which I’m readying to toss into a caprese salad. Fruit I’ve washed. Veggies I’ve cut to go with some hummus dip. The parsley and mint and onions I’m chopping to go into the—

Is that tabbouleh? My husband asks incredulously. Are you making a tabbouleh salad? 

But back to the dog. Typically, before we leave on vacation, she seems to catch my anxiety, whirling around behind me as I scour toilets and change sheets, and erm, revive orchid plants and prepare homemade tabbouleh salad. But the moment she sees us dragging the suitcases up from the basement, she goes into full blown terror mode, panting and crying. I have a brilliant idea as I tuck the now already-perky-looking orchid into a jar of water and set it back on the windowsill. 

Let’s not take out the suitcases! We’ll keep them in the basement and carry our clothes and toiletries down there to pack!

My husband busts out laughing, but God love him, this is exactly what we do. 

Let me tell you the secret of the orchid plant. Over time, the root ball gets tired and tangled up, pieces of it, shriveled and dead. But with a little patience, you can untangle it, cut off the dead bits, clean it all up and get the plant going again. 

Wait. I think what I am actually writing about here is not orchids or worried dogs, but about vacations and why, even though some people are always anxious before they embark upon one, they still need to GO. 

So, I go. I’m gone. I’m here. Away from home and only one day in, feeling untangled and revived. 

By the way, before we left, the dog figured it out. In the morning, as I tiptoed around packing the cooler with what my husband calls the Bougie Travel Snacks, while I thought the dog was still asleep upstairs, she woke up and caught my husband in the act of carrying the pillows out to the car. She paced around my legs and cried. I kissed her on the nose and told her what I always tell her before we leave the house. 

It's okay. We'll be back soon. 



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