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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Assistance please?

The calendar is rapidly dwindling and heading towards family vacation time. And I'm rapidly moving into a place of denial. Best way to avoid anxiety? Pretend the situation doesn't exist. Which is a brilliant strategy until you're forced to pull your head out of that hole in the ground and it hits you all at once.

We're just over a month away - which means it's time to make the final payment on the rental. This also means it's time for the awkwardness of "your sister shouldn't have to pay as much because they're sleeping in a room with a double & twin instead of a room with a queen bed but really she just can't afford it and we'd rather not word it that way because she DID just manage to afford a Wii and that will make you angry". Oh, how I love being in charge of the arrangements...

It also means it's time to go see the doctor and make sure my prescription for crack Lexapro is all set. My current prescription runs out a week before the trip. Can you imagine withdrawal and NOT being on my pills while living with my family for a week? (I also need to order my blogging t-shirt)

Here's the part where I'm going to ask bloggyland for some assistance. Four couples (plus a one year old) living together for one week. We all have wildly different tastes when it comes to food - most of my family would be content to live on bologna sandwiches all week, my brother's an insanely picky eater, and Joe & I are the only mostly-healthy eaters plus I refuse to eat spam. (Seriously, nothing my dad loves more than a spam sandwich.) Add to that the whole "Tina's too broke to even afford her share of the rental" and I'm wondering how we're going to handle the food situation that week.

It doesn't make sense to me that we would all buy our own groceries and prepare four separate meals three times a day. At the same time, I'm not sure it makes sense to go on one massive shopping trip and just split the bill four ways (plus, again, I'm sure my parents will guilt trip us that Tina can't afford it). So I'm looking for suggestions on how you'd handle the food situation. One idea I had come up with was that each couple would be responsible for dinner one night - whatever they choose. Joe wants to buy everyone lobster and my sister wants to serve everyone cereal, that's fine.

Any ideas? We've never done the family vacation thing before and I just have no idea how to approach it so it's semi-fair and not a total pain in the neck.

I also realize it's entirely possible that I'm over-thinking things, as I tend to do. If that's the case, please tell me! I'll try to resist the urge to punch you in the face.


C. Beth said...

Wow, I'd find that stressful too. However, I think your option of making each family in charge of one meal, sounds like a good one. And then each family can do their own shopping for simple breakfast and lunch foods, maybe?

Juliet Colors said...

You idea for dinner and C. Beth's idea for breakfast and lunch are great. I was in a similar family vacation situation many years ago, and that's exactly what we did. (Although, I seem to recall my parents paid for most of the food; we just split up the planning and cooking and cleaning so that everyone got a turn.)

Good luck!

SF said...

Tina bought a Wii??? Wow, that's pretty lame, I don't blame you for being pissed off, I'm pissed off for you!

I like the one family/one meal thing too. Everyone can do breakfast and lunch at their own pace and you can have family time!!! WOO WOO!!! at dinner.

I can feel your excitement.

Snarky A. said...

Oh, I've tried the whole denials thing. Fabulous, until something bursts the bubble...

I agree; your idea of one night each is a great idea, that would work without too much hassle and stress.
Good luck Cate!

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

There are a lot of things you could probably overthink about this trip, but food is NOT one of them. Food: a staple of life, helps keep us sane in insane times, the one thing that always there for us when everyone else is golfing.

I like the idea of a different fixing dinner each night. Everyone can be responsible for their own breakfast/lunch, that way you don't have to sit through 3 meals a day with them. Just make sure the 1yo's parents are responsible for his/her food - you don't want ANY part of trying to make a kid happy with dinner. :) And make a rule that there will be no complaining about anyone's dinner - even if it is something awful like lobster when your sister kindly slaved over bowls and a box.

andy said...

you ARE over thinking.

and i can say that without you punching me in the face because i do the same thing with EVERY situation.


but i do like your suggestion for food.

and if they want to be cranky @ you?

screw 'em...i'm sure joe would gladly take you out for dinner every night.

'cause he's awesome like that.

lailani said...

I was going to recommend what you said in the end, everyone responsible for one meal. Another option, I have a meal assembly business (pre assembled meals) and I had a customer that was doing Disney with 18 (yes - 18, just fry my brain) She made(and/or purchased from the freezer) 16 meals (and a couple breakfast items) for the week (all meals served 6, some she got two of, of things she knew everyone would enjoy). She froze them took them in coolers. The group would decide what was for dinner in the morning or after the evening meal, thaw it, come back from the park cook real quick eat and head back out. It was $283 for enough food to feed 18 for 5 days of breakfast and dinner. Saved the restaurant scene and expense, a trip to the grocery store, time cooking and cleaning up. If there is one in your area, it might be worth it to save the mental anquish too!

kimber p said...

there's something to be said for highly underrated in my book. Your blog tshirt should say something like "be nice to me, I'll be blogging about you later.." have fun!!!

mo.stoneskin said...

In a similar situation we would normally go with the "each couple/group cook one evening" option.

Of course, that could mean you have spam for dinner...

Mrs Cooper said...

I agree with you. Everyone should have a chance at a meal while everyone else cleans up. This way, everyone gets a shot at it.

Call Me Cate said...

C Beth - I figure breakfast/lunch will be pretty come and go most days. Wander in, eat when you're hungry. I tend not to eat much at the beach when it's hot.

Juliet - Unfortunately, we're the "rich" ones in the family (aka we both have actual jobs) so the folks won't be paying. I'm just trying to get a handle on making it clear that WE won't be paying for everything either.

SF - of COURSE Tina has a Wii! And cable sports packages! Her husband has to have something to do when he's not working.

Snarky - Damn stress always catches up with us eventually. Reality, meh. Overrated.

RAS - Haha, golfing. Not so much, my family. More likely hitting rummage sales or scratching themselves. Think you're definitely right about the nephew though - Tina can take care of feeding him. I'm guessing he won't care for salmon and gin.

Andy - I always know I can count on you to tell it like it is! And yeah, Joe would totally take me out, just to escape them! He's a good boy.

Lailani - I do like the idea of pre-assembling things. I'll check into that, thanks!

Kimber - I definitely need to order my tshirt. Then they can't say they weren't somewhat warned!

Mo - I'd pretend to eat the spam. And then fill up later on chips in my room.

Mrs C - I hadn't even given thought to clean up. Aiyiyi...

Someone elsewhere suggested for the remaining nights a "bring your own meat" kind of grilling situation. I like that idea too.

Isabella said...

No, you're not over thinking're just preparing for what may be ahead. Not a bad idea when the thought of a family vacation has your head in the ground. :)

I don't have any ideas that weren't already I'll just say good luck (and make sure filling that prescription is at the top of your "to do" list before you leave)!

Grand Pooba said...

I think that idea would work great, everyone be assigned a dinner night. We did that for our family vacation and we didn't have any problems!

Good luck!

Tori_z said...

Personally, I think the best options would be to either do the each couple pays for dinner on different nights thing. Or everyone pays for their own food.

Whatever you end up doing, I hope the trip goes well.

The Wife O Riley said...


Well. my first suggestion is oral surgery so you don't have to go.

My second suggestion is to go and make it a free for all and everyone go their seperate ways for dinner.

Yaya said...

I think the splitting up dinner each night idea is a good one.

I love lexapro. It's my savior.

Melissa B. said...

We were just talking about this tonite at dinner. "How do we avoid the anxiety of last year's family vacation," my Hubz asked the assembled. "Don't invite the extended family this year," my daughter most aptly replied. Case closed.

Andi said...

I love those t-shirts! I gave you an award:

P.S. don't overthink!

blognut said...

I'm so late getting to blogs today! Anyway, I say (from experience) that your idea of having each family take responsibility for purchasing and preparing the dinner for one night is the way to go.

Donnetta said...

We could NEVER go on vacation together. We'd be on the news. I'm sure of it!

I think your plan is PERFECT!

BTW - Can I come the night y'all do lobster?

Call Me Cate said...

Isabella - the prescription is for sure tops. Not optional.

Grand Pooba - Glad to hear it's worked for someone. Though your family seems to get along.

Tori - If we eat out, definitely separate checks. Probably will eat in mostly.

Wife O Riley - hmm, oral surgery? I was thinking work emergency but that could work!

Yaya - not sure what I'd do without my Lexapro.

Melissa - Yes, not going on family vacation would be the best way to avoid the stress. Wish that was an option.

Andi - Thanks!

blognut - yay, another one with experience. Did you get stuck eating spam?

Donnetta - I'm really not sure we won't end up on the news. Keep an eye open the week of June 6! And probably won't waste lobster on them. They wouldn't eat it.

Megan said...

That definitely sounds like a situation where you could be on edge and biting your tongue a lot.

I think the easiest, for everyone, would be to be on your own for breakfast/lunch and then do what you were thinking with dinner. If someone's not happy with that, then they can figure out what they want to eat on their own, then, too.