T-minus 365 days - My husband and I are drunk, having treated ourselves to a bottle of wine at our favorite restaurant in the city. The evening has been fun, and we realize that we haven't gotten away in a while. We should plan something! Something big! Something longer than a few days in the hills!
This will be the last time we are on the same page for the next year.
T-minus 364 days - I wonder if maybe I hallucinated us talking about going to Mexico. A quick conversation with my husband confirms that, yes, by this time next year we made a promise to ourselves that we would be on a beach, sipping drinks.
Hung over, I start looking at vacation options. He is baffled. Why am I looking so early?! We have a year to make plans! That's, like, forever.
T-minus 300 days - After spending every lunch break on every damn review site on the Internet, my spirit is broken. The cheap options are full of people complaining about leaks and sketchy staff and bad food. The expensive options are SO DAMN EXPENSIVE. We either have to travel during hurricane season, or when it's balls hot.
I finally get a set of options together and have a sit-down. Rooms are disappearing, so we need to make a decision that night. He doesn't look up from Football Manager.
"Whatever you decide will be fine."
Trying not to curse under my breath, I pick a cruise. At least I won't have to plan where we eat dinner, and people will bring me drinks.
T-minus 200 days - Committing to the cruise has lulled me into a false sense of security. The vacation is done! Yay! Then I remember that we still have to book excursions.
GAH. Once again, I am on the review sites. Once again, everything is either cheap and horrible, or expensive as hell. Or, they're already sold out.
I pick one and decide to book the rest on the ship, because I just can't read another review.
T-minus 150 days - I start telling people that I'm going on vacation. This includes my ex, who will have the kids, the kids themselves, my mother, and my work. These people will be reminded every 30 days that I will be gone for ten days.
My husband has not told anyone that he's going on vacation, because sharing is for the weak. "I'll put in my leave when the time comes."
T-minus 100 days - Obsessive impulses come and go. I research the boat. I read the forums about the boat. My stomach flips anytime someone mentions leaks, smells, bad food, or poor service. I start researching posters, to see if they're just unusally crabby, or if I should be worried. In my head, I start to build psych profiles of the best and worst posters.
My husband cannot remember what day we're leaving. Twice, he gets the month wrong.
T-minus 60 days - I start planning the flights. I debate how early we want to get down there. Do I want to take a risk that will get us on the boat faster, or do I want to be safe and stand on the dock for a few hours. Do I want a late flight home, causing us to be dead the next day, or do I want to have to rush to get on a plane in an unfamiliar city? Maybe we should go down the day before? Should we book transportation to the ship ahead of time, or will a taxi be okay?
My husband requests first class. I look at the prices and laugh and laugh and laugh. I put our asses in coach.
T-minus 30 days - I start researching weather in Mexico and start packing. The reality that I need to also pack for the kids sets in. I can pack in advance, but they need their clothes. I'll be packing for them at the last minute. Panic begins to rise. I ask my husband to at least try on his suit.
"Pfft. It fits. Don't worry!"
T-minus 15 days - I'm a wreck. Every day, there's something else that pops up. A teacher reschedules a concert. I remember that we have a fish that needs to be fed. The kennel messes up the dates for our dog and I have to get that sorted. Every night, I have a different travel dream. I ask my husband to pack.
"We have over two weeks! That's forever."
T-minus 7 days - My daughter has a growth spurt. I end up having to buy her a completely new wardrobe days before we leave. I comfort myself that new clothes are at least clean, and don't have to be washed before they get packed.
My husband remembers to submit his leave request.
T-minus one day - I have lists of lists in my purse, on my desk, on my whiteboard, on my phone. I check them once an hour. I have repacked my bag four times. I begin to wonder if anyone I know is on Ativan, because my heart is about to give out from the panic.
My husband finally begins to pack his bag. He is surprised to find that all of his clothes are dirty. I tell him, no, we are not going to do laundry on the ship.
Lift-off - I settle into my seat on the plane, wondering if they'll give me a Bloody Mary at 6am. I feel like I've been drug through a war zone, planning this vacation.
My husband is chipper. "Smile, honey! We're on vacation!"
Somehow, I manage to not kill him.