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Restful vacation?

Two weeks of lying on an isolated tropical beach with an umbrella-covered drink and not doing a thing. For me, not a chance!

My idea of a vacation is doing something ... so many somethings that I need a vacation when I get back from vacation. I can lie around at home and get a drink (tea or otherwise) here in town. The only time I enjoy not doing something is when I'm avoiding it. A vacation should be what I don't do the rest of my work year. Some people (ladies, you know who you are) enjoy shopping. Some people enjoy driving, eating out, visiting with friends or near-by relatives, or even doing household chores. Remodeling a bathroom is not my idea of a vacation. I want to do something different - something for the photo album (or better yet, something definitely not for the photo album).

I dream of climbing the stone stairs of a jungle-encrusted Aztec temple ... photo-hunting sharks or wild boars ... screaming from the top of the world's tallest rollercoaster ... cave exploring with an experienced guide ... or introducing myself as "Bond, James Bond" in some exotic location. I don't dream of visiting my in-laws in Newell, SD.

"I have to get away from it all!" is the excuse behind most vacations, yet people take it all with them. They drive motor homes bigger than my house (talk about packing the kitchen sink). They take cellphones so they don't lose touch with home. They have their mail forwarded (they want to see the water bill?). I want to re-tell an interesting time, not "We played Pitch at my cousin's for two weeks."

If it's impossible to make time for a vacation, that's when you need one. Yet, a few minutes of every day could be a mini-vacation. Why go on a simple walk with the kids, when you argue with chattering squirrels on the way? Instead of paper airplanes at the office, fly a kite in the park. Call your wife with a disguised voice and ask if her refrigerator is running, if so, she should catch it! Test-drive a new Cadillac during lunch and take your wife out for a hot dog. Turn off the TV. Why eat hamburgers instead of fixing snapping turtle stew? Leave the car radio turned up full blast when you turn off the engine so your wife will wake up when she turns it on. Try to be left-handed during a meal. Bring home a Chip and Dale DVD or VCR, then let your wife enjoy watching those Disney chipmunks. Use two-dollar bills. Ask your wife to help you wash the car and get into a kid-like water fight (you should get wetter than she does so she doesn't get angry). Speak pig-Latin to your kids for three minutes. Turn the office wall clock upside-down to see if anyone notices. Do you put your left sock on first, or the right? Can you still find the Big Dipper in the evening sky? In a hurry, shake someone's hand and thank them for what they did, then quickly run off before they ask what it was.

Get away from the hum-drum, do a vacation, even a mini- one.