“Stay-cationing” Should Not Involve Running Errands

by swellsbennett

Dan is not good at “stay-cationing.” I didn’t know this before, but, after this week, I will never forget it.

Things have been a little tight financially of late, due mostly to my continuing delusion that I am a novelist. Dan, who some would call an enabler, has been supporting me and my dream for the last three years. Therefore, our fantastic vacations of years past have had to go the way of the thylacine (look it up). Our vacations have been limited to free or cheap hotel deals in Las Vegas.

This time, Dan decided to stay home for a few days after Christmas as a vacation. Now, the primary cost of our previous vacations has been transportation and lodging. Not leaving home meant that we would have a little bit extra to spend on museum visits and a few nice meals. I excitedly began looking for activities in and around Phoenix that were outside of our normal day-to-day existence. I found a few, including the MusicalInstrumentMuseum, which I had heard from a few of my sorority sisters was great fun.

On Wednesday, I awoke looking forward to spending a whole day with my husband. I suggested the museum, but Dan said we had a few things to take care of that day, and I couldn’t disagree with him – our sink is, in fact, broken. After a quick stop at Dunkin’ Donuts, we drove to the place where we bought our kitchen countertops and under-mount sink. Dan, who was anticipating that Better Homes would be dismissive and rude, was pleasantly surprised to find that the salesman was polite and eager to help us fix the problem. They are coming to our house next Wednesday to look at the damage and plan for replacing the sink. Dan’s mood took an upswing.

When I asked him what we were going to do for the rest of the day, he said he wanted to drive over to a furniture warehouse to look at some sofas I had pulled up on my iPhone the day before. Now, our sofa is ridiculously tired. We’ve had it for eight years, and the back cushions look like someone has used them as a nest. Oh, wait – “someone” has. Dewey likes to perch on them while he looks out the window and waits for his nemesis.

Thanks to a few generous Christmas gifts, we actually did have the money to replace the sofa – something we had been discussing for the better part of a year. However, I wasn’t sure he wanted to do that until he headed toward the store on Wednesday. We found a great high-backed, high-armed sofa with an upholstered back – no cushions for Dewey to crush. The price was better than right…it was affordable! So, for the first day of the “stay-cation,” we ran errands and bought a new couch.

Day Two: I awoke slightly less optimistically and suggested the MusicalInstrumentMuseum again. Dan asked how much the entrance fee was, and I told him $18.

“Eighteen dollars for one person!?!” he exclaimed.

“We’ve spent more than that at museums in other cities,” I reminded him.

“Yeah, but we were only there for a week or two. We probably won’t have the chance to see them again.”

“Pretend that we are only visiting Phoenix,” I suggested. “Our house is a rental and we only have a few days to see the best of Arizona.”

“I wouldn’t have rented a house so far out of the city.”

Clearly, this was not working. After a few more volleys, I gave up. “What do you want to do?”

He had no ideas. I suggested a movie. He hemmed and hawed, unable to commit to Lincoln or anything else. At last – knowing that I was on the verge of complete irritation – he said, “I’ll take you to see Les Miserables.”

This was a well-calculated move on his part; I love Les Miserables. I have paid good money to see it on stage three times in my life, and I own the soundtrack. I had been looking forward to seeing the movie since I heard they were making it. I cheered considerably. “Are you sure? I don’t know if you will like it.”

He shrugged. “Maybe you’ll convert me.”

Not a promising start, but at that point, I’d take it.

As soon as the familiar music swelled, I was in heaven – a very wet version, admittedly, but heaven nonetheless. Dan watched in silence until Fantine was on her deathbed. Suddenly he turned to me with wide eyes and said, “She dies?!?”

The story marched forward, shedding character after character in a string of horrific deaths. Toward the end, when Jean Valjean was promising Cosette that he would try to live, Dan leaned over to me and said, “I wouldn’t count on it.” I burst into completely inappropriate laughter. As it turns out, Dan enjoyed Les Miserables, though he has renamed it Everybody Dies.

However, for another ten dollars, we could have gone to the museum.

Later on, I suggested we go to Glendale Glitters for the evening. After a brief consideration of the parking situation around the area, he rejected that idea too.

Today – Friday – I am alone in the house once again. Last night, Dan decided that the “stay-cation” experiment needed to end. Despite the fact that the eternal optimist in me had hoped that today would be a fun-filled experience – I wanted to go to Food-Truck Friday – I have to agree that he sucks at “stay-cationing.”

Next time, we’ll just go to Vegas.


My incredibly sad-looking sofa, soon to be replaced by a newer model.

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