Every two years, my family gets together for a trip somewhere. It all started in 1988 – – My parents love Europe and decided that they wanted to take the whole brood to France, England and Ireland for a couple of weeks. Dad’s secretary did the planning, and all we had to do was show up. We had a great time, and the Family Trip was created.
In later years, our Family Trip Plan was devised by my dad, who would putter happily on the internet for months trying to find the perfect villa that will hold the whole brood, have a pool or lake, and a washing-machine. Anything less is camping. He’s retired, and can devote the time that’s necessary to the extensive planning and preparation that is needed for a fully-programmed trip for 8-10 people.
After one of those vacations, it usually takes us all some time to recover and earn enough miles for the freebie flights, so we decided to take a year off in between. On these off years, Vlad, Alexei and I always spend a couple of weeks at my mother-in-law’s condo on Ka’anapali Beach on Maui. It’s two weeks of no schedule whatsoever – kind of a reverse Family Trip. It’s our Happy Place.
Last spring, I had the bright idea that since EVERYONE loves Hawaii, and the Pizarev Family Condo is in the great beachfront complex at Maui Ka’anapali Villas, I thought it would be a good spot for the 2010 Gorry Family Trip. In this family, having an idea means you immediately volunteer to chair the committee.
Dad took executive action and immediately abdicated all responsibility – correction – delegated all responsibility for the organization to me. Since I have a more-than-full-time job, and he’s retired, I felt it was a bit unfair, but I’m perfectly trained and didn’t argue – much. I therefore got the Joy and Pleasure of doing the planning – an exercise I feel can only be described as Herding Cats.
As the family Cat-Whisperer, I have discovered that getting my cats to do what I want and go where I want them to go is far easier than organizing a Family Trip. Everyone has their own issues, needs, wants and quirks, and sometimes you need a scorecard to keep up with everything.
Finding dates for the trip was the first issue. Bro the Attorney had a trial that was planned for this time. He was hoping for a postponement, but couldn’t count on it. He was literally at the Mercy of The Court. I had an unexpected business trip to New York pop up the week I was planning to leave. Vlad had important client meetings he couldn’t miss. Alexei had summer school finals, and then his annual camping trip with his prep school buddies. Mom had Altar Guild and various other volunteer commitments she couldn’t wiggle out of. Sis-in-law was working on a new project, but said she could be flexible (she’s awesome!). The Cutest Nephew in the World had a narrow window between summer camps ending and 2nd grade starting, but it wasn’t anything Sis-in-law couldn’t work around.
Sheesh. I really wanted to work the trip around my Mom’s landmark birthday (she’d kill me if I said which one) so at least I had a final date to bludgeon the rest of the family with. I decided we were going to all be there on Labor Day weekend, and everyone could arrive whenever they wanted – they just had to be there for the weekend. I thought that was the easiest. I threw it out there and crossed my fingers.
It worked – with only one small hitch. Dad was trying for free mileage plane tickets, so he needed to book his flights quickly before they were all gone, or face flying from California to Maui via Chicago or Atlanta (honestly – those were options that came up!). As a result, I got daily phone calls from Dad asking me if I have ‘heard from my brother yet’ just adding to the fun. Amazing how the time-honored practice of throw-the-sibling-under-the-bus never goes away – no matter how old you get. I told Dad to call Bro himself and work it out…. and they did, to my great amazement. Glad I wasn’t on that call.
Miraculously, we found a period that worked. The stars aligned, and the court postponed the trial. The 2010 Family Trip was on. The only thing I REFUSED to do was plan what people would do each day. I knew the lack of daily planning would make Dad break out in hives, but hey – it’s Hawaii! I figured my cat-herding was over as soon as everyone’s flight was booked. I can hear the Travel Gods snickering already.
Oh yeah – sorry, Bro for the bus-throwing, but I know you’d do the same to me. – Love ya, Sis.