The moment I saw that my kids would have off a full week for Thanksgiving, I texted my husband and told him to request the week off. I wanted to do something special for the holiday.
The moment his time off was approved, we started planning — trying to figure out how to maximize that family time. After all, our kids are getting older, soon they may not want to even spend time with us.
We toyed with tropical travel, searching for a perfect all-inclusive with a buffet that would satisfy our starving teenage son. But the longer we waited, the higher the prices climbed. It became hard to pull the trigger, paying hundreds, or even thousands, more than what it would have cost if we’d been quicker on the draw. We scrapped sandy scenery for something closer to home.
Branson fit the bill. Closer to home, cheap accommodations, fly fishing, and and a theme park lit up like a Christmas beacon to alien lifeform in the next galaxy, it would be a festive kickoff to the holiday season. But, alas, my job situation got a little iffy, and I got cold feet. I pulled the plug on our venture south.
Lamenting our time off and lack of plans to my good friend in Colorado, she mentioned that their plans, too, had fallen through, and rather than travel, they would stay home. Within about 10 minutes, we’d concocted a new plan — one in which we’d come out and visit them for Thanksgiving. We received blessings from our husbands, and for a brief moment, a Colorado adventure became our new plan. And it was a good one.
But then, I had a brilliant idea. I knew my husband would be on board. I texted my friend and told her we’d thought it through, and had decided to stay home.
We would take a staycation. But this wouldn’t be just any staycation; this would be a working week. We would completely overhaul our basement. The week would become forever known as the Great Parnell Purge of 2017.
Our basement, you see, was quite full of stuff. Useful? Trash? Otherwise?
Who would even know, with the mountains of plastic tubs piled high throughout our storage area. We moved into our house when I was very pregnant, and I had no energy to go through much of the stuff we brought with us. Our children have grown into, then back out of, a decade worth of toys, many of which were still waiting to be played with in our rec room. And the “office,” geez oh my, the office was a dumping ground for the variety of stuff we didn’t quite want, but we couldn’t quite get rid of.
The sell was easy enough. My husband was immediately on board, and our kids were lured by the promise that we’d convert the office to an art studio, and the rec room could be pimped out as an epic man cave.
Days of sorting, trashing, cleaning and moving things isn’t exactly fun. It’s hard and dirty and exhausting.
But the time spent sorting through our pasts made way for a space where we can spend our futures together. Places we could be together, enjoy each other, create, relax and have fun. We skipped our exotic destination to transform a space where we can enjoy R&R together — without ever leaving our own home. What better Christmas gift could we give ourselves?
Emily Parnell lives in Overland Park, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org