Oh my where to begin. How about this: my kids are wonderful and I love them very much. Phew! Now that that’s established, let’s move on to today: this is the first whole day of our actual summer vacation. My wife and I haven’t taken a week off since the week between Christmas and New Year’s and that almost doesn’t count because at my job, it was mandatory.

So to kick things off, we went to a wedding last night about two hours away. We got home at 11:00 (I know, this isn’t “late” but... it kind of is) and thus weren’t the best-rested parents on the planet this morning. But like sharks smelling blood in the water, I feel like kids feed off any slight hint of parental discomfort and come swarming in with whining, hitting each other, arguing with each other (and us) and generally being poorly behaved. That’s not to say ALL day, but man, it seemed like just when the kids were playing nicely and we let our guard down, one kid would flatten the other for no reason and at least one would then be crying for the next 20 minutes.

We were going to move over to my wife’s family lake house for the week, but that’s been postponed because we weren’t able to get ready today, largely because the kids demanded 90% of both of our attention, all day. We did some fun things and did a few necessary chores, but it was challenging to say the least.

Bedtime was the real cherry on top. There was a point at their alleged bedtime that both kids and my wife were all crying simultaneously. It’s times like this that I just go into maximum patience mode, and refuse to raise my voice for any reason whatsoever; I am supremely calm and patient with the kids, but I’m also firm with my rules and just stick to the established routine. It is the same frame of mind I use in TSA lines, and at international customs. “It doesn’t matter how much this sucks, showing how I really feel at this moment will only make things worse.”

Eventually my wife ended up laying in bed with our son and our daughter was standing in the middle of her room refusing to do literally anything. It’s great that she’s strong-willed, but kid, you gotta go to sleep. So I picked her up and went for a spin in the wagon with her in her car seat. “Daddy where we goin?” - “I’m going to drive around until you fall asleep. Want some music?” - “Okay. Yes, please.” And she was asleep in 5 minutes.

Now I’m drinking some delicious rye whisky on the couch and watching stupid youtube videos. Not how I envisioned my first day of “vacation” but oh well. The house we’re going to has a fantastic 1800's style to it, and a huge wraparound porch with a western view. Cigars and bourbon will be had. Or possibly gin and tonic.

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It’s a good thing I love those kids.

I’m hoping tomorrow is more like this: