It’s not just about what you take with you. It’s also what you leave behind.
I want things to be smooth and running when I get home, so I set things up at home the same way I set my computer up for “hibernate.” The power is off, but everything is ready for me when I get back.
Here’s what I do:
- Stop the mail. I sock away those yellow vacation stop notices from the post office and put them out right before I leave. You can also do this online. I always check the box that says “deliver on final day” because I am too lazy, impatient, and often too tired to fetch it from the post office.
- Stop the paper. This works most of the time, not always. I do this online, too. My husband, Mr. Engineer (Mr. E for short) signed up for the Wall Street Journal, and, even though the same guy delivers both the local paper and the WSJ, he will only vacation stop the local paper. Gotta look into this.
- Cat care. We have two cats, Shadow and Smoky. They’re mostly indoor, although Shadow goes out into the yard for little bits at a time. We have a very good neighbor who comes over daily and feeds them, chats them up, and changes their litter box. Everybody should have Mr. B for a neighbor. He also brings in those pesky Wall Street Journals and UPS packages. Gotta put out cat food, make sure the litter box has new sand, and print a little note with destination, phone numbers, and time of departure.
- Get the house reasonably clean. I love love love coming home to a clean house. At my house, there are varying degrees of clean. At best, all floors are swept and vacuumed, bathrooms are wiped down, surfaces are decluttered and dusted, laundry is done, piles are minimal and managed. At worst, you can see the floor and find a path to get yourself and your luggage out the door.
- Charge everything: phone, netbook, Ipod, camera (both batteries).
- Print out boarding passes. I always print out boarding passes in advance. Since we don’t check luggage, we can go straight to security when we get to the airport. So easy.
- Touch the passport, credit cards (once I left without a credit card to my name, Mr. E had to mail it to me).
- Take the garbage out (’nuff said)
- Execute a preemptive strike on the contents of the refrigerator (see previous post).
- Close the blinds, make sure the timer light is set. I’m seriously considering purchasing one of these: http://www.faketv.com as a burglar deterrent. If you have someone come to your home twice a day, have them open the blinds in the am and close them in the pm.
Mr. E, the boy (my magnificent 14-year-old son), and I are in Annapolis this morning to attend Grandmaster Pellegrini’s seminar. Stopped at the printers to pick up 100 newly printed second edition copies of DEFY the Bad Guy, the little self-defense book I wrote. I brought some to the last seminar and they went like hotcakes. Hopefully it will be the same today!