015.JPGWas at a retreat recently where we took a personality test.  Several of the questions dealt with things like spontaneity.  Are you the type to make plans in advance or go with the flow.  In other words – can you jump on a plane with a moment’s notice or are you the stodgy detail oriented uptight plan everything in advance boring type.

Hello.  Don’t consider myself boring.  But this is what it takes to go on a vacation with my kids.

Step 1.   Go online and look at three sets of school calendars to find available common window of time. 

Step 2.   Look at office calendar.  At least 5 to 6 months in advance.  Block off the dates.   The better practice is to block off the calendar at least one year in advance.  Otherwise, court dates and deadlines will fill it up.  Courts won’t move dates unless you already have tickets or reservations.  And even then, have ended up losing/truncating a vacation due to trial which is a real bummer.

Step 3.  Figure out where you’re going then make the reservation.  Usually this involves having the eldest child act as travel agent and doing the booking.  Expedia can be helpful.  Am Ex has a travel agent service that can be helpful.  Whatever you do – don’t do it yourself.  Been there done that and always screw it up somehow. 

Step 4.  Don’t give it another thought until about two weeks before it is time to go.  And then, only because kids are getting excited and remind you that a trip is coming up.  Sporadically make lists in head of things that should get done.  But don’t get them done.  For example, there was the time waited a little too long to get the kids’ passports.  Am not going to tell you what had to happen to make it work – but admit to various levels of hysterics along the way.

Step 5.  With a week to spare, write down the list that has been hovering around in your head and do the absolute essentials.  Somehow.  Or have your kids do them…which is a safer bet.  Send emails back to whoever helped you make the reservations.  Tell them you lost them and need them again.

Step 6.  Disregard the suggestion that working during a vacation isn’t a good thing.  Figure out how or if you will be able to be online.  Do whatever it takes.  If yes, then breathe.  If no, then mentally have a conniption fit because there’s nothing else you can do.  Am not kidding about this – not working on vacation is traumatic. 

Step 7.  Figure out if you have a bathing suit (or other essentials).  If not don’t even think about taking an afternoon off to go to the store.  Won’t happen.  Instead, at about 2:00 a.m. go online like I did last night at VictoriaSecrets.com.  Amazon will work too.  And don’t use standard shipping.  You have to pay the extra ten bucks for next day service or it will arrive after you leave.

Step 8.  Don’t send a “notice of unavailability” to the lawyers and judges in all of your cases.  Whoever invented that.  If you’re out of town and someone schedules something and won’t take no for an answer when your staff or the voice mail says – AM NOT HERE – then what’s the worse that can happen.  Will a court get mad at you for not responding to a motion that you didn’t get because you were out of town.  Actually had best friend file a notice of unavailability when she was on pregnancy leave and the other attorney still hauled her into court.  A jerk will be a jerk.  Paper or no paper.

Step 9.  As the due date approaches, think about all the things you haven’t gotten done for the trip.  Then don’t think about them as will drive yourself nuts. 

Step 10.  Close the office door behind you when you leave.  Channel your inner-bohemian.  Go with the flow, be in the present, enjoy.  And Do Not think about all the emergencies that will greet you when you return. 

Photo: Cristina’s legs (mine are much shorter) from one heck of a good vacation