Spring break brings home the kids and their laundry

March 10, 2011

We are all looking forward to spring. After this rough winter, pretty much everyone is tired of walking around looking like the cast of the Dracula movie series “The Twilight.”

Our appearance has taken a toll; we see complexions the shade of Chinese white drywall, eyes with so many broken capillaries they appear more colorful than a AAA road map, a gait that teeters back and forth and that vacuous stare at the mere mention of our name.

So, most of us are anxious for the start of those spring months which are right around the corner. I say most of us because that also signifies an event that will bring some to their very knees, forcing them to run screaming through the night as if they just found a body in the fruit cellar.

That event is what is known as spring break.

I don’t know what the origin of this phrase is, but I have an idea.

For those parents with college-age children, it probably meant the break of their finances, hopes and dreams would occur at the sight of a 500-pound bag of dirty laundry deposited on their front doorstep alongside their returning college freshman wearing a T-shirt that says “Call Me Six Pack.”

For those parents with younger children, this phrase may have originated during the week the youngsters were at home 24/7, especially after trying to coax them out of throwing one of their siblings off the roof, pulling Pop Tarts out of the new Blu-ray DVD disc player and finding the bottle of Advil empty and every drugstore in the county closed.

There is a group of parents, though, who successfully managed to look on the bright side of the spring break phrase.

They achieved this attitude mainly by staging their own spring break, much like a prison escape with secret tunnels under barbed wire fences or their homes.

The rest was accomplished by hiding in the hold of a ship, any ship will do, heading to any place, and any destination will do, as long as this is done well ahead of the arrival of the calendar event.

Coming home for spring break also means bringing friends with you. Of course, we open our homes to fellow classmates; I mean, can you imagine at one time having someone like Einstein staying in one of your guest rooms or in more recent times, Bill Gates when he was a student? Imagine being the key word here.

Unfortunately that is not what lands on your doorstep; more than likely it is a clone of your own offspring, wearing an inside-out Hawaiian shirt and a pair of pants down around his knees.

Nice kid, but we are not sure his elevator goes all the way to the top.

My brother once brought home his roommate for spring break. It turns out the guy was close to 50 years old and stayed for two years.

Throw in a couple of large random dogs that wander the campus in search of knowledge and you’ve got the perfect storm.

The problem with all of this is that you’ve got that empty nest right where you’ve wanted it to be all along. Actually, there was no empty nest syndrome.

Well, it lasted five seconds until you realized there would be no more wet towels lying on the bathroom floor breeding some sort of bacteria emporium.

You like the plastic on your living room furniture now. No one has been in there since the beginning of college.

You even started a scrapbook of photos of the vacuum cleaner tracks. The lamps have light bulbs that work.

All the guest soaps are still in their little wrappers with designs of flower buds. And the grout around the sinks isn’t composed of Crest toothpaste.

Grandparents are not immune to the spring break either.

I know, you’re thinking hip or knees. But grandchildren know the path to a human ATM by instinct.

They know who you are and where you live. Enjoy.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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