Yes, that’s right. Go find a farmer and do what my husband’s doing first night back in town: put your muscle into it! All that prickly straw and, since it’s been a good year, hay (this is third cutting already?!?) will get into every crevice of your body, making you forget all about the aches and pains of a long drive and roadside squabbles. As an added bonus, you won’t be able to breathe properly for at least two days, and your back will ache, reminding you that you need to work out in some more orderly fashion.

Fast on Snickers and water.
It will make you a stronger character. Incidentally, it’s also great for your mood. Recent studies have shown that the Snickers Diet leaves you feeling different than you did when you started, and it even makes celery look good after a while.

For those of you without farmers nearby, or who are perhaps too weak-kneed to give baling a try, there’s always blogging. All the rest of it will wait for you, I assure you. The blogosphere, though, is in constant change, and you’ve already been unplugged from it for long enough!

Late to bed, early to launder.
In an effort to unpack in a reasonable fashion, overload the washer with the first forty loads, hang it all out at once, then shove the extra in the dryer. Although this makes the folding into a mountainous project, that is solved by piling it on your spouse’s side of the bed and just trusting in God. Hope, after all, is one of the top three virtues.

Spend the 95-degree afternoon in Home Depot.
There’s nothing like looming emergency house projects to snap you back into your real life, and a visit to Home Depot is sure to snap you back to normal. The chilly 70-degree warehouse will also soothe your sore, aching body, reminding you of the air-conditioned hotel you left in favor for your crumbling old non-air-conditioned home. (The payment on the hotel room would be too much for more than one month, presumably.)

One word: grandmasitter.
It turns out Grandma misses the little munchkin. Great! She wins what’s behind Door #1: the first day back with said munchkin. I recommend leaving town again and driving as hard and fast as you can back to the bliss you didn’t leave behind…

Sleep in.
Well, if you’re not going to take the “late to bed, early to launder” tip, then you should at least get some rest. Or one of you should.

Take a nap.
This was just thrown in for laughs. It’s a good thought, though.

Mow your lawn. Then mow it again.
The grass, it seems, has been fertilized. We have strictly forbidden the “lawn care” side of our family from ever fertilizing our grass, because there’s just too much of it already, and we already have to mow it twice a week until the rain stops (which we wouldn’t have minded having happened while we were gone). But there is no other way to explain the five-inch turf that’s out there! Oh wait, it rained two days before we left, and then we were gone for four days. {pause for calculations} Um, well, I guess God did the fertilizing. And while I know I should be thankful, because the crops are looking fabulous and that impacts us all, I’m really rather grumbly about the job that awaits me just as soon as I finish typing.

Download the pictures from your camera, crash your computer, and log on to your email.
Once you’ve discovered that no one emailed you in your absence (at least one of the heavy correspondents was with us, so that explains that, and all the others knew about the vacation, so were probably staying silent on purpose), you are free to start editing pictures and doing general graphic time-wasting things. Anything to keep you planted in front of a fan, and not out sweating from strange places as you sit on the mower.

Curl up with the book you didn’t get to even finish.
This, in fact, warrants its own post, but I just want to briefly rant: I didn’t even get to finish one book! Now, I did get to spend great time with people I get to see three times a year in a really great year and once or twice in a normal year. I did get to see the ocean and swim in it and curl up in the hot sand with my chattering teeth (who would have thought the ocean would be so COLD?!?). I did get to admire the scenery and read to my daughter and soak up the luxury of a hotel suite that we found for a song. But, still, I feel this deep remorse for not being able to finish at least one book.

Make your Folgers triple-strong, to help offset the Starbucks withdrawal.
Although our neighboring small town does sport a just-opened Starbucks drive-thru, it was 11:30 before we were in the neighborhood.

Pray a decade of the rosary while you watch your child fall asleep. Then stand there and admire the view.
And this, my friends, says it all. Whatever my gripes, and whatever the pounding of my vacation hangover, spending this time unplugged with my family. We made some memories, and I watched my little brother get married (though he was already married, this was the official ceremony). The tempters were hard at work planting the seeds of discontent and general grumbling. I can’t help feeling that they tried their hardest, and still failed, because I’m already chuckling at the thought of my daughter, the Powder Keg (explosive and ready to go off at any minute), my uncle being “old” now because my mom is a grandma (you had to be there to hear that one said, I suppose), and the “we’re in the demographic and that’s why we like the songs in the restaurants now” phone call I got, as a huge relief to the 12-hour crying jag that was the ride home (although Powder Keg did far better than I expected). Who would have thought that Silly Sarah could get climate scientists and astrophysicists to talk about marketing demographics? Who would have thought that my husband would teach me to dance at a wedding? Who would have thought my daughter would be the life of a party attended by the heaviest drinkers I’ve met (and I thought I was part of that crowd once, but I stand corrected)?