Ah, the season of vacations

A mild attack of panic strikes in early June. It comes upon me as the days lengthen, the city heats up, and people begin fleeing the office for faraway places. Co-workers return from these destinations looking tan and perky.

Vacations have the opposite effect on me. After disengaging from work and leaving my cellphone number with anyone who might need it, I scurry around, packing for every conceivable type of weather and emergency. Once I arrive, there's barely time to relax and get into vacation mode before it's time to go home. I return to work thoroughly exhausted, pale, and facing teetering piles of mail.

After several years, I decided not to take vacations that require more than three hours on an airplane, involve hotel chains, or take place during a major holiday.

So my solution has been the "unvacation." By staying home, I avoid crowds and disappointment. I can check e-mail and have clean clothes every day. I know where all the good restaurants are. My backyard deck doesn't overlook water, but the garden is nice.

The only drawback is that I still have not conquered my desire for a traditional warm-weather vacation that allows for beachside lounging, picnics, and leisurely reading.

The panic comes from realizing, in mid-June, that it's too late to rent a house on Cape Cod or go camping in Maine - all the best spots are taken.

Then I remind myself that I've waited six months for decent weather; why would I want to travel elsewhere? Everything I need is right here. Sort of.

By the way, has anyone seen my guide to "Bed & Breakfasts of the Northeast"?

E-mail the Homefront at home@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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