Staycation

Remember when I said I only ever wrote one comedic short story and that you would never see another one from me? I was wrong. I forgot all about this silly little bit on insanity.

Written during both my experimental phase AND a covid lockdown, “Staycation” is a strange little misadventure that shows what can happen if you end up stuck inside for too long. ReedsyPromtps contest #83 provided the inspiration, and I used the prompt “Write about someone who goes to extreme lengths to get themselves to a tropical island.”

Although the “island” in this story isn’t all that tropical, the actions of the main character are definitely extreme. And with all the extra time I’ve spent cooped up at home while I’m waiting to go back to my part time job, this feels like the right time to unleash this little bit of chaos upon the world.

Happy Reading!

Honestly, I’m not sure how much more of this I can take.

It’s bad enough that I’m stuck inside my home, but the fact that it’s winter only makes it worse. And it’s bad enough that we’re in the middle of winter, but the fact that it’s winter in Ottawa makes it much, much worse. I miss the days when I could go out for a walk to escape the cabin fever that inevitably begins to set in after spending so much time trapped inside your home. I wouldn’t dare attempt a walk right now.

Winter in Ottawa has the potential to break your spirit. The cold is the damp kind that requires layers upon layers in order to protect yourself from feeling like your bones are turning into ice. And don’t even get me started about that wind chill. The weather app on my phone may tell me that it’s only minus 13 degrees Celsius, but does it feel like minus 13? No. Absolutely not. I don’t even leave the house for groceries anymore if I can help it. Thank goodness for home delivery.

But not being able to leave my house is making me squirrely. I’m getting dangerously close to shaving my head or giving myself bangs.

I started small to try to get myself out of this situation – mentally, that is. I don’t have any plants in the house because I don’t trust my cats, but I have a tall lamp and two green-ish tablecloths. I made myself a tree for my living room.

That makeshift tree got me thinking. It looked a little like a palm tree. Sort of. But only if you squinted really hard. I spent a whole day cleaning the living room and clearing out any and all decorations. I have one whole painting in this house that has a landscape on it, so I hung that up. Then, I scoured the house for anything vaguely tropical looking to be used as decoration. Some of the items I’ve curated are a bit of a stretch – ok, a lot of a stretch – but I’m trying to make do with what I have. It still wasn’t tropical enough.

I guess I should have started to suspect that I was in danger of going off the deep end when I pushed the couch all the way back up against the wall. Then I dragged the coffee table into another room to give myself even more floor space.

It was time to raid the linen cupboard.

Luckily, my favourite colour is blue, so I had plenty to work with. I grabbed every blue towel and blanket in my possession and dumped them all in the living room.

Channelling my inner artist (if she’s even still sane), I gathered all my blues at the wall opposite the couch and, starting around the tv, I began to craft my masterpiece. Layering the towels and blankets amongst one another like I was auditioning for an Art Attack reboot, I gave my living room the quintessential tropical element it was missing. I put on a Beach Boys playlist as I worked, singing along until I was satisfied with my work.

Sitting back on my couch, listening to the Beach Boys, I stared at my ocean. It was beautiful. But my living room still felt incomplete.

My next step was to hunt for anything vaguely aquatic and toss it in to my homemade ocean. Not enough. I got out all the remaining towels and laid them out on the floor between the couch and the ocean. Not enough. I accessorised my beach scene with whatever I could get my hands on and cranked up the Beach Boys until my ears hurt. Still not enough!

This minor diversion to help distract me from being cooped up inside had turned into an obsession, and it was slowly consuming me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to rest until my tropical beach was complete, but I didn’t know how make it just right.

My muse spoke to me in the form of one of my cats. I was pacing through the house, searching for more things I could use, wracking my brain for new creative ideas when I locked eyes with one of my cats. He was deep in concentration, staring at me without blinking, as he used the litter box.

Eureka!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: thank goodness for home delivery. I was able to find exactly what I needed online. The only catch was that I had to wait a week for it to be delivered. But it was worth it. I was willing to wait if it meant perfecting my living room beach.

By the time the delivery arrived, I was so high strung from having to wait that I nearly ripped one of the bags before I got it into the living room. I kicked all the beach towels and decorations away, knowing I would reposition them when the final part of my masterpiece was complete. Once the area between the couch and the blanket ocean was bare, that’s when I began to pour bag after bag of sand directly onto my living room carpet. I don’t care if I never get all the grains of sand out of the fibres – this is worth it.

With the Beach Boys playlist blaring once again, I lovingly shaped the sand to craft the perfect tropical beach. It starts under the couch, and stretches across the carpet until it kisses the waves. It’s beautiful. Then, I repositioned all of the beach towels, turned the Beach Boys down to a more respectable volume, and laid down on one of the towels.

Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Nothing could ruin this moment for me. I can feel every muscle in my body begin to relax as my mind is put at ease.

But I’ve only just realized something I had not thought of before. My living room is covered in sand and I have cats.

One of them just pooped on my beach.

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