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Madeleine Begun Kane


Planning a vacation can often be a daunting challenge. Especially when one spouse likes to rough it and the other prefers luxuries like toilets, showers, and cable TV. So what's a couple to do? Well, they can take separate trips. Or they can negotiate and sign on the dotted line.

AGREEMENT, entered into this _________, 20__ by Husband and Wife.

WHEREAS, Husband's ideal vacation requires hiking boots, compasses, sleeping bags, and knapsacks and doesn't cost a dime;

WHEREAS, Wife's ideal vacation requires a five star resort;

WHEREAS, Husband is a spontaneous kind of guy who likes to pick his trips by throwing a coin onto a trail map;

WHEREAS, Wife is a planning kind of gal who makes reservations a year and a half in advance after conducting six months of research; and

WHEREAS, Husband and Wife haven't taken a vacation in years and believe it might be time to compromise.

NOW, THEREFORE, Husband and Wife agree to the following weekend trip provisions:

1. One month from today, Husband and Wife shall drive to an inn listed in one of Wife's country inn books. Accommodations shall be chosen via the "eenie, meenie, minie, moe" method of selection.

2. Wife may, if she so chooses, call for reservations. If none are available, another inn shall be chosen via coin toss, even though Husband would much prefer to wing it.

3. Once a destination has been selected, Husband and Wife shall mark their route on the map. Husband agrees to occasionally follow the map, provided Wife limits bathroom stops to one per hour.

4. Packing for their two day stay shall be done by Wife, who agrees not to bring more than one week's supply of clothing.

5. Husband shall have the car tuned up prior to their trip and shall fill the gas tank right before leaving. Any breakdowns caused by Husband's forgetting to do same shall entitle Wife to a real vacation.

6. Husband promises that throughout the drive he shall not exceed the speed limit by more than 15 miles per hour. Additionally, he shall not brake abruptly unless he sees a deer, and shall refrain from all careening type activity. Wife shall not scream, moan, grunt, or groan, or otherwise engage in back-seat driving, except in the event of excessive lurching. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if she finds herself thrown onto Husband's lap, she may badger him as much as she wants to.

7. Wife shall act as official navigator, and Husband acknowledges that it's possible to turn left when Wife says to, without sacrificing his masculinity. Additionally, Wife may periodically advise husband to be alert for a particular landmark. This shall not be deemed an invitation to accelerate and speed through the next seventeen intersections.

8. Both parties acknowledge that they'll probably get lost. Husband concedes in advance that it isn't Wife's fault even though she's the official navigator. Wife concedes in advance that it isn't Husband's fault, even though he turned right or left only when he felt like it.

9. Husband acknowledges that he can ask a gas station attendant for directions without looking like a weenie.

10. In the event Husband and Wife manage to reach their destination before the end of the weekend, they agree to resume speaking as soon as they've unpacked.

11. Wife shall be entitled to one gourmet meal per day, which she hereby designates to be dinner. In consideration of same, Wife agrees that lunch shall consist of muffins, butter, and breadsticks stuffed into Wife's pocketbook during breakfast.

12. Wife agrees to accompany husband on one hike during the course of the weekend. Said hike shall not exceed two hours and shall be canceled if there is more than a 30% chance of showers. The steepness of the trail shall be subject to further negotiations.

13. In exchange for the hike, Husband agrees to attend an art auction. Wife promises not to purchase or explain any of the paintings, and Husband need not pretend to like them.

14. The trip home shall be conducted in a manner consistent with Paragraphs 6 through 9, except that Husband shall navigate and Wife shall drive, and both shall be authorized to get even.

SIGNATURES: _______________ (HUSBAND) _______________ (WIFE)

© Madeleine Begun Kane. All Rights Reserved.
1st Published Chicago Tribune Magazine: Travel

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