Zombie Apocalypse or Family Vacation?

Last week was our Family Vacation, and by that I mean most of my EXTENDED family, my sisters, most of their kids, our cousins, etc. This GROUP dynamic took some getting used to, especially by my husband, but we've doing this since I can remember and now I'm glad we have.

We have had experiences we wouldn't normally have had. My husband is the only child of an only child, and being THAT CLOSE for that amount of time (especially to MY family) teaches you about yourself, Life in general, and group dynamics. 

I started thinking about how these Group Vacations prepare you for so many things.......like, say a Zombie Apocalypse. Or any dystopian apocalypse, really.
Cat Apocalypse: The smelliest of all. From shirtshovel.com
I'll name some necessary skills, and you guess whether it applies to Family Vacation or an Apocalypse.

Building or Finding Shelter. 
Finding shelter for a vacation mostly involves using a computer and manipulating search engines and/or email, not exactly life threatening. However, negotiation and compromise is usually involved with both.

Hunting and Finding Food. 
Though for us: Apocalypse.
On our Family Vacation, there is gun shooting but only at clay targets. There is fishing and some eating of the fish, but mostly we get food from my sister's garden and the grocery and take turns cooking and doing the prep/cleanup of meals. Not exactly bow-hunting wild boar.
Totally GRATUITOUS Daryl Dixon picture. Because I can. AMCTV.com
Sharing the Shitty Jobs. 
Unless you're filthy rich, or filthy in credit card debt, you probably still have to cook or somehow provide food for your family while you're on vacation. Families are relentlessly hungry. Then also someone has to clean their areas. 

If you're smart you'll work out a Buddy System, either set some picks or at least take turns, so one person (Mom) doesn't have to do it all. And then have a nuclear meltdown just to get other people to help. Like at home.

When it comes to 
Apocalypse. Mostly.
Most people opt NOT to do laundry on Vacation. 
from persephonemagazine.com
I do laundry when I can, so we don't have to pack as much, but I'm weird. 

In the event of an apocalypse, unless you have to be nomadic and run from zombies, someone has to wash some laundry.

Otherwise the smell of the rank survivors will bring the zombies, or cannibals, or at the very least Swamp Ass. 

And guess what Lori from Walking Dead? 

If you can't hunt and/or butcher animals, where does that leave you? Accept your skill set. Or learn to hunt.
Whining. Again.. from giphy.com
Food Prep/Cleanup

You've made dinner for your family for years, but cooking for a GROUP filled with different kinds of picky eaters is another experience. Entirely. 

You know that "many hands make the load lighter" saying? That. 
We usually take turns cooking, or more often than not I'll do food prep and/or cleanup after. 

Finding Your Place In The Group
Do you know your place in a Group dynamic? What assets or skills do you bring? Anything of the above essentials, money/currency, entertainment? Are you too good/not good enough to cook or clean? Hope you got jokes, or grab a guitar and entertain the rest.
Glen. Am I right? from videogum.com
Turning Everyday Items Into Weapons.
Unless you have a very specific type of family. 
NOT a spoiler, this is a behind the scenes shot from AMCTV.com
Using Maps To Find Things
Does GPS work where you're going? Time to remember they used to make these paper directional thingies called maps.

Conflict Resolution. 
Granted post-apocalypse situations would tend to be more stressful, but trust me, Family Vacations bring out about some major conflicts, and you learn to work that crap OUT.

No group is going to agree 100% of the time. This is a good time to practice social skills, for adults and kids. Kids don't even know they're learning new ways to negotiate new situations. Parents realize how they raise their children actually does affect other people.

from halloweenforum.com
Even if your children are the only kids on the trip, they're dealing with adults they would not interact with at home. 

This is a really good way to get a free Self Assessment on your parenting style. 

If your kids are whiny, bratty, spoiled, you know who will let you know? FAMILY. Especially my family.

Self examination.
This is also a good time to reflect on yourself, your annoying habits, and how you deal with stress. 
from quickmeme.com

Everyone has flaws, and if you don't have the kind of marriage or home arrangement where you can constantly call each other out on your bullshit, because we're all just Human after all, then you should have your family or friends do this. 

I know that sounds crazy, but do you know what happens to people who aren't kept in check? 
Charlie Sheen. No really, that is Charlie Sheen.
image from icydk.com 
The kinds of people that only surround themselves with YESmen and no one ever calls them out when they're being a douchebag? Yes. They become a bigger and bigger bag.
Shia TheBeef. from holymoly.com
As much you don't want to hear it, sometimes you NEED a brother, a sister, a friend, to tell you when you're being an ass. It makes you a better person.

Family is perfect for this. They will not only call you out on your current asshattery, they like to bring up your past mistakes. You know, so you don't forget. 

This will really make you think twice before doing things like....publicly exploding in a fit of rage. 

Trust me on this. Speaking of that:

Knowing your limits. 
Important in any situation.
Specifically, learning to recognize when you've about had it, and then acting before it's too late. This will help you in every aspect of your life. A lot of times people don't know how to resolve their misery, so they just trudge through until they snap. Then they say and do horrible things. Then they have to apologize, but they don't, because they're too mad from whatever drove them to that point, and the whole thing escalates. 

One example is The Planner. Every family or group has the person/people who Take Charge, and start planning things. 

When things go awry, the Planner(s) feel responsible, and start to stress out. Suddenly they don't want to be the planner and aren't sure how to get out of it. 
from modernbusinesslife.com
This is exactly the time and place to learn to ask for help. 

Or just throw your arms up in the air like ya just don't care and say "I'm done. YOU PEOPLE can plan from now on." 

If that's what you have to do to avoid meltdown, DO IT.

If we learn to recognize when we've about had enough, change whatever is driving us crazy, we don't have to snap and punch a moose. 
from fasinfun.blogspot.com

Believe me, once you snap no one will care how much you put up with, how long you've endured.

All anyone will remember is what you said and did when you broke. 
You can't take that back. You have to learn to know your limits. Know what you or your children need, and learn to communicate with people to get there. This is life in a nutshell. 

I suggest learning this shit with your family, because those assholes have to love you, no matter what. They will usually tell you what you need to work on. It will make you a better person in the long run.
from sodahead.com

Then you don't ever have to fear an apocalypse. Humans and their needs are all basically the same. If you can learn to survive and enjoy the Group Vacation dynamic, you can handle any situation. You'll be a better person, much more pleasant for the rest of humankind.

So especially to you Horrible People, people who married jerkbags, or people that slowly developed into a-holes:
Do us all a favor. Take a group vacation!

Don't forget the most important thing on a family vacation:

Don't die unless someone's home. I mean, really.
RIP, eventually, Aunt Edna  from 70schild.blogspot.com

If you haven't seen the movie National Lampoon's Vacation, the above picture is Aunt Edna. RIP. She died when her idiot son went out of town, and had to be mounted to the top of the Metalic Pea Family Truckster, and have a makeshift unceremonious ceremony in the backyard. Here's a clip. Top Ten Movies Of All Time.


  1. It's a damn good thing there's actually no Hell and no Satan, because I know my punishment would be an extended family vacation for all of eternity. And if that's not enough to scare me straight, I don't know what is.

    1. hahaha Mine would be a return to my childhood during one of my parents' epic fights. That would be maddening torture *shudder*

  2. As an only child of an only child myself, I think that makes it easier for me to be disconnected from my family during a zombie apocalypse. For example, what you see as 3 darling little mouths to feed and constantly watch over... I see as 3 bite sized distractions.

  3. I'm pretty sure I would not survive a zombie apocalypse. I can't hunt, I can barely cook *and* I'm a picky eater. I'm screwed. lol

    1. Well, the GOOD NEWS for you (and my teenage son) is that Cheetos have a shelf life of 127 years, so you just have to be a fast GATHERER. My son has lived off a diet of mostly Flamin Hot Cheetos for years.

  4. Personally, I try to avoid extended family get-togethers. I know those people. They're crazy!

    1. I hear you. And we still have years when this one and that one are nowhere to be seen, not even answering their phone. One thing that actually HELPED us get along better, and this will sound weird, was being brutally honest with each other about our most annoying habits. Hard to hear sometimes, but at least we know where we stand. And how to push each other's buttons.

  5. You're very brave going on vacation with the extended family. Spending time living together is a sure way of highlighting (and potentially inflating) all existing tensions. But I also see some of the potential advantages, like getting a few straighteners when we step out of line. A thought-provoking post.

    1. It definitely takes some getting used to. And some compromise.
      My kids LOVE it, always someone to play with, watch them, listen to their stories that hasn't heard them all before.

  6. 1. I'm still trying to decipher the difference between family vacation and zombie apocalypse. Probably the only difference I can see is that I can spell vacation without mouthing the letters. Usually.

    2. The buddy system failed me, mostly because I was the only one who lost his shit last time. And even a good dinner and superlative day of fishing to end the trip with a flourish wasn't enough to save me from songs being sung about me losing my shit by the kids in the car on the way home. The pain of fame.

    3. Clark Griswold is my hero and patron saint, and not just because of swimming naked with Christie Brinkley.

    1. Hopefully LESS people are being shoveled to death on vacation. Every single member of my family has lost their shit at one point. Not these last 10 years, we're too old, tired and drunk now :)
      Clark & Aunt Edna rule!

  7. OMG, that is a perfect analogy. HILARIOUS. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I'd choose a vacation with extended family over an apocalypse...

    1. Turns out, it's probably not that different!

  8. Im always so impressed when I read how often you get together with family. I would think every day would be a zombie apocalypse! Oh wait, thats my family...

    1. hahaha the early years were rough, and the years when most of our kids were toddlers, those were stressful. We have kind of found a groove, and know when we need to have our OWN time. And also my mom doesn't come along anymore, so there's that :)

  9. Swamp Ass???? I loved this! Nothing like a true family vacation to make one appreciate the time away from the family. Btw, for those family members that should never truly be invited, remember, they can always be used as a fresh meat delicacy (especially for the picky eaters)! (Okay, maybe I shouldn't have said that with my brother-in-law missing right now, lol)

    1. hahahaha Note to self: Do NOT go on vacation with the Rumple family!
      Glad you got a chuckle.

  10. This is fabulously spot on. My husband has a particular hatred of family vacations with anyone outside of his immediate (me and the children) family.

    1. We find the menfolk are usually the ones that hate this the most. But then do they help with food prep and cleanup? Nope. So guess what, MY husband? We are going with my sister. Again. :)

  11. Ha! These are brilliant tips. I think that sounds like ridiculous fun... I can imagine my brothers and sister-in-laws (4 of each) and all their ten kids and I all holed up in a cabin, nearly killing each other. It would be amazing.

    1. The kids LOVE IT. There's always someone to talk to, play with, listen to them babble on and on and on. That's a huge bonus.

  12. I use to pine for big family vacations, now not so much. I can handle about 3 days with my family and then I am loco. My in laws I can make it maybe 2. Props to you for doing this, cause yeah I couldn't.

    1. But see, you KNOW your limits, and that is what you've successfully gleaned from the experience.

  13. I do laundry on vacation too so I don't have to pack as much! LOL I actually don't mind doing it on vacation (despise it at home!) because I feel like it is a small, manageable amount of clothes to keep track of. Maybe I should get rid of all our clothes except for 4 outfits per person. ;) We leave tomorrow for our vacation so this post was very timely for me!

    1. Have fun on vacation! I'm with you, it seems like the smaller the laundry pile and the less extra clothes we have, the better. I try not to let the laundry grow into Laundry Mountain, or it's just depressing. A load every other day? Doesn't seem like as big of a feat. Have a great time!

  14. Have I told you lately how much I love you? This was absolutely perfect!

    I haven't gone on many group outings in my life, but I certainly do know that I'm limited to four days maximum (and by that, I'm including arriving around dinner time on the first day and leaving after breakfast on the fourth) before I lose my shit. All of it. Everywhere and on everyone. It's messy. I also know that I have to pack enough rum, or it's really more like two days.