"Welcome back to work, how was your holiday?"
A statement and question uttered to me multiple times in the last few days, and as a bloke lucky enough to have had a fairly long and educational summer break, I thought I should share a few life lessons learned along the way.
1. When road-tripping with three children, it is always prudent to have a good supply of things to throw into the back seat to keep them occupied. Lollies, water, crackers, fruit, live octopuses - WHATEVER it takes to score the next three minutes of sanity before the fighting starts again. Be. Prepared.
2. When teaching a young family member to ride on two wheels, always make braking skills a priority BEFORE you hit a hill. Just because they can pedal on two wheels, do not assume you won't be peddling hell for leather beside a rapidly accelerating youth projectile missile as you yell: "Squeeze the brake . . . the metal handle thing . . . not the bell . . . steer AWAY from the tree."
3. Huhu beetle removal requires a special and most delicate touch. There is a good chance that if you try the "Panicked grab and flick" method, said beetle will sink its mandibles into your wife's side and cause the exact opposite reaction to the one you were hoping for. (My apologies to the campground for the unscheduled wake-up screams. The first from my wife, the second, third and fourth from me as I fled the scene of the crime, with the bitten one in chase.)
4. Holidays are not a magical time where calories don't count and your metabolism can deal with anything. If you have cheesy chips and gravy with a "holiday beverage" or two for lunch and dinner you WILL put a little weight on. (Trust me on this.)
5. The new inflatable in Pandora Pond has quite a high jumping platform. If you mistime your jump and enter the water belly first, children will laugh and it will hurt, as will your pride whilst you slide back on like a winded seal. (Again, trust me on this!)
6. Barbecues are a perfectly acceptable way to cook every meal of the day, every day.
But most of all what I got out of this holiday was that the time you spend with friends and family with nothing to do but talk and swim and eat and relax is one of the best ways to recharge for a great year of work.
Now, when's the next long weekend?
• Don't miss Adam Green and Sarah van der Kley on The Hits Hawke's Bay from 6am to 9am, Monday to Friday.