Spontaneity of a Suitcase Party not really for parents

We have been invited to a fundraiser called a Suitcase Party. Apparently they host them in big cities all over America. The gist is you buy expensive tickets to get into this party. (We got a deal on our tickets.) Most of the money goes to charity but part of it goes to this fantastic prize that is raffled off during the night.

The prize here is a weekend getaway to Sonoma Valley, Calif. It’s called a Suitcase Party because you are supposed to bring your suitcase and be ready to leave right then just in case your number is chosen.

A private jet whisks you off to the wine country for a weekend of fun and brings you home on Sunday.

And while that sounds amazing to be whisked away, as a parent it’s extremely stressful.

It’s not just a matter of packing a suitcase for a parent. You’ve got to have a sitter set up who may or may not be keeping your kids for a weekend. You have to the refrigerator stocked and activities planned to entertain the kids in the event you are whisked away.

You have to leave the insurance card and a letter saying she can seek medical attention for them. The sitter has to know about any medicines and the kids’ schedule. You have to clean up a bedroom to be a guest room just in case the sitter is staying over.

If you don’t have kids you just pack a suitcase and go.

And don’t forget the tax implications. I’m also worried about how much tax we would owe on a $20,000 grand prize.

I am such a killjoy. Poor Michael! No spontaneity at all! But can you really be spontaneous as a parent?

Wish us luck – I guess.

Would you be willing to set all that up for just the possibility of a free, fantastic weekend getaway? Could you really call the sitter and say, “OK we won. We aren’t coming back until Sunday!” Would you warn the kids?

Would you turn down the prize if you won and just enjoy the party and not bring the suitcase?

41 comments Add your comment

Jeff

April 27th, 2012
6:04 am

Ah, the downside to the joy of being a parent. If you want romantic weekend getaways at the spur I the moment, you should be capable of enjoying them. But, at least it won’t cost you much.

How will you feel if you don’t win?

Anj

April 27th, 2012
7:18 am

This is why parents are NOT a hot demographic for the hospitality industry. The money and time that the child free – er – dependent free (as elder care becomes more common) can spend on eating out, going out and in general taking advantage of entertainment and hospitality opportunities is simply less available those with 24/7 care commitments.

I found that out years ago when I realized that Marketing simply wasn’t interested in me anymore. No longer was I available to take advantage of any hot offers, free screenings, great deals at a moment’s notice. As a result, I dropped out of the free spending target demographic.

On the plus side – whoever controls the buying in a family household IS a hot demographic – for cleaning products. This makes me wonder what is more insulting as a marketing concept: busty beer babes in ads aimed at young adult males (the most impulsive, easily swayed demo) or the gleaming spotless house and its doyenne in ads aimed at female heads of households (one of the toughest markets around).

motherjanegoose

April 27th, 2012
8:05 am

TWG…I can absolutely see you being stressed with this adventure!

Our kids are in college but this would not appeal to me either. I am not spontaneous about travel. I have to have my t’s crossed and i’s dotted. Not trying to be a party pooper but that is just me. I am not crazy about surprises. I did enjoy my 50th surprise birthday party and it was wonderful to have a dinner party with lots of friends…one I did not have to plan but walked in relaxed. My sister and daughter planned it with financial help from my other sister and husband.

I have no secretary and plan all of my 20 plus business trips per year and about 6 fun trips. It is not about going places, which I do often, it is about having everything taken care of.

I am all about fundraisers and if this can bring in cash for a charity…that is a good thing.

I am learning that when folks are older and child free, they sometimes get cumbered down with their pets as in…”we cannot leave poor kitty home and so we cannot go anywhere.” I LOVE PETS but I will not be staying home for them nor am I taking my dog with me on the plane. We have kids in our neighborhood that I trust with our dog and she is a DOG…don’t tell her…she thinks she is a princess.

Augusta

April 27th, 2012
8:06 am

If we were invited to one of these, I would wisk the kids off to a grandparents house. Then, if we win, WOO HOO, but if we don’t win, and we have our suitcases packed, it’s an adventure for the two of us for the weekend!!!!!

There’s always an adventure waiting. So you don’t win…..big whoop…..but your suitcase is packed, the kiddos are safe, and its you and hubbs (or Significant other)……..use your imagination!!!!!

ABC

April 27th, 2012
8:23 am

Simple, don’t go to this kind of party. It’s clearly stressing you out even more than usual.

motherjanegoose

April 27th, 2012
8:30 am

@ Augusta…I am pretty sure TWG does not have the luxury of grandparents within a thousand miles. We never had the option of whisking the kids off to the grandparents as my parents did not invite them to spend the night and my husband’s parents where/are alcoholics. Plus they both lived at least 8 hours away by car…too hard to whisk. But you may be talking about the laundry detergent as in WISK. Just teasing you!

Augusta

April 27th, 2012
8:38 am

I was talking about what I would do, not TWG…she’s on her own….LOL.

Why go to places and events like this if its going to stress you out???

Do people feel that once they have kids their lives are over?

Where is your spirit of adventure???

I am very spontaneous. I can have the entire family packed into the car, and off we go. If someone asks “where are we going?”, I reply “On an adventure”. Cooler’s packed, activities are packed (horseshoes, badmitton set, and a couple of balls to kick around, swim gear (if needed), etc….

I always keep that stuff in the car, as you never know….I may pick the kids up from school and head to the lake for the afternoon…….

☺☻Have A Smile!

April 27th, 2012
8:42 am

Its your money and time, so do what makes you happy, but boy that sure does sound like WAY too much money, stress, and more for a small adventure.

You probably could find a less costly, more fulfilling thing to do rather than that. Oh well.

Voice of Reason

April 27th, 2012
8:47 am

Having a random rain-out of both my daughter’s soccer games/practices and/or my son’s T-ball game/practices are just about the only spontaneous events my wife and I get to enjoy these days.

motherjanegoose

April 27th, 2012
8:48 am

RE: Adventurous/ Spontaneous…

I consider myself pretty adventurous to fly to Denver, last week, take my college room mate to dinner and then drive almost 6 hours to western Wyoming alone. Then, I met with 80 children and 60 adults ( whom I had never seen before) and shared a program in the library. On the next day I talked for 6 hours to 45 adults…went to bed and then drove almost 6 hours back to Denver to catch a flight home. To me, there is a BIG difference between adventure and spontaneous. I am the first but not typically the second. I think it is adventurous to fly into cities such as Boston, Dallas, Salt Lake, Minneapolis,Anchorage, Newark etc. rent a car and drive out of the airport alone. Lots of woman do this but many do not. For some, just getting on a plane alone would be an adventure. Some cannot fathom eating alone in a restaurant or eating with a perfect stranger…I have done both. Sometimes I meet someone at a conference and see her at the restaurant and we decide to eat dinner together…I learn all sorts of neat stuff!

Me

April 27th, 2012
8:56 am

Stressful?? That’s the part of parenting you find stressful? We are very spontaneous — on more than one occassion, we have arrived home from work on a Friday and, literally, have been on a flight either later that day or first thing on Saturday – usually to either Vegas or, more likely, to Jamaica where we alreday have a house. But, even we the kids were young and living at home, we never stressed over travel.

Techmom

April 27th, 2012
9:15 am

I definitely think you SHOULD plan on being gone the whole weekend, even if you don’t win the trip. Make the plans, pack your suitcase and if you don’t win, jump in the car and head somewhere fun for the weekend!

iggy

April 27th, 2012
9:15 am

Remember during the 70s the “key” parties, those were the days!!

Just Me

April 27th, 2012
9:36 am

Your bags are packed and the kids have a sitter, have a weekend alone with your husband. If it happens to be free because you win, then great.

usually lurking

April 27th, 2012
9:55 am

Spontaneous is great, and I like the idea that several have mentioned to plan to be gone for the weekend, win or not.

Oh, no Augusta...

April 27th, 2012
10:17 am

…you pushed the wrong button…

Jess

April 27th, 2012
10:19 am

Wow, what a great “problem” to have. I mean really, would you like to trade?

K's Mom

April 27th, 2012
10:42 am

@Augusta, I am with you! My parents are relatively close by and we have a sitter that could handle it if K cut his own arm off!

If I had a sitter and did not win, I would priceline a fancy hotel, order room service, get a spa treatment and go do something with the hubs the next day that is completely child un-friendly…a museum, antiquing…the possibilities!

Augusta

April 27th, 2012
10:46 am

@K’s Mom – FINALLY!!! Thank you! I knew someone else on this blog had a sense of adventure!!!
I’d do the Priceline thing too!!!! As adults, we need OUR time too….

K's Mom

April 27th, 2012
10:54 am

@Augusta, I do find that being spontaneous is hard, but last year for our anniversary, K went to my parent’s house and we got a room at Reynold’s Plantation (free with points). We left early on Saturday and just explored Madison and surrounding areas! It was one of the most fun things we have done. I cannot wait to do that again next year since I will not be 9 months pregnant!

Augusta

April 27th, 2012
11:11 am

I think it’s harder to be spontaneous when you have younger children. Mine are all teenagers, and while they could stay home alone for one night, I prefer to know that they are “safe” with a trusted adult. The oldest is 16 and they hate having a “babysitter” but they love going to the their grandparents. Two may go to one set of g’parents, or they all go together to one house….it’s their choice, and they absolutely love going to the grandparents…sometimes they go, and leave us by ourselves……

K's Mom

April 27th, 2012
11:50 am

@Augusta, my parents had 2 trips a year with my dad’s job that my mom was pretty well required to attend. Once we got to HS, she found night time “chaperones” to stay with us since we were so offended by the term babysitter and our grandparents were not able to stay with us.

I do feel very fortunate to have found a local babysitter that I trust so much! I also know we are fortunate to have my parents. My mom will stay with us for most of May while I recover from my csection. I know that is a huge blessing. The even bigger blessing is that she does not drive me nuts!

HB

April 27th, 2012
12:37 pm

Oh please, Theresa. Nothing is as difficult as you make it out to be. If spur of the moment makes you so uncomfortable, then don’t go, but really, the fridge has to be well-stocked? Activities have to be planned? If you want and can afford a weekend away, book a sitter and leave the kids, regardless of if you win the prize like others suggested. Leave cash for the sitter, and let the kids eat out or order in pizza for two days — a trip to a McDs with a playground is an activity and meal all rolled into one. Give the sitter lots of flexibility to do special things with them and it will be a little vacation for them too.

Obvious Troll is Obvious

April 27th, 2012
12:47 pm

Talk about first world problems…..

Augusta

April 27th, 2012
1:18 pm

Amen HB…..too many things stress TWG out. Or she worries about things……

Just DO IT!!!!

No destination in mind…..Hubby comes home for work and every once in a while I tell him, “get in the car”. “Where are we going”, he will ask…….”I don’t know” is my reply…..Get in the car, the bags are packed and the kids are at Grammas…..and off we go…..

catlady

April 27th, 2012
1:27 pm

I agree with several. If you can afford to go to this thin,g, have a “backup” planned and go have some quiet time with your husband!

homeschooler

April 27th, 2012
1:57 pm

Seems to me that Theresa stresses too much also but, I’ve always had the luxury of grandparents, sister, brothers etc.. always available to watch my kids. They would never be left and my husband and I would never have time alone if we had to pay 10 dollars and hour for a babysitter.

I work weekends so we can never spontaniously take off but, sounds like fun. I wish. Maybe in my next life. Right now we do good to go to dinner alone once every couple months.

We did have a glorious weekend (believe it or not in Sonoma, California) a few yrs ago. Would sure love to do that again!

Augusta

April 27th, 2012
2:37 pm

@Homeschooler – you can be spontaneous ANY time….it’s not just for with weekends, or trips.

I used to pack a picnic lunch, and go get hubby from work, and have a picnic lunch in the park. Nothing fancy, two PBJ’s, some chips, and cokes. But the time alone, in the park, is OUR time, and it’s special…….

Just think of something you would like to do, and do it…..I don’t want to look back on my life and feel I never did anything……..

Splurge one night on a sitter and go to the Aquarium…I love to just sit in the room with the big whale sharks……

There’s plenty of free stuff to do……

JATL

April 27th, 2012
4:17 pm

As long as we had worked it out in advance with my MIL, then I would go for it! If we didn’t live near her or anyone who wouldn’t be truly affected by whether or not we left for the weekend, then I wouldn’t go to the party.

One thought -get the babysitter for the weekend, and even if you don’t win it -go somewhere! I’ve seen the end of many a week where I would have given anything for a quiet room at a Motel 6 for a few days!

motherjanegoose

April 27th, 2012
4:21 pm

We drove out to Fort Yargo and met our daughter this week, with our dog. We stopped and picked up a picnic dinner at Publix. That was fun! We took a walk around the lake and our dog was pooped.

DB

April 27th, 2012
9:06 pm

Have you made any friends out there? Here’s what I’d do: I’d get another couple who has kids of similar ages to go to the event with me, and make a deal: If you win, I’ll take your kids, and if I win, you’ll take my kids! The kids would probably enjoy spending the weekend with another family – my kids would have loved it! Pack each one a backpack “just in case”, and tell them about what may happen, and promise that you’ll call if you get picked. If you win, then at some time in the next few weeks, offer to keep your friend’s kids for a weekend so that they can have a getaway, too.

Not everything has to be planned to the nanosecond.

jarvis

April 28th, 2012
9:14 am

Theresa, you worry SO MUCH. How do you sleep at night?

Fred ™

April 28th, 2012
5:54 pm

Wow. Really? I have no one to blame for me reading this or even coming to this blog anymore but myself. Sure you didn’t mean a house key party like they had in the ’70’s Theresa?

Oh well THIS waste of time was nobodies fault but mine……. anyone who makes it this far can at least be rewarded by a great tune…….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZibgdi7hXY

Denise

April 28th, 2012
7:21 pm

The only thing that struck me as odd about your post, Theresa, is all the things you feel you have to do to prep for a babysitter. A stocked fridge and activities for the kids? Really? How about the number to Pizza Hut and the back yard? (Okay, maybe they need some fruit and cookies so make a quick run to the grocery store). I’m sure your kids know how to entertain themselves or a weekend without you there to direct their play would be a good time for them to practice. You’ve done a good job with your kids. They know what is expected of them. They know how to be safe. They’re not going to lose their minds as soon as you turn your back. Leave them with someone you trust and enjoy some time with the hubs. Maybe this is too spontaneous for you – not knowing IF you’re going – but do something for yourself and Michael…and for the kids.

☺☻Have A Smile!

April 28th, 2012
9:28 pm

Obvious Troll is Obvious

Talk about first world problems…..

ha ha +1

Right on! :D

Kat

April 29th, 2012
4:30 pm

It disturbs me that K’s mom feels the need to keep consistently updating her pregnancy progress on this blog (9 mo pregnant; scheduled c-section). Ugh!

Go somewhere with your husband, TWG, because you WANT to – not because it’s free! That’s just a bonus. If this type of thing actually stresses you out, then DON’T go to the party. I can’t believe it is that difficult for adults to get this.

Fresh Spring

April 29th, 2012
5:48 pm

NEW YORK (AP) – Authorities say an out-of-control van plunged off a highway into a ravine on the grounds of the Bronx Zoo in New York City, killing seven people aboard, including three children.

This was a Republican van driven by a Republican driver. How awful. Probably drunk too.

observer

April 29th, 2012
8:30 pm

“It disturbs me that K’s mom feels the need to keep consistently updating her pregnancy progress on this blog (9 mo pregnant; scheduled c-section). Ugh!”

Kat, wow. This is a Mom’s blog. Pregnancy may come up from time to time, maybe? And what is transpiring through pregnancy may also come up. MOM’s BLOG. It disturbs me you don’t get that. Ugh!

K's Mom

April 29th, 2012
10:25 pm

@Observer…thanks!

@Kat, if you don’t like my posts, don’t read them. I am excited about our baby, so I share. You have made several unkind comments regarding my posts…maybe you should find a blog about something other than motherhood….

Becky

April 30th, 2012
8:57 am

@K’s Mom..I for one don’t mind reading about your pregnancy or the excitement you are “showing” over having the new baby..As osbserver said, this is a Mom blog, so not sure what he/she would like to hear about..

Congrats on the new baby and I can’t wait to hear that he is here..

K's Mom

April 30th, 2012
10:16 am

Thanks Becky! He should be here on Wednesday! I am excited to meet him and to become a bit more comfortable than I am right now!