By Tim Sullivan

Ten or 15 years ago, Delta Airlines had this magical program called “The Escape Plan” (if you like pina coladas, or getting caught in the rain…). Each week they’d have a slate of super-cheap travel destinations for a weekend trip. For the untethered, it was perfect. I’d wear this retro, leather “travelin’ man” jacket and strut through the airport, all young and childless. I jaunted to New York or Boston or Washington D.C. on a whim and was big on surprising people like, “Hey, guess what?  I’m here, dude!  Let’s go out!”

Okay, I probably never actually talked like that, but the wanderlust was real.Those inclinations have been packed away with that jacket though because now I am definitively tethered. I am the tetherball. I am the Zim Zam. Here is an approximation of scheduling dialogue between Kristen and me.  It’s not entirely accurate, but then again, I’m very tired.

Work week

Pre-kids: I have early meetings on Tuesday and Thursday. I am going to try and get to the gym every night this week.

Apres-kids (and I use “Apres” because it at least suggests a ski vacation which hasn’t happened since we got engaged): Can you take the kids to the dentist tomorrow? Wednesday we have a conference with Margo’s teacher and Thursday is Dr. Seuss’ birthday. What? Didn’t you see the email? The kids dress up as their favorite Dr. Seuss character for the parade. And we’re signed up to bring a pizza. Can you leave work early? The PTA spaghetti dinner is Thursday night. I’m volunteering so you’ll have to watch both kids. Elliott has Spirit Day on Friday so let’s make sure his green shirt is clean. And don’t forget the book fair.


Pre-kids: I cannot wait to get to Barcelona. I know – me, too. But I think I’m even more excited for Amsterdam!

Apres-kids: Should we go? Why do we even go? If the kids aren’t going to sleep and be miserable why should we drive 10 freaking hours to get to a beach we hardly set foot on? My family will be really upset if we don’t come. Ok, fine, we’ll go. But the kids have to wear headphones in the car while they are watching the DVDs. Last year I had Team Umizoomi stuck in my brain for weeks.


Pre-kids: Oh, my gosh. What? I just realized that we had so much going on last weekend that we forgot about the Guster show at Variety Playhouse. We had tickets to that show, didn’t we? Yes, we did. Oh, well. I had so much fun at the festival I don’t really care. We’ll see them next time!

Apres-kids: Sometime after the kids’ basketball games I need to go to Target, Costco and Publix and we have a play date at four. Oh, I was hoping to squeeze in a run…  Fine. Can you do that tomorrow before the kids wake up?

Party Circuit

Pre-kids: I’m going to Party City. We still have some beads from last year’s Mardi Gras party but we need some better beads. I ordered the King Cake. King Cake is totally gross but everyone gets so drunk they think it’s good!

Apres-kids: (on cell phone, exasperated) I’m here with Ell and the girl at the desk says there is no birthday party scheduled for 3 p.m. Where are you? Leaping Lizards. The party isn’t at Leaping Lizards.  What? They’re always at Leaping Lizards! No, this one is at the Tae Kwan Doe place – I told you that.  What? Where is that? It’s like a quarter mile from our house. Oh. Who are the parents of this kid? I don’t know. Look for the dad with multiple cameras strapped around his neck. Everyone else will look completely bored and defeated, except the mom. She’ll be totally stressed out.

Party on, dude.



Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.

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