HAVE YOUR CAR INSPECTED: My mechanic spends less than twenty minutes and charges me ten dollars. I consider the peace of mind worth it. If my vehicle can't do a four-hour trip, I want to know before I take off. Also, pick up a couple extra cans of oil, one of radiator fluid, an extra fan belt, and a tire pressure gauge. Make sure the spare tire is functional and all parts of the jack are there. Throw in a flashlight and a cheap umbrella. Tires won't wait for a bright, sunny day to go flat.
INSPECT YOUR HOUSE: Lower your thermostat. Set your hot water tank to "vacation", most of them do have such a setting. Why have a higher than necessary utility bill? Clean out your fridge. If it's going to be green and moldy when you come back in two weeks, get rid of it now. Give it away to a neighbor. Mow your lawn one last time. Buy a couple of house timers and set them to turn the lights, TV and radio on and off while your gone. Program your VCR to record your favorite shows.
NOTIFY YOUR SECURITY COMPANY: More and more SCAdians have their house armed these days. Tell them when you're leaving, and when you expect to be back. Tell them who to call if there's a problem. If you live in Mayberry RFD, you can actually tell your local police department, and they'll make your house part of their regular route.
HOUSE MAINTENANCE: Board your pets, or have a trusted friend come over daily to give them food and water. Give your houseplants to your trusted friend, or have them come over daily to water them. Our neighbor is a saint and actually spent an afternoon weeding our garden. Stop your mail at the post office, and suspend your newspaper subscription, or have your trusted friend pick them up every day.
INDULGE YOURSELF: Have a long, hot bath, complete with bubbles. Surf the Internet. Go see a first run movie. Have dinner in a fancy restaurant. Go to a nightclub and dance the night away. Make love by candlelight in a four-poster bed. Do all the things you're not going to be able to do for two weeks while camping in the woods.
BEFORE LEAVING PENNSIC: Buy a nice gift for your trusted friend that's made your vacation so much more enjoyable!
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