By: Mary Fran Bontempo
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Ah, the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. It’s all about the beach, the surf, the sand and finally, a vacation—from winter, work and the busyness of life.

At least, that’s what it’s supposed to be about.

Before I get started, the requisite disclaimer: I have a vacation house at the beach. I am blessed. I am grateful. I am also really, really tired.

Last week, I made my way to Ocean City, NJ with my youngest daughter, employed at the shore for the summer. While she worked, I opened up the house to get ready for the season.

I first addressed the inside, beginning with the beds. Everything off and in the washer. Then, a thorough vacuuming of the beds themselves as well as under and around, moving furniture along the way. Since I was on a vacuum roll, I drug the thing downstairs for a repeat performance with the furniture in the living room.

Next up, bathrooms. A thorough scouring and restocking with copious amounts of toilet paper, shampoo, soap, toothpaste and the necessary extra toothbrushes. (Someone always forgets.) All the towels, into the laundry room to wait their turn in the queue.

On to the kitchen and a sterilization of the fridge and cabinets, tossing the remnants of last summer’s (No, don’t throw that out; we’ll be down this fall to use this stuff up…not.) food supply. Scrub the counters and stove, mop the floor and head back to the laundry room for the next load.

Woodwork, tabletops, lampshades—sprayed, dusted and vacuumed. Curtains—down and washed. Windows—cleaned. Closets and dressers—sorted.

Oh, and don’t forget the grocery store and cooking. Despite my cleaning frenzy, we still had to eat. We also drank. Wine. I really needed it.

Then, time for an outdoor revamping. Sweep and vacuum the back porch. Take all porch furniture into the yard and hose it down. Throw out old, moldy cushions and spend a boatload of money on new ones. Repeat entire process for front porch.

Drive to the nursery and load up on plants and dirt. I mean, whoever heard of a beach house without flowers? More money; more work cleaning flower pots, planting and lugging heavy pots around to make things pretty.

Mow the lawn. Actually, mow two lawns, as we take care of our neighbors. In fact, they let us use their mower, for which I am thankful, but it’s electric and I have to drag a 50 foot extension cord around as I cut the grass. It’s not fun. And it takes a really long time.

More laundry, as all of the beach towels need to be freshened up. Back to the store for more laundry detergent and a huge grocery order, to get ready for the invasion on Memorial Day Weekend.

Finally, everything is clean, the house looks wonderful, we have enough food to feed the fifth fleet and we’re scheduled for a packed house.

It will be great fun and after everyone leaves, I’ll start washing the towels and changing the beds again. After which I’ll hit the bathrooms, the kitchen, the living room and the porches, right before I go to the grocery store, since the cupboards will likely be bare.

I love my little vacation home. But right now, I need a vacation—somewhere else.

What are your vacation fantasies? Click comments below and share!