One of the problems with having a child is that no matter how long it's been since I graduated from school, my schedule still revolves around summer, weekends and spring break.

One of the problems with having a child is that no matter how long it's been since I graduated from school, my schedule still revolves around summer, weekends and spring break.

I shouldn't complain too much about this, since my son's just in the first grade and we've still got at least 11 years of spring breaks ahead of us. Plus, there's nothing really wrong with breaks from school, it's just that once in a while I'd like to have the freedom to take a vacation in April, rather than always the fourth week of March.

I'm a whiner. I whine about everything; why not add spring break to the list? The Grinch may complain about Christmas, but I've got him beat. I consider it an important, intrinsic part of my personality.

A month ago I made reservations for my son, Silas, and I to go to the coast for a long weekend over spring break. I was pretty proud of myself for actually making some kind of a plan, and Silas and I were looking forward to getting out of Ashland for a while. Actually, Silas is worried about missing his Grandma and considers driving to Medford an unbearably long amount of time in the car, so it's probably only me that's looking forward to getting out of the Rogue Valley for a couple of days.

Of course, just like the tsunami, Silas and I are headed to Brookings, the difference being that I gave a month's forewarning and I don't plan on destroying any harbors while I'm there. Silas and I are loud, and I'm whiny, and I certainly could do with a better work ethic when it comes to cleaning my house, but I've never actually caused a state of emergency.

I'm a little worried about the timing for our trip to the coast. I feel like a rubber-necker driving by the scene of an accident. Not actually doing anything to help, but leaning out the window, oohing and aahing at the destruction, and snapping a few photos to take home to show off to my family and friends.

I'm not sure what to do. I really did book this vacation prior to the tsunami, and I really don't have the energy to find a new place to spend a long weekend. I wish I had some kind of skill to contribute to the people of Brookings, but raising boats and repairing harbors are way beyond my skill set. All I can really do is go to Brookings and spend my hard-earned cash, saving the town by putting money into the local economy. It's sort of like doing my Christmas shopping to preserve the American way of life from destruction by terrorists. It's kind of a stretch, but there's nothing I like more than a good excuse for spending my tax refund check.

So Silas and I, and my constant low-level gnawing guilt, are heading off to Brookings. I'm sure we won't be the only ones there. After all, there are people who, unlike me, are actually going to view the destructiveness of nature and others who are simply traveling for spring break.

March in Oregon is beautiful; of course I wouldn't want to take a vacation in April. Maybe I should take a brief break from my whining, and realize that complaining about spring break, and the timing of my vacations, is nothing compared to what the people of Brookings are dealing with.

I may spend three hours in the car having to endure a constant barrage of bathroom break requests and piles of half-eaten snacks in the backseat, but at least I don't need Gov. Kitzhaber to intervene on my behalf.

Zoe Abel is looking forward to her vacation, even if comes with just the tiniest little side helping of guilt. You can contact her at dailyzoe@gmail.com.