Ah vacation. Nothing is sweeter to this second shifter than a vacation away from the office, the people and the job. I had planned my first vacation for the new year for a late winter getaway to the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas. My wife had a business conference to attend at the resort, and I had an appointment with a sunny beach and cocktails.
However, my anticipation turned to fantasy as her business plans changed just before confirmation of the trip. This late cancellation left me no alternative except to accept and submit to a staycation vacation. Alas, leaving me out in the February Chicago cold.
I was not pleased, and I turned as bitter as old man winter himself. Sure, I could’ve left my family and bought a last minute trip deal to somewhere warm, reclined upon the sunny and sandy beaches, enjoy fresh seafood, cocktails. I would’ve been absolutely, and miserably alone.
It’s funny how my body can detect that a vacation is approaching because I begin to feel ill. This time my symptoms included a scratchy throat, clogged and runny nose, sneezing, aches and chills. A great way to set up the days preceding vacation. I had become so ill throughout the week that I had to take a sick day the Friday before vacation. I hate using sick days on sick days. The first three days, including that Friday sick day, I was bedridden, I was grouchy, irritable and miserable. I was thankful everyone had regular Friday plans and left me alone in the house.
During this time I tried to formulate a plan that would be miserably productive and necessary. I’d use this time to begin working on my taxes. I’d cook and clean around the house, do laundry and have a meal ready for dinner. I’d arise early and make a warm breakfast for my family as they left for the day, and then I’d be off to the gym for yoga, zumba or even pilates.
Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. John Lennon
Once you have a plan, you have something to deviate from. I tell this to my children and coworkers on an almost daily basis. As I convalesced, my brain began to unwind, it jogged several items that had been back logged. There was my deceased brothers probate case, there was the video project I promised, my children had a workout class, my bike was still at the repair shop, the bathroom still needed to be remodeled, the bricks hadn’t been selected to rebuild the chimney, this was going to be a great vacation.
I got the attorney and the probate case out of the way early, the next day I shot a video for my wife and had a home cooked meal with a bottle of wine. Midweek, I uploaded the video to her YouTube Channel, had a home cooked meal and a bottle of wine. This staycation was going very well.
One day after school, my graduating high school senior daughter and I had a field trip to Chicago’s Art Institute. We took the train to the city and were able to have a conversation eye to eye, and not through a telephone. We discussed her and her upcoming high school graduation plans, her current academic and her spring athletic goals. I told her in person how proud I am of her and what a beautiful, smart woman she was. I told her how happy I am that she chose me to be her dad, how happy I am that she is a girl, and how there is nothing she can do that will ever get me to stop loving her, nothing. She smiled, I smiled, we smiled at each other.
Another day I picked up my 6th grade son from school because we had a deal, we could do anything he wanted, just the two of us, if he received a positive behavior report. He got his positive report and we went indoor rock wall climbing. I did my best to not show my fear as I raced up that rock wall, rang that bell and got the hell off the wall before I killed myself. This day turned into my being able to build his and our confidence, as a father/son adventure. His pride showed from his smiling face as he climbed like a mountain goat. This was a greater source of pride for me to watch my son, as his chest filled by his own action.
The last day of the family weekend and my vacation, my sophomore filmmaker daughter and I attended a film festival. At her request, we sat through Stanley Kubrics’ 2001: A Space Odyssey. On the way she opted to not drive so she could DJ the route. We played air guitar, made up lyrics and then sang them loudly and out of tune. What a wonderful afternoon of laughing, joking and silliness.
Reflecting with my family about my staycation vacation, my wife insisted I find another job. She said that I have no idea how much I’m missed, and that everyone really enjoyed our time together. I asked if she was hiring, and she had no response.
Outside of the regular schedule I was allowed to maintain, it’s tough to go back to the second shift because I’m really going to miss them.