Friday, July 18, 2008

Vacation days

I am really lucky because I have four weeks of vacation. The fourth week I earned a couple of years ago and it drastically changed my time off – as I am a hoarder of vacation days.

The fourth week means I now have an extra 5 days to save and then have to blow at the end of the vacation cycle. I have a bad habit of saving too much time at the end of the cycle. I even used to save them for funerals, etc. – not really understanding the bereavement policy. I was young and naive then, so what is my excuse now?

Every year, we like to go somewhere nice in January or February. So there is a week that needs to be saved. And I always take a week for the holidays, too. So, that time should be saved, too. We also like to vacation somewhere close for a long weekend, etc. in the fall. There is the third week saved. And one of my favorite uses of the time off is going to our pool. Week 4 steps in.

But this sounds easy, right? wrong.

Week 1: Will definitely be used to travel somewhere warm. This is my only sure thing as by January, I am crazy with crappy Northeast Ohio weather.

Week 2: I usually don't take a whole week off at the holidays. I end up just spending too much money shopping at the after Christmas sales on things I don't need. Plus, it is gross outside. Who wants to use vacation time with snow and 10 degrees? Not me.

Week 3: Our fall trip will be 5 days including the weekend – not 7.

Week 4: And I will not get in 10, 1/2 days at the pool in 3 months. I refuse to take off an entire vacation day when the pool opens at noon. No need to waste precious time, so I take a lot of 1/2 days, weather permitting for the pool days. But I have never used 10, 1/2 days at the pool.

So, with 20 vacation days planned, I will really use 15 or 16 instead. I seriously have to stop hoarding my time – as I regret saving too much and having to use it in February, with 5 degree weather, and alone because no one is stupid enough to use time off then – except me. And what am I doing? I am scheduled to take a half day today for the pool, but knowing it will be really hot, I am rescheduling it for another time. I'm sure I'll have a blast using it on Feb. 28th next year.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Family traditions

My family has a thing about newspaper clippings – especially comics. When my Grandma was alive, she used to send sections of the local paper to us in the mail. It usually had updates on the Packers or information about one of my Mom's friends or just news about the town. I grew up with this as normal. The same Grandma also would send me cards and tape coins on the back for a "treat".

My Mom gave me the above comic yesterday. She cut it out and had saved it all week. It is a For Better or for Worse by Lynn Johnston. I'm positive Lynn saw me as a child and got her idea about this comic.

I was in first or second grade, living in Tennessee. I know it was spring time, as it was tulip and daffodil season – my two favorite flowers. I remember thinking that there were so many flowers throughout the development in the neighbors' yards. Surely, these were for me and no one else. I took my wagon and picked as many of the flowers as I could. Then, I thought it would be great to go door to door to sell the flowers... to the people who's yards I just picked my bounty from. Yes, I did this. And yes, my poor Mom probably got phone calls. My Mom knew it was me without even seeing my evidence. She was proven correct when she saw that I had all of the flowers in the wagon. And my real talent was picking flowers without the stem. I was busted.

To this day, when I see tulips I say to M: "I'm going to go pick all those flowers". He knows I'm kidding. I'm sure he feels safe that we don't own a wagon. This is a story I bring up annual with tulip season, but the comic reminded us of that day in Tennessee when I tried to sell flowers.

My Dad sent me the above comic from Florida this February. (I don't know who did the comic, so I can't give credit.) The tradition continues of mailing comics in the family. Dad didn't put any coins in the letter. But what he does do is use stickers on the envelope. These might be found stickers or even ones given to him for free from a charity. But Dad always puts stickers on my envelopes when he mails me comics.

I have inherited the sticker applying, comic cutting out and mailing traditions. I hope it continues because sometimes it is fun to relive a silly moment over 30 years ago.