The Simple Joy of a Day Off

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Well, yesterday I had the day off.  I took the Memorial Day holiday on my birthday.  What did I do?  I did nothing, and it was everything I though it could be.  OK, it could have been significantly more interesting but I did enjoy not doing anything.  I managed to sleep until 9AM and then I mostly flipped channels all day.  Given a whopping 10 channels, this was obviously not as entertaining as one might hope.  I kept intending to read some more in my book, but never quite got around to it.  I chose not to sit at the computer, because that’s what I already do all day, every day.  It did get a bit warm in the container during the afternoon — one window A/C unit is simply not enough during the heat of summer here — but it cooled things down quickly once the sun stopped turning it’s attention to it.  Later we walked down to the coffee place and had a drink — tea for Guli, vanilla smoothie for me.  It was a nice enough little treat.

I did get interested enough to do a little math.  I figured that most people wouldn’t really appreciate what a day off is here.  People in real life ordinary jobs tend to work only 5 days out of 7 in the week.  That gives you 104 days off a year, right there.  Throw in 11 Federal holidays or generic holidays of choice and the total goes up.  Of course, we get those, too.  That said, sometimes people take them, sometimes don’t.  It just depends because we go from a 12 hour day to 8 hours paid when you take a day off.  On my first iteration out here in just over 2 years I only took 1 holiday.  I think we’ve taken most since then, excepting those occurring while we are on R&R.  Then I added in vacation time, assuming 2 weeks a year for normal people.  We get 2 weeks every 4 months, though the year end is 3 weeks.  All 3 of those are only 10 paid days off, not 14 and 21.  I assumed the normal people vacation is taken in one lump instead of being split up, and didn’t count the weekend days that wrap them because it’s already covered in the 104 days.  It doesn’t work that way for us, of course, as there are no weekends to deduct.

These totals come up to 129 days for normal jobs, and 60 for us, or being off from work roughly 35% of the time for you, and only 16% for us.  It’s kind of funny how the numbers can present odd views though, because while the average time you need to make it through for a day off is only 5 days, whereas for us it’s closer to 7-8 weeks or so.  I’m awful tired of it all, but we’re going to stay out here for just a little while longer to build up the coffers and enable us some flexibility.

BTW, I’m not being whiny about it, just wanted to point out why I did not ambitiously pursue anything on my day off.  Of course, there really isn’t anything to do anyway. :)

How Not To Take A Vacation

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Does anything about this picture look difficult to you? Does any of it look pointless? This was the most amusing of several “we’re in a ruined city with broken, cobbled pave stones and we are toting a kid in a stroller” type moments we happened across in Pompeii. Traveling with kids seems like it would be nightmare enough to avoid whenever possible. I mean sure, trips to see the folks are a different issue and point to point travel is not the same as vacation, but I am non-plussed to think that people would travel with a child for non-essential reasons.

For the first 5-6 years, the kid certainly won’t get anything out of it — won’t understand what’s going on nor remember it. They can’t really move under their own power, and if they can it’s probably the wrong direction and you’d want to avoid that. You’re looking at mobile, and therefore more difficult, babysitting. It costs the parents extra money and would dilute their enjoyment of whatever they are doing since they wouldn’t be able to focus on it. It seems like there’s only cost and no benefit. Leave the kids with relatives or stay home. :)

For the next 5-6 years, it’d be a little better. The kids would be generally self-motile at least, and would probably remember the vacation, though if you’re going to travel places as opposed to beach or camping trips, they may have trouble to “get” what they’re seeing. Stick to natural wonders and getting to know nature type journeys.

Once you’re dealing with teens, I think things open up more. Supervision is less necessary as they are now less dependent and not so much a danger to themselves. You can go places that take more appreciation and will broaden the kid’s world. You might be able to learn and teach something that they can grow on later on, making them a better person by seeing places and things in new towns, states, or countries. Give ’em something to have as stories back at school. Show them there is a whole world out there, full of people that are kind of like us, even! Keep them open minded.

Well, it was a little more long-winded than I’d thought, and maybe slightly preachy too, but there it goes. I’m all for travel but kids make it a whole different ball game. Traveling with 2 adults can be stressful enough without adding extra complications. 😉

Trip Reports

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

We’re lucky enough to have a pretty good vacation benefit, and every 3 months we get a couple weeks to go somewhere and visit, in addition to a time or two per year where holidays can be shoved together long enough to go somewhere short. It was a little slower when living on the camps, and maybe now it is going to slow back down a bit, but we are still amazingly lucky with the amount of travel that we are able to do.

Yes, there are currently some gaps. I haven’t imported all of the trip reports from the old forum where I posted them originally. That’s slightly dull work. :)

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