The week off has come and gone by a week, but it’s still worth a few words.
For the first time since I started working full time, I took a holiday with no plans to go anywhere. And I’ll admit; I was skeptical. I was afraid that by not leaving the city, I wouldn’t be able to turn my brain off from work. In other words, I may not have to go into work every day, but I’d still think about what had to be done when I got back.
Previous holidays have always involved going somewhere – either far away (like Europe) or closer to home (like camping or a cottage) – or going through the mandatory rounds of Christmas visiting (a whirlwind trip to Montreal, followed by a drive back to Toronto and then a whirlwind trip to London). There’s nothing less vacation-like than coming back to work exhausted after spending a week visiting as many family members as possible.
And the only other time I’ve taken time off to not go anywhere was when we moved from the apartment to the house. But that was more out of necessity. There were rooms to paint and boxes to unpack and furniture to rearrange. And I think, even then, I only took a day or two off.
So, as the Monday of this vacation started, I dropped Austin off at the sitter’s house, as usual.
That meant we had about 9 hours a day to get stuff done. Ryan immediately started tearing down walls in our front hall (and for the record, is still working on getting the finishing touches back up) and I started on yard work I wanted to get done before it got too cold. My front yard is now ready for winter and my backyard is well, raked and swept at least. There wasn’t much to do to it really, since we never finished redoing it in the first place (that’s next spring’s project).
I also got my car fixed (I needed a new muffler), and spent the better part of a day cleaning out our basement. In the coming months, our basement is going to become a much-more used living space, and since it hasn’t been used that way since we moved in three years ago, a lot of areas in the basement have been a place to put everything that we don’t know what to do with. So now, I have boxes of stuff that would be better stored in the garage (i.e. baby clothes); two huge green bags full of garbage and a large pile to go to Goodwill. (This is after, may I add, I took a carload of stuff to Goodwill in early October.)
All in all, it felt really good to accomplish all that in such a short time, without having Austin pulling at my legs, getting into things he shouldn’t, or me squeezing in what needs to be done in the two hours he’s sleeping every afternoon.
Despite all my skepticism before the week began, I think I could persuaded to take a holiday like this every year. It was an awesome way to get things done around the house in a stress-free way. Life’s busy these days – raising a kid and being gone from the house Monday to Friday from 8 to 6, (6 to almost 6 for Ryan) and often the last thing I want to do after we all get home, make dinner, clean up from dinner, play with Austin for awhile and maybe throw a load of laundry on, is think about tackling a project like clearing out the basement.
Of course, I have to add, my 80-year-old retired neighbour who, cuts his lawn twice a week in the summer, shovels his driveway at the first sign of a snowflake in the winter and is rushing out the door five minutes after the garbage truck goes by to move his bins into the garage, thinks otherwise. On the Monday afternoon, as I was raking dirt into the front lawn to fill some of the potholes, he came over to say hello and ask how come I didn’t have to work that day. I said I was on holiday and was taking the time off to get things done around the house.
His response? “When I was your age I could go to work all day and get everything done around here as well. You go out too much.”
I smiled and nodded, but here’s what I really wanted to do: stick my tongue out and say “PLLLAAAAATTTTT”.