Friday, December 29, 2023

Working through the dead zone between Christmas and New Year's


Years ago when I would plan my vacation days for the year, the first thing I would block out was the week between Christmas Day and New Year's Day. This was mostly to take advantage of the kids being home on holiday break so we could do things together and I could assemble heir toys while cleaning up the mess we had made in the living room opening presents.

Even now, with four older kids having moved out, I still like to take that week off to relax and recharge before returning to work in the midst of the cold and gray of January in Northeast Ohio.

This year, however, I've been working this week thanks to having used up all of my vacation days early.

There were a few reasons for this, the biggest of which was the week I took in March to accompany the Wickliffe Swing Band on its once-every-four-years trip to Disney World.

I wouldn't normally take a week off in March, and truth be told, I wasn't thrilled about burning a week of vacation that included a combined 40+ hours on a bus.

In retrospect, though, I'm glad I did it. It was a fun adventure, and it felt like the least I could do to give back to an organization that has given me so much over the years.

But those were the days I would normally reserve until the end of the year. Throw in the week I took in late June/early July for our family beach vacation, plus another summer week for our annual church retreat, plus the standard assortment of one-off personal days here and there for various reasons, and I found myself essentially out of PTO by September.

I'm whining about a first-world problem, of course, but it makes for an 8- to 9-month stretch between weeks off. That's a long grind, though one that's made easier this week by the fact that (a) I can work from home, and (b) most of my co-workers are on vacation right now, so it's very quiet and I'm getting a lot done.

Still, I do miss the slower, carefree days that normally make up late December for me. I can't do quite as much non-work stuff as I would like this week, though all in all I really shouldn't complain.

I will complain, of course, but I really shouldn't.

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