168 hours on vacation

photo-362When people offer to send me their time logs, they generally want to show me a “typical” week. This tends to mean a full work week, but vacation days do happen, thank goodness, and I think looking at vacation weeks offers an interesting insight into life as well.

I’ve been tracking my time continuously for the last two months. I spent last week with my husband’s extended family at the Jersey shore. My husband and I rented a too-large-for-our-own-family house under the assumption that people would join us if we told them we had space, and they did! His mom came, as did his two sisters and their families. Indeed, the only sibling who didn’t come was the one expecting their fourth child soon and sure enough, my niece made her appearance yesterday, so probably just as well they skipped this mini-reunion.

Looking at my time log, I can see a few things.

First, a baby really does monopolize your time compared with the other children. Most of the kid-specific entries involved feeding the baby, being up early with him, etc. I did seize some time here and there with the other kids, but they often did their own thing, partly because of…cousins. Cousins are amazing, especially older cousins, as was the case with our set-up. My older nieces and nephews were so amazingly sweet to my children, playing with them, and sharing rooms with them, and holding their hands as we walked to the beach. I did get some ice cream runs in with the big kids, and some sandcastle building time. My 5-year-old lost a tooth, and the tooth fairy visited us on vacation, though there was the slightly awkward moment of finding out that different families’ tooth fairies have different policies on compensation per tooth.

Vacations with babies aren’t great for sleep. I did get 51.75 hours over the course of the week, which is absolutely typical for me (a bit shy of 7.5 hours/day) but it was interrupted. The baby woke up at 3:30 or 4 a.m. 6 out of 7 nights, and the other night he woke up at midnight. I think he didn’t like the pack-and-play, and the disruption to his schedule. I coped as I do by going to bed at 10-10:30 p.m. most nights. This meant I didn’t get to stay up and talk with the adults, but I made a few other occasions to do so, such as running with my husband’s next oldest sister.

I like to run, and running on the boardwalk was on my list of summer activities, so I’m happy to report that my time log shows me running 5 times. Three of these were with my sister-in-law. She kept a brisk pace, and they were good morning runs as the sun was rising over the water. We came home to coffee — a great way to wake up.

I ate ice cream five times and it was totally worth it. So was the loaf of sourdough bread my brother brought from NYC when he visited over July 4th weekend. Back to veggies-and-lean-protein this week.

As a sole proprietor, it’s hard to ever take a complete break from work, and I wasn’t aiming to. I did about 12 hours of work over the course of the week, though much of this was concentrated on Wednesday, when I took the train into NYC to film a segment. I used the occasion to work on the train there and back. This meant that I worked a lot less the rest of the week — about 0.5-1 hours per day on handling email, recording a podcast, and setting things up for this week.

I spent 18.5 hours on the beach. I didn’t bring any reading material — no point, really! But I did score some time reading in the hammock back at the house. The rental house had a few local history books around, and I spent some time perusing them, and came across a brief mention of hymn lyricist Fanny Crosby, who apparently summered in the town during the height of her creative output. I had to read more about her — this blind poet who wrote hundreds (thousands?) of hymns, including Blessed Assurance, and had testified before Congress as a young woman, gotten to know presidents, and made a permanent mark on America’s religious experience. All this before women had the right to vote. It got the wheels in my head turning about one accusation about her hymns — that they were ridiculously sentimental, and here she is this brilliant person who is elevating the sentimental, but she knows this is what people are starting to want in their religious experience, and she believes in meeting people where they are. Food for thought.

And there was a lot of real food! Even lobsters on the grill our last night there. Mmm. The good news is the beach is only 90 minutes away from my real home so we could keep a lot of the leftover food. It was a rough start back to the week though — up at 4:30 a.m. to record a live segment with the BBC for morning programming in the UK. They did mention the early hour on air, so hopefully listeners understood if I sounded groggy.

How do vacation weeks differ from “typical” weeks in how you spend your time? Do you do some work on vacation or not?

Photo: Zonked out in the stroller…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *