Vive le Weekend!

Albeit a short weekend, it’s still a day off! As of this moment, I have 37.5 hours left before I have to clock in again. About 14 of those hours will be spent sleeping. How much can I do in 23 hours? For starters: this blog post!

There are so many things I need to get done. One might think that just because you have time off work, you must spend all of that time doing personal things that need to get done. I protest! I think it’s important to spend at least half of your time off doing things you enjoy doing as well. I enjoy being lazy resting. I just worked 11 days in a row, including 50 hours in the past six days. I think some rest is not only well-deserved but downright necessary!

I have a couple of movies I bought for $1.99 each at a nearby Blockbuster that’s closing. I plan on watching at least one of those. I also must give my seriously neglected camera a workout. I long to create a new piece of jewelry, too. However, you can’t force creativity to happen in a small window of time. So that may not happen … unless I watch movies at the same time. I do enjoy multitasking!

The main things I need to do are office related (including taxes). After working so much, personal office work is the last thing I want to do, though. :roll:

Nope! Twenty-three hours is just not enough time! Once a new manager is in place and the new staff is put on the weekend schedule, I think I might press for a full 4×10 work schedule so I can have my Sundays back. Having a full two days off in a row is more important to one’s mental well-being than I realized.

Vive le weekend!

Rethinking Goals and Schedules

After two (or has it been three?) weeks in a row of mandatory five hours overtime with a max of ten (and of course, I do the full ten), I decided to take my full day off yesterday and not start before my scheduled late start time today. I didn’t even touch my own computer in that time. Refreshing and relaxing!

Experiencing that feeling made me want to rethink my goals and schedules. To get everything done, I generally multitask or switch gears quickly several times per day. My goal of five blog posts per week is now ridiculous in my head. I mean, who am I posting for? Why is it important to gather “followers” to my blog? What self satisfaction do I really get from that? I’d like to think that someone out there finds helpful information in some of my posts, but often, I post to ramble. So my goal is now modified to three posts per week. My weekly photo self assignments has been modified to at least twice per month.

Finally, I’m still pushing for a modified work schedule. The 4×10 (four ten-hour days) schedule is becoming more popular and has been mentioned as a possibility for the department I work in as well. Since I work two half days per week, I’ve suggested a twist on this for myself: 3×10 + 2×5. So five hours on Sunday afternoons and Wednesdays, and ten hours on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays with Thursdays off. Then I would still work the first Saturday (ten hours) of each month in exchange for the preceding Monday off. Ten hour days may sound like a lot to some of you reading, but I’d rather get work out of the way like this and get an extra day off to relax and feel more like this…

P.S. I clocked in today to find that we now have mandatory overtime of TEN hours overtime this week. It’s a good thing I already worked an extra two hours on Sunday. :)

Summer Vacation or Just Time Off?

In the states, we call it “vacation”. In the UK, they call it “holiday”. Why does it feel like neither when you just stay home? It’s merely time off. The silly term “staycation” doesn’t even seem to fit. How about a “relaxcation”? Now that I could go for! An entire week (or at least half of it) to loaf around and be lazy. I’m not sure how much of that I’ll be doing, either. I need to use this time to catch up on things that I haven’t been able to do around the house. Take time off of work to work. Hmmm. :|

My official time off this week started with rain. Yesterday morning I did a little map searching for possible photo locations. There are so many parks tucked away that you couldn’t possibly spot them by simply driving around. I picked out two parks to check out, and we only managed to see one of them: Cherry Creek Ecological Park. Of course, as soon as we parked and got out of the car, it started raining. :( So we sat in the car and waited a few minutes for it to stop. Then we made it as far as a gazebo about 100 yards away before it started raining again … harder. Since I was in no hurry for anything, I thought it was nice to just sit there listening to the rain hit the roof and enjoy the breeze. Miranda, on the other hand, thought it was boring. Kids. :roll:

Once the rain stopped again, we strolled around some of the trail in this park. Part of the trail was a boardwalk, which could make for some interesting photos. There’s also a bridge over Cherry Creek, but I’m not that thrilled with it as a photo op. Being an ecological park, we’re supposed to stay on the path. So photo options are pretty limited here, except for this boardwalk.

Why are we not traveling?

Simple … money. I’m not airing dirty laundry here. I’m just telling it like it is. We are trying to do something now that we should have put into strict practice years ago. We’re not using credit cards for anything and are working towards being credit card debt free by (if not before) November 2015. To expand on this would take an entire post itself. It started when this major life change negatively impacted our income. I immediately started doing things like this to stop unnecessary spending. More opportunities to work overtime opened up along the way, and we got a little stupid again. That has to change. We have to stick to the budget!

We had tentative plans to drive to St. Louis and visit family during this time off (aka: vacation), but a semi-unexpected car expense (followed by this) happened that cost about double what our fuel expense would have been for a road trip to and from St. Louis. Not only that, but we decided that some home improvements should take a higher priority once and for all. When I sit back and look at the bigger picture, it’s easy to see that this situation is quite common. When someone moves out of state, it’s usually the one who moved who is expected to travel back for visits. Interesting. The highway runs both ways, and we would love for more people to come visit us. ;)

What are we doing instead of traveling?

It’s also important to note here that Greg was not able to take time off since he hasn’t been at his job for a full year yet. So he wouldn’t have been able to go with us anyway. We used quite a chunk of “vacation change” to go to the Colorado Renaissance Festival on Saturday. Only the girls went along because Jason had to work and Josh didn’t want to go. Even with saving $3 per ticket buying them at King Soopers, the total for four tickets was nearly $70. Add to that the expenses for food, drink, and trinkets while at the festival. Suffice it to say that this ate a considerable amount of money. I will say that the $4 spent to ride an elephant for all of about 4 minutes (including time sitting still waiting for the other riders to pay and get on the elephant) was definitely worth it! This could, and quite possibly will be, another post entirely.

Ali had to work Sunday and Monday at the pool, but they closed early both days due to the weather. Today still holds a threat of rain, which is only a slightly higher threat than tomorrow holds. So our plan is to see how much we can do for very little cost (while staying dry). I took out a certain amount of cash for the remainder of the week so we can easily see how much we have to play with. I’m tossing around the idea of a zoo day, complete with picnic lunch, but I’d be just as happy taking that picnic lunch to a reservoir (Colorado’s idea of a lake with a purpose) where I can relax with a book. :)

In other words, I have no plan at this point. That is actually worse, to me, than having a plan. That usually results in doing much of nothing, which results in disappointment over wasting an entire vacation. On the other hand, planning too much ends up overwhelming me and makes the week pass by way too fast. How do I find a happy medium?

Bored at a Mall

You might think that sounds absurd, and once upon a time it wasn’t the case, but I think malls are boring. Dining at the food court and walking around in air conditioning on a hot day are the only advantages to me. Most stores in malls are full of over-priced merchandise that I can’t bring myself to hand over the money for anymore. Does that make me an old penny-wise geezer? Maybe! I’ve been down this road in days gone by, which is why I can’t do it anymore. If I don’t have enough money in the bank to cover it using my debit card, then I don’t buy it! These days, there just isn’t enough to spend frivolously like that because it’s earmarked for other things (hard to explain to a 12-year-old by the way).

So I’ve found other ways to entertain myself on rarely occurring mall excursions. A stop at the pet store is always on the list because those puppies are so darn cute. (P.S. Don’t buy from them.) Then there’s the oh-so-fun, and often funny, people-watching. I won’t go into details with my opinions, but some of the things I see (and hear) just crack me up and sometimes leave me shaking my head in disbelief.

I feel swallowed up and out of place in malls anymore. I love Marshalls, and Ross! I’ve never found anything at TJ Maxx, but I have found a few great deals at Nordstram Rack. The thrill of finding something that you won’t see at least ten other people in town wearing, because half the town shops at Walmart and Target, is a bit of a thrill to me. I’m not gonna lie! Top it off with the price tag reflecting 75%-85% lower than original retail price, and I’m one happy camper! A $65 pair of jeans that fit perfectly for just $14? BLISS!

Some people suggested mani-pedi, massage, or facial to pamper myself and relax during my brief time off work. I’ve had one manicure in a nail salon, and the polish didn’t last any longer than when I do my own nails. It wasn’t that special to me. I have a thing about feet, and I don’t want anyone touching mine, so pedicures are out of the question. I’ve had one massage. While it was alright, I don’t think it was worth the amount of money it costs.

What relaxes me, drives the rest of my family nuts. I love to just go places and take a stroll to see the sights. I don’t have to have a purpose or a mission to have a good time. Just being out and seeing things I don’t normally get to see is fabulous! Museums? Bring ‘em on! A photo walk downtown or in a park? Amazing! Photo walks are hard to enjoy with others who aren’t also there for photos. They just don’t get it, and I can see where that would be boring to them. So that’s something best left to do on my own – like once the kids are back in school and I can use my half-day Fridays to do just that!

So basically what I find fun and interesting, the rest of my family finds boring. If I make them go with me anyway, I don’t have a good time because they complain or just clearly don’t have a good time (based on bored faces or the fact that they are rushing through wherever we happen to end up). I think my family needs to be taught to just slow down and take in their surroundings and just RELAX!

On that note, I’m off to see Eat, Pray, Love (if that’s the right order)!