Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day trips...

DISCLAIMER I posted this before we got sick. I did NOT however, remember to PUBLISH it. No, I'm not blonde. Yes, I totally spaced on this one...

Well, it would seem that everyone is in agreement; we all need a vacation.

There are a few problems inherent with that concept. First, The Wrench has already used all of his vacation for the year; something that can not yet be talked about here had to be dealt with, and he voluntarily gave up his vacation for the rest of this year to help me through a dark and terrible time.

That is how The Wrench is - he knew that I needed him, knew that I could face it alone, but also that I would be stronger and feel safer with him by my side. And so, he was there. There was no discussion, it just happened.

And now, he has no vacation left for the rest of this year.

The Twinkster, of course, will have summer vacation beginning at the end of this month. School starts earlier here in the heartland - well before Labor Day - and so we typically are done several weeks earlier than most of the rest of the country.

I have no vacation to request or apply for; I am The Mommy. I do some freelance work here and there, but my first and most important job is to care for my family. When you are The Mommy, it means that you are always at work, just as when you are The Daddy. The hours can sometimes totally suck, but the benefits are completely life-changing.

But, The Wrench and I are nothing if not resourceful. The vacation issue seems laughably small in the face of what we have just endured; the answer was easy to find; it was right there in the clock on the wall.

You may recall that The Wrench works second shift. All the time - unlike many of his co-workers, The Wrench stays on "seconds" so that he does not have to endure the madness of "shift change" every month. At his facility, there are three possible shifts to rotate through; most of the people on third shift have elected to stay there as well; they are night owls by nature, and enjoy starting work at midnight. The Wrench found a slot on seconds nearly 15 years ago, and has worked there ever since, with one notable exception: when our little Twinkie was born. Then, he called in a few favors, and was able to stay on "days" for about the first six months or so after she was born.

There are benefits to The Wrench staying on seconds; school assemblies in our town are always in the morning, so he never has to worry about missing Twinks big event at school. As I've mentioned before, he gets up early every morning to spend time with her before she leaves for school; they breakfast together, then he drives her to school. It's easy to go shopping, too; he either goes after work (at the 24-hour WM) or he can go in the mornings while everyone else is at work. And my favorite benefit of all is that he and I get to have lunch together every day.

So, we decided to take advantage of his schedule. With Twinks back at school full-time, it was easy to slip away for a few hours every day; often just for lunch someplace we ordinarily would not have, just sitting together and catching up with one another again - as adults. For the first time in a long time, we talked about anything but doctors and appointments and hospital trips. We laughed, and we held hands, and more than a few people must have thought we were on a date because old married people just don't act that way. We focused on each other during those sweet hours, and we remembered why we fell in love in the first place.

The best things can come in small packages. These tiny packages of time together - like little bright, shining jewels - were so precious to us. It wasn't a traditional vacation in any sense of the word, but it was every bit as refreshing.

School will start again late in August. Day trips will begin shortly thereafter...


Suldog said...

Excellent! Time together for two folks in love. Mini-vacations work, too.

Ericka said...

I hope you came through your dark and scary time all right. Amazing how much lighter the load when there's someone walking beside you, isn't it?

Yay! I'm glad you and The Wrench managed time for the two of you. Old married folks do to do that! Or at least my parents always have. :-)