This weekend will mark the beginning of my nine-day staycation! Just in case you’ve never heard this word before, “staycation” is a portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation”… you stay at home for your vacation. Get it?
I’m really looking forward to this for two reasons. First, this will be the first time off from work I’ve taken since 2009 — no vacations, no sick days, no statutory holidays (except I had four days off last Christmas, two of which were my regular weekend days off anyway), and lots of overtime. Some weeks in addition to my regular 40 hours I’ve filled in for others who went on vacation or left the company before management found someone to replace them. I also work weird hours so my staycation will mean that for nine glorious days I’ll be able to eat and sleep at regular times with my wife, who is also taking a little staycation time off from her job.
The second thing I’m looking forward to is that some of my wife’s family will be coming from Korea to stay with us. Her older sister, who has visited us before for a couple of weeks and deflected about 90% of Mrs. HoaiPhai’s conversational energies away from me, will be bringing her husband. This brother-in-law is not very well travelled so hopefully he’ll have a bit fun in Canada.
My wife’s nine-year-old grandniece Alice will also be coming. She’s a great hardworking kid who goes to school 11 out of 14 days (that’s how they roll in Korea), and takes violin, art, English, and math classes privately after school and on weekends. When she’s all done with her homework and various tutors, she calls up to speak with me or my wife for half an hour or so to help her with her English. Sometimes there’s not much talk but either she’ll read a book to us or we’ll read to her (we have duplicate sets of books on either sides of the Pacific). She probably needs this vacation more than I do.
Because time off is so precious to me (at least my wife gets laid off every once in a while), I’ve become aware that I actually have objectives that I’d like to meet during my time off. Here are some of them:
- Get some rest.
- Have some fun.
- Eat some good food. I fully intend to expose our visitors to some real Canadian fare, like tourtiere, smoked meat, maple syrup, and bacon. I don’t particularly like poutine and I have never eaten pemmican, let alone make the stuff, so those two won’t be on the menu.
- Take lots of pictures.
- Hang out with the in-laws and show them a good time in exotic Canada.
- Show them around the Niagara area with trips to The Falls, Fort Erie, Port Dalhousie (whatever’s left of it, that is), Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Welland Canal, and a place we call Mosquito Park.
- Not offend my wife’s family or embarrass myself too badly.
- Instill an appreciation for the English language in the grandniece so she’ll not only add another dimension of experiences available for her to enjoy, but also help her expand her employment opportunities later in life.
- Become the grandniece’s most favourite relative ever so she’ll support me in my old age.
Some Notes on the Mechanics of this Series of Posts
I originally intended this to be a single post but, after a little thought, I figure it’s best for all concerned if I break up the nine days’ worth of tales into several instalments. I’m hoping to follow through with this and post pictures and commentary as the week progresses.
I’m hoping that my sister-in-law will be as chatty as she was during her last visit, ensuring I get a little blogging time in. In addition to keeping you up-to-date on all the exciting things we did, with a little luck I might even be able to work on a couple of the other 24 draft posts I have not yet completed.
T-minus 2 Days
- My intention was to run home from work right at quitting time, eat, and then clean the house up a bit. One employee came in at the end of my shift to replace me, told me that she had found another job, and asked me to help her write her letters of resignation. By the time we finished that and had a quick talk, the person who will be replacing me during my staycation came in to work so I clarified a few points as to what I expected from her, a chat that created an additional hour of work for me to do during my next and final shift before my days off.
- After work I got home, made a coffee, and scratched my “Double Cash for Life” ticket and lost, so I’ll have to work buying Alice the Grandniece a stuffed animal into the itinerary to ensure I’m on her good side.
- The meaning of “Double Cash for Life” is beginning to bother me… does that mean I get doubly high weekly payments if I win or does it mean I’d get the regular payment for my whole life, and then again if I’m reincarnated?
- After losing at the lottery, I wanted to eat dinner. Due to a small misunderstanding, I ended up waiting about two hours for my wife to finish what she was doing before getting the food together. It later came to light that she was doing what she was doing while waiting for me to initiate the dinner sequence. Once that was cleared up, we ran out and bought a couple of burgers.
- Immediately after dinner, I fell asleep on the couch and then my wife woke me up and ordered me upstairs to bed. So much for preparing for the big arrival.
T-minus 1 Day
- Ahh… my last day of work and, of course, it’s a bear. Tons of real-time work to go along with finishing up preparing stuff for my fill-ins to screw up while I’m off.
- Got home, ate, and took a nap.
- Woke up and got right to work making the house presentable by brewing a couple of weapons-grade cups of coffee to increase my clean-up’s productivity
- Well into my second cup, I got right down to the business of preparing the house for guests by switching all the lightbulbs in the house over to the “company’s coming” 25-watt jobs. It’s not that the house is really dirty, but there is quite a bit of clutter to shoehorn into the closets. We’re not hoarders, but we are borderline accumulators.
- Made some final notes about food I didn’t get around to buying that I really should pick up before all the stores close for Victoria Day.
- I carefully lay all our passports (we’ll be crossing the border to pick them up at the Buffalo Airport), the flight information, and printed directions just in case my car’s GPS gets confused. 30minutes later, they are gone. In a move that I think of as “the spousal shuffle”, my wife took the documents and put them in a safe place without telling me, causing my ulcer depth to increase a few millimetres.
Please keep your eyes peeled for more gripping excitement in upcoming “What I Did on my Staycation” posts! Part I is here.
Behind the Scenes Secret: I’m already six days behind in writing this series… there’s been little private time for me that doesn’t involve plumbing. And I had the gall to think that I’d have time to blog!