Monday, July 18, 2016

Live and Learn: the Pros/Cons of a Staycation

We just completed our 10 day Staycation and well, I'm just gonna say right here, I'll never do that again.  More on that in a bit.

As per our M.O. for vacations, the weather started out completely awful.  After weeks of perfect summer weather, an unseasonable cloudy, grey cold front moved in for the first four days.  We knew it was coming and planned appropriate inside activities but yeah, that wasn't much fun.

The Pros and What We Did (I've put links to some of the things if you care to see what they are about):
  • Not being at work... sort of
  • Walked through Sailfest that was taking place in our downtown
  • Visited the Prudence Crandall Museum
  • Went to my favorite brunch
  • Visited the Hempsted Houses (right in our own city)
  • Did a two-hour Kayaking Eco-Tour right at our city's beach
  • Went to our own city beach twice
  • Went to Misquamicut, the state run Atlantic Ocean beach in Rhode Island
  • Went out for one seafood dinner at our local clamshack
  • Treated to a Steak and Lobster dinner by some friends
  • Spent a couple evenings enjoying our patio, including an end-of-staycation get-together with our two closest couple-friends.
The Cons:
  • I was never able to completely disconnect from work.  When I didn't answer emails - and even though I had an auto message stating I was on vacation, they called me.  The first 4 or so days of the staycation, I had well over 200 emails.  Add this to the not-so-great weather and well, not relaxing. 
  • While I was glad to get our new treadmill, we had to stay home for the delivery. Then it arrived useable but damaged. New part is on the way and that will require re-scheduling a repair visit.
  • One of our plans for bad weather included using our streaming services to perhaps watch a movie.  What's that saying about plans? Our internet, tv, and telephone went out and were out from Friday-Tuesday.  On the first really good day of weather, we had to stay home for the repairman to come, thus "lost" half the day.  
  • By Wednesday night, our TV and internet were acting up again.  I refused to reschedule during our staycation so they are coming this afternoon and services have been hit or miss this entire time.
  • The activities we planned (except the longer beach days) took up maybe 3-4 hours of each day. That's a lot of time left over to be sitting around the house.  Too much time actually.
  • Mr. Helen couldn't get past the fact that we were home and he never wanted to go out to eat and wanted to cook every single day. And even though he volunteered to grill, it still meant clean-up.
  • Mr. Helen also couldn't get past the prices of various activities.  So though I had thought we'd do some other things, he just wasn't willing to pay the tourist pricing. Anyone who is married knows you pick your battles and this wasn't one I was willing to fight.
  • Mr. Helen also wasn't willing to go walking through some of our local downtowns and window shop, even though it would have been free.  This is something he would normally be willing to do on a real vacation.
  • We normally don't do planned workouts while on vacation, but sure enough, Mr. Helen worked out almost every day - he doesn't even do that when we are not on vacation, so I'm not sure what was going on there.
  • I swore I wasn't going to cook, clean or grocery shop, but ended up doing so.
  • The get-together with our friends.  While fun, not only was it a beautiful day that we could have been out and about, but see above re cooking and cleaning.  Not to mention we could have done this any Saturday evening.  I let it get to me way too much and spent most of the day really frustrated.
I guess the best I can say is that I tried  and at least I wasn't physically at work, but because normal, everyday things crept in (i.e. my father-in-law called us every single day) I just couldn't get to a place where I "vacated." Funny thing is, I think Mr. Helen enjoyed this way more than I did and that's OK since we're not the same person!

To sum it up, a lot of the things we normally would have (or have not) done on a true vacation, never happened. For me, this meant I was never able to really relax and enjoy my time off.  And that is the exact reason I would never take this much time off again to hang around my house.  I could have taken those 6 vacation days and combined them with my already planned Fridays off to make extra long weekends.  We still could have done the same things we tried during this fake vacation since Mr. Helen has every Monday off anyway. I'm thinking I would have relaxed more as I would have had no expectations since it would be just a couple days off.  What is that saying about expectations and plans?

One thing I did do was eat like I would if I was on a real vacation.  I just ate whatever, didn't think about it, and moved on.  As usual, because I wasn't doing any planned exercise, my appetite wasn't the same but still it sort of felt good not to think about if I'd had any vegetables or consider the amount of bread I was consuming. I did find it interesting that on most days, I only ate twice.  I was almost never hungry at breakfast, which I attribute to not doing 5 am runs.  I also took a break from my $5 bet with Mr. Helen because on a real vacation, I don't bring a scale with me.  

I started my "reentry" on Sunday by cleaning out the fridge and prepping some things for this week ahead.  I think I only ate one big salad the entire time I was off and I'm sort of looking forward to my lunch salad today.  I also woke up to a 4 a.m. alarm this morning and got that first post break workout done.

The irony of it all?  Sunday evening as I was contemplating what today would hold, I wished I could have just one more day off, even though I would be at home.