Holiday vacation lifts spirits and houses, while also creating lasting memories with neighbors

During the holidays, my wife and I each had 10 straight days off of work with no children at home.

After some traveling to see family, we were left with six days of complete freedom and relaxation. It’s the first time we’ve had time together like this, so I thought it would be nice to record a little private diary of our quiet, romantic vacation.

Day 1: Tried to sleep in but got up early anyway. Went downstairs and sat on the sofa. Three hours later, got up made a sandwich. Took it back to the sofa. Four hours later, got up to use the restroom. Amazed at how the bathroom floor is empty of socks, shoes, towels and other items. The house is so quiet without the kids here. Went back to the sofa for several more hours until I had to get up to answer the door for the pizza we ordered. Ate and sat down on the sofa again until we were too tired from doing nothing and had to go to sleep. What a great day.

Day 2: Slept in an extra 15 minutes and then got up to check my work email. No messages again. Wife and I watched “The Grinder,” on Netflix for a few hours and then went to the grocery store. Amazed at how little food we needed to buy. Had to ask the cashier to double check the final bill because it was too cheap. After a few more hours of the sofa, went to the community center to exercise before going to see a movie and then going out to dinner. Got home and noticed the pets looked a little disappointed that it was just us again. Read books and magazines for a while and had a nice time talking and just hanging out together. The house is quiet and we miss the kids, but it has been very relaxing. It’s a great opportunity to just spend quiet moments together and cherish this special time.

Day 3. Decide to tear the house apart. Look, it was great having two days where we did nothing, but now we are feeling restless. The house is way too quiet and we are constantly noticing all of these projects we should do while the kids are gone. Spent a good three hours at the local home improvement store trying to figure out what to buy. Is it hard to fix a ceiling? Let’s buy some stuff and try it! It can’t be too hard to jack up the house to fix some leaning can it? Let’s spend more money we saved on groceries! Can we put up and wire new light fixtures? I don’t know, but let’s buy it!

After paying for everything, realized there was no way we could get everything into my car, even though I insisted to my wife it would all fit. Not sure if it was more frustrating to stand out in the rain and cold worrying about how we would get the things home or to stand out in the rain and cold realizing I had been very wrong. Got some help from an awesome guy to get the items home. See, I was right, after all! We got it home no problem! Whew. Carried everything inside and wondered why we had bought all of this. Can we do this? Will we be doing home repairs or home disrepairs? Do we even want to do this? Moved everything out of one room to get it ready for work. Sat down to watch a few more episodes of “The Grinder” (it’s great!) and then went to sleep.

Day 4. Instead of lying on the sofa, spent much of this day lying in the dirt in the crawlspace trying to put in the jacks to get the floor leaning problem fixed. Had to tear down some of the insulation I worked so hard to put in a few months ago. Cried a little. Got the jacks in place and learned that you are only supposed to crank them up like half a turn once a week. What? That would take like 6 months to get the floor level! We’ll do it all at once. What could go wrong? Seemed to fix the problem and only scared myself three or four times, including once when I was fairly certain that something in a dark part of the crawlspace was either a raccoon or a bear. Kept my tape measure and level nearby to protect myself from it (bears hate finding out they are not level) and finished up jacking up the floor. That’s right, I actually picked up part of the house! Who’s the man? That’s what I’m talking about! Still scared of things in the crawlspace, though, so quickly got out of there.

With the floor fixed, went back to the home improvement store for a few more hours and then got to work ripping apart the ceiling in one room. Had not realized how difficult or how fun it would be. It’s awesome to tear things down. Putting up drywall on the ceiling, though, was not fun. Watched out the window for our neighbors to get home and then casually went outside, “Oh, hi, didn’t see you there,” I said. “What am I doing? Oh, funny you should ask. You should come over RIGHT NOW and see.” Didn’t let them go in their house, instead got them to sit on a dresser and hold up the new drywall in our house. “Sure, it’s safe,” I lied again. Finally got the drywall up and screwed it in, using some of the neighbors’ screws. They are great neighbors. Haven’t been able to get their attention since that day…

Wife made other repairs to the wall while I checked football on the television. It’s a big New Year’s Eve for the two of us! Too tired to stay up until midnight. Wanted to watch the ball drop on Times Square, but instead watched to make sure the drywall didn’t drop onto the floor and the floor didn’t drop into the crawlspace. Finally went to sleep knowing that the painting should be easy tomorrow.

Day 5. Remembered that I hate painting. Actually, I hate all of the cleaning, sanding, taping and prep work. Why did we start this in the first place? We have to go back to work in two days! I want to go back to the sofa! My wife wants to make sure the painting goes well on the edges, but I am more worried about what The Grinder is up to. The lighting is not great in this room anyway, so no one will see the edges if I don’t paint them well. Wait, she’s putting a new light in? Why would we do that? Will the kids even notice the new paint anyway? Can’t we just put up a bunch of posters? Luckily, my wife did all of the corners and edges while I took breaks to watch more football on television. Not sure if it was more painful to constantly hit the hammer on my fingers all week or to watch the Detroit Lions lose another big game. Worked until the evening again, knowing that we were almost done and all we had to do the next day was to put the room back together.

Day 6. Got up and checked my work email again. No messages once again. Am I not as important as I thought? More likely the email program isn’t working right. I will fix it tomorrow. Today is a day to relax and do a few things around the house.

Went out early to drive to a discount store to get a few things, but the only thing I got was a flat tire. Most places are closed because Jan. 2 is a somehow the New Year’s Day holiday this year (I blame Trump) so I spent about four hours at the local superstore thankfully getting a new tire but spending way too much money. Got home and put the room back together, reclaimed the house from the mess it had become, proudly looked over all we had accomplished during the break and then threw up a little my mouth while thinking about going back to work tomorrow. Wait, it’s actually today. It’s past midnight already. I have to be at work in like 8 hours. What happened to vacation? Why didn’t I spend more time on the sofa? What were we thinking? And most importantly, when will I find out what happened next on The Grinder?

Day 7 Back at work. Arghh. I wish I was crawling around under the house again. Only 50 more weeks or so until the next vacation!

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