I’ve had a lot of jobs with no such thing as paid time off or vacation. I can’t say I want to go back to those times.
That being said, last week I decided it was time to take a few more hours of my vacation time, so I took off on my birthday, Nov. 12 not to return until Monday the following week. I thought that vacation would never end!
Part of the reason I took off last week was the intention that I had to go out and shoot some deer early in the morning one of those days. Last year, I took off the full week and I woke up early every morning to freeze my butt off in the cold. Let’s see how this year worked out.
Wednesday: I woke up at 5 a.m. to my alarm. The air in my room was slightly chilly. It’s my birthday! What am I doing up at 5 a.m.? So I shut off my alarm, rolled up to sleep in… and woke up at 7 a.m. out of habit.
I bummed around the house, watching shows on the DVR and cooking breakfast. I had a long list of things to accomplish, but I didn’t really put a real effort into even showering until after lunch. After that, I realized that there was a reason I had planned on hunting in the morning, rather than the afternoon. I had work at my second job at 6 p.m. Being realistic, I realized that I would likely accomplish a whole lot less on my birthday than I had intended. I jumped in my car, intent on getting my license renewed, and drove half way to Pine River before my car started blowing cold air and spraying green water all over the place. It turns out the $210 I just spent on a water pump didn’t fix whatever was wrong with my car after all. A sheriff pulled over and made sure my car wasn’t on fire. We chatted while I checked the coolant, which had boiled out of the reservoir. I limped back home and did nothing for the rest of the day save for online tutoring in the afternoon.
Thursday: I woke up at 5 a.m. to my alarm. Thought about driving to the woods in a borrowed vehicle with the possibility of putting a bloody deer in the back around noon. Cursed my car, turned off my alarm, and tried to sleep angry. Kind of slept until, again, feeling fully awake at 7 a.m.
Having exhausted all the new shows on the DVR, I watched reruns on tv, made breakfast, and walked Katie (my dog) outside a bit. Dug out a box of deer ribs someone donated to me (most people just throw the rib meat away due to the tallow and amount of work to process). I used a corded jig saw to cut the ribs short, cut them into serving sizes and packed them into a pressure cooker. Learned later that they were too tightly packed. Some of the tallow had remixed with the meat.
Separated the tallow for use as bird suet.
Fired up my uncle Dean’s smoker and loaded the ribs up for 1.5 hours smoke using alder, chokecherry, hazelnut, and poplar smoke at a low temp. Added a smoke condenser to the smokestack.
While waiting, got doused in coolant while replacing my thermostat again (just in case that helped). Called a couple shops and found out my head gasket might be blown.
Pulled the venison from the smoker, collected the fluid from my smoke condenser and went inside to package it all up. Success in the form of a few packets of venison ribs, two packets of smoked venison sandwich meat, three bricks of bird suet and a bottle of homemade liquid smoke boiled and filtered into a tabasco bottle.
Worked two hours at online tutoring, but not very well.
Friday: Woke up to go hunting with Dad, Uncle Paul, and some people that might be distantly related. Ate a dilly bar for breakfast. Froze my butt off in a livestock trailer listening to deer walk through a pine plantation across the road.
Met up with the rest of the hunting party again and tried doing a drive. Dad said, “Go to the edge of this slash and wait.” I followed his instructions until I got a phone call. “Where are you?” he asked. I realized that there was a second slash on the other side of a small forest, and I was supposed to drive the deer through that forest. My dad gives terrible instructions.
Dropped two hunters off at a stand, drove to the other side of a pond and tried driving deer around the pond. Dad said, “Keep the sun on your left shoulder.” Doing so would have meant walking straight back to the truck. Dad is really bad at giving directions. Walked directly toward sun, attempting to drive deer around the pond. Didn’t see anything. Had to climb over logs lying across the uphill logging road on the way back to the vehicle.
Had lunch of three fun size Snickers bars, actually, two and a half. Froze my butt off until leaving the woods at 5:15. Returned home in time to heat up leftovers and go to work. Watched Grimm on the DVR.
Saturday: Woke up at 5 a.m. Didn’t even act like I was going to get up, just turned off alarm and tried not to think about how expensive it was going to be to fix my car. Slept past 7, but was woke up by dog at 7:45.
Had a breakfast of junk food before jumping in my car and driving it to a shop in Hackensack to be tested for a blown gasket with my mother following behind. Only had to stop and let the car cool off once. Noticed the water in the reservoir was ice cold, but still boiling out. Thoroughly confused.
Helped set up the Backus American Legion for a benefit for a local firefighter out of work due to surgery. Visited adoptive grandmother, returned to legion to help serve food at the benefit. Had to choose between having gas money the next week or a meal at the benefit. Chose gas.
Returned home at 6 p.m. for online tutoring. Finished tutoring, returned to Legion to clean up.
Turned off deer hunting alarm before going to bed.
Sunday: Woke up for church. Returned home with no money to go anywhere. Laid around house all day doing nothing. Realized I accomplished virtually nothing I had intended to for the week. Worked two hours of online tutoring. Watched The Walking Dead. Went to bed.
Monday: Woke up at 6:30. Got to the office early. Managed to get a lot done. Spoke to a city clerk who referred to vacations as a time to “Recharge”, explained my week to her and laughed. Couldn’t help but think, “I thought that vacation would never end.”
Is it strange that this is the first job I’ve ever had that offers vacation pay, but having time off last week was only slightly better than staying to work? I must be losing it.