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Where I contain my giddiness

July 15, 2011

So, I really mean to post here, often. But, I seldom do. Work, and family, and music, and that stupid need to sleep, get in the way.

The next two weeks, everything changes. For the first time in my life, I’m taking two consecutive weeks of vacation. When I started this job, I made them hire me as a 5 year veteran, meaning I get all of the perks of having worked at a place for five years, including that third week of vacation that I’d been looking forward to since I graduated college (I left the last job after 4 1/2 years, and I worked 3 years at the job before that, and 2 years at the job before that — ahh, the life of an IT professional).

A great vacation on the cheap

Since I’ve known my wife, her family1 has always taken the same approach to a vacation. We rent a house, or a few houses in a close proximity, at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. Each night, a different segment of the group is in charge of dinner. You’re responsible for your own booze for the week (which means, for me, I qualify for a bulk discount).

Having so many people around means that there is always an area for “quiet time,” there are kids to play with other kids, there’s no shortage of people to keep an eye on the little ones, costs are kept low (seriously, you split a week’s house rental with 1 or 2 other couples, buy groceries for breakfasts & lunch, buy hooch wine, and then buy supplies to make dinner for one night, and that’s it . . . no dining-out expenses, and because of this, while one night might be stressful because we’re always looking to one-up each other, it means you’re eating gourmet food all week), there’s always a video game up & going asking for another player, geeky movies are watched on loop, someone will always be doing a puzzle or looking for a partner for a board game or ping-pong, you’re in walking-distance to a nature reserve. As long as your definition of a “good vacation” doesn’t include a thriving night-life and five-star restaurants (and, instead, putt-putt and an ice cream parlor), this is near perfect

I like to have some flexibility in my scheduling. If I find out that a friend is coming from out-of-town, I don’t want to be a slave to my job and not see him/her, just because I have to work. This means I always try to keep a week of vacation “in my sleeve.” And because we have an awesome way to spend a week of vacation, at the beach, on the cheap (sidebar, right), this means I’ve always taken a week of vacation in the summer, saving a full week for whenever I might need it.

This year, however, I have that extra week “in my pocket,” so I’m riding Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) with some family and several thousand other strangers cyclists. If you’re scoring at home, that means I’ll be spending a full week with family & friends while trying to keep toddlers from eating sand, and then a full week cycling 50+ miles every single day.

Now, I know that it’s typically the end of that week of vacation that I’m actually able to not think about work at all. Those who I’ve talked to who frequently take multiple-week vacations cannot speak highly enough about them. That second week? You’re actively removed from the work process. This means that I’ll be riding through the cornfields of Iowa, unencumbered of thoughts about SOAP transactions & cookie handling issues in Internet Explorer.

In short, I believe it will be magical.

Why the heck am I talking about all of this, though? You’ll be in good hands in my absence. I have a lineup of bloggers who will knock your socks off. Seriously.

While I like to talk about my brush in the elevator with Darth Vader James Earl Jones, that’s not my only celebrity run-in. I’ve had a beer with Dave Barry & Stephen King. I have had text conversations with a two-time Pulitzer prize winner. I’ve had coffee with Sarah McLachlan.

And, the people who are submitting guest posts for me over the next two weeks? They’re in a whole other realm. I mean, they make me smile, or cry, or challenge me . . . they’re among the best the web has to offer. Each guest poster is truly special, and I’m both giddy & humbled to be hosting their words here. Check back – you will not be disappointed.

1 “Family” is a different definition than what the dictionary might have here, it’s my mother-in-law & her best friend, and their kids, and their kids’ spouses, and any offspring from those unions . . . and then dear friends with spouses & kids. If I’m doing my math properly 2, there are 23 people who will be vacationing with us this year.

2 Always a bad idea.

  1. Have fun and try not to check in on blogging too much!

  2. That does, indeed, sound magical. Enjoy. You surely deserve it as you are one of the hardest-working/busiest people I’ve met here in blogland.

    Also, math is always always always a bad idea.

    Good luck with the sand and the bicycle seat and all the joy…


  3. Laura permalink

    So you really had coffee with Sarah McLaughlin? Did you tell her that we think we’re cousins? Did she agree?

    Have a great time at the beach. You’ll love the pies in Iowa. You know what IOWA stands for, right?

  4. Those guest bloggers sound *almost* as awesome as that vacation!
    Have fun!!!

  5. Have fun…glad you found good guest bloggers (I felt really guilty not responding to your email). I was actually trying to figure out a way to pull out a guest post, fill my blog while I’m gone next week too w/MK for our #3day and finish watching The Wire (ha!). Good luck on your ride – MK and I will be be doing our thing too! Also, I made my goal so you no longer have to pimp for me on your sidebar, but i sooooo appreciated it and your generous donation! Thanks John and looking forward to your guest posters.

  6. Excited to see what the guest posters have in store! Enjoy your vacation!

  7. That doesn’t sound nearly restful, but it does sound delightful! I hope it’s as magical as it sounds, and mirthful despite the fact it might not exactly be “easy.”

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