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all content 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Suburban Island

Where the Holiday Rubber Meets the Road
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2003, 10:23 a.m.

QUESTION: How many days?

WHAT I LEARNED: There's nothing like a bunch of vacation days to make the holidays merry and bright.

Happiness is vacation days that last through the New Year. Yes, I stockpiled those days so I can skate out of the old year and into the new one with real joy in my heart. No 1 1/2 hour each way commute to and from work, no phone calls, no emails, no reports, no cabs to take, no briefcases to haul, no meetings to attend. No obligations - of the work variety for a few blessed weeks.

Instead I have plans to relax in the way that you can never relax as a working mom. Without schedules, deadlines, and pressures a-plenty, I can feel myself start to take the pressure off from the inside as much as I can feel the pressures of the work-a-day world start to lift off from the outside. It started the moment I put my Out-of-Office message up for my email and recorded a cheery Out-of-Office voice mail message for my work phone.

I will not be back in the office until January 5th, 2004. I like the sound of that. Thank God for vacation days and for giving me the good sense to horde them up this year so I can say to all my friends - hey, I'm going to be off for 18 straight days.

It's a powerful statement sure to widen eyes and quicken pulses of most working stiffs like me. Sometimes people like to do some mathematical conversions like - that's almost 3 weeks. Yup - I say - just about 3 weeks.

And the next time I am at a holiday function and I'm am subjected to a brag-a-thon consisting of someone telling me about how their kid got a full scholarship to Harvard or Yale after completing their gifted and talented program a year early, or how they met the Queen Mother while traveling in their charmed social circle, or how everyone keeps confusing them with their 18 year-old daughter because they are so thin and fabulously youthful, I am just going to smile serenely and say - I'm sorry that you've been under so much stress lately what with the Queen Mother, the pressures of the kids, and those body-image issues - while I've been blessed with some serious vacation time and don't have a care in the world. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go get another one of those delightful Swedish meatballs before they're all gone.

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