Another Office Drone with Vacation Brain

The summer’s gone. Soon all the leaves will be falling. Won’t that be grand? For now, however, it’s simply time to get back to the grind. Work, school, regular order.

I guess you could call it life.

My reintegration to the office routine after just a week splashing toes in New Hampshire lake water was not friction-free. For all the difficulty I had getting dressed and out of the house that Monday morning, you’d think I’d been gone a month.

I found I really resented having to shave.

The commute was bearable, but at my desk I noticed something amiss. My typing fingers didn’t work anymore.

They managed to find their starting positions—asdfjkl;—the way sleepwalkers can tie their shoelaces in the dark. But when the order was given to march, my hands simply flapped around the keyboard like a pair of slippery ham steaks.

The clear lake water must have shorted a circuit in my primary motor cortex.

By midmorning things had mostly corrected themselves. Apologies, however, if you received an e-mail asking if you remembered how to yubbleswidge da ha$$bleetz. That was the disease talking.

I had vacation brain. I’m better now.

Readjusting to regular order is tough enough for an office drone. It’s worse for kids.

Do you remember what it was like to visit your grandparents or spend a week in the waves and think, “Why can’t we just live here forever?”

My stock answer to this question is elegant and simple: “Because.”

That’s as satisfying a response as any kid should expect from a parent. Underneath it lie a host of unpleasant truths.

Because we can’t afford it. Because we don’t have imagination enough to pull it off. Because if we lived there it wouldn’t be vacation.

Kids can’t handle that much straight truth. “Because” will have to do.

We have a teenager in the house, and a tween, and a pre-tween, and a very vocal four-year-old, and a baby who is fighting the good fight daily for every last scrap of attention he feels he deserves.

Regular order produces sibling friction even on the best of days. On Day One post-vacation, the friction is so fraught you can smell the smoke.

“Can you please not do that right up next to me so that all I can hear is you doing that. Ugh. Please? What are you even doing?”

“I’m not doing anything. She was looking at me when I was trying to just sit here and then she blamed it on me and I wasn’t even doing anything.”

The four-year-old chimes in: “Will you pleeeeeeeease play with me?”

“Archglle beeeeelllaaaaaah ffffssss.” That’s the baby, in case you didn’t know.

“Maaa-ahhhm. He’s doing it again”

All day that Monday. Less so on Tuesday. Almost not at all on Wednesday. A little on Thursday.

By Friday they’d stopped asking why we can’t live by a lake in New Hampshire and started asking whether they could borrow a glass baking dish to make “salad” in the backyard.

You know, regular order. Life.

My kids are homeschooled. That doesn’t make the start of the school year any easier on them. School is school. Most kids would rather fold socks than study sentences. My kids are like most kids.

Luckily they have a teacher who loves them unconditionally, and who can tailor lessons to their individual abilities and learning styles (not to mention their blood-sugar levels).

The arrangement is especially well-suited for our Magdalena, whose challenges are unique.

It’s hard work for Mrs. Hennessey, but she enjoys it and she’s good at it, which is about the best you could ever hope for from a job. Most office drones don’t have that, although they do get paid a salary, which makes vacation occasionally possible.

Everybody needs a little time away. I think I heard somebody say that. But coming home has its upside.

The grind isn’t all bad. Regular order provides a certain amount of comfort.

So long as your careful not to yubbleswidge da ha$$bleetz.

From the September 2017 issue of Fairfield County Catholic. 

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