Is it really a vacation if you take your laptop?

May 31, 2010

As I draft this, I’m on holiday. We are taking our annual trip to the island to enjoy an extended weekend at the seaside. And as usual, the weather sucks. We come here every year (my mother-in-law owns a cabin we get to pull out of the rental pool once a year before high season), and while we love it here, we almost always get so-so or bad weather. It’s not that the weather is bad here, it’s usually absolutely gorgeous. Just rarely the weekends we come. This year it’s raining and cool. Whoopee.

But we’re away, and that in itself is nice. It took us a ferry ride to get here (and thanks to bad planning, a two-hour wait for the next ferry when we missed our reserved ferry by 15 minutes), but the kids were in okay moods and I managed to feel a bit relaxed en route. Yet now I’m on my laptop, following up with work stuff, checking in with the baseball team I coach, and drafting blog entries to post next week. So is it a vacation if I fail to unplug?

I often with I had one of those careers or jobs where I could walk away for a week or two and not have it all fall apart without me. But I’m a consultant, and if I’m not in touch, I could easily have no work, or at least, no income. Plus, I think I’m just one of those type-a people who needs to stay on top of things, even if I’m not doing much work. I want to know that I’m not missing anything.

I have unplugged before. I turned off my email and didn’t even check it for five days when we went to Mexico. And our lakeside cabin last summer had no internet or cell service, so I didn’t have any emails for five days that holiday. And of course I survived, and so did my business. But I don’t know if it made me any more relaxed.

Taking a long weekend right now necessitates having my laptop to follow up on some work. It’s the only way I could get away. And I’m lucky that my work is this portable. Besides, having my laptop means the kids can play games, we can watch movies and listen to music, and I can get some writing in. Those are all things that help relax me.

Yeah, I’m justified staying plugged in, and it’s not all about work. Let’s go with that.

Tomorrow I’ll try to avoid the laptop and spend more time walking on the gorgeous beach. If the rain stops.


Life on the Wet Coast — enough with the rain!!

May 30, 2010

When I used to live back East, what I knew about the west coast and Vancouver was primarily that it rained a lot, they had almost no winter, and everyone was kind of hippy dippy.

Well, I moved to Vancouver in 1996 despite all that, and discovered that some of it was true. It did rain a lot, but it also got very sunny a lot, and summers and even springs and falls could be very lovely. I remember fondly rowing on the ocean in February in t-shirts and shorts on sunny days. And everything is almost always green, which makes up for a lot of the rain. And boy do we ever appreicate the sun. Back East, a sunny day when I had to work was no biggie. Out here, I really feel it if I let a sunny warm day go by being stuck in my office. I must get out and enjoy it.

Last summer was amazingly warm and sunny. So sunny we worried about water shortages and dying lawns. But so far this year, it’s nearly June and it feels like the last month has been all rain. I know we’ve had a couple weeks of sun, but it’s been chilly and rainy the entire last two weeks. And the forecast is for more rain next week. And we took a weekend at the seaside only to have rain and cold the entire weekend.

Plus, it’s baseball season, and we’re having a hard time playing games in the rain. We got rained out at the game on Wednesday, then rained out the next game on Saturday. We have makeups scheduled Sunday and Monday but the forecast is for rain then too. This weather is really putting a crimp into little league season.

Plus, frankly, I’m ready for more sun. It’s not like I suffer from SAD or anything, but after getting drenched walking on the beach this weekend, I’ve had enough.

Is it summer yet?


Downtown smokers — isn’t there a law against this?

April 12, 2010

I have been working downtown now for almost a month, and now that the weather is good and I want to go for a wander at lunch, I’m fed up with the smokers.

Outside every doorway, blocking the sidewalk, is a crowd of smokers puffing their cancer sticks, blowing the smelly smoke towards walkers-by like me.

I thought Vancouver passed a law against smoking within six feet of a doorway. But if such a law exists, it obviously isn’t being enforced anywhere near my office!

On the brighter side, today I biked downtown on my brand new hybrid commuter bike. I love my new bike!


I can't stand the rain — anymore

November 25, 2009

I moved to Vancouver 15 years ago, and when decided to move here from Ottawa, all my friends said they’d hate to trade Ottawa’s sunny but cold winters for the gloom and rain of Vancouver’s winters. But I scoffed. I would be fine.

And mostly, I have been. I’ve pushed through the clouds of winter by rowing (before kids), then biking (this past year) through the winter. And whenever the sun came out, I revelled in it, and felt happy enough to not feel down when it wasn’t sunny.

But this year, I think I may have reached a breaking point. It feels like forever since I’ve even seen the sun. And it’s getting to me. Yes, we’ve had days without much rain, and yes, I’ve gotten outdoors, the kids have played outside, yadda yadda. But this year, my mood is starting to match the sky. I feel overburdened, a bit gloomy, I’m grumpy a lot and can’t remember the last time I had a good laugh. I’ve had enough.

I can’t stand the rain anymore (follow that link — it’s a great song!). Bring on the sun, and fast!


The end of summer

September 7, 2009

The signs are all here now. Summer is over.

First, it got cold. We turned on the heat yesterday and don’t expect to shut it off much now until April.

Next, baseball is over. This year my son played summer ball, stretching the regular season from April all the way to the end of August. And yesterday we watched the last game for the Vancouver Canadians for the season. And yes, they won.

Third, lessons start this week. Piano lessons, swimming lessons, and soon weekend soccer games. Here comes my scheduling nightmare trying to get two kids to everything when both parents work and we only have one car. How do bigger families do it?

Finally, school starts tomorrow. Whooopeee!! I’ve been counting down the days for weeks now, and finally, it’s here. It’s been nice having a calm summer with fewer deadlines and an easier schedule, but when you’re trying to work from home and schedule actual client stuff and kids are running around the house or taking up your time, school can’t come fast enough.

Goodbye summer (although weather wise, I’d be happy to be proven wrong!), hello fall.


Step mom hugs

July 31, 2009

When I dropped one of my kids this morning at camp, I got to chatting with another mom — we of course began talking about the heat, then went from there. Since we were enjoying our chat, I waited for her to say goodbye to her kid and then walked back to the cars with her. What surprised me, though, was that she turned out to be the stepmother, yet she still got hugs and kisses at the goodbye.

I don’t even get hugs when dropping off my own kids half the time, and here was a step mom getting them. I think that’s so lovely!

I’m a stepmother myself, although my stepson is grown now and doesn’t do vistation anymore. And our situation was hardly normal. However, I never did the hugs and kisses thing with my stepson. So I guess I’m jealous, but also touched. It’s lovely to see a stepmother (she said she’s been his stepmom since he was 3) who can have such a happy relationship with her partner’s child.

It gave me a warm fuzzy this morning. Of course, my mood is greatly improved now that the weather has cooled a bit too.


Hot, hot heat

July 29, 2009

I am cranky from the heat. My husband is super cranky because he can’t sleep in the heat. The kids, surprisingly, are not very cranky from the heat, although maybe they’re just too withered from the heat.

I know we’ll all regret bemoaning the heat once the cold weather returns, but why can’t it be lovely during the day and cool and breezy at night?

How are you coping with the humidity and hot weather? Im considering checking us into a motel for a night just to get a cool, air-conditioned night sleep.