I wrote the below post last year about how I’ve always loved the federal holidays when schools were open. It was nice to have a holiday when the kids were in school. I didn’t do anything fun, but it was nice to have some hours of my own. When my job announced that we were going to open on Columbus Day and replace that holiday with the day after Thanksgiving I thought it was a good idea. I would rather have that day anyway. Then I realized I work the Saturday after Thanksgiving and had the Friday off already. So, all I get this year is an extra day of work and a day of vacation added to my bank when I work the day after the new holiday. If you read my blog regularly you probably know how I feel about another day at work. I could really use that lost holiday today.
It has nothing to do with Columbus, though it is fun to celebrate by going out, getting lost, invading someone’s house and declaring it my own I do enjoy that, but that’s not why I’ve loved Columbus Day.
My love of the day came late in life. I didn’t care anything about it until I got a job where Columbus Day is a day off. Even then, it didn’t become one of my favorite days off. It was in October and the weather was cooler, but it couldn’t compete with some of the other days off.
Once I had a kid in early elementary school it became a holiday I spent volunteering at the school. With both of us having full-time jobs, we weren’t able to do much more than chaperone a field trip here and there, so we used Columbus Day and Veteran’s Day as a time to go and volunteer in the classroom. That’s not when it became my favorite holiday. Honestly, there were plenty of times I was annoyed at spending my day off at school.
This is my admission that Columbus Day and Veterans Day became two of my favorite holidays when the kids got older and they no longer wanted us in the classroom. It is one of the few days off we had where the kids still went to school. I didn’t have to spend my day off entertaining kids I didn’t have to spend my day off watching bad children’s television. I could spend my day off relaxing(assuming my wife didn’t give me jobs to do). We never did anything really fun. I wish we had spent some of the time going out and doing a “date day” but it was nice to have a few hours off.
Now, here I am on my first empty nest Columbus Day. We are both still off. The kids aren’t here. It seems like a normal Columbus Day, but it isn’t. The kids won’t be coming home from school this afternoon. It’s not any different from my standard Friday or Saturday off. We still won’t do anything fun outside of the house. I might do yard work. I might clean a bathroom. I will watch the Braves game this afternoon.
Apparently, the moral of the story is that I am, and always have been, boring.
I knew it was coming soon. My son rented a house with friends this year so he was officially completely moved out last July. He leaves on Sunday for New York for five weeks for his summer internship. Today was my daughter’s last day of her junior year of high school. She got her driver’s license last week. I knew I was a year away from an empty nest. Today, my daughter starts a part-time job. She just headed out for her training shift. That means I will start to get a taste of the empty nest soon.
The big change for me will be the first couple of hours after I arrive home from work. I typically arrive home by around 5:30. My wife typically gets home around 7:30. For a while, some of that time was filled with trips to the dance studio. The last couple of years it has meant cooking dinner and watching TV with my daughter. Monday nights we watch John Oliver(recorded from Sunday). Other nights we might watch other random shows that we have recorded over the past weeks. The one standard is that we watch Jeopardy at 7. My wife doesn’t understand why we like the show so much. I’m surprised my daughter likes it. We watch, comment on the contestants and yell out our answers(not in the form of a question). With her at work several nights a week, I will have to watch Jeopardy alone. I’ve done it before. It’s just not as fun when no one else sees how smart(or dumb) you are.
It sounds small, but it is a harbinger of things to come. Today it is a part-time job. Soon it will be college. Soon the nest will actually be empty and I will have many hours home alone. I guess I will be reading a lot more books soon. Who am I kidding? I will probably spend the alone time watching TV shows my wife won’t watch and posting stupid stuff on Facebook.
I am watching the news and once again they were discussing this story http://www.wbaltv.com/news/20124542/detail.html about three kids who were arrested for stealing. The kids were stealing several items from a neighbor’s garage and were handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention when caught. The parents are outraged that their kids were treated this way. I don’t understand this outrage. The kids committed a crime. When you commit a crime, you go to jail. That’s the way life works. It’s better the kids learn this now and maybe get scared away from doing it again rather than getting away with it and deciding to do it again. If these were my kids I would want them to be handcuffed and taken to jail. I want them to see what happens when you break the law. It’s better to try to scare this behavior out of them early rather than wait until later when the crimes have escalated into something more serious. These parents need to wake up and see this was a good thing instead of sending their kids the message that the police are in the wrong here instead of them.