My vacation days are no longer my own. I take them ONLY when one of the kids is sick or to chaperone a trip that I didn't even know I'd signed up for. I bank them to make sure that I'm available just in case they need me. I'm not complaining because I chose this life but I do yearn for a day or two of my own. And no, my work from home days don't count because I'M WORKING!!!
On a day off, I don't want to be home. I want to relax. At home there's laundry, always something to clean, errands to run and a million other things that need to get done. On a day off, I don't want to think about any of that, I just want to go to the spa. I LOVE THE SPA.
Many years ago, HBO popped my spa cherry. The department was in Palm Beach, FL for a conference and they let each of us have one spa treatment. I'd never experienced anything like it. I left Palm Beach madly in love with Trevor's hands. I'd never felt anything softer. I came home and informed Frank that I'd be leaving him and his hand eczema for Trevor. Luckily for my husband, Trevor was not interested. I realized this at the beginning of my Swedish massage as he shared stories of life with his boyfriend. Anywho... ever since that day 13 years ago, I have been all about the spa. Unfortunately, I don't get there as often as I'd like, but when I do I bask in the luxuriousness of it.
I love everything about it, but my favorite things are the snacks. It doesn't take much to make me happy. I throw on the comfy robe and enjoy the cucumbers, multi-seed crackers, not-so fancy cheese, those cute little brownies and the refreshing lemon/cucumber water. I could spend all day in the lounge. I enjoy going with my friends but have no problem going solo.
Weeks ago, I'd requested the day off. Maya had reminded me that I'd signed up to chaperone a trip that day. I crossed my fingers, toes and eyes in hopes that I wouldn't get selected. Adding another level to my angst was the impending blizzard. I was nervous and waited until the 11th hour to schedule my appointment but I prayed to the high heavens that I'd be able to make it.
That morning, I hustled the kids out of the house on time and headed back home for a shower before I excitedly skipped to the bus stop. The plan was to relax in the lounge, enjoy my facial and massage, grab some lunch and then head home late in the afternoon, right before I had to pick up the kids. I hopped on the bus, popped in my headphones and started listening to my feel good playlist.
Me: Awww hell no!! " Hello."
School Nurse: "Hi, this is the school nurse. Marley is complaining of a stomach ache."
Me: "Thank you for calling, is she there? Can I speak with her?"
School Nurse: "Sure"
Marley: "Hi mom."
Me: "What's going on?"
Marley: "My stomach hurts a little."
Me: "Ok, do you have to go to the bathroom?"
Me: "Do you have to puke?"
Me: "Did you eat lunch."
Marley: "No, not yet."
Me: "Ok. You're probably just hungry. Go back to class and I'll see you later."
I can see sickness in their eyes and I can hear it in their voices, so I know when it's real. And might I add, she was perfectly fine during the snow day, one day before. So I can smell a hustle. She went back to class but before I hopped on the train, I called Frank to put him on alert just in case she was telling the truth.
So I get to the spa a little later than expected. I stuff my face with as many crackers and brownies as I could before I was called in for my facial. I took my phone. I have kids so it's important that I take it everywhere. 15 minutes in, I've got plastic wrapped around my face and cucumbers on my eyes. Just as I start to relax...
Me: "Hold on a sec Ina, is that my cellphone buzzing. It might be my kid's school so let me grab it."
School Nurse: "Hi Mrs. Shea, um this is the nurse again. Marley came back and she's saying her pain level is about an 8 out of 10. Do you think someone can come and get her."
Me: IS SHE COUGHING UP BLOOD! If the answer is No, then leave her right there. I'm off and she knows I'm off, I'm sure that has something to do with this.
"I'm sure she's fine but I'll have my husband come and get her."
School Nurse: "Thank you."
At that moment, I wanted to cry. I'd just gotten here and was 2 seconds away from falling asleep with cucumbers on my eyes and then BAM! So I call Frank and update him on the situation. I threw the ball in his court, forcing him to decide my fate because I didn't want to face the fact that I'd have to end MY day early.
Frank: "Honey, finish your stuff. We're good. See you later."
Boy do I love that man. I finished my facial and massage. I'd wanted to treat myself out for a solo lunch but I didn't want to push it. I figured that I'd take what I can get.
When I got home, my kid was perfectly fine. Asking for chips, cookies and every other junk food item we had in the house. So much for her stomach hurting. I finally got down to the bottom of the rouse. She had a nervous stomach but there was no cause to leave work early or cut the day short to get her. As a result of her transgressions she spent the rest of the night helping me do laundry, clean the house, cook dinner and sort girl scout cookies. I hope she learned her lesson because I surely learned mine.
Moral of the story: Don't tell your kids when you have a day off. Get up and get ready, like it's just another work day. The less the know, the harder it is for them to take it away.