February 10, 2018

The Importance of Vacation

by Rubin the Labardoodle (with a little help from Gretchen)

PS — This was written while on vacation. We’re home now, but the glow of vacation has yet to fade from our eyes!

Many people might not know this about Gretchen — she rarely takes a day off. Yep, she works 7 days a week and unless she plans time off, she rarely has a weekend or even a day with nothing on the schedule.

Granted, she doesn’t work 8 hours a day every day, but if you look at her calendar there’s always at least a few dog massages scheduled and on the days she works at the pool, there are dog massages and then swim therapy sessions making for 10-12 hour days.

I’m not telling you all of this to get any sympathy for her (or me, for that matter), but simply to explain that the word “vacation” isn’t used much around this house and when it is, a few tails (my included) start wagging.

It’s only been on rare occasions that I’ve heard Gretchen complain about working 7 days a week and that’s usually because she’s sick or because she has a conflict in her schedule like wanting to go out with friends, but instead having to work. But I know she wants to change all of that and one of her New Year’s Resolutions is to arrange her schedule so she gets at least one day free and clear.

Well, here it is February already and she has yet to figure out how to arrange her schedule, so I’m not sure that resolution is going to see the light of day.

But I should not complain (though complaining is in my nature) because I am writing this blog while I sit in a small cabin surrounded by snow and a beautiful forest on our first of 2018 VACATION! Yep, you heard that right. And not only is it a vacation, it’s a SNOW VACATION, my favorite!

We haven’t been cross country skiing together in a long time. It’s been a good four years for me and my brother, Oscar, has never been skiing so this vacation has been quite an adventure for him. Even though he was born in Costa Rica, he’s taken to the snow quite nicely. He loves to run (and bark) along the trails and watch for the chipmunks that race across the snow, their tails straight up alerting the blue skies.

We’re also lucky because we brought along our friend, Roxanne, who has never been on a ski vacation either. She took to it right away and has had a fantastic time as well.

But aside from skiing, which we mostly do in the morning, we’ve done a bit of hiking. We found a snowshoe trail that went up and up and up so we hiked on that only no one brought snowshoes so we didn’t get as far as we thought we had.

We also do a lot of lounging. Lounging isn’t a word we use a lot in our family and it’s certainly something we don’t do for hours in a day. On vacation, though, we do our fair share of lounging, which is surprisingly fun. A good long nap after a few hours in the snow is exactly what we all need, even the humans.

Until we went on this vacation, I’d forgotten their importance. I’d forgotten that unwinding, relaxing, playing, not rushing, and just hanging out are rejuvenating. There’s nothing on our schedule except a beginning and an ending to the vacation and I can already tell, that’s been really good for Gretchen. She doesn’t have to think about the next thing and therefore, we don’t have to think about it either.

She also has time for some vigorous exercise. At home, she takes Oscar and me on walks around the neighborhood and on special occasions we get out to various parks around the city or even into the mountains for a half-day hike. But more than a half-day of play is a luxury, so being here on an actual vacation, skiing for a few hours a day, feels like we’ve hit a jackpot.

She’s had time to read and to write, to cook her favorite food (ours too!), and to explore the town where we are staying. And she’s had time to do nothing, to just sit and look out the window and watch the river flow by, the birds fly from tree to tree, and on occasion, watch a family of deer make their way through the snow.

Doing nothing should never be overrated! It’s wonderful. It helps the body live more in the “now” and allows the mind to hit a hidden “refresh” button. Watching Gretchen do nothing is, dare I say, rare for me. She’s always moving and because I am her faithful companion, that means I’m pretty much moving as well. Oscar, on the other hand, knows how to take a break even when Gretchen is scurrying from one appointment to the next. He only moves when she picks up his leash or opens the treat cupboard!

I know that our vacation is limited, that we can’t stay here and ski and hike and explore forever, but I’m thankful we have these days and I hope, we can make more room for it to happen in our busy schedule in the future. I need it. Gretchen needs it. And even though Mr. Bossy Pants (aka Oscar) won’t admit it, he needs it too.

I hope you all have a chance to take a vacation soon! And thank you for understanding how much we need one!

Woof Woof,

Rubin

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