Oh, Boy! Day Off!

Janet Coburn
4 min readMay 28, 2023

Days off are great! Most people get two days off a week and fill them up with a number of things, from picnics in the park to errands they couldn’t take care of during the week. Mostly, that occurs on weekends, which are eagerly awaited and finished with reluctance.

My husband and I have different attitudes regarding days off. This was recently brought home to me when we each had a chance to explore what days off meant to us.

Dan actually had five days off in a row. Before you gasp in amazement, he didn’t actually take five days off work. He took three vacation days and smushed them together with his normal two days off to make a solid week.

I had one day off this week. I do project-based work rather than a regular 9-to-5. When my previous project was over, I scheduled one day off before I started my next one. (I’m not a total masochist. Since I don’t work 9-to-5, I can fill up those hours however I like. I generally work for a few hours in the morning and longer in the afternoon. In between, besides lunch, I make phone calls and deal with bills, banking, appointments, and other “housekeeping” issues. (Non-housekeeping housekeeping, if you get my drift.) But I digress.)

So, what did we do with our respective days off? Dan slaved. I relaxed.

Dan had been anticipating his days off for literally months. He did have to request them off at work since they were technically vacation days. But most of the planning consisted of ordering plants from online nurseries, staking out local nurseries for sales, and scheduling deliveries of literal truckloads of compost and mulch.

So, Dan spent a lot of his time off planting everything that had been delivered and a few more of the plants he picked up locally. He decorated his garden bed with large rocks. He watered and rototilled nearly every day. (I once knew a man who rototilled naked. He was very brave. (The first Saturday in May is Naked Gardening Day, in case you didn’t know. Dan does not celebrate it, much to our neighbors’ relief.) But I digress again.)

After five days of this, what did Dan have at the end of it? A lovely, large flowerbed (with no thistles) and a flourishing vegetable garden. And a ton more plans that would require even more truckloads of mulch and compost, pounds of micro clover seeds, and still more flowers, shrubs, and trees. And probably more big rocks. All of which — except, presumably, the rocks — will cost hundreds of dollars more than he spent last week.

In addition to that, he had serious muscular pains, grubby everything, and a severe case of Gardener’s Butt Burn. (That happens when his shirt rides up as he’s planting and exposes to the blazing sun a strip of flesh between his shirt and pants. Fortunately, it’s hidden when he goes back to regular work and wears his uniform shirt. Yet more digression.)

And what did I do on my one day off? I was much less ambitious. I checked my email and timeline, as usual. Generally farted around on the computer. Petted the cats. Watched a little food competition TV, as usual. Then came the time when I usually start my work, and I was at a loss.

I settled in my comfy chair and picked up a book. Ordinarily, I only get to read for about a half hour when I go to bed. This was special. With a cold drink on my little table and an actual paperback novel in my hand, I dove in. I read until I couldn’t anymore — that is, until I got sleepy. Then I retired for a three-hour nap. (I have a third-degree black belt in napping.) When I awoke, I went back to my book, and by the time I was done reading, I had finished half the book. (It’s proving somewhat interesting, except the characters’ names got on my nerves. Maximus Bluster. Solless Cinderheart. Snidely Krewler. Jo Naberly. I mean, this was a middle-grade book (I think), but honestly!)

Then, in the evening, I did some actual housekeeping. Except for that, it was a beautiful, relaxing day. At the end of it, what did I have? A day much like my usual, except for not doing all the writing. A marginally cleaner study. But, oh, the nap and the reading! They fed my head, rested my body, and soothed my soul. That’s my idea of a day off!

Frankly, though, I don’t know if I could do it five days in a row. But early next month, if I work a little harder now, I’ll have the chance to find out!

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Janet Coburn

Author of Bipolar Me and Bipolar Us, Janet Coburn is a writer, editor, and blogger at butidigress.blog and bipolarme.blog.