confined to quarters

The past two years have been very disappointing for me in terms of vacation and travel. During the period between October, 2001 and August, 2002, during which I was unemployed, I theoretically had plenty of time to travel, but was reticent to spend the money to do so, to ensure that I continued to be able to make my mortgage and car payments. After Dad became very ill in the spring of 2002, I travelled home and later to Richmond to visit him in the hospital there. And, once I did start working again last August, I was expending almost immediately what little annual leave and sick leave I was earning, travelling back to Richmond for my own medical examinations as I was being evaluated as a potential kidney donor. Then, in January, when a cadaveric donor was located and the transplant took place, I again spent several days with Dad and Mom at the hospital. More recently, I’d had to take annual leave to take Alex, my cat, to the vet; the specialist he had to see earlier this month, and who wants to see him again in July, only sees patients in this area on Mondays, so I can’t schedule a weekend visit in order to protect my leave.

I did take two days of leave the end of this past April to visit Roger and Raymond over a four-day weekend in Tucson, but that’s the only trip I’ve taken for myself–with the exception last summer of a one-day flight up to Niagara Falls to meet Kent, spend a few hours sightseeing, and then fly back home that evening–since my trip to Vancouver in the spring of 2001 for the annual gay and lesbian squaredance convention.

And even now I have only three days of annual leave, so I can’t even look forward to taking a week off and getting away this entire summer. After having had to forego last year’s convention in Toronto, I had hoped to be able to attend this year’s in San Diego, but the lack of sufficient annual leave means I won’t be going next month, a particular disappointment since I’ve never been to San Diego.

My friend Peg, though, now has asked if she might come to Arlington and spend a few days with me the week following her own attendance at convention, so while I won’t be able to see all my squaredance friends, I will at least have a social visit from her.

And, now that I have the temporary use of my friend Craig’s car, which is more reliable than my own, I’ve also been planning to take a trip back home to visit my family, whom I haven’t seen since shortly after Dad returned home from his kidney transplant in February. I had originally thought to drive there over the long weekend of Independence Day, but most of my family–including Mom and Dad, my sister and her family, and my aunt, uncle and cousins–are leaving early that Saturday morning for their family vacation in North Carolina. So I contacted Sheldon and Lisa to find out their plans for that weekend, and they’ve invited me to come spend it with them at their new home in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.

I may go to see my parents as early as this weekend, then, or I may wait until the third weekend of July. Either way, it looks like there will be three weekends in a row before the end of next month that I’ll either be away or hosting visitors of my own. Feast or famine.

And while it will be very nice to see Peg, Sheldon and Lisa, and my family, I’m still frustrated and a little depressed that it likely will be winter or even into next year before I’m able to take a significant vacation of my own. And I’m struggling with whether to use the few hours of leave I do have to at least take some long weekends away–maybe a trip to New York, for example–but thereby postponing even further the accumulation of enough additional leave to provide for at least a week off, while also leaving enough hours for emergencies or other necessary time off, like Alex’s veterinary appointments.

Sometimes it really sucks being a (reasonably) responsible adult and holding down a job.