Mama Ginger Tree doesn't live here anymore.  I have moved to The Norwindians.  The names have changed, but we're the same family.  Please add The Norwindians to your reader!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Extended Vacations and Disconnections


So we made it back from our little lake vacation.   I hope you enjoyed my guest posters.  Thanks for being nice to them.  Weren't they great?

We had a phenomenal time.  Just like we hoped there was lots of jumping off the dock into the lake, riding a giant inner-tube behind the boat, afternoon walks to the ice-cream shop, barbecuing every night, bonding with our cousins during moonlight boat rides in our pjs.  

You can read more about our adventures at my sister's blog here, here and here.  Just look at my adorable family and how much fun they're having.

I know right?!?!  We all wished we could have stayed another week.  It was hard to say goodbye to the lake.

Mr. Mint is currently in the middle of a mandatory two week vacation.  This is the first time since our honeymoon eight years ago that he has taken this much time off work.  And by "time off work" I mean no conference calls, no checking e-mail every five seconds and not being glued to CNN until the stock market closes at 1pm PST.   Every vacation we've ever taken together has involved at least some of the above for at least part if not all of the trip.  It's a little annoying.  But his company instituted this "mandatory 2 week vacation" policy this year that states that they must be completely out of touch with work for 2 straight weeks.  

Before you start thinking, "wow, how great that they want their employees to take time away and be with their families," let me just set the record straight.   Mr. Mint works for an investment bank and the purpose of the mandatory two weeks off is so that if they were embezzling money or had some other shady business going on, being unable to cover their tracks at work for two weeks would blow their cover.  

Whatever the reasoning, it's been great.  So great in fact that we decided that rather than hang out at home for the second week, we'd rent another vacation house and enjoy a last hoorah of summer '08.  We are currently sipping wine at a fantastic rental in Calistoga.  Life is not so bad when this is your view, they have a wireless internet connection, and your husband is not allowed to call into work:

I haven't been here for a few days since we've been busy unpacking, repacking, driving and settling in at our new temporary home.  I can barely coax the kids out of the pool to eat lunch.  Yesterday afternoon we ran out of wine, so Mr. Mint just cruised down the road to pick up a few bottles from here.  He took Lolly with him and she got to pick some grapes right off the vines.  Tonight we will attempt to take the kids to a fancy restaurant for dinner and tomorrow we'll have a picnic at one of our favorite wineries.  So don't cry for me.  

Mr. Mint is having a little bit of a hard time with this mandatory 2 weeks off thing.  He makes an ideal employee... incredible work ethic, fiercely loyal, can't relax until he answers every last e-mail and returns every last phone call.  It's one of the things I respect about him, but it's hard on our family sometimes.  I can see him itching to check his stocks, peek at his e-mail or jump when his cell phone rings. 

While we were at the lake with my sister's family, my brother-in-law took a few conference calls, constantly checked his e-mail, etc.  In the middle of the week he got a message from his boss saying that employees weren't allowed to put "out of office" messages on their voice mail or e-mail when they were on vacation.   Am I the only one who finds that ridiculous?    I know we as Americans must work hard to keep the world safe for capitalism, but when did we become a nation that isn't allowed to take a vacation?  God forbid your clients actually know you took some time off to relax and get to know your family again.   In the month of August no less.  At least in my experience, it's rare to completely disconnect from one's office in this age of blackberries, wireless internet we all love so much and cell phone service with five bars wherever you may roam.    I was feeling a little guilty about not having time to post on this blog for a few days and no one pays me for it or keeps track of how often I write.   

All of this is great for the companies we work for, but not so great for our families and children.  I have been staring at my screen for a few minutes trying to come up with some closing thought for this post, but my mind is blank.  So maybe I will revisit this rant another time.  Right now my kids are "bored, bored, bored" and begging me to shut my computer.  I'm going to pour myself another glass of wine and jump into the pool with my family.

**Right after I hit publish on this post I grabbed the kids and we all jumped into the pool.  About 5 minutes later, Mr. Mint came down to join us.  He jumped into to the pool with his Blackberry in his back pocket.  I'm not sure what this means.**


Melissa said...

What a great time you had/are having.

And I know all about the two week thing. I had the same thing when I was in banking. It was nice on the one hand, but made you feel a little skeevy on the other. Because since you knew about it, couldn't you cover your tracks before you left? If they were d going to do something like that, they should do a surprise vacation, right?

EatPlayLove said...

ummm..could your husband's boss call my husband's boss, because those rules seem like a JOY to follow. A dream really.

this is my hubby's busy season, so I officially don't have a husband right now. He's not even in our time zone for the next two weeks. Kinda sucks.

Now go give your hubby a big We're on Vacation kiss!

heartatpreschool said...

I'm so glad you guys are having a good time!

Next year, TWO WEEKS at Bass Lake!!! I'm looking forward to it already...


Maura said...

I'm glad you're having a great time with the family. The loss of peoples' ability to actually take a relaxing vacation these days is such a shame. It's like companies just don't care if they grind people into the ground.

I'm curious to see what the result of taking the BB into the pool was...!

Mama Ginger Tree said...

Melissa: Excellent point. Being able to plan your two mandatory weeks off does give enough time to cover your tracks if you've got shady business dealings going on.

Eat Play Love: I'll have my husband's boss give your husband's boss a call. In the meantime, you have my sympathies.

Sister: Two weeks at the lake for sure.

Maura: The Blackberry is officially dead. It's killing him.

heartatpreschool said...

AWESOME new website!!!!! LOVE IT!!!

Also, that is hilarious that his Blackberry is dead. Hilarious.

Andrea's Sweet Life said...

So glad you all had a good time. Being away from cleaning and laundry for awhile always makes me smile!

We own our own business, so we have to keep our phones on while we're gone, too. However, we leave someone else in charge and we're only contacted when he's not sure what to do. One daily call, usually, but not terribly bad. And as bosses, we don't expect to hear from our employees until it's time to get back to work!

When people get a chance to "recharge" and take a break from work, they come back at it invigorated. It's a shame those crappy bosses don't get that.

Down with the blackberry! Yee-haw!

AMomTwoBoys said...

Awesome vacations, my dear. I'm totally jealous. Seriously jealous. But I get my vacation back east in a few weeks, so yay! But YOU'RE taking a vacation then TOO, so you're still going to be ahead of me. Damn.

CAN'T wait and continue to have a GREAT time! Drink a glass (or bottle!) for me!

Allyson said...

Last summer my husband leaned over to help dock a boat and splash...Blackberry out of the shirt pocket and into the ocean. I've read they are recoverable after they get wet, but apparently not when they are covered in three feet of silt at the bottom of a marina.

Your vacation looks absolutely wonderful. Enjoy!

Cathy said...

I always hate when I see people checking into work all the time - really - how can you relax? Luckily for me, my husband rarely checks into work when on vacation. I think I would go crazy if he were!
Sounds like a great time!

Lish said...

I am so sick of technology that I'm starting to crave the 70s. I miss kids playing in the streets. I miss having conversations with people who don't have to keep checking their phones. I miss not feeling like I have to text message every minute. I miss bellbottoms - wait, what? I think I got carried away.