I have now had almost 11 years of practice, and this spring I think I’ve got it mastered.
I should have known that May would be the month my leisure skills would really kick in.
May is my favorite month.
I like it because it is green and beautiful and hopeful.
I like it because it is warm and the daylight lasts nearly 15 hours.
I like that the trees are in full leaf and the birds are in full song.
I like being outdoors without a jacket and sleeping with the windows open.
I like babying my tomato plants until the heat and humidity of summer kick in. And I like planting annuals and vegetables and spreading mulch.
I like the beautiful display of grass and sky and sun and color when I drive down Benedict or Main or Jeffrey Way.
I like cooking outdoors on the grill and reading the paper on the deck.
I like drying my swim suit and towel outdoors on the clothesline after returning from the Ernsthausen pool.
I like getting my houseplants back outside to rejuvenate.
I like cleaning my garage, washing my car and riding my bike.
I like just about everything about May.
The thing is all of these glorious May activities take time.
And the ironic thing for me is that when I was gainfully employed May is the month I was always away from home. I can remember years when the only time I would be home in May was the weekend; and then I might be getting home at 10 Friday night and leaving again Sunday afternoon. It killed me to be away in hotel rooms during the most beautiful time of the year in my own back yard.
In 2007, I got a good idea. I took five vacation days—one week of my annual vacation time — on five consecutive Fridays in May. That gave me four three-day weekends and one four-day weekend with the Memorial Day holiday. I loved it. And I got so much done: all my yard work, my garage cleanout, my car detailing, everything.
In fact, I thought those five long weekends in May were the way to go.
That was before I discovered the joys of retirement, what I now call the Seven Day Weekend. As the name implies, it is even better than those three-day weekends I was taking in 2007.
I am getting just as much done — all that yard work and stuff — without having to hurry.
Best of all, as I am doing it … and after I have done it … and all the rest of the time, I can actually take some time to enjoy the things I have been working on. Nice.
And as an added bonus, there is no newspaper being published next Monday. That means no column to write. Which means, in turn, that I will be getting another day off in the middle of my Seven Day Weekend.
Yes, I definitely have the hang of not going to work every day. And May is the perfect month to appreciate it.
Jim Busek is a free-lance writer who lives in Norwalk. He can be reached via e-mail at jimbusek@ hotmail.com.