There was a time when I rarely too days off. Most famously, I went two years and 28 days without a vacation. I pretty much went crazy the second I was off, but that’s neither here no there. I just couldn’t think of things to do beyond sitting on my couch or visiting friends, which I did on the weekends, so I disliked taking time off.
Also, vacations are expensive, and I was a poor journalist for a very long time, so it wasn’t like I was going to use that time to go to Miami or Vegas or something.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen the value of taking time off.
I now average about three months between long weekends or full weeks off.
I can tell.
I’m frazzled right now, and the earliest I can take a four-day weekend is May 4-6. I have something to do every weekend Until April 26th, and the only reason I’m not taking that weekend off is that is because I want to try to schedule something that Friday or Monday that I’ve been putting off.
Yep, I’m putting off more things than just time off. I’ve been awful at not working this year.
Anyway, on this May weekend, I want to do some research in a city without anyone beyond Renée knowing I’m in the area. I want very limited human interaction. Well, I’ll probably let someone know at some point in the weekend because I’m not very keen on buying a hotel room for three nights unless I have a good deal.
One of those days, I’m going to do absolutely nothing. I want to lay in bed and write or read a book until I have an overwhelming sense of laziness. On a chill day at home, I still feel obligated to do something. On a vacation in a new place, it seems wrong to waste a day there.
That’s why I’m going to a place where I’ve seen it all before.
I legitimately had a topic for tonight. I was excited about writing about it. I then went to two grocery stores, went to the pet store, decided that I wasn’t going to cook tonight and then threw stuff in a crock pot for tomorrow.
I sat in on a Freedom of Information Act primer for members of boards and commission. It’s a very lengthy piece of legislation, but if you’re really curious, read it and weep. (Also, there is a citizens’ guide to the state’s FOIA law.) Here is my (very brief) summary of what you need to know:
If you are paid with tax dollars and can’t serve citizens without transparency, you’re not serving citizens.
Usually, just because a meeting can be closed to the public, it doesn’t have to be.
You can disclose what was said in a closed meeting. If there is an objection, tell those who object to consider Portsmouth. When in doubt, contact the city or county or school board attorney.
FOIA matters because, in part of public perception, trust and accountability.
If you contact a public official in written form, what you sent becomes a part of the public record.
I took Missy on a long walk today. It wasn’t as long as some of the ones we’ve taken in Richmond because she was two years younger then and it’s a lot easier to navigate around Richmond than here. One of the problems is that there is a severe elevation change between where I live and another part of the neighborhood.
There’s a path people have forged over time down the ridge. Missy and I took it today and walked though a nearby apartment complex to do a loop. I got curious about how much they’re going for, and a one-bedroom there is going for the cost of my current two-bedroom, 1½-bathroom place with an office. Of course, these are newer, but they’re smaller than the one-bedroom apartment I had in a similarly fancy building in Shockoe Bottom.
The Charlottesville area has an affordable housing problem. We’re getting a jump in rent next month, and we’re paying about double what we were when we were living in the Truman-era house (which was about the same size as this apartment). That house has jumped $20,000 in value from when I lived there until now.
I sometimes wonder if and when we get to be a full-blown mini-Silicon Valley and this area just is a playground for the rich.
There was a small party in Richmond last night, which was the first time I’d seen them since December. This is me continuing my promise to visit people more often because I have weekends off again. My next three weekends are jam-packed, so It’s awesome to know that I will go into April knowing that I’ve done something social/recharging/relaxing for five weekends straight.
That’s the Elliott I remember.
The friends I made when I lived in that house in Chimborazo are among my closest. After them it’s Katy, my inner circle of fraternity brothers and very small group of friends I still have from high school. That’s less than 25 people for whom I’d drop everything if there was a request for help or support.
It was good to see them. It was good to get my batteries recharged for two weekends straight.
And now I can’t wait for what next weekend brings. I convinced my mom and godmother to do an oral history of growing up in the 1950s and ’60s. They were in their 20s in the 1970s, and I’ve already been told to not even bother to ask. I totally get it; beyond what’s in this blog, I couldn’t tell you what happened in 2007.
It’s not tomorrow until you go to bed, so this post is set to 11:59 p.m. Friday.
Today was hectic. The person who made a threat to Charlottesville High School was caught and I had other things in my wheelhouse to work on today. On top of that, this week was the Festival of the Book, and my job was one of the venues, so I mostly did not work out of there.
I got more than 10,000 steps today, which made my Fitbit happy.
I still have work to do.
I decided to drink tonight instead because today was ridiculous.
I really want to whistle the flute parts of Souffles H because this is one of my all time favorite songs, but I would wake the dead when I get to the bridge.
I mean it. I’m going to try to do this for 30 days, but I’ve got nothing today. I literally had a meeting at work followed by another meeting and then I got an after-hours work email I really should answer tonight, but I don’t want to.
In other news, you probably have heard of the other news here. This area indefinitely will have a target on it, but this is nothing new. Most of the western world lives under this cloud.
Raleigh is surprisingly close to the Virginia border; unfortunately, it isn’t exactly near anything in Virginia.
Picking a period right before taking a trip, followed by two nights of meeting overage wasn’t the right time to declare posting every day. This is the first time moment since Thursday night that that I’ve felt like I’ve really and truly sat down and relaxed.
I can’t say I didn’t relax during this trip, though. It was exactly what I needed, and unfortunately, I didn’t take that many photos.
After work on Friday, Renée and I packed up things for our dog and headed south to Raleigh. Falyn, Isaac and John live there now, and I’m continuing my work to visit people now that I have weekends off.
This was was well overdue because I’ve seen Falyn’s parents and brother-in-law a lot more than I have seen her over the past few years.
Falyn and Isaac recently bought a house and it is renovated enough for them to feel comfortable welcoming guests. They also have a fenced-in backyard, so Missy got to run free for a very long time.
After we got settled in, we headed out. I’m not saying where because I don’t know we were supposed to be there. I mean, we were invited, but it was one of those situations.
I did get to go down a slide, though. That was fantastic.
Needless to say, we had a very late start. We were near downtown Raleigh, so we headed there after Renée and I played with Missy for a bit longer than we should have, given that the point of the trip was to visit people and then got Peruvian food at Mami’s. Our first stop was The Raleigh Times. From there, we finally assembled as a group.
Next up was Level Up. I’m a little glad that barcades are a thing. There are two in Charlottesville (or one and one actual arcade), and I honestly haven’t been, but I like that they exist. It was great fun, and a private event decided that they didn’t want to didn’t need to leave, but we were starting to get a bit peckish at this point. We didn’t know where to go and wound up at Fox Liquor Bar. As we are old, we only made one more stop after that at Landmark Tavern. We were near the augmented reality mural, depicted above, so we headed there on the way back.
After breakfast the next morning, we headed back to Central Virginia. On the way, I decided that I wanted to see the center of Virginia. We live not that far from it, but I’ve never been there before. It’s on private property in Buckingham County, so I was fine with going to the historic marker.
The marker isn’t in the right spot on Google Maps, and I’m not going to be the one to fix it.
While we searched in vain, we circled the actual geographic center of the Old Dominion and missed the marker to our right when we gave up and headed home.
It was worth it, though.
The entire trip was worth it. I don’t have a lot of friends left from high school, and I cherish the ones I have. Falyn and I are variations of the same flavor of weird, so it was fantastic to wear a sparkly grey blazer while with someone garishly bedecked for St. Patrick’s Day and another person wearing an incredibly sexy brocade frock coat and spontaneously do the Time Warp.
I’ve missed that.
Hopefully, I’ll be back soon. It’s only 3½ hours away, and I’ll come back around when I reach the end of my list. And I plan to get more furniture over the summer so people can come here.