Bloody Day Off

The concept of a “day off” is a bit fuzzy in our household. Because my husband is a pastor, he doesn’t get Sundays off (surprise surprise). Actually, Sunday is one of his longest work days of the week. He wakes up with the sun, spends the morning in the office going over sermons, returning emails, planning out visitations, then leads the church service and preaches two to three sermons. Then when church is over, we stay until everyone leaves, chatting and catching up with church members. That lasts about an hour. Then we usually go out to lunch with a group of friends from church. Sometimes that turns into hanging out all afternoon, and then having dinner together, too. It is so much fun. We get home late, but it’s okay, because Monday is Mike’s allotted day off.

Because of his busy schedule, he was unable to take Monday off last week, which pushed a bunch of our errands to Monday of this past week. We spent most of the day running around town. We took Milli to the pet store to pick up a few things for her. Apparently pet stores scare her. She let us know by relieving herself inside. We were humiliated as we watched a sale’s associate clean the mess up. Next up was taking her to get her last set of vaccinations. Then came the home improvement and grocery shopping. In the midst of this busyness, Mike was on the phone. All day. By the time we went to bed, I was surprised his phone didn’t drop dead from all the phone calls, texts, and emails that came through. Oh the power of technology. Helpful, but so distracting and draining. It seemed like he didn’t really get a break from “work.” Then again, do any of us really get a break from work?

On a side note, because he didn’t quite get time away from work, and because I’m an outstanding wife, I wanted to make him a delicious meal. Okay, I need to let you in on this important piece of information. Right here. Right now. I love food. When I eat something delicious, it makes me happy. And a good meal, especially comfort food, strikes up great conversation. So I decided to make beef stew for the first time. I happily diced my turnips, carrots, and when I was halfway through my onion, I sliced my finger open. Yeah. It was pretty dramatic, but mostly annoying. Because after that, Mike had to finish dicing, help me cook, and then…he had to do the dishes. He helps out a lot around the house, but one thing he hates doing? Dishes. And who couldn’t do the dishes because her finger was bleeding profusely? Yeah. Hi.

Firsthand experience tells me that a “day off” for a pastor is really just being away from the office (most of the time). I think for Mike, it’s being in close proximity to his family, being able to work from the couch or do home improvement projects during important phone calls, etc..

So because he’s usually home on Mondays, I try to take Mondays off, too. For those of you who know me, you probably have a sudden urge to whack your palm against my forehead and say, “Duh, Tam. You don’t teach on Mondays. You already have it off!” Ha. Like I said, days off are fuzzy not only for Mike, but for me, too. As a professor, there is ALWAYS grading and planning to get done. As a writer, you don’t get days off. It’s got to be consistent. And writing doesn’t just happen at my desk. It happens while Mike and I are running errands together. The smell of pine at Home Depot can trigger a memory that takes me back to something my dad said to me when he helped me put my dresser together in my childhood bedroom at home. That piece of dialogue could be just what my character needs to say in the story I’m working on. It’s a constant craft and it’s a delight.

So I guess we never really get a day off. I know for a fact that Mike can’t stop working, even on his days off. His sermons are running through his head constantly just like I’m always thinking about my stories, blog posts, magazine articles, etc.. We keep pens all over the house in case an idea pops into our heads. And we’re always out of napkins.

Now excuse me. I need to go post-it shopping.

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