Friday, December 17, 2010

Rushing to get out the door

Have you ever been on the eve of a much-needed vacation, and found that your day (or week) was incredibly productive?

Having the thought of rest and relaxation just around the corner, it's incredible how efficient some people become. Meetings are suddenly not so tedious. Projects seem to complete themselves in record time. And like water off a duck's back, those who would, under most other circumstances, annoy you, seem unable to penetrate your armor of optimism.

Personally I don't get many vacations. That whole "husband, father, business owner, writer" bio should be evidence enough that my routine, while manageable, is fairly busy. In the nearly-nine years my wife and I have been married, we've been away together only once. So when I know I'm on the cusp of a vacation, I don't just have a productive day, or week... I have an energy-filled month.

Such has been the case these past few weeks. In addition to working dutifully to finish a special children's book project for a major non-profit (which, I am now told, may not materialize), I have tackled my own personal KidLit project by polishing, editing and preparing it for the query and/or agent stage.

Professionally, my marketing company has taken on some new clients, re-awakened some old ones, and kept steadily busy in the fourth quarter.

Personally, a variety of nagging household projects (the dreaded Honey-Do List) are now complete. The dryer vent duct work has been cleaned and/or replaced. The shower in our master bath has been tiled. The garage is cleaned out and can once again, after a 2-month hiatus, hold both our vehicles, and not just one. And little pockets of clutter have been organized and properly stored, including what we like to call our Everything Closet, a bonus closet that holds everything from luggage to craft materials to light bulbs and air filters.

Oh, and I changed the air filter, too.

These are, of course, all superficial activities, albeit necessary. The real meat and potatoes of life, for me, involves my family, so much of my time recently has been spent on making extra time available for our three kids. That's what I love about being productive on the superficial stuff, because it means more time with them.

Whether it be building the next great LEGO space ship with Nod, helping Blinkin write "big words" on a card that (I'm assured, with all the playful deception of a 6 year-old) is most certainly not for me ("It's not, Dad, honest. Now how do you spell 'happy anniversary'?"), or relaxing with Winkin by playing games on the Wii, every minute is a blessing.

Of course, all of this time management, and resourcefulness, and family time was ultimately leading up to our departure from Nashville on our second vacation ever, which has finally arrived.

As I sit here watching the snow fall and the sun rise over the breathtakingly beautiful city of Lausanne, Switzerland, bells are ringing at the nearby Lausanne Cathedral.

Before sunrise in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the hazy outline of
Lausanne Cathedral just up the hill from us.

Photo Credit: © Martin Kozicki

For the next week, my wife and I are staying with friends in Switzerland, a first-time trip for us. We have... not much... on our agenda. Mostly it's an opportunity to refresh and rejuvenate during the winter holiday. We'll be touring around getting some local flavor, enjoying a unique gastronomique experience, and spending a day or two at a chalet in the Alps.

Already the environment is taking hold of my senses and the architecture is inspiring new ideas. Last night's snow fall couldn't have come at a better time. And while I watch it accumulate on the window ledge over this waking, gothic city, I can't help but wonder: what's next?