Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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March 12, 2014

An ever growing to-do list during an already packed staycation schedule

I have an ever growing to-do list that I am slowly trying to check items off of. I started making the list with the advance knowledge that I would be taking the week off from work. This is the first vacation, or staycation for that matter, that I’ve had in a couple of months. But I’m terrified at the growing list of things that I need to do. Some big. Some little. Basically things that I’ve been putting off doing until vacation time.

Some of the work to be done is spring cleaning, which is a little awkward considering that spring doesn’t officially begin until next week. For example, clean out the vehicles. Those of us who are in the newspaper businesses are often mistaken for traveling salesmen. That’s because our vehicles are normally cluttered with junk — old notes, folders, phone books, files, cameras and old newspapers. Normally, we have tons of old newspapers in the back seats of our vehicles. Now is the time to clean all of those out. Why I allow all of this stuff to pile up each year is beyond me.

Once I clean out the two vehicles, it is time to get work on all of the cleaning that is past due inside. It’s time to mop the wood floor, and all of the furniture that has been collecting dust over the winter from various different heating sources — including a malfunctioning pellet stove that smoked up the entire place. The floor downstairs also needs to be mopped. And the extra time also affords an opportunity for a better vacuuming job. Inside the house there is also a ton of old newspapers — enough to create a serious fire hazard. It’s time to throw some of these newspapers away. And others that I may want to keep are going to have to be packed away in one of those big plastic storage boxes.

I also have tons of old magazines that are going to have to eventually be thrown away. But I love reading — both old and new publications. So letting go of magazines, some even dating back as far as 1999, isn’t easy. That was the big millennium year after all.

The looming seasonal change also presents challenges for those of us who like to exercise. It’s warm enough outside to walk, but I know this won’t last. Another cool spell is probably just around the corner. Did someone say it is supposed to snow tomorrow? And the way this winter has been going we might just end up with another winter storm on the first day of spring. It’s happened before and it could certainly happen again. But should I continue going to the gym or start walking outside? Or should I do both? It’s a tough decision that has to be made. Nevertheless, I must designate a certain amount of time during the week off for exercising. It’s a good habit I’ve started and something that I can, with hope, continue to do.

The week off from work also is an opportunity to pull a few short-sleeve shirts out of the makeshift closet downstairs. But that means I also must put a few long-sleeve shirts away in order to make room upstairs for the warm-weather shirts. But, once again, it is a chance to get a jump-start on a few of those things that need to be done in advance of spring. It would be so much easier if we could just wear short-sleeve shirts year around. I guess I’ll have to move to Florida before I can realize that dream.

At some point, I’ll need to find a little bit of time for rest and relaxation. And, of course, the cat will demand a lot of extra attention knowing that I’m home for the week. The older Puff gets the more helpless he seemingly becomes. Caring for a pet is certainly a big responsibility. And when the animal gets to the point where he won’t eat until you spend several minutes petting him first it becomes a problem.

I should probably also take the vehicle through a car wash before it snows again. Because it wouldn’t be spring cleaning if you didn’t clean your vehicle both inside and out. And at some point — against my better discretion and in direct contradiction to my renewed exercise schedule — I will also hit the local all-you-can-eat buffet. Because a week off from work also provides extra time for additional trips to the all-you-can-eat buffet. But  that’s OK. As long as the trip to the buffet is just a rare, occasional occurrence. It’s not something I would want to do every day, or every week, for that matter. But on the rare occasion I will make an exception.

Of course it wouldn’t be a staycation if I didn’t spend just a little bit of time relaxing. It’s also an opportunity to catch up on a few of my favorite television shows, and to travel just a little bit. But there are still several items to be checked off of my to-do  list, and I’m honestly not for sure that I’ll have enough time to do everything that needs to be done. That’s the problem with a staycation. You can’t escape all of the work that needs to be done.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at Follow him @BDTOwens.


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