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Column: Taking vacation takes hard work

Have you ever noticed how much work goes into taking a vacation?

It's not necessarily the packing. It's not necessarily the financial planning. You have to think about how you're going to get to where you're going, and you have to work out the timing while you're actually on said vacation.

When it comes right down to it, the days leading up to a vacation can easily be stressful enough to offset any relaxing you might do.

Such is my day today. It's Monday. I leave on a nearly two-week vacation tomorrow. But this day was one I'd been dreading all weekend.

I'm taking a vacation to work at the newspaper museum in Heritage Square at the Minnesota State Fair. Seems a bit ironic, right? Taking vacation to work at a newspaper museum? I know. I get it. But this is how I've spent my vacation, more or less, for 21 years.

Talk about bad timing, though -- first, I've got my vacation planned, starting Tuesday. Tuesday is not a good day to start a vacation, because you still have to go to work on Monday.

Mondays are hard enough to take, and thank goodness I can find deals on coffee on Monday, because I've had to go back for seconds more than once. But on this particular Monday, I'm trying to cram in everything I normally do on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all into one little eight-hour window. And it's not working.

There comes to be a time when I get so many things going on in my head at once, that I have a hard time thinking through any of it. It's like I get temporary adult ADD/ADHD. I have stories to write, pages to lay out and meetings to go to. I thought I'd missed a photo shoot this afternoon, but it turns out the picture is set up for tomorrow, so someone else will have to do it for me (planned that well, didn't I?). I got a few phone calls that took more time than I expected, and waited for a few calls that didn't get returned.

Then there were all the little extra things I didn't want to deal with today, but had to. For instance, I've taken on a bigger role within the museum, so it's kind of essential I have tickets to get into the Minnesota State Fair every day. Due to some confusion (at least, I'm confused), I haven't gotten my tickets yet. I've had way more conversations about tickets than I wanted to today.

Then I remembered that I don't really come back from vacation until the day after Labor Day, which also happens to be two days before our Farmington American Legion Auxiliary salad luncheon. I hadn't gotten a letter out to our members yet (sorry, everyone!) so I had to send a couple of e-mails to get that process going, too.

That's kind of been how this day has rolled by so fast.

My evening's gone pretty fast, as well. I went to the city council's budget workshop, and I'm now back at the office, finishing this column and moving on to finishing pages for this week's paper.

At least I can look at the bright side. Tomorrow, I'm on vacation. Tomorrow, I'll be at the state fair grounds, which is one of my favorite places to be. I'll be proofreading copy for The Maynard News, and razzing my friend, Roger, who sets all the copy on a Linotype, an old-fashioned printing press. By Thursday, I'll be making paper hats, visiting with fair friends, maybe seeing old friends who come to visit. A few days later, my uncle's family comes in from Oregon and Seattle, and a couple of days after that my sister's family comes home from a summer in Canada. And somehow, this long, long day will all be worth it because I'll be on vacation.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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