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After a ‘stay-at-home vacation,’ it’s time to get back to work

No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.— Elbert HubbardI have been back from vacation for a solid 90 minutes, and it’s probably not a great sign that I’m ready for my next one.Now, don’t get me wrong.I, 99.9 percent of the time, love my job. OK, maybe not 99.9 percent, but seriously, I have relatively few complaints when it comes to working in newspapers.Every day is different, I get to cover a wide variety of things ranging from school board meetings to sporting events and I don’t have to put on a hard hat or do any lifting.Yet it’s amazing to me how fast I get used to staying up late, sleeping in and taking that afternoon nap.A week ago today, I was finishing up my column knowing that I was  mere minutes away from vacation.Today, I am finishing up my column knowing I have a week of “catch-up” awaiting me ... and no afternoon nap on the horizon.A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.— Robert OrbenThat quote — like the others in this piece — was gleaned from one of my favorite websites,, and it pretty much sums up the week I had.My No. 1 goal when I left this office at noon last Monday was to do some deep cleaning, and I have to be honest: Save for a bathroom, I failed miserably.My No. 2 goal was to get some reading done, and on that count, I won a gold medal.I finished four books in a week, and I will spend my lunch hour “restocking” at the library.Not that I was a total sloth — in addition to the gleaming sink and counters in that bathroom, I managed to get the lawn mowed — but I read my you-know-what off.I spent virtually every morning on our porch reading, and it was, in a word, perfect.Heck, there were mornings that extended into the afternoons, and more than once, the boys came out to the porch, quizzically looked at me and finally asked, “Are we having lunch?”Nothing beat Saturday, though, when the temperature was a perfect 62 degrees when I awoke.I grabbed a hooded sweatshirt, a cup of coffee and headed outside with one of those “easy reads.”Six hours later, I finished the book and realized that there can be something special about a “stay-at-home vacation.”But there was something even better than a good book when it came to the last week.The boys and I actually had some actual conversations, which any parent of teenagers knows is something to be held dear.Sure, most of the time, we did what the Fenske Boys so often do — give each other grief — but as Josh gets set to begin his junior year and Noah commences on his sophomore year, it was nice to just have a few days to sit back and enjoy each other’s company.And I have to be honest one more time, for as Josh headed to work at Fareway and Noah did the same at Subway, I kind of enjoyed the juxtaposition of them going to work and me staying home. No vacation goes unpunished.— Karl HakkarainenAll good things, they say and I really hate “they” today, must come to an end.I have a mountain of work facing me this morning and this week.Our Women in the Workplace special section is just around the corner, as is the fall sports season.And our sports editor, Dorothy Huber, is on vacation this week.In other words, it’s back to the proverbial grind.At the same time, I’m probably ready for a little routine, and since I’ve been honest for most of this column, I won’t lie here near the end.As much fun as I had doing nothing, there were moments of excruciating boredom.After reading all day on Saturday, I attended the wedding reception and dance of a co-worker’s daughter.I arrived home around 9 p.m., and with nary a book in the house that I hadn’t read, I flipped on the television.An hour later, I posted this to Facebook: “I have no life = watching table tennis on a Saturday night.”So maybe, just maybe, it’s time to get back to work.A good vacation is over when you begin to yearn for your work.— Morris FishbeinYearn might be overstating it, but I am looking forward to getting back to work, conducting some interviews, writing some stories, snapping a few photos and laying out the Tribune.My vacation is over, and if there’s any good news to all of this, it is this (with apologies to my teacher friends): School starts two weeks from today, and all the grief the boys gave me last night will be paid back in full. 

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