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Finally, a day off

I think this is the first day “off” I’ve had in at least a year. At least.

Technically this summer I had two days off a week. But they were hardly off when you consider that being off just meant having time to drive two and a half hours back to Akron/Kent for meetings, birthdays, etc. or spending all day working on and planning the fall Stater. Plus, I didn’t even take breathing room between the Stater and the Courier. I literally finished the Stater, took exams (and to add to the craziness, we published two extra editions of the Stater during exam week), moved my stuff to Findlay and started that following Monday. I came back from Findlay with one week to prepare the office and get everything settled before my staff returned and we started putting out the paper.

Even when I was off, I was never really off. I just wasn’t at work doing my “job.”

This fall, I did take a “breather” every Saturday. I made it a point to take my dog to the park (the metro parks, not just down the street to a swingset) on a walk for an hour or so each weekend. I needed the time to refresh from a hectic schedule and break the weeks up. But she needed it as much as I did. My mom doesn’t have the time or energy to take her out on daily walks. But Shadow’s a very hyper and active dog (shepherd & lab mix), and she misses me terribly when I’m away (which is most of the time) — so much so that when I walk in the door she literally leaps into my arms and refuses to get down until I’ve held her like a baby for a minute or two. I am not joking. It’s the cutest thing ever.

But even on those Saturday walks I’d still be “on.” I remember recently I was at the park for maybe an hour and received no fewer than three calls about the Stater. Mostly they were just, “I sent you a brief for the Web, when can you get it up?” or “So, thus&so happened, but so&so won’t talk to me, what should I do…” Even on Thanksgiving and throughout that weekend, I had stories to upload and comments to approve. I guess I could have ignored the calls and e-mails. But I’d still have to deal with them anyway. And thus, I was never really off. I was just out of the office and away from campus.

But today? Well, I am no longer responsible for the Stater. So, although I wouldn’t, if someone called and asked me for advice, to post their stories or to do them a favor, I could legitimately tell them to call Seth, Rachel or Ryan instead. I’m not planning next semester and trying to arrange schedules and training week speakers, as I was doing at this time last year, when I was M.E., and this past summer, when I was editor. I’m not even worried about getting a headstart on research for my next story or about how Monday’s budget and layouts are shaping up. I don’t even have that nagging, “exams are coming up” or “I should work on that project due Tuesday” feeling. I’m not worried about work or school or any of that. I’m off. Completely off.

So on my first day off in as long as I can remember, I’m going to take my nephews, who sadly haven’t as much of me the last year or so as they’d like, out to lunch and then have them tag along with Shadow and me on our weekly walk. Then, I’m going to unpack a few boxes, sort out everything I’ve accumulated the last three and a half years and probably kick back and read one of the 20+ books I’ve bought but not had time to read in the last year.

Mostly, I’m going to relax. For now at least.

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