This weekend my Mormon, Salt Lake City in-laws decided yet again to grace us, unasked for, with their presence. These annual visits began the year before I was married to my husband when his father and step-mother began to make this jaunt to our region under the guise of celebrating my husband’s birthday. When they do this, they always stay an hour to three away from where we actually live.
The in-laws bought into a timeshare and use it supposedly to visit, although their Mormon MLM schemed and sold share lets them stay in very few locations. It does not appear to include the Interval Package so many timeshare holders are able to utilize. Therefore, they seem unable exchange for better locations and deals.
My husband has since this all began, asked them not to come on his birthday. They have been pushing 70 since I have known them, and who wants to spend a birthday weekend entertaining out of town guests of a religion-not-ours variety?
Six years later, they have still been making the same trek, albeit a week after D’s birthday; this year to their San Diego location. Not once have they asked us if this is an alright time of year for them to drop in. We both have jobs that give us a summer hiatus of about ten weeks off each year. After this last visit, I have decided that enough is enough. They need to consult with us about when is a good time to visit, or my husband can go at it on his own with their close but distant sojourns.
My school year currently consists of my teaching seven periods a day to mostly middle school aged students. I have been studying mathematics and am near completion on a single subject credential to teach just that. However, my little private school wanted me to teach literature to the 6th and 8th grade as well as 6th and 7th grade math. Then, for shits and giggles they asked me to teach two computer classes to every grade level on top of the other aforementioned courses. The computer situation was sold to me as follows; that all I needed was classroom management and organizational skills, and the students could make posters and such each week. I wound up buying my own book with possible activities for that computer situation.
With this in mind, I signed a contract that has me teaching all seven of these periods from the times of 7:55 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Then, twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays I drive from the La Cienega Pico area about thirty miles to CSUN in Northridge, to take my teacher’s Geometry course.
I wake up daily at 4:45 a.m. to get myself ready and out the door by 6:20 a.m. I arrive at school at 7:00 a.m. to prep the agendas and bell work I want my morning three classes to copy and complete. The more prepared I am, the easier it is to get through the materials in the forty minute intervals of time allowed. If I have a few spare moments in my early arrival, I will grade some papers or lesson plan for the following week. Lesson planning can take an hour to two hours to accomplish as there are piles of books and details to sift through.
On the side I still hold a job tutoring students approximately six hours a week on my non-Geometry class taking evenings and sometimes on the weekends. Each part of my day and week could be exhausting in and of itself. The driving in the Los Angeles traffic, having the patience necessary to teach, and studying math certainly can be a challenge.
Yet these in-laws think that October is a good time to visit, and wonder what the big deal is. My husband almost had to cancel the visit due to his own crazy television-job-working schedule. However, from the end of June until the very end of August, we had time where we could have socialized leisurely, and even driven and stayed a few days at some location like San Diego.
But here we were this past weekend. I picked up a rental car; I refuse to drive my car any further on weekends. Driving to SD wound up being done by me because my name was the only one on the lease as D had to work late while I took care of that detail. By eight we were packed, fed food from our home, and in the car. At ten I was barely awake and we had finally arrived.
My husband snored in my ear and woke me approximately four times that night. Yet by 5:57 a.m. I was up as my body is used to being up early each day for work. As my parents also happened to be vacationing in Carlsbad that weekend, I went on an early morning walk with my father who I know is up daily by three or four. He has had insomnia for years, and covers it up under the pretense of getting up early to practice his martial arts.
After walking around the nearby lagoon, we gathered my mother and husband, and wound up sitting in the car to reach a restaurant in actual SD, forty some minutes away. I hadn’t realized when my mom helped me book my place that our location was at such a distance from ground zero, the in-laws.
Once our brunch was over, D’s father, Spock, wanted to see my parent’s timeshare, which was fine with me as I was exhausted and just wanted to lounge by the pool in the remaining day’s sunlight. Another forty minute drive back, run to my place to change, and we were at the fancy timeshare my parents were staying in. The Neiman Marcus to D’s folks’ Wallmart version of the same.
The old people all decided to sit in comfortable upright chairs, while I was perfectly happy to let them all entertain each other along with my husband. Apparently the old folks thought I was rude to go off and lounge by the pool and rest. Eventually I asked them if they would like to go to dinner, to which D’s step-mother replied that we all needed to have dinner in SD. They simply refuse to drive in the dark and are unable to see with their ancient eyeballs at that time.
Later, after yet another forty-minute drive back to SD, we ate dinner next to whooping teenagers out for their homecoming meals. Then, had to come back the forty to our Carlsbad hotel locations. Did I mention that all last year I drove fifty miles a day?! And this year do the same two to three days a week. I have had my share of driving in L.A. traffic as well as patience with all of my weekly responsibilities. So once my weekend hits, I gravitate towards not driving and mellow activities.
By the final brunch together, I was in a hurry to get home to take care of chores saved for the weekend and finish the lesson planning I had to do. D’s so considerate parents insisted we meet at 11:30 a.m. because God forbid they wake up before 9:30 a.m. in their retired existences. I had originally wanted to meet at 9 so we could be leisurely, but leave by 11:30 and get on with our Sunday.
By 1:30 p.m. we had finished our brunch when they suggested we go next door for ice cream. I had warned D to do no such thing. My father couldn’t understand why I was so “hyper” to get back. I don’t know that I ever saw him bring work home.
Busy is alright. I enjoy what I do, but I also know how important and necessary my off minutes are. I have always thought that the boomer generation tends to be self-centered and near sighted when it comes to seeing how they effect their off-spring’s generation. Perhaps if they lived in a world where jobs were scarce and houses were unattainable, the level of busy would make more sense to them. But in the meantime, I am one tired busy teacher and math student, and can’t wait to have down moments on my couch to make up for this past crappy weekend.
And hey in-laws, next time you’d like to visit call and find out what would work for us. Unlike you, we are not retired and value those quiet minutes during this hectic work season. Those minutes don’t include sleeping in. But they do include seizing the day, and having time to feel our own internal rhythms while still being productive. All it takes is a call and a bit of consideration on your part to understand what it is your children actually do during a ten-month work cycle, and why October is just not a good time to come on down.