Friday, February 11, 2011

When Vacation is Measured in Hours

If you're anywhere near the Midwest, you know, it's been a long, cold, snowy winter. Many of us are dreaming of getting away to somewhere warmer, escaping the bleakness that is mid-February. As I was sitting at my mom's group yesterday, we (well, I was listening, but we'll get to that later) were sharing where our next trip would be. I have a friend whose family are travelers, and they're off to sunny Florida in the next few weeks, another friend is fortunate enough to go to Arizona coming up. As I listened, lamenting that my last trip was to St. Louis when it was the HOTTEST week EVER in HISTORY in August, I was nudged out of my small pity party by another friend, a dairyman's wife. She reminded me that farmers, specifically those with livestock, don't measure our vacation time in weeks, or even days, rather, it's measured in hours.

This was a sad realization, but so very, very true.

Now, no one go out and feel sorry for me and buy me an all expenses paid vacation to somewhere warm (hint, hint), because at one time, Joe and I did travel a lot. Ironically, especially Joe. For his "BF" (Before Farming) job, he was a consultant for a national agricultural education corporation, and he spent many days of the week on the road or in the air. California, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, Idaho, Georgia, even Las Vegas were a few of his destinations two or three times a MONTH. He even traveled a bit abroad to India, China, and Hong Kong for another leadership group he was a part of. We went to Maui for our honeymoon, Texas for our first anniversary (during the hottest part of the summer, but that seems to be a trend, and if it means I'm going somewhere, I will never complain of it again). I traveled a bit as a single gal, enjoying running marathons and other races in places like San Diego and Seattle. We even visited my brother's family in sunny, Southern California with the girls, taking in the beach, Disneyland, and all other California-ish things! We were on the go.

No more.

When your vacation is measured in hours, you are quite limited to where you can go. I must be a trendsetter, because I think we Webels invented the stay-cation. We are the king and queen of our castle, and even when offered the opportunity to visit Joe's family, a mere two hours away, we have to make the trip quick, between chores, and if it's calving season, forget it. We have birthday presents we owe nieces and nephews from December. It's pretty sad, if you're a traveler.

Even this morning, as we talked about our weekend, which will be spent with Joe's fraternity brothers at a local hotel, our oldest, Anna, spoke excitedly as she waited for the school bus about the stay in the hotel (even though it's just a mere 25 minutes away). Joe explained to her, that even though we'll check in, have a room, and use the fun swimming pool with our friends that day, we'll have to come home and sleep in our own beds because Daddy has to check the heifers. Anna began to moan in agony, "Why does it always have to be about the cows, Daddy?"

Even though sometimes I share my daughter's angst in regards to our vacation hours, I am beginning to understand that this is the way a good cattle man keeps his herd. Joe has to be especially cautious during this cold, snowy time, making sure that no calves are born in the snow, left to freeze, by new, inexperienced mamas. Although I would love to just get away for a weekend here and there, I know that this is not in the cards for this time of year. I have to wait, patiently, until potentially the hottest part of the summer, when the cows and calves are out on grass pasture, and then, we'll see our nieces and nephews and deliver them their winter birthday presents!


  1. Well said. We also always vacation in the summer when the crops are in and in between hay cuttings, but we are never gone more than a few days. I grew up on a dairy farm and we NEVER went on vacation, so those few days are good enough for me...I don't really know any different. Thank goodness!

  2. Twice when I was growing up we went to Disney (I was 9 and 16/17). Our other vacations were cattle shows! I showed shorthorns so we went to the National Jr Shows each summer (hosted in a different state each year), Louisville in Nov, Denver in Jan, various state shows and of course, our County Fair. We didn't vacation like 'normal' families. Traveling to these shows provided us the opportunity to see friends from far and away, who we called our 'show friends'.