Home for Dinner

About a month ago we took a family vacation to Mexico and spent a few days doing not much more than swim in the pool, play in the ocean, read, eat tons of chips and salsa (chips and salsa, alongside Rice Krispie bars, are my culinary kryptonite), and go to bed early. Repeat that sequence four times and you a have a good measure of the trip. It was a week of general relaxation full of many pleasures; mostly expected but a couple less so.

“Getting away from it all” seems to be all the rage these days and hopefully the act of doing just that won’t show up on Portlandia next season in an unfavorable light, but I must say, putting down your computer and phone, even temporarily, is a luxury everyone deserves now and then.

My work requires that I be reachable pretty much all the time. It’s been that way for years so my family and I are accustomed to me never being too far from my phone and Blackberry, (yes, that’d be phone and Blackberry as in two separate devices as in the only person on the planet with that kind of setup). Thankfully, it was a relatively quiet week in my work world so I could spend more time tossing my boys around the pool and eating the wackadoo hot habanero salsa.

That my work wasn’t a distraction was a small, unexpected surprise. That my wife, Wendy, chose to keep her phone off the entire trip was a slightly larger, unexpected surprise. But the note she left one afternoon outside our room was the biggest surprise of all.  Let me explain. In the afternoon of the third day of the trip, I’d been at the gym and when I returned to our room, I found this and it kind of took my breath away (in a good way).

I read the note and thought to myself, oh that’s right, Wendy has her phone turned off for the week so she can’t text me to say they’re at the beach and please come meet us there. So instead of knowing their whereabouts on a real-time basis I had to take a golf cart past the dang beach where they were, read the note outside our room, and then walk five minutes to meet them. It was maybe a fifteen minute “waste” of time and it was delicious.

That note immediately reminded me of the days, not that long ago, when I’d call a friend on our wall-mounted home phone and we’d make a plan to meet at Kenwood Park at 4pm to play tennis. And that’s what we did. We wrote a note to our parents saying where we were and when we’d be home, got on our bikes, met at 4pm, and played tennis. Texting is obviously convenient but more often than not – for me at least – it’s become a way for me to be “polite” and let people know I’m running late even when I don’t have an excuse. It’s an enabler and I say phooey on that.

(Circa 1981, 11 yr old Nicholas)

(Mid 20’s, the parent’s house stop-by)

I’ve always been a note guy, Wendy and I leave each other notes all the time, and when future technology makes communication even easier than it is today, I’ll still be writing notes, even for the littlest reasons, because each one is worthy.

P.S.  A thousand thank-you’s to my mom who has saved a sturdy sampling of my work over the years.

Vintage 1984. (I’m at Paul’s playing basketball. No golf because Greg & Jason went golfing early, Jim is real sick, Jeff has a tennis match (I think he – wasn’t home) & Terry is still sleeping. Will call if need a ride (will call anyway). Love, Nick (The note-writer) )

3 thoughts on “ Home for Dinner

  1. Jeannine Balfour

    This is a great post. I share so many of these feelings. We were note people too and still are, though not as good as you and Wendy. I’m going to incorporate it back into our lives in a more robust way. But the idea of not texting to give the most up to date is lovely.
    My mother just found a note I wrote to her back in high school. I’ll have to pass it along. It’s hilarious.
    Love you guys.

  2. Cheryl Hauser

    I read your blog Nick and my heart just sang. One of the earliest writings that my children received were notes left in the individual lunch boxes. Even before they could read, I would still write, “I love (often a heart was drawn) you” or “I love (often with a heart drawn – if they couldn’t read at all) your (and then I would have to draw something – like a smiling face, or a drawing of their big toe if I was desperate)”. Needless to say, I wrote more when they became readers. Now I only wish I had kept some of them. Keep the note writing doing!!!


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