Jay on Vacation

I’m married to an incredibly conscientious, hard-working man. When we sailed up the East coast last year, he flew to clients from every coastal city at which we stopped. He took conference calls while we motored up the Potomac. He worked while I took kids to the sights in our nation’s capital.  When we went skiing in February, he worked in the cozy comfort of the condo while we braved the elements and played in the snow.

Don’t get me wrong, the man does know how to have fun. It’s just hard to get him out of his zone. He never takes a sick day, works on vacation, and rarely turns down work.  I appreciate this work ethic (it enables me to stay home with the kids, after all), but how do you get this poor man to take a break?

1. Guilt. Ask him questions like, “If you were on your death bed, would you say, ‘Too bad I didn’t work more’ or ‘Too bad I never took my kids out to Dry Tortugas National Park when I had the chance’?”

2. Take away his internet. Nothing like a remote location with no cell phone service and no internet to make a man look up from his computer and notice the natural world and play with his kids.

3. Clean water and cool sea creatures. Since being spoiled by Bahamian gin-clear water, the man cannot enjoy the water. Swimming pools? Yuck. Keys beaches? No way. But take him out where the water is clean and turquoise and filled with fish, and he’ll grab his fins and mask and new Go Pro and away he goes. I can’t keep up with him, and that’s saying something.

4. Make a commitment. Jay is a man of his word; if he makes a promise, he keeps it. In fact, if I make a promise, he keeps it. I invited our friends Ken and Amy and their three kids to go cruising with us to the Dry Tortugas, fully expecting them to find some reason they couldn’t do it, and to my surprise, they accepted! Do the math: that would be our family of 7 + their family of 5 on a boat with 4 cabins for 7 days 70 miles from civilization. As it turned out, we took their oldest two kids, Max and Mia, on the overnight passage to Garden Key, and Amy and Kai met us on day four by ferry. Ken missed out on the trip entirely because the ferry was full and he had to get back to work. We returned on day seven with four extra passengers—tired, but happy. Everyone got along and we were able to share a cool experience with good friends who might not otherwise have experienced the park in that way.

5. Remind him what the boat is for. We did not buy Take Two to sit at a dock. We recognize that it takes a lot of work to keep her in good condition, and a lot of money. With only one of us bringing home the bacon, it’s hard to break away. But occasionally, we have to stop what we’re doing and get the boat out so we can enjoy all the things for which we work so hard. All work and no play makes Jay a very dull boy.