Staycations and Axe-Murders

...and the inextricable link between them

camping staycation

"camping staycation" by hownowdesign is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

I tried. I really tried.

That’s all I can say.  I really, really tried to have an enjoyable staycation and not do any work.  It was all out of purely goodwill and good intentions, which is another way of saying I mean well, but please, in the spirit of niceness, don’t hold my feet to the flames or I’ll need to cut you up into little bits and mail you to different relatives.

There.  I’m glad we’re clear.

It was Christmas week last week.  I was so excited, and had been for a while.  You see, Christmas decorations go up the precise moment that the Halloween decorations come down.  I do not jest.  Out with the orange and black, in with the red and green.  This is the way.  I’ve always been a Christmas-holic, and even though there are self-help books and support groups replete with ten recovery steps, recovery itself has always been just out of my reach.  I do not think I shall ever recover from a spirit of mirth. It's a problem.

That’s why this past week I was alarmed to see that mirth itself was in jeopardy, because Staycations are in fact Vacations soaked in evil.  In fact, isn't that what we've all been on since February of 2020: one giant quarantine staycation?  Something had to give.

 

A Little Breathing Room

The Elbow Room

"The Elbow Room" by Curtis Gregory Perry is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

Now, please don’t judge me when I propose that someone please take my children and return them when they are 20.  I simply do not know how my wife, a wonderful SAHM, can sanely and responsibly oversee our two annoying small children and not axe-murder yell at them all the livelong day.  There is a reason that God made them cute.  It is so that they will in fact survive stay-at-home pandemics.  I believe that children are our future.  Teach them well and let them lead the way.  Show them all the irritation they provide beauty they possess inside.

My children are adorable. Gregarious.  Beautiful and lovable in every way.  But I want them to go away please God why don’t they go away?  In this pandemic world, we’ve all been around each other 24-7 since February.  So it’s understandable for me to need a little elbow room.  It’s also understandable to need to elbow them out of the room.  It’s just been that kind of year.  God bless my wife though, in whose DNA lies the secret gene of Supreme and Illogically-And-Astronomically-Mammoth Patience.  Men do not come with this secret DNA gene.  Instead, God saw fit to grace us with the Back The &$%@ Up Before I Devour You gene, and the I Can't $&@$% Handle This It's Time To Go &@$% Fishing gene.  It is these special genes which enable us to not go berserk and kill everything in sight with a toothpick.

I do love my children, in case that wasn’t clear.  It's just that apparently they do not in fact come with a low volume setting, and God has also apparently disabled mine from entering any kind of suspended animation.  And while I was very excited going into my Christmas staycation, it was a difficult and tense one at times, because of one little factor that was just down the hall and wouldn’t go away: a factor that beckoned to me all the freaking time, like a siren call that was a pleasurable torment.  Kind of like those creepy tailored Facebook ads for expensive microphones that litter my Facebook news feed.

I'm talking about my work.

Working from home

"Working from home" by ishane is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

You see, like many stay-at-home vocations, work never really ends for a Voice Talent.  The office doesn't just fold up into a small Tupperware container that you can store out of sight.  Work is always there.  And as long as I’m on staycation and not actual vacation, the temptation will always be there.  It’s very easy to justify running into the office for every little thing, and call a 'want' a 'need'.  But that’s not how getting away works, is it?  I was led to believe that "getting away" is Latin for getting away, and does not in fact mean trapped-in-mind-numbing-slavery-to-the-machine.  Perhaps I was misled.

My beautiful studio called to me.  Agents needed answers.  Pickups were issued (and of course were needed yesterday).  Three directed sessions happened during my week off, and a fourth needed to be scheduled.  Invoices needed to be sent.  Payments needed to be processed.  All of this while I simply wanted to make a few gingerbread houses, which is an activity I do not recommend you engage a preschooler with, as they possess the same attention span of a spastic aardvark on methamphetamines.

But the real difficulty came from having stepped out of a weekly routine of hard work I've grown accustomed to, and yet the routine was only ten feet away and constantly calling to me.  I’m a man.  I’m programed to work hard, or at least that's what my Intel processor says.  Pulling myself away from that programming is no easy task, and it’s as difficult for me to untether from it as it is for me to have only one shrimp-and-cocktail-sauce at parties.  It’s not easy, because tethering dipped in cocktail sauce is scrumptious.  I am not sure that was my point.

I think my point is that trying to not work AT your work, erstwhile managing your kids all day is enough to make one go truly insane.

In the future, I’ll need to come up with rules governing my activity at home while on staycation.  I’ll need to inform my agents of my “travel” plans.  In short, I’ll need to have better boundaries, which include putting all computers and cellphones and smartwatches into the neighbor's garage freezer until I return to work.

 

Bring on July

Kauai

July is right around the corner.  And that means an actual, long-awaited vacation: a 2-week trip to Kauai with our soon-to-be-5-year-old and 2-year-old.  We need this.  After the dumpster fire nightmare train wreck crash-and-burn that is commonly referred to as 2020, and after all of my hard work to ensure that bread (Dave’s Good Seed, of course!) was put on the table all year long, I daresay we deserve it.

And that’s really the key here, isn’t it?  Entitlement.  I think we all deserve a better 2021.  After all, at this writing, the stage is set for a better year.  Not one but multiple vaccines are in deployment or development.  People are getting shot (in a good way!) all over the planet now, especially our beloved first responders like my good buddy Michael Apollo Lira, who, aside from having a middle name that is capable of making me swoon, is a SuperNurse with bulging muscles, Indiana-Jones fedora and whip, cape, flaming sword and battle thong.  At least, that’s how I picture him, out there savagely waging war on this viral foe that has taken the lives of nearly 2 million people in a single year. Said in my best Don LeFontaine voice:

 

 In a world where our darkest days are ahead of us,

only Michael Apollo Lira has the power to defeat

the growing evil that seeks to destroy us.

All humanity pins their hope on him and waits for deliverance.

 

For us, deliverance means sunny skies, glittering beaches, secluded getaways with lobster, more getaways with lobster, and other getaways that include lobster. Also, lobster.  I'm looking at you, JMC.

It means frolicking in the water, swimming, building sandcastles, towels, and the whole shebang.  But most importantly, it means Actually. Getting. Away.

The Voiceover Career I have is absolutely riveting and utterly rewarding.  But it iswithout question, highly reactive, and a never-ending tractor-beam.  At any moment, a potentially mortgage-paying job could come through, and I’ve got to be there to answer that call.  In order to preserve some semblance of peace without axe-murdering my children (which wouldn't make sense since they're a tax write-off), we all need to actually get away into a faraway land with no studios. That’s how untethering works.  And I’m looking forward to it with zealous anticipation!

And until that day, I pledge to outlast any Staycation with a fiery dedication to zero murders.

In the end, there was red and green, there was mirth, we made construction paper Christmas trees and snowflakes, we built gingerbread houses, we went for great walks around our new property and neighborhood, there were tons of presents as the result of a record-shattering year of bounty and provision, and the kids were happy.

But MOST importantly - and I think we can all agree that this is the hallmark of a successful Staycation - no one got chopped in half.

I call that mission accomplished.

Christmas2020

 

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NOTE: This blog is purely for commentary / educational / entertainment purposes.  I make no money from these blogs; though I do not refuse large cash gifts if it means I can pretend I'm a church.

 

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Joshua Alexander
Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Talent for hire
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24 thoughts on “Staycations and Axe-Murders”

  1. I must admit I was intrigued when you said you were taking a week off.

    “Can he do it?” I wondered to myself. “Is the Super Voiceover Man in fact capable of this feat of holiday restraint and relaxation?”

    I’m glad you at least managed plenty of mirth! 😁

  2. Josh, I felt this in my soul. I was feeling a bit derailed from the VO world but it continues to call me back. Not sure if this is just a Siren’s song or a higher power tugging me back? Either way, some things at regular work didn’t pan out like we thought they would and VO work is seeming to increase. I feel as though some of my early success may also be distorting my view — but as a creative, this work seems almost inevitable to me. Cheers to you, the new year and continued voice work!

    1. Why not go with a Higher Power Siren Song? When choosing candy for a movie, I ALWAYS go for the Bottle Cap Skittle Hershey’s Twizzler Mentos. They’re the best! But seriously – be well. I’m glad your work is increasing! #youcandothis – remember that! Go git em, Tiger. 🙂

  3. Oh Lordy, I don’t think anybody here needs to see me in a battle thong unless they’re for some reason a big fan of Borat.

    Congratulations on your successfully murder-free Christmas break! And truly – thank you so much for all of the kind words. It means a lot to me coming from someone I look up to as much as you.

    Let’s bring in this new year with a sense of cautious hope and optimism!!

  4. I always have the computer read your posts to me and this one was another beauty! It doesn’t know how to read staycation; instead: “Stay cat-ion” hahaha. Love it!

    Yeah, that’s the issue with working from home – staycations just don’t work. You have to actually go somewhere that is not home, even if it is only next door, haha. Ironically, I’m currently almost an entire city away, and I brought my work with me, LOL [face palm]. Mine was intentional though.

    Hope you got some rest anyway! Awesome pic of you guys too btw!

  5. Well dog-gone by diggity doo! Staying home with family is the reason for a vacation in itself! We hosted a couple for 10 days this season. 10 days of…Well very little as our state was on “LOCKDOWN!” So being in Northern California’s wine country, we did what we do! DRANK! but in the end it was exhausting! To not have a get away, alone time, or a quiet minute was exhausting!
    And kids? Let me tell you! Our Christmas was a hodgepodge of Granddaughter 3-10, a 14 yr old, and a mess of adult kid 20-30 somethings! The little kids are EASY! Keeping the big kids away from my good bourbon or wine, ‘don’t eat my fudge!’,’ get of my chair!’ ‘Who clogged the toilet this time?’ Was all more exhausting than… ‘Sure Grandpa will color with you!”

    So count your blessings while they still have bedtime! Because when the grow up…the headaches (and associated costs) bet bigger!

    And as much as I love @Michael Apollo Lira… I don’t want to see him in scrubs and a speedo!

  6. I felt this in my bones! As a SAHM of two littles while also trying to keep a VO career afloat this season in particular has been brutal. Thanks so much for laying it out with your much appreciated honesty and humor.

  7. Battle Thong…didn’t think I’d ever have that drop on my brain. Could have gone with “Breastplate of Righteousness”…wait that’s weird too. How about “Smart Dresser”!!

  8. I really enjoyed this, Josh. Truth delivered via humor. I have successfully survived, as have my children, who are now thriving adults discovering for themselves the joys and stressors of raising children of their own–or as one of them expressed it to me: “Am I enjoying payback?”

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