Summer Vacation

Spending a summer home with the boys. Exploring and adventuring and looking for work. Lets hope we all find what we need.

Daddy-Charlie-Mommy-Teddy GraduationI’m spending the summer home with the boys. I know that I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to do so. That reality is not lost on me though at times other issues are taking up more primary real estate in my brain and in my heart.

I lost my job. Technically I resigned. This technicality allows me to ascribe far more intent to the action than was necessarily present at the time I wrote the letter, packed up my office and walked out. But in reality, I was canned.

It was the first day of summer vacation yesterday and we got off to a great start. We are home bound until at least July 3rd as we have a fairly major repair due on the car so the boys and I spent our days the way I used to during the long, lazy summer days that feel like someone else’s memories by now. We watched some TV with cereal on the couch in our sleep clothes. We hung out in the backyard hitting wiffle balls and bouncing on the trampoline. We even dragged some music out there and played in our tiny, portable, makeshift sandbox.

For the first few weeks, while the boys were in school and I had at least a couple of days home alone I was able to send out mass resume’s and cover letters. I’ve even gotten a few interviews which have gone well but may not lead to anything and certainly won’t for some time. Which is increasingly fine. Frankly, if I could match my income, or even approximate it from home I’d prefer it. I’m not one of those people who will hate retirement. It suits me. If it weren’t for the nagging, inscrutable loss of a sense of self worth that accompanies this part of the journey, when an income is most critical.

We actually did a couple of boxed science experiments that we picked up a few months back. This morning the plaster has set on the citric acid and baking soda volcano we are set to detonate out back. Crystals should be forming in a dish in the garage. We’ll see about that in 4-7 days. I’m dreadful with science. It was actually a fairly comic scene actually, watching me try to pour 13 ounces of water in the bag of plaster/sand mix as instructed seeing as there was about 4 ounces worth of space in the bag to pour into it.

‘Well, the sand is porous, so surely they wouldn’t give us a bag to use for this without it having enough space within it to follow their instructions.’ I said, foolhardily. Though in hindsight it was obvious that the bag, minus the mix, simply empty, could not have carried the water it instructed us to add. Learned that trails of plaster mix can be cleaned up pretty effectively with wipes. So that experiment turned out at least.

I’m not defeated but I’m probably a perfect dupe for someone pitching me the secret to making a six figure income from home with only a couple of hours of work a day and a modest $399 investment upfront. I would be real receptive to that kind of pitch right now, so please, have some mercy my friends. Also, if I come at you with such a pitch in the months ahead, please say no but be kind. I’m a little lost these days.

Teddy PreK GradI am so happy to have this time with the kids. I just hope I don’t blow it. It’s a strange time in my life and in the world at large to wallow in self-pity. I don’t really have the oomph for that kind of thing right now. The self doubt may grow, but let’s face it, I’m in a house, with my kids who are 5 and 7 and want more of me than I can give. Kind of the ideal time to get an unexpected break from life, so long as I land on my feet on the other end having landed this midlife Triple Lindy.

If there’s one lesson I can take from how it ended it’s this. I brought myself to the edge months ago. I knew it was not working. The work was good, the people were great and by most measures I was doing very well. Unfortunately the relationship between me and my boss, the CEO, was broke. I certainly did my part to break it and was at a loss to fix it. I tried, but it wasn’t fixable. Not by me at any rate. I had prepared and interviewed, had been for a good 9 months. I’d turned down offers because they weren’t enough. Enough money, sure, but I think it was more than that. I think I needed pushing. In the end I’d packed up and prepared to jump and then I waited to be pushed. I won’t do that if this ever happens again. I don’t think it will, but next time, I’ll jump.

Today is day two of summer vacation. We have spent our boxed activities and run out of lunch ideas already. Netflix will take us to 10 but then it’s out back to adventure and explore. Let’s hope we find what we’re looking for, whatever it turns out to be.

Author: joejmedler

Joe Medler lives in New Jersey with his wife, who is universally understood to be far too good for him, and his two young sons, who are far too smart for him. His work has been featured on MamaLode, The Original Bunker Punks and Sammiches and Psych Meds. You can find more of his work at and follow him on Facebook at

8 thoughts on “Summer Vacation”

  1. I didn’t intend to stay home with my kids. I found myself FINALLY pregnant a few months after leaving my last job…no one hires a visibly pregnant woman, and part-time work in my field is more like full-time with a fraction of the fractioned salary. It took a good couple of years or so to admit to myself that it doesn’t pay for me to work…at all. If I’m lucky, I’d make just enough to cover child care.

    But, I get the angst. As soon as you leave a profession and stay home, you are no longer that identity. I’ve come to the conclusion that the more secure one is with that identity, the harder the transition. It isn’t so much that things are bad; it’s more of a lost feeling.

    I volunteer…a WHOLE lot. The catch is that it has to be from behind a computer screen. Most of the time I can’t get somewhere to a meeting or event…because child care… It took a lot…SO much trial and error and a couple of years of diligent work, and the angst is mostly gone. Not to panic you; I was exploring very specific things to avoid a resume gap. I suppose the moral of the story is that there is amazing activism happening on social media, ripe for the involvement. Those things make a difference when you’re lost. I try to call Congress daily, and even that gives me a lift…like I’m accomplishing something independent of my kids. My four-year-old started requesting to add his bit when I call. It’s a carrot to get him to behave as I spout my lengthy list.

    In any case, uncertainty is hard…and so is that kind of unstructured time. As much as you might love and appreciate it, it’s common to also hate it. Often people spout the trials of staying home, but I always found it interesting that no one speaks of the isolation and ill ease of redefining ourselves in such a context.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very insightful. There is definitely a huge isolating piece to it, but to be fair I’m a bit of a classic male that way, not great at socially sustaining relationships.
      It sounds like you have found some real good and specific ways of engaging and staying connected. I am quite politically active locally and admire your commitment. I’ve made a regular though hardly daily call to my local congressman. Seems like your four year old is a future leader!
      Thanks for your encouragement and for sharing your story with me. It gives me a lot of hope that it will work out the way it’s meant to even if it doesn’t always feel perfect.
      Have a great day and thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind words; I hope it’s helpful. Let me know if you want to kefech about it all…it REALLY helps. What you are experiencing is SO common, male or not (though there are probably more resources for women). Just remember perfection is your enemy, but flexibility and seizing opportunities (even if they scare you) will be your lifeline.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Joey, I cannot wait to hear about day 3 of summer. I cannot wait until the plaster hardens. I watch you grow daily. The beautiful words you say so perfectly. I know it’s from within. I feel it when you say it. You make a difference everyday. I’ve had my lows…. beyond low. I have a religious heart which some do not always agree or understand but that’s ok. I never pushed my beliefs on anyone but I always prayed for better days. But then those low days would come and I would pray not to wake up. And then the sun would rise, and an unanswered prayer occurred … I would wake. And my niece would crawl in my arms or a friend would stop by unannounced or the world would just keep turning! What the heck?!? Despite my despair the sun would shine. Thankfully I face another day. The troubles will still come, the bills unpaid but the love still grows. It must be all worth it in the end. Your beautiful wife and incredible children make this world….your world a better place and in turn what they give you what makes you who you are and what you give and say to us makes it just that much better. You’ve got this Joey! You’re amazing and will make it over any speed bump life throws your way. Keep reaching for the stars, enjoy the journey. Love you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kimber Lawson!! I can’t even begin to thank you enough for these remarkably thoughtful, supportive and inspiring words! You are a beam of light with purpose and a heart as big and brave as any I’ve known. Thank you so much for sending a lifeline exactly when I could most use it! Love you too, my friend! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


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