- 2 months ago
I live in a beautiful place that is essentially a vacation destination. Most of my community’s economy depends on vacationers, that’s how nice a place I live (just to give you an idea).
About 3 years ago, I moved away from home with Darling Husband, roughly 1500 miles from where we lived before. We left behind my family, and DH’s friends who were our Maid/Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid or Best Man in our wedding. Over the past few years, our friends have been visiting us during different seasons, because there’re so many different things to do in each of the seasons.
At first, I didn’t mind so much. It was nice to see friends, and it was nice to show them our new home. But I am essentially a tour guide for a living, as my career is tied into the local economy as well. I get paid to canoe, ski, hike, and snowshoe. I love what I do! But what ends up happening when our friends come to visit is that I use my hard-earned vacation time to… essentially do my job. Which is to entertain people on vacation.
And there’s little to no warning when they come sometimes. Like last time, they texted in November (!!!) “hey what are you all doing right after Christmas? The kids want to see snow, and we want to take some graduation photos in the snow.” At my work, it’s like thunderdome to get the Christmas block off (besides the 24th-26th, which we already get off when our workplace shuts down), so I had to bend over backward, and bargain with my boss to get the days following Christmas off. And of course I took them skiing and sledding and generally just did what I do for a living… on my vacation.
I earn 3.33 hrs of vacation time per pay period, and there are 24 pay periods per year. So, 10 days a year. AND, I am not allowed to carry over more than 10 days each year. It takes me a month and a half to accrue enough time to take off ONE day. And in 2020, Darling Husband and I plan on going abroad for a much-needed vacation. It will take 9 days of my vacation time to make happen.
We recently went home to visit my family (I had a new niece I had never met, and hadn’t seen my brother in 3 years), and we made time to hang out with our friends one night. That night, they brought up coming up to visit us. They said they asked their kids when they wanted to come up and visit us, and they said summer.
There was no “hey guys, we think we’d like to come visit you in the summer, are you busy?” or “do you guys have any vacations planned?” It was just… “we want to come up in the summer.”
I keep a level head usually, but this had my blood boiling. I had been thinking about this, knowing this would come up. I responded (kind of tersely, I’ll admit), “well, we’ve got a vacation planned soon, and I don’t get much vacation time, so it might not be able to happen any time soon.” Their response was “oh, maybe not this summer, but just you know, the next time we come.”
I have had this conversation with Darling Husband before, and I told him that for a while, I don’t want to be our friends’ vacation destination. I said “it takes me a long time to build up vacation, and then it’s all blown in a long weekend with them, leaving no vacation time for our own trips.”
Darling Husband works for the government, and has done for 20+ years, so he’s got hundreds of hours of vacation built up. And he earns it at a staggering rate. His response? “Well, you don’t have to take off, you can keep working, and I’ll just take off and entertain them.” My response was that “that’s not the point. I’m the one who cleans the house and gets everything ready for them, and then I’m the one who cleans the house after they leave. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to do all this prep work for a visit I don’t get to enjoy.” (aside: we have a small homestead, and he tends to the considerable outdoor maintenance, and I the house, and I think that’s actually a fair system, so that’s not my complaint.)
This, of course, got him on the defensive, and he said “well we’ll just tell them they’re not welcome.”
I did explain to him all that I explained above. I did say that I know he’s a very generous man and would never turn them away, but I need breaks too. I told him that when we met, he knew I was a huge international traveler, and that was always going to be a part of my life, even if he prefers to stay home (he was in the military for 20 years, so he got tired of deploying), and he said he knew and he would be fine with it depending on the location. But it was still a really sore point, and it put a strain on us for a few days. I was crying, and I blurted out that he always gets defensive when I try to communicate when something bothers me, and we needed to go to couple’s therapy so he could understand how to respond and decipher what I’m saying. He agreed.
Am I being totally unreasonable here? Am I leaving anything out that I should be discussing with my husband? How the hell do a broach this subject without putting him on the defensive?