When I was working at the grocery store, there were a few things I lacked.
First, dignity. There was a time when working such a job was a rather respectable thing to do with people spending a good portion of their lives there, making decent money and having plenty in their pension.
But it’s not like that anymore. New people get nowhere near the same benefits as those who were working before the big strike about a decade ago. It’s just cheap labor for little money, and it’s a completely miserable existence that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.
That said, the other thing I lacked was an income that would allow us to do, well, anything. My paychecks were so microscopic that once the bills were paid, we couldn’t do much of anything besides sit at home. That also meant doing what we had to do in order to stay afloat. Again, a miserable experience.
But of course, things have changed since then.
My new job continues to be a rewarding experience and now that I’m a regular employee (since last February), I get a handful of extra benefits.
One of those benefits is three Summer Days every calendar year. They are paid days off – we still get personal and sick days – that we can use anywhere between the beginning of May to the end of September. It’s probably one of the coolest little perks I’ve had at any job.
So with my paychecks now being, oh, a little more than they used to be, I’ve decided that this will be the year I treat the family to A Summer That Won’t Suck.
I’ve been looking into a lot of different things for us to do this summer, most of which are road trips around the state: San Francisco, San Diego, or just a trip to Los Angeles to see things we might have missed. We’ll gas up the car and see where we end up and I’m sure it’ll be a good time.
Plus, we’re now AAA members!
That way when we’re out somewhere, we can also see what else is in the area and get directions to it. Killing multiple birds with one stone.
I’ve also been doing this for my eventual trip to Japan. This is only Osaka but trust me, there’s much more I’ve saved.
While a bunch of places are eateries we’ve been wanting to try, there are local attractions that I haven’t been to in decades like the Hollywood Forever Cemetery which is the final resting place of legends such as Rudolph Valentino, Douglas Fairbanks, and even two of The Ramones.
And I’ve never really taken the family on a walk of Hollywood Boulevard to be tourists so that might be an option as well.
Either way, the fun begins in a few weeks when I’m using one of my Summer Days to extend the Father’s Day weekend, and this year Father’s Day just happens to fall on the same day as our 23rd anniversary. We’ll be heading down the 5 – we don’t say “Interstate 5” in California, just “The 5/405/605” etc. – to do some outlet shopping and lunch one day, hitting World Famous Farmer’s Market the next, then most likely going for lunch on Sunday for Father’s Day and our anniversary.
This is in addition to the the concerts we will be attending for which I’ve already bought tickets:
- Strangelove, a Depeche Mode tribute band performing at the OC Fair in July
- Perfume in August
- Pet Shop Boys in October (not quite summer but oh well)
Oh yes, the OC Fair will definitely be visited as well. Concert tickets include admission to the fair.
And even if I don’t use a Summer Day, the weekends are still open for any adventure we might want to take on.
Plus with all the overtime I’ve been working lately, it’s practically guaranteed that this summer won’t suck.
I’m ready. We’re ready. Bring it on!