Friday, August 19, 2011

Labor Day

I realized that I haven't posted about our next trip to our house.

It will be pretty soon, just over two weeks from now, as we're going to spend the week of Labor Day on Aspö. We don't have a big agenda this time. Getting away from the Texas heat will be nice. Seeing Rutger, Marcia and Janne is always great.  We'll have dinner with Tony and Ann-Catrin one night. And we plan to meet with Krister the painter and Janne the electrician too.

The only building project I have is to make a cabinet for the circuit breaker box in the little stuga. I also want to try to take more time lapse movies, should the weather permit. But that's it. Just island relaxation.

We will also be closing up the house for the winter which is bothering me a bit. We're not planning to be back until next spring, and I find it unsettling to be away for 7 months. Also Janne won't be on Aspö this winter, although Annica and Olle have said they'd keep an eye on our place.

You may ask why we'll be away for so long? It's a good question. It is because of the different policies  regarding vacation time in the US and UK. Interestingly, the United States is the only industrialized country that does not have any legal requirements for vacation time. Vacation rules are up to one's employer. New employees joining my company here in the US earn their vacation during the year to be used in the next year.

For various tax and legal reasons, my return to the US after so long in the UK caused me to be treated as a new employee, and as such, I have no paid vacation at all this year. This became clear to me only after I had already spent three weeks in Sweden and bought tickets for a fourth.

Fortunately, my employers are reasonable, and a fair solution was reached. The big downside to me is that my September trip will use up my last vacation days this year. I'll have my usual 6 weeks next year, but it doesn't make much sense to go all the way to Sweden for a limited trip in the wintertime. So it looks like perhaps Easter next year for our first trip back, which is why there's a 7 month gap between visits.

Sooz and I are talking about changing our travel calendar for next year, in any case. That will be a subject for us, and for this blog, in the coming months.

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