Recess is the period of time when Congress shuts down so that members can return to their home states/districts. It's often called "vacation" by the media, but I've found that most members of Congress use the time to meet with constituents and keep up with the interests of the folks back home.
For D.C. staff, though, it's a wonderful time-- especially in August, when recess lasts all month. Our hours are more flexible, we don't have to wear suits to work, and things are generally just a lot more relaxed. It's such a nice change from the typical stress and frantic timetable on the Hill. I actually feel like I can breathe for a while.
Best of all, recess is the time when Hill staffers can schedule vacation-- and we do. This year, David and I have decided to spend our vacation down in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. We had initially planned to do something more exotic and travel to Italy's Amalfi Coast, but the weak dollar and strong Euro sort of trashed that plan.
Still, I'm beyond excited. This will be a nice long vacation for us, and it should be a relatively low-stress trip. We're driving, rather than flying, so we don't have to worry about paying extra if our bags are two pounds too heavy or fitting our toiletries into three-ounce containers or packing all my jewelry in my carry-on lest some dishonest baggage handler decide to help himself to my necklaces. (Not to disparage baggage handlers generally, of course, but I speak from experience on that last one.)
David has never been to Kiawah before, and I'm excited for him to see how gorgeous it is. I've been to Kiawah, but have never stayed at our hotel before, which looks amazing. David has already booked three rounds of golf, and we've both booked spa appointments. (I'm especially looking forward to the "Lowcountry Verbena Body Scrub." Ahhhhhhh.) We each have a stack of books that we've been saving for vacation. I plan to spend my days by the pool, looking out over the ocean, reading my books, listening to music on my iPhone, and napping whenever the mood strikes me.
We leave in less than two weeks, and we're literally counting the days! David has added a countdown timer "widget" to our computer's "dashboard" (seriously, we're so in love with our new Mac!). The widget tells me that we have 11 days to go.
Hmmm. Is it too soon to start packing?