vacation days

June 27, 2014
I just scheduled a few vacation days, and it felt SO WEIRD.  I realize it’s because I’ve NEVER (NEVER!) been able to schedule a day off before.  In residency and fellowship, we were allowed to select weeklong blocks, and we were never guaranteed that our requests would be met. After the first year of my fellowship, all of those precious weeks went to maternity leave anyway, and then that happened again with my job and leave #2.  I’m not really complaining — clearly, with 2 pregnancies 22 months apart I’ve had a lot of time away from work.  But the idea of just taking a day (or even half-day!) on MY terms is totally new and I am rather excited.  I’m taking off one day in October to get my hair done (sadly, that will use up much of the day . . .) plus half of Halloween off.  I also took off on a day that Annabel’s school has parent-teacher conferences scheduled in November.*
I receive a total of 29 days of paid leave per year, which seems pretty good.  This works to about 1 day accured per pay period.  Of course, holidays count (ie, Christmas day counts as one of those 29 days, unless you’re working/on-call).  This also includes sick time, so obviously I need to leave myself with a cushion in case for when $*@# happens, but it’s still pretty thrilling.  Once I’ve banked up a bit, I’d love to do a planned half day each month to spend with Annabel (alternating with Cameron when he gets old enough to care).  And I already know I want to spend my next birthday lying horizontal for hours at a spa somewhere!
* this makes me feel incredibly old
If you work, how do you allocate vacations?  In one big chunk?  A few “kid days” and “me days” scattered about the year?