ENJOYING THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF A CLOSE-TO-HOME VACATION

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Like the old saying goes, a bad day fishing is better than a good day working.

As you read this, keep in mind that I am presently on vacation. Yeah, that’s right, as a dedicated employee, I am contributing to this product while dipping my toes in the end of the pool.

Money is a little tight this year — we bought a house — so we’re staying close to home, enjoying the fabulous sights and sounds of Dracut — at least for a week. I have more vacation time accumulated so maybe we can get away later in the year.

If all goes according to plan, I will have spent the early morning hours with the lovely Mrs. Shaughnessey, walking the first seven holes at Meadow Creek Golf Course on Broadway Road, or traipsing through the state forest off Nashua Road. Maybe a walk along the Pawtucketville Boulevard if it doesn’t smell too bad. Speaking of smelling bad, maybe I will have gone bass fishing on Beaver Brook, which is right across the street from my house. I plan on helping my wife as she weeds the flower garden. I’ll be spraying her with the little spritz bottle as she tenderly nurtures her geraniums, impatiens and other plants that I can’t pronounce or spell.

I will have leisurely and lovingly vacuumed the pool. I will have mowed the lawn. I will have replaced my guitar strings and played my heart out. I will have read a book, stayed up late and grilled steaks after 9 p.m., taken midnight swims in the pool. Not only will I have watched Leno and Letterman, I will have watched Conan and Craig Ferguson as well. Maybe I’ll pass on Conan.

I will have headed up to the seacoast to catch a sunrise. If the weather gets extremely hot, my wife and I will have headed to the cool temperatures of the mall.

By the time you read this I will have enjoyed the July 3 fireworks in Dracut and gathered a little posse to head to Boston for the fireworks on the Fourth. I have a neat little foolproof plan for getting in and out of the Esplanade in Boston on the Fourth. It has worked for years and I could share the plan with you, but it will cost you.

By the way, I always manage to take 10 minutes on that morning to read the Declaration of Independence. Stirring stuff.

Diane has some things planned as well, but they involve little home improvement projects. By the time I return to work on July 9, I will have painted the upstairs hallway, cleaned the back porch and hopefully installed that one ceiling fan I didn’t get to last year. I will have changed the oil in both our cars. Maybe even wash the cars.

I will have taken my time reading the daily papers, jumped in the pool, and taken photos of the mourning doves that sing outside my window every morning. I will have taken photos of everything.

I will have gone to Shedd Park in Lowell just to watch kids play evening baseball. It will have been a busy and hopefully, a productive week.

It won’t be one of the most memorable vacations I’ve ever had. It won’t compare to last year’s excursion to the Indian reservations of Arizona, or the trip to Washington a couple of years ago when we got lost and spent over an hour looking for our hotel. Chances are we won’t see any Amish people in a horse and buggy, and we won’t see the kudzu vines of South Carolina or Georgia.

But we’ll still have memories. We’ll have memories of spending time together.

Well, I’ve got go now. My wife has her walking shoes on. She has a hold of my earlobe and she’s pulling me away from the desk as I write.

Vacation starts now.

Dennis Shaughnessey’s e-mail is dshaughnessey@thevalleydispatch.com