Monday, July 13, 2009

My Readers Write About the Cruise

Several of you have written in asking how I can take so much time off from work. To answer your questions:

I am NOT phenomenally wealthy. I make a decent living, working 70-90 hours per week most of the year. Being in solo practice means I don't have any partners to argue with when I want to leave town. I field my own calls no matter where I am.

These trips are not cheap. I know that. The drawback of solo practice is that when I'm not in the office, I'm not getting paid. So I have to figure out how much the trip will cost, in both actual price AND how much money I lose by not working.

So why do I do it? One reason. As Mrs. Grumpy says "The kids are here only to visit us for a few years". So I devote as much of summer vacation and other school breaks as I can afford to being Dad, and not Doctor.

As my Science Marches On Department says, "nobody dies wishing they'd spent more time at the office".


Anonymous said...

The science marches on department's got your back.

The department is taking time off soon to go kayaking with the younger son. The older one is away at college, and during the summer he does an internship at a mega-corporation on the other side of the earth, so I see him maybe 10 days a year. They're only young once.

"Time flies like the wind; fruit flies like bananas."

Anonymous said...

Uhh... yeah. That and it's nobody's business how much money you make or how you spend it or your time. No need to justify!

My dad is a self-employed attorney and as his now 30-something daughter I still cherish every single moment he took off from work to spend with his family. I'm sure I didn't get some sort of material item I was lusting after, but I've since forgotten about any of that. :)

Keep up the good work, Dr. Dad!


John Woolman said...

Dead right. I wish the National Health Service had allowed me to spend more time with my kids when they were younger. But if you stay friends with them, as they get older new joys emerge. Life progresses from the joys of "Daddy, I'm not sure I understand the fdisk command", through "um, the PhD I'd really like to do doesn't come with much of a grant", to "Sure I'll come in and look after the cats whilst you are away".

Wait & see!

Chrysalis said...


You deserve to take the break. Enjoy as much as you can of your time away. Kids grow up fast, and the memories you make with them now, will be something that will carry them in later years. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid, we drove to Alpena, Michigan from Norfolk, Virginia and stayed 2 weeks every year. You would not believe the number of attractions between those to favorite being Domke's Zoo (sadly renamed Dinosaur Gardens) which has a giant apatasaurus you could climb inside and see the Sacred Heart of Jesus. WTF?(

I will never forget those vacations. I'm sure they were no thrill for my parents (2 whiny kids in a car with no AC in August), but they are some of my best childhood memories.

I so enjoy your blog, Dr. Grumpy. Thanks for the entertainment!

DreamingTree said...

AMEN! Money is nice, but time spent with loved ones is priceless.

Fiz said...

It's nobody else's damn business what you do! Some people have much cheek than hamsters!

Unknown said...

I cant believe the gall of some people to question what you do with YOUR life.

Some of my best childhood memories are of family vacations. My father too was self employed but he found time to take 7 kids away A Lot!!

Your kids appreciate every minute you spend with them. And when they are older and they understand more it will increase tenfold. The time spent with their grandparents is even more important for obvious reasons.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I'm not offended by anyone asking, that's part of blogging.

And now, back to the buffet. I brought a size 74XXX bathing suit, and need to grow to fit into it!

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

The lab division of the SMOD concurs; my parents were both executives, and frequently included me in their business travel (adding a day or two here and there to go do something "fun"), and we took a few grand-scale family vacations as a kid, but not annually by any stretch.

My mom's plan was to work hard and retire young, and she did that, and then promptly took up the cause of being the controller for my dad's family's businesses after his mom got AD. She rode that train through a late (20 year) recurrence of her breast cancer, a couple of good years after treatment in the metastatic setting, another round of aggressive palliative-intent treatment, and her eventual death.

My mom and I spent part of her final days (literally, three days before she died) working on financials for the business together.

That was April 15. She died the 18th, and I miss her terribly. I knew as well as she did that feeling human again after treatment for recurrence with visceral and osseous mets is a blessing accorded to very few people, but I couldn't ever convince her to take a few days off and vacation with me while we both still felt like it. I tried for years - her compromise was to bundle a few days on the end of her trips to Mayo in Scottsdale, where we'd hang at the better resorts and do some shopping between PET scans and IMRT sessions. That, I can assure you, is not a vacation. If you feel queasy during vacation, it should be from ship's motion and you should try some ginger, instead of IMRT side effects and popping some Zofran.

Part of Mom came with me on my two-week cruise last month, in a small box. She wasn't terribly lively in conversation, but I'm still happy that part of her got to spend the time with me.

So, to the haters out there who are criticizing, sod off. I too am fortunate enough to work in a setting where I set my schedule and I eat what I kill; my priority is *always* on quality of life over making myself (or, especially, anyone else) wealthier. I don't have kids, but I do have a partner I enjoy spending time with outside the home and office (we work together, too), and he's also the child of parents who worked themselves, quite literally, to death.

Enjoy your cruise; just remember that foods eaten in extraterritorial waters don't count.


Anonymous said...

I'm a bit of cruise-junkie in training. So - did you enjoy the Carnival Pride? (all the nude artwork gave that one away!) I'm usually Royal Caribbean, but they moved the Pride to my home port and it's 2 days longer and $800 less than Royal!

Manda said...

My son lost all his baby roundness this summer - now he's just a big boy and smellier too. Time flies by too fast not to enjoy your family as you see fit.

Lipstick said...

Dr Grumpy, you are so gracious to answer such personal questions. Best of luck indulging in the cruise food to fill the 74xxx size bathing suit!

Eric, AKA The Pragmatic Caregiver said...

Oh, a happy cruise note I didn't think to mention before; since you're cruising on Carnivore, pick up 100 shares of the stock ($2500ish) - you'll get $50-$250 in onboard credit with every sailing. We cruise on Princess, and have made Serious Bank on the stock on the tax-free benefit, despite the stock being a bit doggy at the moment. For us, it covers a goodly part of the autotip.

Anonymous said...

I guess those blog readers figure a family vacation is just way too MUNDANE, and would rather read how those two weeks were spent fueled by Meth, vast quantities of CIIs, and numerous under aged Thai prosti-tots.

Some folks are never satisified...

LD/50 Lab Rat

pharmacy chick said...

who cares how much it costs, you cannot take with you when you die and its nobody's business anyway! When its all said and done, everybody would trade a pile of saved money and no memories for less money and a lifetime of memories...I would!

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