Life Like a Corporate Retreat

5 years ago

I spent most of last week at a fancy corporate retreat in Southern California at which my husband and a squadron of co-workers from all over the globe were recognized for exceptional work achievements in the past year. While playing the supportive wife at a five star resort filled with enthusiastic, friendly people busting their humps to delight me was hard work, I did take those marriage vows for better or worse.

And now I’ve found a goal: to live every day like I am at an upscale work conference.

First, I’d like to be greeted each morning with a printed activity schedule that tells me where to be and when, in a beautiful calligraphic font. I’d peruse it from deep within the confines of a plush terrycloth robe, free from dog hair and coffee stains. The scent of toasting waffles and sizzling bacon would finally pull me from bed into the kitchen, where I would be free to wander happily from counter top to glistening counter top, filling my plate with delectable tidbits.

When I sit down at the kitchen table, there would be upbeat faces saying, “Where are YOU from? Oh, is that a direct flight? I once ate at a wonderful restaurant there, do you know it?” Because none of us know each other all that well, and anyone could be a Big Boss or a spouse thereof, we’d treat each other with delicacy and polite curiosity. No grunted answers from two kids about the location of homework, shoes, and lunchboxes, or complaints that someone is hogging the comics section.

After breakfast, I’d be ushered onto a comfortable chair in the living room to hear a smart, inspiring person talk about interesting things for an hour, NPR correspondents and blind mountain climbers and the like. I’d nod my head, laugh quietly, wonder what time the masseuse is showing up.

The rest of the day would unfurl like the petals of a hibiscus blossom, with gently exhilarating physical challenges like beach cruiser bike riding through cute neighborhoods followed by recovery on a chaise lounge in the back yard with a novel and a snack bar menu. We’d freshen up and dress for dinner (resort casual, no suit jacket required for men) and convene on the front porch for a sundowner cocktail before eating. Work stress? Pish tosh. That’s miles away from here.

Dinner conversation would mostly consist of a recap of the day’s adventures, and all diners would eat more than they really should, it’s all just so delicious, instead of poking suspiciously at the plate and saying, “Are those onions? I’m just asking.”

Obviously I would neither cook, nor wash dishes, nor dust, nor vacuum. However, a cart would appear in the downstairs hallway from which I could surreptitiously palm a Bulgari-scented travel soap.

Finally, arriving in my bedroom at night, the piles of laundry that need to be folded and the stack of kids’ books that always migrate to my bedside table would be replaced by a freshly turned down bed, chocolates, and postcards with inspirational quotes to ponder as I drift off to sleep: “Laugh often. Dream big. Reach for the stars,” or, my favorite from Pablo Picasso, “Everything you can imagine is real.”

That smoke you smell? It’s me imagining, really really hard.

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