I'm a teacher, so I get a nice break this time of year. I didn't have anything special planned - my wife has to work so we can take time off together in the summer - so I thought I'd catch up on my writing, reading, and a few small fix-it items around the house. We've been living in our house for 20 years, and it was new when we moved in. So, naturally, instead of cooperating with my mellow vacation plans, everything decided to break at the same time. The big items? Well, the dryer went out, followed by the heating and air conditioning, topped off by the hot water heater refusing to actually heat our water. I've pretty much spent the last week and a half sitting around, wearing damp clothes, smelling bad, waiting for repairmen to show up, feeling awkward while they're in the house, and then writing a big fat check when, after their second or third visit, they actually fix what they set out to fix. Every now and then I have a conversation with one of them that goes something like this: Repairman says: "Your condenser on the breaker board is blown out so you'll need a new bypass. The coupling switch is just fried, and both circuit relays shut down for good. You're gonna get that with this model." I hear, "Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, eight hundred dollars." I say, "Sounds about right," even though I have no idea what anything he said actually means. Don't get me wrong, they've all been courteous and, so far as I can tell, professional, and for the most part prompt. But none of that cures the feelings of ignorant helplessness as we hemorrhage another pile of cash. If you're thinking, "First world problems. Get over it!" you're absolutely right. But here's the thing: I live in the first world, so what kind of problems am I supposed to have? The bottom line is I'm spending a boatload of money on a vacation without ever leaving the house. So I thought a new word was in order. Hence the title. I believe I just experienced my first "paycation" and I'm hoping, without a lot of confidence, that it's my last.