I have a problem with words in social situations: I obsess over their meaning and try to get my phrasing as exact as possible so as to convey my intent. This is an anxiety thing.
I would like time off. My workplace does the Paid-Time-Off pool for time off (just one set of time-off, no separate sick/vacation/etc). The general understanding around the workplace, however, is that taking time off is 'stealing time from the company.' This is, of course, not explicitly expressed, but it can be seen in the culture (no one takes time off unless they're really sick or they'll take it for a full week at a time). My boss also likes to make jests at his employee's expenses, and few others are willing to return them.
How do I ask for this time off? I feel like it's my time; I've earned it by consistently producing good material (single developer doing literally every task on a large project). But I don't want to say, "I'm taking time off." At the same time, because I feel like I've earned this time, I don't want to ask, "Can I have time off?"
Is there a magic bullet here, a perfect phrasing that I can use that expresses my desire for time off without implying that my boss has total control over my time off? Or does he, and I have to ask for it?