Take Your Husband to Work Day . . . Everyday

You may or may not know by now that I travel a lot with my job.  It gets pretty monotonous going back and forth to the same geographic locations and staying in the same hotels often enough that the Hotel Manager asks about Tink’s Algebra grade, but there is some comfort in that too.  One advantage of my job is that when I don’t travel, I work from home.

"Well frankly Alex she's grounded after the grade on that last test!" <image courtesy of ehow.com>

When I was 16 I contracted Mononucleosis and was placed on what they called “home-bound” for 6 weeks.  A teacher that wasn’t good enough for a real job with the County came to my house twice a week and ate cookies in the kitchen while I did my school work.  I was fascinated to discover that I could complete an entire week’s worth of classroom assignments and homework in about 5 hours a week.  When I asked the teacher about this phenomenon she gave me some non-committal response.  When I asked my Mom about it she said it was because I didn’t have to sit through all the extra stuff they did for the “slower” kids.  I’m not sure either answer was correct, but it did enlighten me to the fact that a LOT of time is wasted in schools . . . and offices!

Only the smart kids raise their hands <image via nctm.org>

So working from home actually allows me to get a lot more done than I would in a traditional office setting.  There’s no other co-workers to wander in and talk about last night’s game or someone to run into in the break room and chat about the latest episode of Biggest Loser and whether or not someone ought to shove Conda off a cliff during one of the challenges.  (And what the hell kind of name is Conda anyway?  I’d write a post about that but the Byronic Man already did here.  You should really check it out.)  I still have the phone and email as distractions, but I have control over who I speak with and when and the answering of said email.  Another plus is that what would be a coffee break turns into putting a load of laundry in the dryer or unloading the dishwasher.  I love working at home because it is so peaceful and quiet.  No TV, no radio, no distractions, just me and my work getting done ever so quickly so I can be not-working even sooner!

"No I totally agree that Bob is hotter than Dolvette!"

But lately, that’s not how it’s gone.  Because my husband is “in between jobs” right now.  (He’s in construction and you’ve seen the reports on the economy – it’s going to be a while)  So he’s at home all the time.  Just so you understand that’s like having “Take your husband to work day” every single day!  Think about it.  Would you want your spouse following you around at work all day?  Every day? 

I’m constantly amazed when I visit on-site locations and we close the door to have a meeting and another employee just walks in.  They don’t think the closed door applies to them.  Well guess what?  It can be just me and my husband at home, I close my office door to make some phone calls and in he walks.  There’s only the two of us there.  Who the hell does he think I’m closing the door to?? 

See the difference? One is Closed . . . One is Open! <image via clipartof.com>

Then Tink comes home from school and has a million and one urgent, crucial questions that can’t wait until I’m off the phone like “What’s for dinner?”  “I’m done with my homework can I text now?”  “I want a snack but do you think I should have an apple or a cupcake?”  Seriously???  You don’t care about my opinions or what I have to say at any other time of the day but right now you want me to pick your afternoon snack?  While I’m on the phone with my boss??  (ok – so I don’t exactly get to pick when I talk to my boss, but everyone else I do)

You might as well eat the cupcake and bring me the apple. You aren't going to eat it anyway. <image via earthreport.com>

So lately I have come to appreciate my travel just a little more.  Because when I get to the hotel and close the door, it locks behind me and no one can come ask me if they can have some of my super-secret, private stash of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans that a co-worker gave me for Christmas.  Or if they can have the last cupcake.  Or if they can borrow a paperclip.  It’s just peace and quiet!  Ahhh – it’s like having Mono all over again . . .

Ahhhhh . . .

Home Alone

Risky Business (soundtrack)

Image via Wikipedia

I get ridiculously excited when I get to be in my own home all by myself.  I don’t know exactly why this is.  I have no desire to run around in my underwear singing “Old Time Rock n Roll” like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.  Nor do I feel the need to pour a glass of wine at 11 am.  I don’t really want to do anything that I can’t do when my husband and daughter are home, but I still get just as excited as a 16-year-old whose parents are going out-of-town for the weekend.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to be home alone for an entire weekend.  No one to ask me where the mayonnaise is (in the refrigerator in the same spot it always is, I didn’t move it to the laundry room), no one to complain to me that her life is over because her favorite jeans weren’t washed overnight (despite the fact that they were under her bed and not in the hamper), no one to consult when I want something to eat – that in itself would be amazing.  Just to eat when I get hungry and not to begin thinking about what we’re going to have for dinner before I’ve finished breakfast.  Dinner could be cereal!  Hmm, I don’t really like cereal – that’s beside the point, the point is it could be cereal.

I usually work from home 2 days a week but I travel the other 3.  At least 3-4 days a month this travel requires an overnight stay.  So it’s not as if I never have a chance to pick my own dinner without considering others tastes or never get to be the only one holding the remote, but there’s something special about being in my own home by myself that’s entirely different from a hotel.  And I rarely get that opportunity.

I think one of the reasons I love the idea of being home by myself is because I can be certain of completing a thought without interruption.  The other day I was working from home and the only other person here was my husband.  I was on the phone so I closed the door to my office.  He wanted (wanted, not needed) a file folder so he just opened the door, came in and grabbed one.  My phone conversation was not ultra personal or private or anything he could not be privy to, but I completely lost my train of thought.  Wouldn’t common sense tell you that if you are the only other person in the house and a door is closed it must mean for you to stay out?  You would think that, but neither my daughter nor my husband see it this way.  I wonder who they think I’m trying to keep out?

keep out sign in nevadaville

Here’s a typical day:  My husband comes in, “Hey do you have a folder?” leaves the room and returns 1 minute later “Hey do you have some paper?” 2 minutes later, “Do you have some paperclips?” OH MY GOD GO TO THE DAMN STORE ALREADY!  but instead I say, “Do you need anything else?”  Him, “Nope, that’s it.”  3 minutes later, “I think I just ought to use staples.”  (I’m thinking “I think I need to beat you about the head and neck with the !&#$% stapler!)  But I say, “Honey, I’m really trying to work.”  Him, “Well I’m not stopping you!”  Me, <Heavy Sigh>

Multitasking is exhausting and I can prove it.  Here’s an article from Partners in Productive Leadership that proves that “our brains are trained to focus on one thing at a time”.  According to this article, when you go from one thing to another, “your brain has to load new information.”  Load?  Like when my computer has to load a website?  Good heavens that can take a lot of time and battery power – I mean energy!  So now I have proof!  It really is exhausting to be around my husband and daughter!

But when I am home alone for more than an hour, I start wondering what they are doing, if they’ve had enough to eat, when are they coming back, what would they want for dinner tomorrow night, etc.  I also notice that it gets terribly quiet in this big ol’ house all alone.  No one needs me, and that’s a lonely feeling.  As much as I love to complain about my family, and all the misery they cause me, I don’t know what in the world I would do without them.  I am willing to give it a try at least once or twice a week for about an hour and a half at a time though.