The night before Thanksgiving, I actually finished a major story. I did real work and I will really get paid. More than half a decade into my life as a freelancer, this continues to amaze me, since my current work methods are extremely unconventional when compared with my old ones, from the first part of my career, when I actually got up on the south side of 8 a.m., dressed reasonably and dragged myself into an office, where I tried to sit up straight.
For those of you who are contemplating working from home, here's what it's really like.
If you do work from home and you actually work in a home office, no matter how messy it is, this will make you feel better. Scene: My bedroom, which is really my office, since my beautifully organized real office, a spare bedroom, is now obscured behind many months of flotsam and jetsam, which gets cleared out of the living/dining/kitchen areas when visitors come, or when I can no longer walk through my house without tripping. The bed is unmade, with me in it, slouching against one of those dorm/study/armchair pillows, a blanket over my legs and a half-eaten bag of Chips Ahoy at my side -- not my typical vice, but I requested them last night after I remembered they once powered me through writing four final papers in one final exam prep in one night. That was many moons ago, and I'm sorry to say, they seem to have lost their effect.
A few crumbs have found their ways onto the sheets, which at long last will get washed in honor of the impending arrival of my in-laws, who sleep in our room when they visit. Near the bed are three very large Container Store tubs of baby clothes, many of which I have been saving for my neighbors, for almost as long as they've been trying to adopt, which is more than five years now. I would get rid of the clothes, but I don't want to give up on behalf of my neighbors.
Since my story really is due today, by 5 p.m., and since I have been busy with my story or at least worrying about it or avoiding it for several weeks now, I have abandoned all pretenses of housekeeping. The bedroom floor is covered with dirty laundry, a scattering of books, a duffel containing a few unused, clean clothes from our New York trip, random socks that might be clean and yes, many, many dust balls. By 8 p.m. tonight, it must look like a bed-and-breakfast room for my in-laws. My idea, not theirs.
It’s just before 1 p.m., time for my nanny to go pick up Lee, who’s being dismissed early from school today. Ideally, she’ll take Ted with her, but today, he swears he won’t go. So I tell her to leave him home. She drives off and Ted comes into my room.