with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
We’ve arrived at that magical time of year when I typically sit down to write my annual post about how school is out and the children are making me insane. Except that this year things are a little different, and that’s not the post I need to write; for one thing, this was a particularly difficult school year for all of us (for a variety of reasons), and so the arrival of summer vacation feels like a much-needed exhalation and relief, for a change. And the truth, too, is that with each passing year my children becoming a bit more independent. Sure, we still have “Really, can you not find anything to do? I’m sure I can find something for you…” moments, but at 12 and 10-and-a-half, my days of playing referee and constant monitor are mostly over.
For another thing, right now the biggest distraction to my work comes not from the kids, but from my poor neurotic dog. I wrote yesterday on my personal blog about how apparently some sort of creature has made its way into the crawlspace underneath my office bathroom. And my dog—my poor, dear, 12-pounds-of-sentry pooch—is driving me insane.
Now, as soon as I wrote that post, my commenters—sensible lot that they are—were all, “CALL AN EXTERMINATOR IMMEDIATELY.” I was even treated to a few stories of creatures that chewed through floors, or beleaguered pets who dug through the floor in their earnestness to reach the intruders. Awesome. And I know that’s the only solution, so I was ready to do that.
But my husband was convinced he could take care of things. And it turns out that my husband is a pretty handy guy, so when he went under the house and emerged later to report that the creature wasn’t there, but he thought he could seal up the points of entry, I believed him. He went to the hardware store and returned with a truckload of stuff and went back under the house and emerged victorious a few hours later. Vent screens had been replaced. Bent things had been unbent (or rebent). Access denied, intruders! You are not welcome here.
I commended my husband on his manliness and resourcefulness, and yesterday evening the dog continued to stalk the bathroom with a worried look and some whining, but we figured it would take a few days for her to realize that the problem had been solved.
This morning she made a beeline for the bathroom again, and as I sat down to work I briefly wondered how long it would take for her to get over her indignation. But mostly I sat down at my computer ready to knock out a day’s work and hoping she would at least be quiet today. It turns out that a pacing, whining dog is kind of annoying when you’re trying to concentrate.
The funny thing is, in my early days of freelancing, the thing I used to talk about the most was how I could work anywhere, anytime. It’s a portable business—have computer, will accomplish—and for my first couple of years I barely ever worked at my desk (which, to be fair, was at that time in my family room, surrounded by small children and smaller toys). But as time has gone on, I’ve become quite attached to my office setup. Yes, sometimes I work in other parts of the house or out of the house, but I feel more productive and centered here at my desk. And nothing has driven that point home to me more completely than having my dog freaking out behind me and having to decide which is worse: Listening to her fret, or picking up and working elsewhere.
Well, I was about an hour into my day when I heard the creature under the floor, again. Either it was hiding when my husband was under there sealing up the entry points, or it found a way back in. Either way, the dog is beside herself and I’m Googling numbers for exterminators. I’d like my easygoing dog back, please, and I’d also like my nice quiet office back.
Never a dull moment ’round here, people. Never.
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