Archive for the 'Working from Home (kind of)' Category

03
Dec
13

I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be

jarvisislazyI have been sick for a little over a week now.

I began to get an inkling something might be amiss the Sunday before Thanksgiving when I sat at my desk watching the NFL slate for Week 12.

That, in and of itself, wasn’t unusual. I do that every week.

What was odd was that this time, I did it shivering under a flannel blanket with about four layers on underneath. Next to the heater.

Yeah, I was sick.

I don’t handle that well—I never do, especially in-season when I am enormously busy. Normally my body and I have an agreement—it doesn’t fall apart between August and January and I let it collapse for all of February post-Super Bowl.

Apparently we’re at war because my body pulled a Blitzkrieg on me and there I was sick.

I was buried in work Monday and Tuesday so I slept a lot of Wednesday, drank a ton of tea and muddled through Thanksgiving (which was very enjoyable). The kids left with mom and dad for the weekend, which allowed me to sleep a bit more and knock some work off early on Friday.

My wife left on Saturday to head to Pennsylvania and a niece’s birthday party. We both thought it bad form if I brought even an improving plague with me despite their assurances that it was fine.

Which left me home alone on Saturday.

Relaxing is a hard thing for me. You’d think I would be good at it, but I’m actually quite awful at relaxing. I am constantly wracked with guilt that I should be doing something. Most of the time I couldn’t tell you what that something is, though it usually becomes work and writing because even when something isn’t on a deadline the more you write the more you’re out there and the better and more diverse a writing resume you have.

There’s another column there grappling with the general American (and male) inability to shut work off, so let’s put a pin in that for another day.

Going into Saturday I made a determination: I was going to relax. I was going to make myself relax, rest, and reboot both physically and mentally.

If forcing yourself to relax seems like an oxymoron, welcome to my world. It’s warm here and we have cookies shaped like schadenfreude.

So Saturday, the wife packed up and headed to Pennsylvania.

And I did nothing—and it was everything I thought it could be.

OK, not strictly nothing. In part because I wanted to get a head start on a piece I needed to write for Tuesday and in part because I had fun things I wanted to do which would count as “something” even if they seem like “nothing.”

As parents, we don’t get much down time. For a work-from-home/stay-at-home dad or mom, it can be hard to ever really shut down because your office (and therefore your work) is always right there.

“I can just hammer out a few paragraphs” or “I’ll just do some data-entry” and the like are things home-office folk tell ourselves so that we feel less shitty for working at home during “non-office hours.”

But that’s just a cover for the fact that, because we are always at the office, we always see the pile of work on our desk and always feel like we should be working.

We lie that we’ll just do a little X and a bit of Y and then flip on the TV but that never happens and the next thing you know you’ve worked overtime for free.

So when you’re a parent—and one who works from home—you need to grab those relaxation moments when you can.

Once I wrote the one piece I felt I needed to (which made Monday a lot less painful), I stepped away from the computer and didn’t look at it again.

That took a lot of self control, let me tell you. I didn’t watch any football, didn’t break down any game tape, didn’t look at potential 2014 NFL draft prospects—all things I could have done and written off as “work, but not really.”

I did a lot of stuff, but none of it was critical.

My day consisted of:

Catching up on Supernatural.

I was about two episodes behind and had to find out what the Winchester boys were up to. Two brothers, a muscle car, 70s and 80s hair metal and monster hunting. THANKS HULU!

Watched Pacific Rim.

Some of you people told me I would enjoy it.

You people undersold it to me and for that you will forever have my anger.

Or not. Who knew I missed giant robots fighting giant monsters? My inner 12 year old was excited.

If you’ve ever played Battletech, watched Godzilla (the originals not the crap with Matthew Broderick) or have read/watched something like Macross and you haven’t seen this flick you are doing yourself a disservice as a geek.

One of my favorite popcorn movies ever.

Ate way too much crap.

Which, when you think about how sick I had been was pretty counter-intuitive but I wasn’t cooking and calzones and cherry coke are tasty sometimes.

Played The Last of Us.

Someone described The Last of Us as the best zombie movie to come out in a long time and it’s a pretty accurate description.

I’m tempted to do a review of it at some point—both from an aging gamer/geek point of view as well as a fatherhood angle—because while there are zombie plant people/infected and bandits and apocalypse things, what the story is about, at its heart, is a grieving father and a lost little girl.

I have a lot of thoughts about it (and OH THE FEELS) but I’ll save it for another time because any half-assed discussion here is just a disservice to the game.

I will say that I have played many video games where I thought “well this could be a cool movie/TV series/book.” In fact, I ingest a lot of entertainment wondering how it would look in other forms. Comics as movies, movies as shows—I think that’s how we tend to absorb our entertainment now.

I cannot think of how this game—which I can best shorthand as the greatest choose-your-own-adventure “book” ever—would be improved by another format.

I can’t wait to finish it and also am sad that I can only experience it for the first time, once.

This game had me do something I haven’t done in forever.

When my wife came home—later than expected—we chatted for a while and she went to bed. I went back to playing. I figured I would play for maybe another hour and then go to bed.

At some point my wife got up and went to get a drink of water or use the bathroom and I thought “huh, she hasn’t been in bed long.”

I checked my watch and found out it was 1:30am.

I don’t play video games often but when I do, apparently I don’t sleep.

You’d think that I would wake up tired on Sunday, having hit the sack well past my bedtime—I mean I work late on Sunday and Monday since NFL games end at midnight both of those evenings, but almost 2am is pushing it even for me.

However, at the end of the day (and the start of the next one) I felt rested and refreshed. My brain was clear and I was surprisingly stress free—not something I feel most days when I don’t do more than a small amount of work.

As parents, we don’t get much time off.

But we should make some for ourselves even a little.

We—and our kids and partners—will probably be better for it.

I believe I am scheduled for another day off on December 12th……2016.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

12
Nov
13

It’s a Dad Knock Life

Every Sunday I retreat to my office to watch football.

For my job. Really, I swear. It’s a hardship.

This weekend, after she had come into the office to talk several times, my wife told me she was closing the door to stop herself (and more importantly, the kids) from interrupting me from my vital work.

(Seriously, it is work.)

That really didn’t stop the interruptions, though it limited them.

After interruption 1,746, there came a knock on the office door.

Me: *sigh* Yes?

The door opens and The Professor’s head pokes in.

Me: What do you need, bub?

Professor: Well…….why do you have the door closed?

Me: Mom closed it so I wouldn’t be interrupted while I work.

Professor: Oh. Is that something that happens?

I stared at him, figuring he was making a joke. He was not.

I love my son. Sometimes I might want to strangle him, but I love my son.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

24
Oct
13

I CAN SEE THROUGH TIME

image via funnyasduck.net

So my wife has started working home more often. We share an office in the house, so we’ve been in each other’s space a lot more, which has actually been fine, save for when she is on a client call and I’m doing a radio spot—in which case one of us has to leave.

Anyway, it also affords us the time to have conversations like the one which led me to discover that yes, I have the ability to SEE THE FUTURE.

Here’s yesterday’s conversation so you have some background.

And then prepare to be blown away.

 

 

Me: Man it’s cold. It seems cold enough to snow.

Her: It’s not.

Me: I’m not saying it is, I’m saying it feels like it.

Her: It’s 50 degrees.

Me: It’s almost cold enough…..

Her: <laughter>

Me: What?

Her: Yeah, it’s only 20 degrees too warm.

Me: I don’t like you or your logic anymore.

Here’s the thing—I woke up this morning and it was totally cold. I have proof.

SEE IT'S COLD

SEE IT’S COLD

So here it is a day later and totally almost cold enough to snow, maybe.

You know what this means? That’s right! I CAN SEE INTO THE FUTURE.

Clearly I wasn’t really thinking yesterday was cold enough to snow—I was seeing through the space-time vortex into Thursday morning.

And here’s more proof it is cold enough to be cold.

LOOK FROST

LOOK FROST

That white stuff? Totally frost.

MORE FROST

MORE FROST

And look! Frost on the playground.

A CLOSEUP OF - FROST!

A CLOSEUP OF – FROST!

In case you can’t see, the above is a closeup of frost. I tried to get a picture of my breath but couldn’t get it to work but it was absolutely cold enough to see my breath.

Holy crap you guys! I KNEW THIS WOULD HAPPEN.

How awesome is this? I can now do all sorts of things with my future-sight. I can stop crimes before they happen. I can win bets on sports events. I can figure out when the last donut is going to be eaten and get there first.

I promise you guys I will only use my powers for mostly good things though (mostly good because I’m only human—OR AM I?) and not for evil (MOSTLY BECAUSE I AM ONLY SORT OF HUMAN).

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

22
Jul
13

Who I Am vs What I Do

So there might be some changes coming on the job front again, though I won’t get into that now because it may not happen.

Anyway, as things might shift for me, I find myself struggling with the concept of changing what I do on a day to day basis and having a certain amount of anxiety about it.

As if changing what I do alters who I am. Which, on the one hand, it does because your experiences in life shape who you are as a person. Especially in America where we so closely identify with our jobs. Think about it.

How often do you answer “I am……” when someone asks what you do? Always?

We spend an awful lot of time at our jobs, whatever they are. So much so that they bleed into who we are.

Is that really a big deal? Well, sometimes, yes.

It’s why people fall apart when they get laid off, or waste away when they retire. We get so wrapped up in what we don, it’s all we are.

Or at least that’s how it feels. It certainly seems to be an issue for multiple men I know as well as women as well.

And it’s a real issue if, like me, your job changes on a semi-frequent basis. Seriously, how the hell am I supposed to know who I am if every year I have a different job title? How do I keep my feet under me?

The answer came to me walking some dogs today and it’s surprisingly straightforward.

Don’t let what you do define who you are.

There’s a line in the movie Fight Club:

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.

Now, I cut out the very end because I don’t happen to think I’m the ” the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world” but otherwise it’s one of a few truths in an otherwise satirical look at male culture.

You’re not defined by the job you do. That goes for you ladies as well.

Notice I didn’t say “you’re not defined by what you do” because you are. We are what we do, in other words the actions we take are part of who we are.

HOWEVER, we are not defined by the job we do.

As a people, the human race love to categorize others as well as ourselves. I don’t know if (especially in America) it’s the general competitiveness left over from climbing over one of other in the primordial muck or if we do it to prove we fit somewhere.

Jobs easily define us.

But they shouldn’t.

I’m far more complex than what I do to earn a living. I’m far more than what I fill my day doing. I’m more than the sum of my paychecks and piles of work.

I’m a dad and a husband and a son and an avid reader and a lover of comics and a surfer and a huge nerd and a sports fan and a writer and a film nut—and on and on.

No one thing defines who I am. No one thing should.

We keep letting it though.

But not me. No more. Whether this new opportunity happens or doesn’t, whether I change my job title once or a hundred times in the coming years it won’t change who I am.

I won’t let it anymore.

Who’s with me?

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

12
Jul
13

AND JUST LIKE THAT THE FRAKKING WORLD ENDED

This might be off topic but the only way I get any more work done today is if I vomit this out.

Hang on kids, it’s going to be bumpy.

So, being that I can learn shit sometimes I decided that I would write my latest article for one of the websites I work for today so I could have Saturday to proof it.

SUPPORTED BY SCIENCE!!!!

SUPPORTED BY SCIENCE!!!!

You know, so it looks all professional and junk.

I also figured if I was done Friday I could spend Saturday drumming up some great pictures and graphs because this publisher loves graphs and shit like that.

Now, the dashboard we use to write in has this……….issue.

And by “issue” I mean “occasionally eats all the work you did over the last three hours for no reason.”

We’re told to write in Word and then cut and paste it in, but it’s a huge pain in the ass and always means you have to go in and re-do a host of things because the format drops randomly.

So I say “screw it” and don’t.

And then we have nights like tonight where three hours and about 1,000 words go KABLAMMO and disappear.

Now, I’m pissed and tired and the last thing I want to do is re-write the whole freaking thing because “screw you internet, I want to go to bed.” Plus I have a video to shoot, my mother in law is coming tomorrow night and I have a 40th birthday party to go to.

So I don’t want to be messing with this all night.

Omega Child came into the office while I was sharpening a knife for the inevitable seppuku because my brain can’t deal with this garbage tonight.

Him: What’s going on Daddy, you look upset.

Me: Well, the program we use to write for the site ate all the work I did today because I didn’t back it up.

Him: OH, THAT STUPID PROGRAM! THAT’S NOT NICE!

And then he hugged me.

So I’m still pissed, tired and stressed out.

But I’ll tell you what—sometimes this dad gig is pretty damned awesome.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

08
Jul
13

All Quiet on the Dad Front

The view from today's office....

The view from today’s office….

As of today, both kids are in camp and will from here on out be occupied just about full time.

Alpha Tween is doing a lacrosse camp for the first time and has fallen in love with the sport. He gets done in the early afternoon, but he also is a lot more self-sufficient so when he gets home I can still work.

Omega Child will be gone until late afternoon. Since he’s just turning 8, he needs a lot more attention. Which is fine, as long as I can plan for it.

It’s been quiet here today and that’s odd to say the least, especially after the clamor of the weekend.

Still, it’s nice to have your own space and time to yourself. Of course, as a work from home/stay at home dad, you also have to actually manage your time. It’s not all episodes of Arrow and sleeping.

My biggest issue working at home has always been working from home. What I mean is, just because I have the house to myself and everything is quiet doesn’t mean I get things done efficiently.

The Wife can tell you that. I’m just not an efficient guy much of the time. My brain wanders, I get into discussions on Twitter or back and forth emails.

I sometimes drag everything out in ways which would make Omega Child proud.

I am most often effective when I schedule myself for things, something I really hate. I don’t like schedules and when I set them I have a hard time adjusting for when things don’t go the way I planned and I get very stressed out.

On the other hand, I get stressed out when I don’t get things done because I lack a plan.

I haven’t quite figured out how to make that work. I can do some work at night, but I don’t always function well in the evening. I can get up earlier but I really don’t function well and end up wasting time while my brain boots up.

I don’t have all that much on my plate these days, though I have a spec article for a large site I am working on which has some priority. The fact is that it’s all about time management.

I’ve talked before about how we have to decide and prioritize our work/family ratio. It’s an ongoing process of course, one we have to constantly adjust.

If I want quality time with the kids – a game of Axis and Allies with Alpha Tween in the afternoon, kicking the soccer ball around with Omega Child when he gets home – I need to force myself to be more efficient in the mornings.

As I have said before, you can’t have it both ways. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

I choose to spend time with my kids and wife in the afternoon and evenings. It isn’t always possible, but if I want it to occur at all, I need to sack up and focus.

And for me, that’s always been one of the hardest things to do.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?

28
Jun
13

Angry Dad is Angry

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self potrait

image captured from the movie Big Trouble in Little China and is NOT a self portrait

I am sorely tempted to put my kids in the car, drive off into the Pine Barrens of New Jersey and kick them out of the vehicle, then take off.

Also I am actually hesitant to write this up right now because 1) I wanted any third post for today to be light and 2) I’m sure I’ll come off meaner than I intend.

But I started this blog to talk about the good AND bad of being a stay-at-home dad, so here goes.

Earlier today you might have read my post on the horrible multiplying dishes.

So earlier this afternoon I had to go do my dog walking thing. When I left, I directed the boys to take care of the dishes in the kitchen. I told Omega Child he was to load the dishwasher while I asked Alpha Tween to wash the pots and pans.

I was very specific about what needed to be done.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect it to be completely finished when I returned about an hour later. I figured it would be mostly done, which would allow me to surprise them with a trip to see Monsters University. We’d talked about possibly seeing it earlier in the week and I knew it was on their minds.

Plus, there are so few movies we can all see together, and very little time to do so anyway once camp starts.

Anyway, I expected there to be some work left which we could knock out and then go.

What I didn’t expect was to find virtually nothing done.

Omega Child was at least loading the dishwasher in his usual, snail-like pace. He drags his feet doing anything so, I expected there to be an issue.

What I did not expect was to find almost nothing done.

Well, at least they had straightened up the living room.

But the kitchen was largely the same mess which graces the picture in that earlier post.

I have to admit, I lost my shit.

Especially finding my eldest sitting on the couch.

Now his excuse….. well, it’s really irrelevant but it involved waiting for his younger sibling to finish his chore first.

This is not the first time this week he has 1) not done a simple chore I gave him and 2) blamed his brother.

There was some yelling, there was some frustration and there was some crying.

Suffice to say we didn’t go to a movie.

And it’s frustrating for me on several levels. First because I (usually) enjoy spending time with the boys, whether at the movies or riding bikes. But we can’t really do that now because there has to be some punishment.

I also hate being the guy who yells at his kids.

Which, when it comes down to it, is just part of being a parent. There are some people who enjoy yelling – at their kids, spouses, friends, clowns, people on the street – but I’m not really one of them.

posting pics of brownie sundaes is probably stupid when dieting....

posting pics of brownie sundaes is probably stupid when dieting….

(Though I will admit I love to argue and get testy in general conversation. Which is a whole other column.)

It’s one of those moments where I don’t love being a parent. Everyone walks away angry, sad and feeling like crap and nobody wins.

Unfortunately, life isn’t all ice cream sundaes.

Wait, is it?

No, probably not, dammit.

Part of being the bad guy, as far as I am concerned, is trying to drum some responsibility into their thick heads. You are told to do something and you do it, or there will be consequences.

That’s life and better to learn it now and hate me a little while than never learn it and end up a miserable fuck later on.

So yeah, I yelled. It’s happened before and will probably happen again.

Even if I hate myself a little for it every time.

Hey, are you following Dad Moon Rising on Twitter or Facebook? Why the hell not?




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What I’m Into:

Reading: Dead Beat by Jim Butcher Listening to: The Heist, Macklemore Watching: Damages