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


The Dishes, They Are Multiplying!



In two days time, the dishes have taken over the kitchen.

Keep in mind, the boys and I have done more than one load and in fact have cleared them out more than once.

But there are three of us at home and that just builds up dirty dishes at a ridiculous rate.

They’re like bunnies. Dirty, dirty bunnies.

And you can read that last sentence in several ways, so have fun.

Seriously though, I don’t ever get the explosion of dishes which takes place when the rest of the house is home. Try as I might, I can’t get them to clear their plates and then put them right into the dishwasher. As you can see from the dish apocalypse in the kitchen, it hasn’t happened.

Mind you, today is compounded by the fact that Omega Child has a friend over, so 1) we have three extra people total in the house today rather than two and 2) he hasn’t done his daily chore which is load dishes into the dishwasher.

Still, that’s an inordinate amount of dishes for less than a 24 hour period.

We also have a cup infestation issue as well.

Yesterday, when the kidlets cleaned their room, we found five glasses upstairs. All half filled with water.

As we’re not about to be invaded by aliens, I assume this is just a sign people are being lazy rather than preparing for defending their family.

They have spread to the living room, the porch and the kitchen, where I am concerned they will link forces with the dishes and take over the house.

After Omega Child’s friend leaves, I’ll charge him with destroying the hordes of dishes by using the ultimate weapon: his hands and the dishwasher.

But even then, I know they’ll be back.

They’re always back.

If you don’t hear from me in 24 hours, send help. Or non-lazy kids.

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The Battle of the Bulge

If Cookie Monster can do it, can't I?

If Cookie Monster can do it, can’t I?

Just to be up front about this, the title in no way refers to the actual Battle in the Adrennes, the famous Battle of the Bulge from World War 2.

It has no relation to the German’s desperate gamble to turn the European theater around, the Bloody Bastards of Bastogne or any episodes of the fantastic mini-series Band of Brothers.

No, this title refers to the bulge around my waist.

One of the greatest challenges I have in being a stay/work-at-home dad is staying in any sort of shape. Keeping myself moving and keeping myself from eating…..well, everything in the house….is a major issue for me. I know that last time I had it checked, my cholesterol was a bit high and that was a concern.

So slowly, but surely (but slowly), I have been trying to exercise more and eat less crap.

It’s been an up and down battle.

The two biggest issues I have are snacking and soda intake. I’ve really cut down on the soda for the most part, which was a huge step.

I rarely drink regular soda (well, in my case cherry soda) anymore, having switched to an all-natural soda. So I’m not getting the same super-refined sugar I was inhaling before and also avoiding all the chemicals which get put in that – which seems to strip the paint off cars.

Which has also completely wiped out my need for caffeine. Soda for me is about taste (hence the cherry) but in many ways that’s just a ridiculous lie. It’s about sugar and caffeine and the fact that for 20 years I trained my body to require both.

I’ve largely weened myself off the caffeine, and am working on the super-refined sugar.

Of course, the other issue is snacking. Chips, oh how I love you.

That’s probably going to be my single biggest challenge because – and here’s a dirty secret – I don’t like fruits or vegetables. I’m not sure why it happened that way, but it did.

So on top of cutting back on grabbing anything with a high carb or sugar count for snack, I also have to train myself to eat things I really don’t like.

Thank God my kids don’t eat anything like me.

Oh Guinness.... I'm going to miss you over the next few weeks....

Oh Guinness…. I’m going to miss you over the next few weeks….

So for the next few weeks, the Wife and I are doing a variation of the South Beach Diet, which worked really well for us a few years ago. The reason it worked so well for us was in part because it’s not a diet in the classic sense, so much as a sudden and radical readjustment in your eating habits.

Getting portions in control, cutting down on really processed foods and sugar and generally eating better. There’s no “cheating” – if in a few weeks I want a cookie, I can have one. I just have to know that my body is likely to say “OH GOODY CARBS” and crave more.

Adding this to my current light regimen of exercise and dog walking (more exercise) will help out a lot in dropping the weight and getting my body back into a healthier mode.

Again, though, the biggest issue for me is being at home and having way too much food at my disposal. I don’t have anyone to remind me to eat a carrot instead of a bowl (bag) of chips, so it’s up to me and my occasionally craptastic willpower.

I want to eat better and feel better. I want to drop weight and be healthier.

I want to stop feeling out of breath coming up the stairs and I’d like my knees to hurt less.

I’d like to be able to run around with my kids and not feel like I’m going to throw up from the effort.

Dropping that middle tire will go a long way towards doing that.

I’ll feel better about myself and be healthier.

All I have to do is stop myself from walking down the street to the Quick Mart and grabbing a cookie, chips or ice cream.

Hopefully I’m not totally screwed.


Impromptu musicals

This morning saw me (lovingly) bitching about trying to get work done while the other family members are home.

It’s the afternoon now and everyone is home (Omega Child and I were sent to get shakes from the local ice cream place but are back) and I was just witness to the upside of having folks home while you work.

Sicko Alpha Tween and Omega Child are being allowed some PS3 time and currently reside on the couch an floor, respectively.

There was a little noise as they got the game system an Little Big Planet fired up (they’re designing their own level) and then the two of them broke out in a somewhat off-key rendition of “If I Only Had a Brain” at the top of their lungs.

This is the sort of thing which makes working home a joy. Sure there are difficulties and hurdles, but I don’t miss things like this. It’s part of what makes not being here on NFL Sundays a bummer.

Whether it’s random Wizard of Oz show tunes or “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, the kids are often a joy to hang around or – as is the case now – be near while your working.

It’s the sort of thing which our fathers missed, although I doubt they knew it or thought about it.

How lucky am I that I can be home for the little bursts of joy like that? Or playing chess or Risk with one of the kids? Or catching up on Game of Thrones with the Wife? Or debating what our favorite superheroes are?

There are days where it’s extremely hard to manage the kids and work and everything else.

But being serenaded with songs from Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog more than makes up for it.

And now we’re back to the kids fighting over who gets gems in Little Big Planet so, there goes that moment.

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It’s hard to work when they’re always watching you

So if you follow me on the Twitter Machine (and if not, why the hell not?), you may have caught that Alpha Tween has been home sick this week.

Today, the Wife has chosen to work from home, so she’s around as well.

I find it very hard to work effectively when the family is around.

I don’t know what it is, to be honest. For the most part they don’t actually do anything.

Except silently judge me.

This is Minnie. While it may not look like it, she is judging me. Always.

This is Minnie. While it may not look like it, she is judging me. Always.

See I can tell, even with Wife in the other room and Alpha Tween snarfling his snot on the couch that they’re absolutely thinking “what the hell is he doing? IS he working? Does he not know we can see him reading comics online (Oh Marmaduke, you so crazy!)? Isn’t there something else he should be doing?”

By the way I just read that paragraph again and want to clarify that Alpha Tween isn’t actually getting snot all over the couch, but is snarfling snot while on the couch. Totally different.

Although now that I consider it, he’s probably got snot on the couch anyway and I won’t be sitting there anytime soon.


Working at home brings with it multiple challenges, one of which is you get used to having space all to yourself.

Want to flake off for a half hour and eat breakfast while watching Supernatural? Go for it.

Have a sudden desire to go out for a slice of pizza for lunch? Why not?

Want to do away with wearing pants? Done and DONE.

When people are home though, while you can do any of those things, you feel judged. You feel as if, when you’re not doing what you “should”

be doing, someone is thinking “this is what they do all day?”

We judge. It’s what we do. It’s what our country is founded on and if you don’t believe me, take five minutes and listen to any amount of talk radio.

You probably didn’t even make the full five minutes did you?

And as we judge, we assume we are judged. Hell, we’re probably right too!

For me, though, it’s more than that.

I’m so used to not having people around me that, it’s just weird to have people in myspace at all during the day.

I get in the zone (like I am now) and write or do laundry or whatever and I just don’t want to be bothered.

And nobody in my house really bothers me when they’re home. Not really (well Omega Kid does but he’s only a second grader, that comes with the territory).

I swear to God, this counts as work.....

I swear to God, this counts as work…..

But I get tense when people are around and when they talk to me there’s this little voice in the back of my head which is all like “HEY, BUDDY WE’RE TRYING TO WORK HERE EVEN IF WORK INVOLVES WATCHING FOOTBALL OR READING GOOFY COMICS”.

I’m sure it comes out in my facial expression at times as well.

Because I am mostly freelance and not strictly nine to five, because my schedule is always all over the place and because a lot of my work requires me to be self-motivated, it lacks a lot of structure (especially now when it’s off-season for the NFL, my chief work supplier).

So it takes very little change in my barely there routine to completely throw me off.

Even to the point where those little breaks nobody cares I am taking seem like something that will get commented on.

I know, I’m nuts (which is a whole other column).

It’s nice to have people around and nice to spend a little extra time (snotty though it might be) with family.

But it’s hard as well. The whole house is my office and it’s weird to have people just hanging out in it.

I suspect that is the case for many of you who work from home. Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just me.

Let me know, down below.

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What I’m Into:

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