I’d like to preface this blog by explaining that since writing this piece, I have since moved to my own place with a 20 minute commute to a park or 10 minutes to a coffee shop if I choose to leave the dining room table overlooking the blooming tulips. I have most of my time to myself, no dogs, and while my business isn’t rolling, I’d say it’s in a good place. Some might even call me a real adult. Some. I’m currently lying in the grass epiphanizing that I’m actually at work. When I finish, I fully intent to reward myself with a bout on the swings before meandering home past rush hour traffic. But this blog illustrates how it all started. And when I’ve changed the world to a democratic economy with my writing I’ll look back and laugh. My mom will probably look back and say “you’re welcome.”
We all get up and mill about the kitchen like we know there are tasks to be accomplished, but the only tangible objective for the first bleary moment or two is to get into each other’s way. Eventually we break off into separate duties: newspaper, coffee, breakfast; the dog sticks her nose in someone’s crotch to remind us that breakfast goes on that list, too. We have an interesting setup, you see. In this transition period between Mexico and new Asheville life, I’m starting this web content writing business from home. I don’t advertise that I live in my parent’s basement, but I totally do. I’m actually moving in the coming weeks, and I while I will appreciate my independence once more (soooo much), I will truly miss these bizarre rituals.
Although the commute from the kitchen to the dining room is pretty carefree, I wouldn’t say that I’m in the healthiest work environment. The table is smeared with notes, writing instruments, newspaper, “file piles,” computer wires, sticky notes, table salt (how hard is it to hit your plate?), crumbs, and a couple ornamental ceramic chickens. The dogs whine to go outside to eat the squirrels. I sit at one end, calling on muses and marketing schemes for my new business, while my mother plans the 8th cabin for Barkwells. I sit at one end of the table and my mother sits at the other, both of us tapping furiously, making strange noises and muttering to ourselves.
“What?! What did you say?”
“I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to myself.”
“Oh. You’re so weird – you know you can’t do that in a real professional setting, right?”
Sometimes I draw an imaginary cubicle with my hands, like a mime desperate to escape his box, except I am trying to close myself in. Aside from the chaos around me, there are so many perks to having the freedom to work from home. This morning, for instance, my mom was able to carve out some time for her singing group’s rehearsal…in the living room. While I was planning out my day, prepping invoices, and managing to delete my entire Outlook email program by accident, she and her singing partner conceptualized choreography for a song about going to the gym. I suggested that they go there for inspiration, but after half an hour they both headed off to their next appointments, and it’s quiet again. Aside from the dishwasher.
Now the dogs want to come back in, sans squirrel, thank God.
I get a few good hours in until lunch time. Well, technically it’s lunch time, but I’ve just had some crackers and hummus (a blessing and a curse for being so close to the fridge). But Mom’s back and she’s got to make gift baskets for guests. She sweetly implies that she’s starving to death and starts pulling out ingredients for me to make a salad. I’m in a bubble of work-mode – so close to lexiconic genius that I can taste a Pulitzer (or at least a couple “likes” on Facebook) – when all of a sudden, “SON OF A B!%*H! Somebody ate my apple!!”
My mother hardly ever swears, and her voice usually can’t go that high…so I wheeled around, my work bubble popped like an alarm clock ripping me from the last moments of a dream.
“What? Sooo!? We have a million apples and they’re delicious. Use another one! You’re upsetting the dog.”
“But that was the perfect apple for my basket. I need that apple. Aaaargh!”
“Ok. I cannot help you. And it’s possible that you’re overreacting. Please make some bacon.”
She did a couple of laps around the kitchen island until she found the apple which she’d had the foresight to insert into a special basket bag. At which point, we both broke into hysterics. We finally got back on track – I made the salads (while humming the “Work Song” from Cinderella), she made the bacon, and we let the dogs back out. This is how work from home goes, right? I don’t even have any kids to juggle! I think I’ll call in sick until my tech person calls back to fix my email.