Tuesday, August 18, 2015


I'm a writer whose former employer won't let her quit.

I've got a laptop and an office with a door that closes. I've even got writing jobs. And best of all, I've got a plot outline for what will surely be a best selling middle grade book, and I'd love to work on it in between all my other writing jobs. But I can't. 

Why not? Because that former job just keeps dragging me back, demanding my time and energy. They refuse to find a replacement even though there are four qualified candidates just hanging around doing nothing. They only want me. They will not leave me alone.

But I want to write. I can make money doing this. I have made money doing this. I can make more. Yet, apparently, desire is not enough. Either, unfortunately, is the need for income. Because we currently have none. 

I will soldier on despite the difficulties. Despite the fact that, if I'm being honest with myself, I haven't entirely left my former job. I never will. And truth be told, I never want to. It is my favorite job; one which—despite what some had warned—fullfills me in every way.

I will always be Mom.

Still, my attempts at delegation have failed and so I'm left with a work day that looks a little bit like this:

6:00 am - I wake. If I get out of bed now, I might get two uninterrupted hours of writing time. Think of what I could do in two hours!

6:45 am - I get out of bed and head downstairs in my bathrobe. I will reward myself with a shower when I've accomplished my work.

8:15 am - The office door opens. "We're out of milk. What am I supposed to eat for breakfast." I suggest toast. Apparently we are out of bread too.

8:17 am - I put on sweats (this still doesn't count as getting dressed and I am still bound to the "write first, shower later" deal) and head to the grocery store.

8:54 am - I return with the milk, bread, some donuts, deodorant (I remembered I've been down to the plastic for two days) and frozen corndogs so when there's nothing to eat for lunch, I'll be prepared. I get back to writing.

9:21 am - Child number three opens the door, walks in and plops himself down in a chair. "I'm bored. What can I do?" I tell him the dishwasher needs to be emptied and the playroom needs to be cleaned. He could do laundry. I have five more suggestions but child number three has slid out of the chair and is on the floor moaning and doesn't seem interested in what I have to say.

10:01 am - I'm back to writing after arranging a play date with child number three's friend and throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine. 

10:45 am - Husband's friend shows up for their RC plane flying slash networking appointment. I'm still not showered. I shut the door to my office so he doesn't see me. I feel trapped. I consider writing a snarky piece on the fine line between unemployment and a very long vacation.

12:00 pm - Back to writing after hanging the wet laundry outside to dry and starting another load, vacuuming the boys bedroom and picking up the bathroom. If I work hard and finish, I can figure out what to make for dinner and go grocery shopping. And of course, shower!

12:30 pm - Yay shower!

12:38 pm - Husband comes home from RC plane flying with just enough time to shower and make it to his massage appointment. (Snark intended)

1:16 pm - Five boys set up World Pokemon Trading Negotiations 2015 out side of my office. They are excited. They are loud. They love Pokemon and they don't care who knows it.

1:20 pm - Child number three comes into the office. "I'm hungry," he says. What can I eat? I remind him about the frozen corn dogs. He already had one. What else is there, he wants to know. I suggest carrots or celery. I suggest grapes or a glass of water. I have more suggestions, but he's slid out of the chair and onto the floor in a weepy heap. 

1:52 pm - The Pokemon delegation suggests that playing Super Smash Bros might be a good follow up activity to the card trading. I negotiate for a clean playroom and we have a deal.

1:54 pm - Child number three tattles that everyone is playing without cleaning. I respectfully decline to engage, beg child number three to just let me write and tell him to remind the delegation that we had a deal.

1:55 pm - Screaming, door slamming, thunderous upstairs stomping.

2:01 pm - Child number two comes into the office to complain. I give an ultimatum: clean the playroom or go somewhere else to play. Child number two refuses to take the deal. I suggest he go somewhere else with his friends. Child number two refuses to budge. I suggest he tell his friends they need to go home. Child number two holds firm on the disobedient stance.

2:04 pm - Child number two cries when I send his friends home. 

2:35 pm - Child number two is still crying, refuses to leave my office. I get two more sentences typed

2:55 pm - I don hearing protection and text a picture of the crying child to grammy.

2:56 pm - "That's the meanest thing anyone has ever done to me," Child number two says. Or at least I think that's what he says. It's hard to hear with these ear muffs on.

3:02 pm - Child number three comes in to see what all the fuss is about. Two is kicked by three and now both of them are crying. I type four more words.

3:19 pm - Three blows his nose into the throw pillow I made from $20-a-yard, dry-clean-only fabric. It's my fault for thinking I could have nice things. I manage another sentence.

3:49 pm - The standoff comes to an end. I still can't hear because of the things on my ears, but Two and Three wander off to do something. (Maybe they're cleaning the playroom.)

4:15 pm - I pound out a good start to a blog post in which I use humor to hide my pain. 

4:17 pm - Two and Three come in and argue with each other right in front of me. I ignore them. They leave after 2 minutes.

4:30 pm - The kids want to eat again. They say "Mom" a lot. I try not to make eye contact and type two more sentences. 

4:45 pm - I realize I have no idea what is for dinner. I bring in a load of laundry, and reflect on another day I didn't get any part of my future bestseller written. Maybe I'll wake up earlier tomorrow.