I bet I am not alone in having fantasies about what it might be like to work from home. The last time I worked at home, I was running my husband’s office while our boys were small, so it had its challenges, but I managed it, and still wrote every day. That was a long time ago. Now the boys are grown and in their own place, and I work a full-time day-job in an office, in the normal world.
Probably most people’s expectation is that top left image, being super-productive and happy while they’re safely at home, everything goes smoothly, and they’re thrilled with the whole thing.
The reality is sometimes more like the bottom right picture, when your remote server locks you out, the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking while you’re on an important call, and you want to curse or cry, or the kids want to play, the cat wants to be on your nice warm laptop, and you just want to crawl in bed and pull the blankets over your head.
Either one is okay. Really. We’re in uncharted territory right now: the last time something like this happened was a little over a hundred years ago, and, while the men would have been going off to work, most of the women probably stayed home already, there was no technology to let any of them do their jobs from home, and there was no 24/7 news feed.
I am thrilled to be home, away from contact for the most part with anyone who might be carrying and sharing germs, even with some technological glitches. I do miss my day-job team, though. Most of the group has been together for over 2.5 years now, so it’s like a family. A normal work day is 16 of us in talking distance, some desks butted up against one another, so people are face to face, which makes working through any issues really simple. It’s a lot different working from home, with only a third of us still working, and having to communicate differently all day.
Add to that the stress of the outside world that isn’t just impacting our work lives, but our whole life, and it makes for challenges. We had a particularly rough day to start the week last week, and it went downhill from there, so by the time we got to Thursday, I was to that point of frustration that usually has me in tears. The good news is I’m safe at home and I still have a job. The bad news is, this is probably going to be our day to day for another month or two, at least at work.
I should be further into these revisions, but it’s hard to concentrate on something creative when I’ve spent nine hours dealing with other things, much more stressful things. I’m trying to be kind to myself, but there are times I need a reminder that this isn’t normal, so it’s okay to step back and catch my breath. Which makes me think that some of you also need that same reminder.
We are all struggling at one point or another right now, and that is normal. Our world’s gone crazy, and for some of us, it’s harder to acknowledge that the things we usually do to cope may not work now. I remind a friend periodically to stop and breathe. I need the reminder myself sometimes, and in case you do, too, well, consider yourself reminded.
Before I go try to figure out something for supper, I have a little snippet from Light the Way Home for you.
“This is really good, Lucie,” he said when Hayden had a mouthful of potato. “I appreciate this so much. You’re a great cook.”
She smiled, looking at her plate for a second. “I like to cook. For five minutes in high school, I thought I’d have a restaurant when I grew up.” She met his gaze. “But I was a good daughter and headed off to college instead of the culinary institute.”
He heard the note of regret in her tone. “Did you add that to your list of potential jobs for your search?”
Her eyes widened, and her smile faded. “I…no, I didn’t.”
She looked at him blankly for a moment. “It didn’t occur to me,” she said finally.
“You should do it.” He stabbed a carrot with his fork. “You’re a great cook.”
She frowned as she picked up her water glass. “Maybe.” Her doubtful tone made him smile.
“You should do it, Lucie,” Hayden chimed in. “The restaurant closed an’ now we don’t have anywhere to go out to eat.”
She shifted her gaze from his son to him. “What?”
Nate rested his fork on the edge of his plate. “There was a family restaurant here on the island until about two months ago. The owner had a heart attack, so he can’t manage it anymore, and his wife didn’t want to do it alone, so they closed it. That’s a really good idea, Hayden.”
Lucie looked perplexed, a faint frown line between her eyebrows, her fork held loosely.
When Hayden scrunched up his face, Nate winked at him, prompting a grin. “Can I have more ’tatoes, Daddy?”
“Sure. Let me have your plate, buddy.” He noted Lucie’s little head-shake as he rose from his seat. She smiled at his son again, and he noted the affection in her eyes.
Lucie laughed in all the right places as Hayden chattered around bites of his meal, and Nate realized he was staring.
She was pretty. Her green eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled across the table, briefly. His gaze slid to her mouth for a moment. Tempting.
He jerked his attention back to his meal. He had no time for tempting. Or for anything, really. There was enough on his plate–his son, his cabinet-making business. And now he’d spend more time running back and forth to his parents’ once his dad got sprung from the hospital, until Max was mobile.
His gaze landed on her again, in spite of his best intentions, and she met it, her smile softening.
Her eyes widened, darkening, and her smile faded. Awareness shifted her expression, and she dropped her gaze to her plate.
At least one of them had enough sense to know that would be stupid.
If you haven’t yet, I’d love if you picked up a copy of Light the Way Home. It’s a quick read, just enough to keep your mind off of reality for a few hours.
Besides reading, what else are you doing to distract yourself when the real world gets to be too much for you? Baking? Puzzles? Something else? I could use some ideas when the things I’m already doing don’t work. Hope you all have a great week!
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