Time out!



Today I got a break – from pretty much everything. I didn’t work, I didn’t try to build an aluminum shed, write, or mow anyone’s lawn. I should have been doing all of these things in some measure. Instead, I buzzed between home, the hospital, and downtown Wasilla in an effort to take care of home and family.

My eldest son had to have his appendix removed today. It was stressful. He was terrified, and quite contrary to his usual nature, handled without drama. At the moment he’s in the hospital recovering and seems to have come out fine. I brought my laptop and spent a few minutes poking around on my first full rewrite, but really there were other things to worry about. Once he was out of the O.R. I sent my wife home to get a shower, see her animals, and gather essentials for the overnight.* While we watched cartoon network and waited for mom’s return, I looked at my computer bag and didn’t pick it up. The situation reminded me that I work entirely too much.

Working too much is something of a problem in my family. There was a time I was working two jobs and building our house – and that was with a new baby in the house. At the moment, it’s not quite so bad, I’ve only got the one job and I write a lot, then there’s all of those other hobbies, and commitments. I don’t often take a time out for family, at least not often enough.

That said. This weekend it’s my daughter’s dance recital**. I usually take a bit of writing time out for that, but I think I’m going to go a little farther this year. It’ll be game time with the boys too. For the rest of the summer – I’ll get my fishing license and take them fishing, perhaps a night of camping, and maybe even a baseball game. The book will wait, but the kids won’t be kids forever.

Good advice for any full-time working parent & writer: don’t forget to make time for your family.

* In case you’re wondering about what sort of sexist pig I might be at this point. I just want to defend myself with a little vignette: My wife took him to the urgent care this morning, because I was working and she wasn’t yet, and she expected to get some antibiotics or a very stern lecture about fluids and rest. Before the operation we asked our son who he wanted to stay with him overnight. He told us to play rock-paper-scissors to determine – he wasn’t about to take favorites. I told him it would be in everyone’s best interest if mom stayed because she wouldn’t sleep unless was certain he was okay. The only way to ensure that would be to have her there, which is true. For my part, I took the other two, made sure everyone was fed and any farming chores were taken care of.
** This is a BIG deal. It’s held at the Anchorage center for the performing arts and amounts to professional dance experience. It’s such a big deal that even with Influenza B, she insisted on getting all dolled up to go in for her pictures.

photo credit: Time via photopin (license)

Don’t forget your notebook

I took a few days off work to spend some time writing, and wrangle the kids on my own for a couple days. Naturally, since I’ve got all that quiet time during school, I’m doing virtually everything, but writing.

This morning, after getting the kids off to school, I went home, got the computer fired up, found the place where I was working on some revision, and immediately got a distraught text from my wife. This proved a big distraction, and as she was already not pleased with stuff, I wasn’t going to get any “thank-you’s” when she got home to dead chickens and or ducks. So, I went on to feed and water them (Which sucks at 30F in 35mph wind by the way, but as we’re in Alaska, though hard, that’s actually pretty damn good conditions for the time of year.) Soaking wet and covered in duck $***, I marched back to the shed to find there wasn’t any chicken feed, don’t think we’ve had any for a few days. No big deal, the gym is on the way to the feed store, I could squeeze in a quick run on the way. I wanted to run anyhow, right? In any case, I decided they were chickens and a few more hours weren’t likely to hurt. So, I went back in to a phone call from my wife to continue the text conversation we’d started just a bit before. Once we’d got all that sorted out, the dishes were calling, along with the finding of appropriate attire for the children to wear to their Christmas concert.

Finally, I managed to get back to the computer, just long enough to get distracted by you-tube movies on guitar making (check out crimson custom guitars if you’re into that sort of thing. That guy is good.) Needless to say, before I knew it, it was time to think about running out for that feed and exercise, so I pulled a comb through my hair, found my red rocket-ship underpants, and headed off for the gym.

After struggling my way through a 3 mile run on a tiny track, I stood in the shower for waaay too long before deciding it was time to get under way again. Time check after loading up the feed gave me an hour and a half before it was time to get the kids. It was just enough time to try out that new sushi restaurant and maybe scribble some notes in my notebook, because that’s writing too… and yeah that sounded real nice. Sushi and writing, actually hell yeah! Wait. Forgot my notebook… UGH…

Don’t forget your notebook – EVER.

PS – I bought a notebook on the way to sushi and wrote this post, the sushi was good, can I call it a win?