Saturday, October 3, 2015

This Is Our Crazy Life

This evening, after dinner, I attempted to nap. Five minutes after crawling into bed and snuggling with Sophie (Lisa had the boys), there was a knock on the door. The kids barked. All of them. When someone knocks on our door, we put Coco in the bedroom. Sophie and Lobo are gated in the living room. It's a process. There I was, in bed, with Coco and Sophie in the room with me. Barking.

Total time contending with the person at the door was about 10 minutes. 

Once our visitor left, Lisa opened the door to the bedroom. She apologized. Like many times before, I reassured her it wasn't her fault. She knows this. Lisa's apology stems from her feeling bad. She knows I'm tired. I need sleep. More often than not, the times I choose to catch a few hours of sleep aren't compatible with the world around me. And, a lot of the sounds accompanying that world, if loud enough, the kids bark at.

For you to fully understand how frustrating this can be at times, let me set the stage. Lisa works outside of the home. Her work day starts at 3:45 a.m. when her alarm sounds. She's out of bed by 4 and out the door by 5. Her workday ends at 2:30 p.m. She's usually home around 3 p.m. What happens between the time she arrives home and dinnertime depends on the day. Bedtime is 9 p.m. Sometimes a little earlier. Or later.

I work at home. My work can be done whenever. I have a flexible schedule. Now, at this point, any exclamations of "Oh, I would love to have that type of work schedule" are pre-mature. Keep reading.

A handful of my work can be done regardless of what's going on around me...both inside and outside. A marching band could make their way through the house or the kids could be barking at a bird farting outside the window and I'd still be able to sift through emails, post offers, manage content, etc.

Keep in mind, when I say handful, I'm referring to about 25% of my work. The remaining 75% requires minimal distractions. Quiet. It's difficult to compose column after column, and focus on other work stuff, when there's noise.

Kids barking. Human kids playing outside. Text message after text message. Baking biscuits. Packaging biscuits. The list goes on and it's extensive.

This type of work, the 75% bucket load, requires a peaceful environment. When is this possible? On the overnight. For the past 3 years, that's the time I've set aside to do just that. Work. I know, it sounds crazy. Voluntarily working 3rd shift. Who does that? However, for our household, family and schedules, it works. I do it. It sucks...sometimes.

Lisa goes to bed around 9 p.m. I work through the wee hours. This is also the time I use to bake bread for Lisa's sandwiches or whip up other baked treats for her work snacks.

At that point I start the process of getting Lisa ready for work. Coffee. Whip up a decent breakfast. Make and pack her lunch. Close up the home office. Wash face. Brush teeth. Pee. Once up, Lisa takes the kids out, prepares their breakfast, eats her breakfast and, at that point, she tucks me in. The kids find a comfortable spot on the bed with me. By 5 a.m. I'm dozing off.

My alarm is set for 10 a.m., but it's rare I wake up to the alarm. Most mornings I'm wakened by another source. Barking. Noises outside. The need to pee. Vivid dreams. Full moon. Menstrual cycle. One of the kids making a weird noise. I don't sleep soundly. I'm lucky if I get 4 hours of sleep. I toss and turn. Finally, I stumble out of bed shortly before 9 a.m.

During the late afternoon, early evening hours, I attempt to sneak in a nap. Very seldom does that work out. There's a narrow frame of time in which napping is possible. Lisa does her absolute best to keep the kids occupied and quiet. However, there are things beyond her control that contribute nap time turning into an epic fail.

I don't have a set schedule. While I attempt to plan out my week, or at the very least the following day, it's not etched in granite. It's more like written in wet beach sand with my foot. I leave wiggle room, but sometimes that's not enough. From appointments to delayed travel time due to traffic, and everything between, it's enough to cause a shift in my day and evening.

Despite all, this is our crazy life. It works for us. It is what it is. It's no different than parents to human kids having to adapt to crazy schedules because of work, kid sports and other activities, errands, doctor appointments, etc. Or the parents who work opposite schedules to avoid childcare expenses. You do what you have to do. You make it work. It's not always rainbows and cotton candy, but at the end of the day, what you can etch in granite is the fact you wouldn't change a thing.

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