Ancestral Land

Ancestral Land
Middle Bar Rd., Mokelumne River Canyon

Friday, November 15, 2013

Working from Home: The Ultimate Oxymoron

Perhaps working from home isn’t the ultimate oxymoron, but on certain days, it’s close, right up there with “mom time” (if it’s about mom, there is no time) and “organized religion,” (in case you are wondering, I got 905,000 results when I Googled, “Is organized religion an oxymoron?”)

As oxymoronic as it may seem at times, working from home has far more benefits than drawbacks. Give or take a handful of days a month when I’m on deadline, I can come and go as people need me to, take care of sick kids, and go to appointments without having to ask for time off. As a disclaimer, I’d like to point out that I wouldn’t trade working outside the home for a paycheck for any of what you are about to read. I prefer things just the way they are. But there are a few things I need to get off my chest, starting with my bra.

One of the major advantages of working from home is the time saved by not getting dressed in the morning. Jammies? Check. Robe and slippers? Check. Underwear? Not so much. Why bother?  When I’m occasionally roped into driving the girls the 200 yards to the jr. high school, it’s like a game of white trash chicken: in what type of wardrobe disarray am I willing to leave the house? Sweatshirt over the jammies, or do I go for it in my robe? Fuzzy slippers or flip-flops? Just in case I’m pulled over and the cop takes one look at my attire and decides a field sobriety test is warranted, I always take my cell phone. He’d let me phone a friend for some real clothes, right?

The downside of staying in my nightwear while working from home all day: the rest of humanity. Some part of it occasionally shows up on my doorstep: Knock-knock. I usually do a quick scan of what I’m wearing and then tip-toe to the window to see if it’s friend or foe (those who would assume, upon seeing my attire, that I’m an aging, unemployed lingerie model.) Either way, I never open the door. Sometimes I don’t even bother looking. After all, I’m working!

Another downside: distractions. With no boss lurking, it happens now and then that I can be up against a deadline with the clock tick-tocking, when I hear a sound that compels me away from my machine. It happened just the other day. As I toiled, editing an article while co-workers all over the country waited for me to finish, I heard something. After fifteen minutes of trying to tune it out, I realized it was a pathetic “Meooooow, meooooow,” from behind a bedroom door. I opened it and out ran the cat, which reminded me that there was a fishbowl in the room, so I had to walk over and examine that. I noticed the murky state of the water; it was a no-brainer that the fish was wallowing in his own watery grave, so I of course had to take it downstairs and clean it. But I couldn’t find the anti-chlorine drops. I decided to call my husband to see if he knew where they were. (We call him The Finder. I’m just The Looker.) While I’m looking for the phone, I decided that I might as well load the dishwasher, which naturally led me to making applesauce. Once I got the apples stewing, I remembered the fish! And then the phone! I raced upstairs to find my cell. Entering my bedroom, I noticed the unmade bed. This typically wouldn’t bother me. But because I was working, and on deadline, that bed had to be made! I finished that and glanced in the mirror, which was a mistake. Into the shower I went. A few minutes later, I exited the shower, and noticed an odd smell in the air. The applesauce! I grabbed my robe, raced down the stairs and turned off the stove. Turning around, I saw the fish! It was barely hanging on. The drops! The phone!

I had come full circle: I was looking for the phone that I had started searching for almost an hour ago, when I got distracted by everything within a five foot radius. Finally locating an extension, I called my husband—at work—in a building with people who aren’t wearing robes. That’s when I noticed I was back in mine.

“Have you seen the fish stuff?”

“What?”

“The fish drops for the fish’s water!”

“No. What are you doing?”

“I’m working!”

I found the drops and changed the water and sprinkled some food into the fish bowl. I put away the applesauce and started the dishwasher.

I ask you: How many people can claim such a productive day at home while they’re at work?


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