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Working From Home Has A Learning Curve… For All Involved

, , , , | Romantic | October 31, 2021

I’ve never worked at home before; I wasn’t prepared mentally or physically set up for it. I’ve been hands-on, even in office jobs, for twenty years; sitting at home at a laptop felt alien to me.

But by far the person who had the hardest time adjusting was my wife; she couldn’t understand that “at home” meant “at work”. She couldn’t understand how all the chores weren’t done, why I couldn’t stop what I was doing and chat every time she wanted me to, or how difficult it was sometimes.

This was frustrating at the start but still completely understandable; I still didn’t really get it and I was the one working.

I managed to score a free day off. At the same time, her work was asking her to sit a lot of online courses. We figured that it would be a perfect opportunity for her to not have to go into work and use the home office for a change.

Not thirty minutes into her work from home:

Me: “You didn’t last long.”

Wife: “Oh, yeah. Does the office always get so stuffy?”

Me: “Yeah, that’s actually better than it used to be. Try keeping the window open.”

Wife: “I did, but the road is so loud.”

Me: “Yeah, I know.”

An hour later:

Me: “Oh, hey, you’re down again?”

Wife: “Yeah, bit lonely on your own up there.”

Me: “I know. Want a coffee?”

Wife: “Yeah, but I should get back to work.”

Me: “I could come up and chat?”

Wife: “No, I really need to get on and do this. I won’t do any work if you’re there.”

She almost made it to lunchtime but came down again.

Me: “Oh, hey. I’m not finished with lunch yet. I didn’t expect you so soon. How are you getting on?”

Wife: “Terrible. How does anyone concentrate at home? I mean, the noise, the emptiness. Oh!”

Me: “Yep.”

Wife: “Yeah, working from home isn’t for everyone, huh?”

Me: “Nope.”

Wife: “Probably shouldn’t expect you to do everything as well as your job?”

Me: “Nope. Lunch?”

After just one morning she got it, while, of course, I still work and tidy or use my lunch to prepare dinner. She gets that working from home is still working.

You Snooze, You Lose, And Mom Will Make Sure Of That

, , , , , , , , | Related | October 29, 2021

This was the time before smartphones. My dad had a really bad habit of getting up at the last minute to leave for work. You know the type: sets the alarm for a certain time just so they can hit the snooze button over and over, only to be running out the door with a Poptart in hand? That was my dad.

This was often a frustrating conversation my mother would have with him to fix. On top of the ridiculous amount of times she had to hear that alarm from four to five in the morning, a new baby (me!), and having to make breakfast and clean the mess, she would ask for his help on certain small house tasks that he was otherwise “too tired” to do once he came home.

Unfortunately, with his horrible morning routine, his excuse every morning would be, “Sorry, honey, I’m in a rush so I need to get to work.” It was so bad he’d sometimes have to skip breakfast altogether, so she’d barely even get to talk to him before he left.

My mother, having grown up as the oldest of six other boys, had developed a very petty, mean streak when it came to getting exactly what she wanted.

One particular morning, my dad woke up to find that he had slept in a little too late, and the military can be pretty unforgiving to those who miss formation, thus beginning his usual routine of scrambling to shower, get his uniform on, and rush out the door. Upon telling me this story, he did tell me that he found it odd that my mom wasn’t nagging him for once. She didn’t stop him to talk or complain or yell; she just sat at the table with a cup of coffee and watched him trip over himself to rush to work.

My dad got into his car, turned it on… and noticed the time on his car’s clock was about an hour and a half before he had to leave. He looked at his wristwatch; yep, that said he was late! He looked at his car’s clock and then looked at his watch again. Then, he looked out the window and realized… it was WAY too dark for it to have been the time he was supposed to leave.

And then it hit him. My mother, in all her glory, had changed all the clocks in the house — the oven time, the microwave, his alarm clock, and somehow even his wristwatch — while he was asleep!

Mind you, my mother is severely visually impaired. If text isn’t gigantic and/or outlined with a light or opposing color and her nose isn’t basically touching what she needs to read, she can’t see it. To this day, he doesn’t know how the heck she managed to pull off changing the time on his digital watch without waking him.

Resigned to her little game, he shut off his car and slunk his way into the house. And there was my mother, gleefully sipping her cup of coffee with a huge grin.

“Great!” she said. “Looks like you’ve got time to help me now.

Suffice to say, he stopped hitting the snooze button.


This story is part of our Best Of October 2021 roundup!

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New Moms Need Stronger Support Systems

, , , , , | Related | October 27, 2021

I just had my first baby about a week ago, and I’m completely exhausted and miserable as my baby is the unbelievably needy type that starts screaming the moment I take my breast out of her mouth and doesn’t stop for an hour. No, literally. She usually even sleeps in my lap, and if I put her on the bed, she wakes up after five minutes at the latest.

My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and father-in-law make a surprise visit. They offer to make food, and I’m happy since we haven’t had time or energy to make proper delicious food for a while. I’m actually so happy and tired I’m almost crying, telling everyone I’m so hungry. 

When the food is done and served on our terrace table, my baby wakes up and wants to breastfeed (yet again).

Me: “Start without me. I’ll be back after I take care of [Baby].”

After twenty minutes, I manage to get her to sleep, and, hoping that she sleeps for more than five minutes, I make my way to the table and find out that my in-laws and my husband have eaten everything. There’s literally nothing edible on the table anymore. I just sit there feeling stupid, while my husband is smiling.

Mother-In-Law: “Don’t worry about the dishes! We’ll load them into the dishwasher later.”

After they leave, I talk to my husband.

Me: “I haven’t had anything to eat for the last twelve hours. I’m sad I didn’t get any of the food earlier.”

Husband: “It was just food.”

Yeah, tell that to a new mother that has had two hours of sleep every night for a week and hasn’t eaten regularly since then because of breastfeeding for roughly sixteen hours a day and holding a baby for twenty-three hours a day.

Now, years later, I can confirm that my needy baby has grown into an equally needy child. And no, I still haven’t completely forgiven anyone involved (excluding the baby).

This Is Where We Write The Story Name Things

, , , , , | Romantic | October 23, 2021

When stressed or tired, I tend to forget nouns. My husband has just finished eating dinner.

Me: “Can you please put your food holder into the washer box?”

Husband: *Big sigh* “Use your words…”

Me: “I am! I am specifically using my words!”

Give Her Cookies, Not Pi

, , , , | Right | October 22, 2021

It’s just gone 9:00 am and I notice a couple browsing food-to-go. The woman is very much looking like she’s just rolled out of bed and sounds English, whilst the man sounds like he’s local and looks a lot more together. They’re having some kind of disagreement; she looks annoyed but he is trying not to laugh.

Woman: *Sounding very tired* “Excuse me. Sorry to disturb your shopping, but I’d like to ask your opinion on something if that’s okay?”

Me: *Against my better judgment* “Sure thing, ma’am.”

Woman: “Would you agree that forcing someone to do mathematics when they’ve been awake for over twenty-four hours and had been traveling for… eleven-ish hours… was evil?”

Me: “Oh, definitely, ma’am.”

Woman: “Thank you.” *To the man, who’s now outright laughing* “See, you are being evil. Evil, evil, evil.” *Pauses, then speaks in a pitiful voice* “I just want to eat and sleep.” 

I later see them leaving.

Woman: *To me* “He bought me cookies.”

Me: “So everything is forgiven, ma’am?”

Woman: “Yesssssssssss.”