Friday, March 19 2021

friday, working at home with kids, and a spider-man costume



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Congratulations on making it to Friday. You’ve worked hard and you’ve earned yourself a weekend. And that applies to everyone except for the front office of the Chicago Bears. You did not earn your weekend. The decisions you made this week revealed that you are all in fact a bunch of chumps, and I hope you spend the rest of the weekend contemplating other careers to explore.

But to the rest of you who are not piloting my football team into the ground like the fiery Hindenberg, congrats. You made it. It’s all over. All we have to do is pretend to work for a few hours, then we’re off the hook for a whole weekend.

The weather is supposed to be nice today. Marissa and I are going to grill steaks tonight and hang out on the porch for as long as possible. My parents are also stopping by for lunch tomorrow. It’s shaping up to be a fun and extroverted weekend capped off by a quiet Sunday. Thank God, it’s Friday.

Sip. So how did the day before Friday go for you? Did you get all your stuff done? I kicked butt yesterday. I blocked off pretty much the whole day to work on my technical proposal. This turned out to be a good decision since in one writing session I took it from 30% to 80-90% completion. I had a meeting with my boss and his boss to show them some of the specifics. I was happy to show it off because finally had enough of a plan for them to commit to the work and get it on our roadmap.

As I was laying out my grand plan, Miles rattled behind me in his jumper, and Rodney even made a guest appearance shouting clear as a bell from around the corner, “DADA… I’M ALL FINISHED POOPING.”

“Would you two excuse me for a sec?” I smirked. “I just need a minute to take care of something.”

Marissa was at the dog agility course with Ollie and Ziggy. She always checks with my work calendar before booking time, but no matter what I always say “sure”. She treasures those brief moments away from the house much like I look forward to walks or grocery trips. Besides, I like having the kids around when I work. I have an open door policy in place for selfish reasons. If I’m left to work in complete silence, I hypnotize myself and over focus. I forget to stand-up, stretch, and take breaks. My neck locks, my wrists tighten, and I go too deep inside my own head. The occasional whelp from Miles or poop break with Rodney does wonders to keep me in the moment.

There are limits to the open door policy, of course. Sometimes I think Rodney forgets that I have a job. He’ll seamlessly transition from showing me something he made with LEGO’s to planning out a whole day of activities together. “Sorry, dude - I have a minor scheduling conflict. That overlaps with pretty much my entire work day.” But Rodney is pretty reasonable, and I never have to ask him to leave twice.

I have another funny remote work kid story. One Friday afternoon, I was meeting with our team’s interns Connor and Ritik. The purpose of the meeting was to look back on the week and talk about what worked well and what needs improvement. We were using a virtual whiteboard to capture everything in sticky notes. As I usually do in retros, I excused myself from the room for a few minutes while Connor and Ritik made sticky notes. While I was leisurely sipping coffee downstairs, I could hear Miles shrill screaming from our bedroom, and I remember being grateful I was in another part of the house during his short hissy fit.

I rejoined Connor and Ritik at the computer, and to my horror I noticed that my microphone wasn’t muted. I profusely apologized. Connor and Ritik teasingly made a giant sticky note that said BABY in the things that didn’t go well column. “I’ll take that as an action item to do a better job muting when I leave the room,” I laughed.

After work, we ordered a pizza just in time for the Blackhawks game. Rodney came down the stairs, not in his red Blackhawks jersey, but in the Spider-Man costume he wore last Halloween.

“Woah, what’s going on Spider-Man?” I laughed.

“He’s been wearing it all day,” chuckled Marissa. “He just suddenly got obsessed with it.”

Marissa told me that earlier yesterday, he crammed all of his stuffed animals into the suit and pushed the gangly limp corpse out into the hallway. Beneath the mask at the head of the freakish creation was Corgi, the crown jewel of his stuffed animal collection.

But after all that fun, now Rodney just wanted to wear the suit. Eagerly, he sat on the couch beside me and reached for his plate of pizza, and at that moment we realized we had a dilemma.

“OK, how do you want to eat your pizza, dude?” I asked. “I don’t want you to get pizza grease on your suit.”

Rodney stared at his cloth fingers, puzzled.

“Wait, I got it,” I interrupted. I unzipped his suit in the back. We pulled each of his fingers out of his gloves, and pushed the suit down to his waist.

2021 03 19 eating pizza

“There you go, dude,” I laughed. “I bet that’s how Spider-man has to eat pizza in real life.”

Then again, maybe the real Spider-Man just has gloves that come off at the wrist. Provided he doesn’t spill on the rest of the suit, that would probably be the ideal pizza eating situation for the ensemble.

“Dude, you used to be so scared of that thing. So what happened?” we asked.

“Yeah,” smiled Rodney. “It’s not so scary any more. It’s no big deal.”

Now he tells us that. After we had to wrestle him into it through screaming and tears last Halloween, and after all that work he wouldn’t even wear the mask.

That’s what I got today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a good Friday.