First Fortnight Report: Of flowers, meetings, homeschooling, and just rolling with it, because, what’s the alternative?

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On the fifth day of my new gig, a meeting-ful Friday, which I begin with a two-hour call/texting session with IT support—Cthulhu bless all IT support people, btw, because sorting out “the thingie isn’t doing the thin that I think it should be doing, please make it go!” from a person like me must be a competent IT person’s hell—and end with a 45-minute training session on a magic project management software (hello, Asana, I think I love you), my new employer sends me flowers.

It’s a gorgeous pink-purple-white-red bouquet of fresias, carnations, gerbera daisies, mums, and one green branch with delicate yellow flowers, and rather robust, thick leaves. It’s crowned  with a lovely card that reads “Welcome to the team. We’re thrilled to have you on-board and are looking forward to working with you.”

The bouquet arrives in the five minutes I have between a Teams meeting on a process/communications update on a project I’ll be kinda-sorta-maybe part of (or else it abuts a project I might kinda-sorta-maybe be part of; I don’t know, I’m confused, it’s my first week) and my 1:1 debrief with one of my squad leads, and it kind of makes me cry. Later, I do a ROI calculation of the gesture: say a $25, call it $30—although there’s probably a corporate discount, why, by the way, is it that it’s cash-flush corporations that get discounts and we daily joes have to pay full price—plus delivery, plus the time required to order it—call it a total $25-50 investment by the company in me on that chaotic first week. Result? I end my first week thinking, “They love me, they want me, they care about me.

I’m that easy.

Probably, so are you.

PS The bouquet comes from Flower Gallery and it is so pretty; follow Flower Gallery on Instagram for pretty pictures of lowers.

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On the first day of my new gig, nothing works the way it’s supposed to, I’m confused and disconnected and alone in my living room-cum-office—how is this really a first day of a new job? Then, a dedicated hour debrief with my VP and I perk up. I still can’t get into the system proper, but I “eat” the Internet and bring myself up to speed on the industry while sitting on the patio with my laptop.

Meanwhile, my phone starts to ping:

Him: Good luck on your first day!

Her: First day! How are things going?

You: Break a leg!

Them: I hope you have a wonderful first day!

I am loved. I am not alone.

Neither, lover, are you.

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On the fourth day of the new gig—it’s a Thursday, cause, like, yeah, I started on Monday—Cinder needs to make it to work alone mid-day, but the weather is crappy, so Sean takes a break from his job to drive him. Me, I’ve got most of my tech and connections working, meetings, training, gathering background on the projects I’ll be working on. Flora and Ender are coming over for supper after 5 p.m., as soon as I unplug. I’m feeding them Babi Easter soup, sourdough baguette from Sidewalk Citizen, and very expensive fruit from Safeway—what the hell has happened to produce prices this week?

Ender spends the evening sitting on my head.

“Do I get to come back next week?” he says, plaintively. Since January, he’s been spending Monday and Wednesday days with me, fake-homeschooling (don’t ask), as those are Sean’s heaviest days. This week, he spent Monday with my Mom (note for the panicked and sanctimonious: she’s vaccinated, also, seriously, how are my child care arrangement any of your business?), and Wednesday, he stayed at the Coop with Sean.

“Yes. Of course.”

I am, secretly, thrilled. I never really know if he likes being at my little apartment, in which he has one bin of Legos, some Kapla blocks, a tiny box of art supplies, and no room of his own. He leaves behind—well, a kids’ paradise that I had spent 18 years building for him and his siblings.

So, I’m very happy that he misses me, my place, our time.

The next scheduled Mommy-Ender day—the sixth day of my new gig and the second Monday of my new job—I start with a Teams meeting at 8 a.m. and have no breather until noon.. No possibility of picking up Ender and the dogs in-between.

We decide that I’ll come pick him up at noon, take him to lunch, then, I’m not sure, maybe put on a documentary for him while I wrap my head around the afternoon’s work… maybe just let him loose on Minecraft.

All you “Why aren’t we closing the schools?” people? It’s because closing schools needs to go hand in hand with accepting that either parents aren’t working or kids aren’t learning. There is no such as multitasking and you can’t homeschool your kids WHILE working. You can’t even supervise your kids WHILE working. You can’t make them lunch WHILE attending and paying attention to a Zoom call. Closing schools turns one of the parents—remember most households in North American are effectively single-parent households most of the time anyway—into a full-time child-minder/teacher’s aide.

Take it from someone who’s been homeschooling for more than 18 years—it is, of course, possible to homeschool AND THEN work AND THEN make lunch AND THEN homeschool AND THEN work some more. I’ve done it, for more than 18 years. But it is not possible to do both things in the same dedicated one-hour or fifteen minute block of time.

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On the weekend between my first and second week at the new gig, I mostly sleep and watch Death in Paradise on BritBox, intermittently vacuum. That had been the plan going into the month, and I feel very satisfied in carrying it out. Sunday night, I cook for the week, and prepare a delish supper for the kids. We eat and watch Community.

Flora asks me if I’m ready for Monday.

I am. I am.

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On the seventh day of the new gig, the school board announces that next week, all junior and senior high school students are moving, again, to online learning at home.

Flora: Ugh.

Jane: It will be easier than all the back and forth.

Flora: They could just give us summer vacation. Now.

They could. They won’t. We’ve just gotta roll with it.

Ender spends Monday and Wednesday “homeschooling” with me while I work. The Minecraft curriculum continues, although we do squeeze in a little bit of reading. And Lego. Monday is hard because, meetings from 8 am until noon with barely enough time off to pee. Wednesday is easier.

But we roll with it. We make it work. That’s what we do.

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On the ninth day  of the new gig—that’s the Thursday of the second week—I start to feel like I’m finding my feet. I start to recognize the vocabulary and the patterns. I get assigned to projects. I even knock off a couple of small tasks, and I do them well. I feel appreciated, and I preen. I haven’t had external validation of note for a while—it’s nice.

It’s a gorgeous sunny day, and I work with the patio doors open and, when I don’t need a reliable wifi connection, I take the laptop out into the sun. How is it that the sun makes everything better? I feel happy and alive, and I’m pondering if I’ll have time to cook between end-of-work/arrival-of-kids for supper… or, pizza? Ender wanted “real” pizza, and I can totally afford regular take-out now… can Thursday nights be our regular take-out night?

I text the kids to see if they want pizza for supper; they are enthusiastic.

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The tenth day of the new gig, I start the day with a 6:15 a.m. walk to the Coop, Bumblebee in hand, to drop off the dog and drive Cinder to work for a 7 a.m. shift. Then, back to my place for 7:20, a quick shower and coffee, and I’m bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for an 8 a.m. meeting.

By noon, though, I need a nap, and after I run over to the Coop to see Ender and give the dogs a quick walk, I lie down on my floor for a twenty minute yoga nidra session.

I pro-actively set my phone alarm to go off after 30 minutes… just in case the yoga nidra session is too effective.

Yoga nidra, if the term is new to you, is sleep yoga. It’s wonderful. Basically, you lie down in corpse pose, cover yourself with a blanket, and listen to a soothing voice give you instructions on how to enter a deep state of relaxation/meditation.

You can use it as a way to ease into sleep—or, mid-day, instead of a nap. However, if you are very, very tired—it can become a nap.

But on this Friday, I do it properly, and I’m rejuvenated for the afternoon. Except I really have nothing much to do.

I open up the company Intranet and get on with my task of learning all the things.

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On the second weekend of the new gig, I make time for a social life, adventures with Flora, helping Cinder with his homework, but also, reflection. How did things go? How do I feel? What do I need?

Inner Voice: More socks. Also, a foot stool.

Jane: Could we go a little deeper here?

Inner Voice: We need more socks. And a foot stool. Also, chocolate. Why was there no chocolate in the house this week?

I feel… good. Really, that’s it. Everything is unrolling as it should, as it must, and I’m rolling with it.

I need… chocolate. And maybe more socks, because, yeah, why not.

Those flowers I got on the fifth day of the new gig, by the way? Still gorgeous.

It’s going to be a great third week.

xoxo

“Jane”