Yesterday was a bad day to be a work from home freelancer. I have two projects due at the end of the week. But, before I knew that I’d have two projects with the same deadline, I made an appointment to go see a caterer about my daughter’s bat mitzvah brunch. This was the time that worked with my husband’s schedule, and he is heading out of town today, and so we kept the appointment.
It was lovely to sit in the restaurant and eat breakfast with my husband and talk to the owner about the event, but oh I had stuff to do.
I came home to do a conference call, and while others were talking I put myself on mute and wrapped my son’s birthday presents for that night. Then, I had to go back out to pick up hostess and new baby presents for my husband to bring on his business trip, because he is also going to have dinner with family while he’s there. Oh, and by the way, his business trip is actually a job interview, out of town, which is something we are forced to consider because my job is oh so flexible and oh so transportable. (Also, friends, don’t get too distracted by that and start texting me asking if we’re moving, as of now, we aren’t.)
On the way out to pick up the presents I noticed that someone had mysteriously left a bag of dog poop on my back porch. When I came back from the errands, I spent 30 minutes talking to the police about why someone might have walked in to my backyard and up my steps in order to leave me dog poop.
Then, I had to put in laundry, because someone is leaving town. Then I wrote one fifth of the project before my son came home. There was homework to deal with, and that turned in to tears, because it was his birthday, and no one should have to do math on their birthday. Then there was hockey to take him to, and by the time I was home from that, my daughter was home, more homework and more nudging, and more laundry, walking the dog, and approximately one fifth more of one project. Sushi was finally decided on as the birthday dinner, and I went and picked it up. At 10:30 I went to bed, having accomplished almost nothing.
Today was a good day to be a freelancer working from home. Today I had an appointment downtown, across the street from the Art Institute. So after my appointment I wandered in to the museum just as they were opening. I went to the Thorne Miniature rooms and stood in front of my favorite rooms, imagining myself appropriately dressed to live in them. I went to the paperweights and stared. I went to see Renoir’s Two Sisters on the Terrace, known in my family as “my painting,” because as a child I had a Madame Alexander doll of the younger sister (in my world, her name is Lynn Jane, and yes, I still have her). My kids each also have a painting, but I did not visit theirs. Instead, I went to a gallery I have never been to, then I went to see the Chagall windows. I went to the member’s lounge and had a cup of not-very-good coffee, but I had a cup of coffee and THEN I went and ate lunch at the cafe. On the way out, I went to visit Ganesh and Buddha.
I came home and there was no dog poop on my porch. I finished part of a project, I walked the dog, and my son came home. We did homework and I worked some more. I wrote something as a favor to a friend, I called another caterer about the evening party. I’m writing this, and then I will work a little more. My doorbell keeps ringing as children from the block come in for something my daughter has planned. Eventually, I will need to go find out what it is. When I go to bed tonight I probably will not have accomplished any more than I did yesterday.
Some days, this always at work, always at home, always doing everything feels like an unfair burden. Some days it feels like an unfair privilege. You never know what will happen in a day.