Thursday, December 10, 2009

Unemployment Diary: Day Two

Well, Day One was mostly a success. However, there are some changes that I'll likely implement because it can't be chaos, mouth breathing and laughing at the crazy things people post on Youtube all the time.

For example, I really must shower. Sure, yesterday I conserved water, but that kind of sloth is unsustainable. I just had this conversation with CDP when she called me on Tuesday evening (thanks, C, for the call). The truth is, I don't function well until the blast of the shower whacks me in the face, so this business of not showering cannot be a long-term strategy for productivity. Note to self: shower, use that fancy body wash that makes you smell like a sugar cookie.

I'm also going to have to re-establish some boundaries with the children. At the moment, things are pre-holiday hectic, Chloe is home from school and there are all sorts of mini-intrusions that make me both cranky and guilt-ridden because no matter what I do, it never seems to be enough.

Having Chloe hang around the house is just too much of an incentive to goof off. She's a terrible influence. Yesterday, I made her breakfast and later, she made me hot chocolate. We fussed over how adorable the cats are. We sprayed adorable, but bad, cats in the face with water to teach them (again) that they are not supposed to be on the kitchen table. We watched David after the Dentist and its many spoofs. We laughed at this video. I did bake a chocolate chess pie and start dinner, which I soon abandoned to go chat with a friend who is in the middle of some personal issues, but honestly, I didn't write much and the laundry basket sat overflowing and ignored all day.

I was hausfrau FAIL and writer FAIL. I don't do anything small, do I?

I finally retreated to my office to attempt to get some work done on my book (that's code for fooling around on Facebook and reading blogs). Before I could shut my door and post the "writing" sign, Chloe had followed me in and lay on the floor. I mumbled something to her as I continued to stare at my monitor. A few minutes later, I asked her what she was doing and she replied simply, "Just lying on your floor." A few minutes passed and I heard her sigh. "Did you need something? Are you okay?" I asked.

"Nope, I'm just lying on your floor and sighing." Okay.

Another few minutes ticked by and she stood up in one fluid motion. I bothered to turn and look in her direction. "I guess I'll go back down to the sofa and breathe through my mouth in front of HGTV," she said and headed toward the door.

Some maternal instinct kicked in. "Chloe," I said to her retreating back "I don't mean to ignore you. Did you want something? Did you wish to talk?"

She paused in the doorway and looked at me with a crooked smile. "Nope, I'm fine."

I want blathering on. "Should I be more emotionally available and open to you? I'm so sorry that I'm such a self-involved and distant mother!" I held my arms out to her, palms up. See! See! I am here for you! See!

She cocked one eyebrow at me and and waved me off. "Me. Going downstairs. Mouthbreathing. HGTV. That's all."

"Yes, but are you sure?" I whined at her.

She gave me a frightened look and fled down the stairs.

When the other two kids got home, I provided similar motherly love and attention. Later, through their attorneys, they issued statements requesting that I knock it off.

So back to this being out of work make all this productivity happen, I'm going to require a schedule. I need to know what I'm going to do most of each day, otherwise, it's an embarrassing free for all. I suppose I'll spend a good chunk of today working out such a device and plan. If you have suggestions, please leave them in comments. I'd appreciate it very much.

In fact, I've got a little prize for one randomly selected commenter today. To make it easy, leave a comment on this post and I'll put your name in a bowl and draw from the winner from it tomorrow. Comments must be received by midnight tonight (December 10, 2009). I'll notify the winner via another post about nothing and by email so if your email isn't connected to your blog profile, please check back tomorrow.

And, please do come back later when I tell you how the escort screening went! People of the internets, I have lived such a sheltered life, I tell you what.....

Until later,



  1. Glad day 1 went mostly OK. Hope day 2 does as well.

  2. My day starts off checking e-mails, then entering sweepstakes, some porn surfing and then log on to blogger to check the sidebar for any new posts on the list of bloggers. Yours was at the top of the list of "Blogs To Go With My Morning Coffee". After checking out what's new in the blogs, I pretty much blow off the rest of the day. Works for me.

  3. I read blogs for at least an hour a day...keeps me ummm, creative. That's it.

  4. Ah, are sooooooooo gonna put me to shame.... I haven't posted a thing on my blog since my first bonified angst free day in almost sixteen years....Damn. (Clearly. I am NOT a writer.) You mean this unemployed business is supposed to keep you BUSY?????????????????

    Ok. So the NYT had a whole article on how your job when you are unemployed is to consider looking for a job (or writing, in your case) is really a full time job. I will forward it to you through snail mail. Now, don't hold your breath, cuz I owe Steve something through snail mail, and have promised him for about a month, now, and yet, still. It sits on my desk to be mailed.

    Chloe? Is she an extrovert? Cuz anyone can lay around anywhere all mouth breathing and introvert would be happy doing it extrovert? Needs company. (That would be me.)

    First on your to do list? Relax?!

    (And get the Imelda May disc...the whole thing is freakin AWESOME!!!!!)


  5. Welcome to my life. You have described every day I've ever had (mostly) since the dawn of the millenium.


    What sort of comment are we supposed to leave? A generic one? Here's mine:

    Randal smells.

  6. If I'm guessing right, I believe this is the article Giggles refers to:

    Just cut and paste as I'm not sure if I can make it link properly in the comments section.

    Lisa, this is exactly what I expect may happen to me after I retire at the end of January. Either that or I'll suddenly panic and decide I really have to have a job and will go looking for a job before I'm ready to. I want to give myself time to write and do productive things but have a feeling I will run into the same problem you are!

    Hopefully both of us will learn how to structure our days so we do some productive things. But Giggles is right - first things first - just relax. It's only Day 2.

  7. Regarding children & working at home: Use tasers, pepper spray and bullwhips on them when working - or whenever the mood srikes you.

  8. It's a perfect time to disconnect and enjoy your well-earned R&R. There will be plenty of seriousness later, when you have to finish that book and then start on the sequel.

  9. This is your grieving period. At least one month if not 4....consume mostly sugar/caffeine/alcohol and avoid the shower before 6pm--you'll get the hang of working at home--I guarantee it.

  10. Hey, as I recall there is at least a 10-day grace period after getting laid off.

    You get to do whatever you want for ten days and blame it on the depression you feel for getting the axe.

    It's a law in most states chica! ;)

  11. I have energy and self directional problems I think. I have to MAKE myself do the things I should. First I get up and let the dogs and some cats out, feed all the animals make sure they have fresh water, that is, after I pee. Then I make a strong pot of coffee. Then if I have the time, didn't, you know, get up too late because I kept hitting the snooze button, I get on the treadmill and promise myself 20 minutes minimum. If I do 30 that's okay too, if I do 40-60 minutes I give myself a big mental slap on the back and then go jump in the shower. After I am squeaky clean, I make breakfast. How much I eat depends upon how I feel and how much time I put on the treadmill but I TRY not to over do it. Then I usually go to work. Now since you work at home you will need to write down at least three things you can do in one day--not large things either but "doable". I do this at work because I am pretty much my own boss. After I set a goal and make three steps that start to achieve it then I work on those three steps. I take 15 minute breaks if I need to. At work that means I go to the circulation desk and wait on patrons or just go shelve books, look at blogs, work on a post--something that is different enough that my brain takes a break. After I accomplish my three mini-steps toward my goal I make three more, rinse and repeat. I also take a lunch break of an hour. I go home and eat a small lunch--unless I'm starving or something which then of course I eat MORE than I should but I tell myself I'll do some yoga poses before bed (and sometimes I actually DO!) and I may wash up some dishes, let the dogs out again, do a load of laundry, whatever I can fit in before I return to work. That means I'll have less to do when I get home I tell myself. If I have school after work I won't get home until 9:30 pm. And I do my homework on the side where I can, usually late at night when everyone is asleep.

    Crap, so that's why I'm so tired all the time!!! Anyway, hope this helps.

  12. Instead of using that fancy, and probably expensive, body wash, have you thought about just using a sugar cookie?

    If I don't win, can I have the bowl?

    By the way, I smell awesome. It's that sugar cookie body wash I've been using.

  13. Must ... find ... energy ... to ... mouth breathe ... while ... commenting.

  14. I'm going to check with Iwanski on the whole "schedule" thing. He's done a great job of being an excellent house husband and writer. :)

    But yeah, I do think you get some sort of grace period after being laid least a week or two? :)

  15. I'm delighted to see you're coping so well. Don't worry about being on schedule for anything until after the holiday craziness ends. I mean would anybody sane choose this time of year to go on a diet? Of course not :-)

  16. You do sound like you're coping really, really well. And oh, Chloe! Off to mouth breathe and watch TV. I know you will get in high gear soon. You're just reeling a bit. Let yourself have some fun.

  17. Your day sounds pretty much like mine~ slothful and unfocused. Instead of facebook I have twitter. Who knew you could spend 12 hrs a day on twitter and convince yourself you're just making a difference in the world by "working" on lobbying congress to give us universal healtcare and world peace.

    I'm a firm believer in the water conservation argument for not taking a shower everyday. I say splash your face with cold water and even get your hair wet if you must, but why go all the way to a full on shower. But then I do live alone. Actually the dogs like me better the dirtier I am.

    Staring at the computer screen is a good way of dealing with pesky intrusions into my space by well meaning friends. Should work with family too.

    Good luck, soon you'll be as slothful as I and you'll still be working on serious writing. I've actually been working on my novel for 20 years. I figure I have five years of editing yet to go.

  18. Take a vacation until after the holidays. Be a sloth. You deserve it.

  19. Younger son likes to hang around while I'm blog reading. Last night, I finally did tell him to head out when the sounds of the Lego creatures chasing the cats around the room got too loud.

    Of course, my kids know that if I don't get some time to myself during the day, I turn into a shrieking harpy so they're used to giving me some space. The room is quiet, now, except for the klutzy cat snoozing on the monitor.

    Organizationally? Figure out what you want done the most, the time of day you have the most energy for it, and combine the two. Stick the things you don't care about (housework, answering annoying e-mails) in your less-energetic time. Are you trying to be a hausfrau? Just because you're working at home, doesn't mean you're doing housework. You can't let the housework/paperwork/errands get in the way of your writing.

    The previous paragraph is a variation of the talk I give myself when the house is a mess, but the homeschooling is going well. Priorities.

    However - your world was just turned upside down. Give yourself some space - at least ten days to two weeks sounds good - a self-judgment-free vacation (I'm far better at recommending this than I am at doing this).

    And, I can see how, after a semester away, she may want to bask in your presence (grin).

  20. My day starts out with my DVR'd edition of the previous night's "The Daily Show with John Stewart" (I have to keep up with current events.) Then struggle out of bed, make the bed up, take a shower (after downing synthroid, fish oil pills, Sudafed (not the over the counter stuff, the good stuff you have to sign for)) then dress and off to work. Now, if I were in your position, after the Daily Show it would probably be go to the computer, search for some good adult entertainment, lunch nap, dinner, more computer stuff, a few more television programs, then bedtime. Above all, no more than 1.5 to 2 hours per day of anything that resembles productivity.

  21. You're cracking me up. That video was over-the-top ADD, but in a good way.

    I'm self-employed, and a schedule is pretty much a must, or you'll end up in trouble and owing the IRS back taxes. Also, a sense of self-discipline is good -- I had to kind of develop that one along the way ;) (Hence the back taxes...)

    But personally, I think you're entitled to a few days of reveling in the free time, the lack of rules, the interaction with your kids and playing around on the internet. You might want to keep the no-showering thing in check, tho!

  22. I'm not trying to compete with Utah and Liberality for comment length. I just want me a prize.

  23. Hey, yer not amounting to anything less than 10 percent of the American workforce, so you've got that going for you.

    Now can I haz prize?

  24. See, this is the kind of question I day-dream about while still slaving away for da man.

    I'd say you know yourself best and if a shower is what it takes to get you going in the morning do it... then following the theory that "life is unpredictable, eat dessert first" -- write for a specified period of time FIRST.

    AFTER that you can plug in all the stuff you "have to" do's like exercise, laundry, cooking, surfing for work (yours or someone else's) (ahem) etc.

    Don't forget to nap.

    ok. that's all I got.

  25. Well I did go on a bit there didn't I? But I thought Lisa was really asking an honest question, how to stay on track, and I proceeded to explain how I stay on track. I just am not the cute, pithy, and snarky folks you all are I guess :P

  26. a day late and a dollar short... I'm all about combining productivity and sloth. Folding clothese, going through stuff, etc. while watching movies, tv shows online, etc. (She says as she writes this comment at work.)


And then you say....

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