A Day in the Life

When I was once a part of the 9-5 business world, there was a time I followed the adage, “Don’t dress for the job you have, dress for the job you want.”  So lately I’ve been thinking maybe I should start dressing like a jazz dancer.  Or an art gallery/gift shop owner…or anything other than a work-at-home mom…    
Monday was my birthday, and although my 85-year-old mother was staying with us for her annual visit and I got to spend most of the evening at dinner and a movie with my husband, the day was filled with so many To-Do’s I didn’t have time to open and savor the birthday cards that had come in the mail.  I went to sleep at 1 a.m., looking forward to “Getting to Everything Else” when I woke up.

The next day dawned with a noon deadline for a freelance story– I’d blocked out the whole morning to sit at my desk and write, since I’d finished interviewing the day before.  But that was quickly replaced with the realization of a surprise dental visit on the horizon: Emmie thought she’d cracked a tooth on a bag of Wonka “Runts” the day before (there’s another Halloween candy I’m putting in the Reject Pile). She was in pain. When I inspected, it did look suspicious, but I couldn’t tell for sure.  So I was able to get her a last-minute morning dental appointment, and decided to squeeze in her teenage sister as well (our dentist is also our orthodontist).  Allison had been moritified that they’d put on a WHITE “power chain” last week (some type of rubber-band-type thing) when she’d requested CLEAR, and it had turned yellow from eating cheese, and she was about to pose for photos for a high school theatre production, and she’d been begging to go back to the orthodontist for a re-do– so I thought, why not combine two trips in one?  Little did I know it would take almost a half hour just getting her pulled out of class (high schools these days are pretty secure) so by the time Mom and I got Allison, and picked up Emmie from elementary school, we were late (as usual) to the appointments.  After x-rays, it turns out Emmie had cracked a filling off of a baby tooth (thanks a lot, Willy Wonka)– and the dentist/orthodontist recommended pulling the tooth rather than re-filling a tooth that was supposed to fall out within 6 months.  Rather than waiting to schedule the “extraction” at another time, Emmie the Fearless wanted it done immediately, so she was prepped for “oral surgery”.  And this office is like Dental Disneyland– it’s a very large practice, with more than one dentist, numerous brightly colored rooms filled with patients and two play areas for little ones, so I knew we’d have to wait a bit.  Meanwhile,  Allison gleamed with her new clear power chain and the staff recommended she get her teeth cleaned and inspected, since she was scheduled to come in next week for that, anyway, so why not save a trip? I said yes.  My mother waited patiently in the patient waiting room.

I kept busy by walking a triangular path between the “surgery side”, the “cleaning side” and the waiting room, alternately holding Emmie’s hand and whispering reassuring words, checking on Allison to see if the dentist had found any cavities, and making sure Mom was okay. By about the third time I’d made my way to Emmie, the tooth had already been pulled and she was enjoying the 100% oxygen she was getting through a plastic snout, which flushed out the strawberry-scented sedation “gas” she’d enjoyed earlier.  Allison was picking out a “prize” from the prize tray “for her sister”, since she was too old to like any of the plastic jewelry or racecars offered, and my mother had just about finished telling her life story to the clean-cut male receptionist.  I took a deep breath and sank into the chair in one of Dental Disney’s “payment rooms”, wondering what the financial damage would be and wondering what  I was going to tell my editor.  Not only that, but Emmie had to recover at home for an hour or so and have a special lunch of soft foods– and I had to eventually get them both back to school…so I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get to the story…

As expected, when we went to get Emmie her favorite chocolate shake from Which Wich after leaving the dentist/orthodontist’s office, Allison wanted lunch from there, too, since it was her lunch period at school then…and she wanted to eat it at home right alongside Emmie, since lunch didn’t end for another hour.  I frantically wrote about 1/4  of my freelance story while they ate lunch– luckily, I’d heard from my editor via email and had been given an extension.  Then I took both girls back to school and had about an hour left to finish the story before school pick-up. Triumphantly, just before 3 p.m., I was satisfied with what I had and was about to email it in, when I decided to  do a quick “fact check” on something in the story, using the Internet.  The page on which I landed included a weird video application that wouldn’t allow the page to load properly. And it froze up my computer so badly that nothing worked anymore. The entire computer had to be shut down and as I left to go pick up Emmie from school, I just kept thinking, “I hope I saved the rest of the story, or I hope the computer autosaved it….I hope I saved the rest of the story, or I hope the computer autosaved it…”  Well,  I hadn’t, and it didn’t. The “recovered” version only included what I’d saved earlier in the day– 1/4 of the story.  A search in computer “trash” bins and temporary files proved fruitless.  I took a deep breath.  I would have to re-create 3/4ths of the story. This time I telephoned my editor to speak to her in person.

Luckily I didn’t have to pick up Allison from school that day.  I finished the story at 5 p.m., sent it off, and immediately was supposed to begin typing up the minutes for a meeting at which I had taken notes as the substitute secretary last month. This month’s meeting was to start at 6:30 that night, and I couldn’t start typing until I found the notes I’d taken…and it took me a long time to find them…and I wasn’t even dressed properly for the meeting yet…and I was supposed to give a ride to someone to the meeting…and luckily there was frozen lasagna in the freezer for Andy and everyone else…

When I got home around 9:30 that night and went straight to walk Luke the dog, who no one had paid attention to for several hours, Mom was exasperated that my stack of birthday cards was still unopened.  I took a deep breath, asked her, “When did I ever have the time?”, and went upstairs to bed. ### 

2 thoughts on “A Day in the Life”

  1. Geez! I’m tired just reading your post. Did you ever cry at any point? I would have lost it when I realized I had to re-type all of that work. I’m glad everything worked out in the end. Hopefully you’ve read your birthday cards by now!

  2. No, I didn’t cry at the computer set back– I must have realized that would have set me back even more, time-wise.  And it was like, things were just so ridiculous, what could I do except take a deep breath and keep on moving.  And I did open my cards the next morning– I loved your note.  Thank you!!!

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