Last week New Jersey schools closed in order for teachers and other educators to attend the NJEA convention. Mind you, this conference is only two days, but because parents usually take their kids out of school for the entire week anyway, the schools shut down for the entire week this year. Clearly, we have our priorities in order. My son is one of the handful of kids who usually attends school if it’s open during this time. He sits forlornly on the near-empty school bus and the sound of his footsteps echo as he walks down the quiet hallway to join the other classmates whose parents can’t afford a trip to Cozumel. By the way, they call the first week of November “New Jersey week” at Disney for this very reason. Now, I don’t understand why the teachers can’t have their convention in the summer when it won’t interrupt a child’s education, but that’s neither here nor there. There was no school last week and all of my son’s friends had traveling plans. I was prepared for a week of art projects and Phineas and Ferb marathons so I could get stuff done.
I needn’t have worried because …
…my son caught a virus compounded by a horrible cough and sinus infection and that kept both of us well occupied. Well, that is until halfway through the illness when boredom set in for The Boy who was bouncing off the walls. And the couch. And the Dog.
You might be thinking how fortunate I am to be a work at home mom so I can care for my family during their time of need.
The truth is, when a seven year old realizes a little whining will get him ginger ale and jello, Mom isn’t getting anything done. I spent most of last week fetching buckets, dispensing antibiotics and reading the entire collective works of Frog and Toad, over and over and over again.
You must be thinking I’m happy last week is over so I can get back to working in peace.
Did I mention Mr. Ng’s unemployment? My husband was laid off at the end of July. This means he’s been home every day since August 1st. That’s every day, people. Every. Day. Now I love my husband, but the 24/7 thing can wear thin. Whoever made up all that “til death do us part” stuff, never spent all day, every day with a spouse. He has decided to use this time wisely and renovate. During the day. Every day. When I’m home trying to work. Power tools, hammers, and cursing are now the soundtrack of my life.
After reading this you will probably suggest I take my show on the road.
Let me tell you about the quiet WiFi hotspots in my area…
Starbucks and the library are becoming a way of life. Except there are people around …always. So my option is to to work at home amid the sound of Dremels and drills or to go to the local Starbucks where five small tables are squeezed in between the counter and the wall to make a very narrow aisle where folks push by, knocking my elbows off the table on their way to ordering double triple mocha soy lattes with a twist. Since most of my neighbors stop by the coffee shop on their way to work or home from the supermarket, they all have to stop by my table to say hello. And they won’t leave.
Then there’s the library…
This isn’t your father’s library. There are no shushing librarians or quiet signs reminding us people are trying to read, work or study. This is the new library where patrons are encouraged to talk and share ideas. There’s a quiet section but there aren’t any power cords or tables, only bean bag chairs and these stuffed cube things that are suppose to pass for chairs. I’m 45. The last time I sunk myself into a bean bag chair, three people had to pull me out for fear I’d never be heard from again.
So I sit at the table with the plug for my power cord, which, by the way, is just outside of the room where “Mommy and Me” or “Music to Move By” classes are being held. “Hi Mrs. Ng!” My neighbors kids call out as they enter and leave the room. I wave back. “Oh good, you’re here. Now I have some one to talk to while I wait for story hour to end,” their moms tell me as they sit down next to me and fill me in on the day’s gossip.
Power tools and fetching the bucket for an influenza afflicted seven year old look mighty attractive after a day of silence at the coffee shop or library.
Oh yes, I’m so fortunate to be living the dream and working at home where I can spend all this quality time with my family. After all, that’s what it’s all about.