Saturday, June 15, 2013

Juggling with Varying Degrees of Success

It's Father's Day Weekend, and Pamela has gone down to Chicago to visit with her grandmothers. One is 93, one is 97. They're both in semi frail health, with her Dad's mom weathering a bit worse... It's good to get quality time in. This leaves me a dad-bachelor for the weekend, and it's been a good one.

Friday, i was technically "working" and got a few things done, but mostly spent time watching as Isaac and Bella had friends over for massive playdates. At the end of Kindergarten, Isaac's class made phone books with pictures and numbers, and Isaac has been carrying his book around every day, asking who he can call to come play. He has personally called to arrange for three playdates in the past week now - William on Wednesday, Advik on Friday, and Barrett today. He's very polite on the phone and interested in arranging the details. And he's relentless if people can't play, he goes right down the line. Every playdate is the result of at least 4 calls, and he doesn't get discouraged.

He's quite the social planner. Bella had a long good playdate with Jenny yesterday, but today was playmate free, and spent time working VERY hard on a father's day card for my dad - She got into a perfectionist streak, and was taping pieces of paper over writing to write it neater - some areas have 3 layers of over-papering. I think Dad will be pretty amused. Isaac wanted to make a card too, so he dictated what he wanted it to say, Bella wrote it very lightly, and Isaac TRACED over it. It is signed "Sincerely, Isaac". Sincerely?

Last night after the kids were asleep I decided to watch Percy Jackson The Lightning Thief: Bella and I just started the 4th book - I love to read to her still, even though she is quite the reader too: She just finished MockingJay and we had a good talk about the ending. She's a smart girl. Anyway, I left a few thoughts on Facebook about how I felt about the Percy Movie (Short version: An insult to readers of the books). Bella had watched it a month ago and I had pressed her for details, and she demurred saying "it was... different.... not really like the book at all".

So today, I took her aside and we had a good 20 minute DISH about the movie: We were talking about ALL the things they got wrong in the movie. She was actually really happy I finally saw it so she could talk about it: "I didn't think you'd really UNDERSTAND until you saw it, Dad".

A kind soul set me up with a little walking around money for Father's Day and so you know what I wanted to do: Go to the Mall of America. We got there right at the open, and first things first, got Isaac some shoes. That boy is growing, and is never one to complain, but we noticed his toes were jammed in all of his shoes, so it was time for some fresh kicks. The nice Russian lady at Nordstrom got Isaac well sorted. And none of the shoes blink, nor do they have fire trucks or robots on them: Just solid, good runaround shoes.

Then it was to the Lego store: I've learned that both my kids are only lukewarm on structures and vehicles, but love the figures - they can play all day with the characters. So I picked a few sets with characters we didn't have before, including some Star Wars (Hoth Battle, with a Tauntaun), pre-Star Wars "Old Republic" figures (like all darth vaders with wild colors), and Galdalf and Saruman. All day there were strange voices coming from the other room as they set up their lines of battle (and yes, LOTR wizards CAN battle Sith Lords).

I popped into the Microsoft store: I've been toying with the idea of physically separating my work and play lives by getting a windows laptop and keeping my work stuff on it - I figure I'd NEVER want to open it unless I was working. Then scrub all work stuff OFF of my Macs. I walked around, and was just... well... not feeling it. It's a good theory, but one I think I'll need to plan out a little better.

I think this work life balance thing is going to take more than a laptop to fix. Ive been traveling a lot less, and home a lot more, but for the past month, my brain has been very distracted: I have had 4 clients going, all with strategic work (which means they're renting my brain and attention more than my time). It's not just client work - I have 3 really huge engagements that I'm managing resources on as well - trying to make sure my teams are doing well... and this is the work where if I get it right, I'll make a lot more money than the 4 other clients. Plus participating as an owner of the company. It makes it very hard to "turn off", when my job is to think about how to solve problems. And the solution doesn't usually come in the 2 hour part of the day I allotted to that client. It comes at 3am.

This is leaving me a little distracted at all hours - my shaving is interrupted by pondering a different way that one client could possibly arrange their patient outreach team, and the water is running.... I'm starting to feel like an eccentric. The bigger problem is that pretty much ALL input, be it work or home, is coming through the same buffer, and I'm sometimes a but more curt than I should be. The dog barking is a lot of noise that is wasting my precious brain cycles, and I react accordingly.

So I need to do SOMETHING: Today, I did nothing related to work and focused on the kids. It was a wonderful day. I played hooky for part of yesterday as well. I fully intend to kick back all of Sunday as well. But come Monday, it's all coming back, and I'm going to need to work out how to keep this all moving.

But that's Monday. Today is Saturday, the kids are asleep: They both got 2 chapters of reading from me (Isaac is now on book 29 of Droon!), and now I'm sitting on the couch with the dogs, who have finally accepted that Pamela is NOT walking through that door any second... and they can sit with the other big dog for a little while.