Big news -- In addition to Daddy's Tiny Cars, I now will be writing a bi-monthly daddy column for Northeast Ohio Family magazine, with my first piece running next month -- it will also be online at http://www.neohiofamily.com - exciting!
Additionally, I will be helping to grow the Tri-County BusinessJournal here in Northeast Ohio as the Business Editor, and will continue to be involved in various business aspects at Stadtlander Woodcarvings, all the while expanding my vintage business Nickadizzy and my free-lance writing. This is a far different world than the one I left a year and a half ago at my Keurig-cupped, cubicle-mazed office filled with both comradeship and polite animosity. A far, far different world.
The shift from punching a clock to becoming an independent has been a quirky, and at times (and that would be at ALL times), daunting process, and while I would like to say I would have gone this route even if I hadn't lost my job, I'm not so certain that is being truthful. Losing my full-time job was the best worst thing to ever happen to me.
The biggest struggle, besides staving off poverty, has been to maintain structure. I am attempting to reintroduce some trappings of normalcy and routine (such as regular exercise and remembering to eat) to the non-child-raising aspects of my life, even though I'm not ready to forgo the odd hours. I often find myself working on projects at 3 or 4 in the morning when the house is quiet. The blessed part of these hours, however, is that I have seen the stars in the still of the night sky more in this past year than ever in 16 years of office routine. I suspect they were up there even back then. I think I simply forgot to check.
Working in a home office, though, means more diligence with where I set things. While occasionally someone at the office might walk off with my Sharpie or scissors, the culprit probably would not scribble on the wall or cut off my shoe laces with my own office gear. At home with small kids, that is not always the case.
The other day I was preparing to package a small vintage vase (a great little Blue Mountain Pottery number) when I went off to do something else -- I have no idea what. I left a block of repurposed Styrofoam, but luckily not the vase, on the ottoman -- after all, this is material meant to stop things from breaking, so what could possibly go wrong?
I came back to find this:
The pictures don't capture the extent of the mess - my house looked like an Ohio April snow storm had hit - inside. Little pieces of foam all hopped up on static were clinging to the couch, the carpet, and my son's hair, and when I tried to vacuum them, they just kind of blew away from the vacuum cleaner, going anywhere but into its whirling vortex. At one point it looked like we where in a snow globe.
Apparently my son had clobbered the Styrofoam with either a Wii remote or a plastic tube of PVC for no better reason than to do it. He wasn't shy about it and made no attempt to deny the carnage -- in fact he seemed to see no issue or downside at all. I guess if he fell he would be better cushioned, so perhaps he had mangled my Styrofoam in the name of safety.
If you have kids or have even been around them for a few minutes, you know this type of weirdness is commonplace. The day after the Styrofoam incident this same son, Baby G, had colored the tops of his feet with markers, telling me he had given himself tattoos. He had proudly shown me the different colors of his ink.
Such is working at a home office with kids.
Even so, the destructive results balance with my knowledge that my kids have no interest in being destructive -- they simply enjoy exploring, creating, and seeing what will happen, a spirit not all that different than that required to be an independent, and god knows I've ended up many times with metaphorical Styrofoam stuck on my sweater. I don't even wear sweaters or actually know what that means, but I do know it has probably happened to me as a result of one of my good-idea-at-the-time moments.
Tonight, however, as it was getting late, all three of my kids came in while I was doing some inventory control work on the computer. I was flummoxed by a difficult Excel spreadsheet, and all the kids asked if they could help. The two youngest fought briefly to both sit on my lap, but once I got them situated I gave them each a Hi-Liter and had them do some very important coloring on the scrap inventory sheets I had printed. While they colored, I talked to my 6th grade son about spiders, nutrition and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas. Outside it was dark, but I knew behind the clouds were stars, and I knew I wasn't going to forget they were up there again.
In all my years at the office, I never had such good help.
Thanks to Phil Pekarcik for the picture of my Judge, one of my favorite muscle cars, a 1970 GTO. While I made no effort to tie the name or design of the car into this week's blog, know to me this choice fits completely. I appreciate the opportunities I have been given, even through their associated challenges, and I am happy with my family, my career, my life. This little car captures the essence of this blog when I began it 82 weeks ago -- this little car just makes me happy.
POST BLOG NOTE: I stepped out to pick up some soy milk for breakfast (the littlest guy pictured has difficulty digesting regular milk), both because we were out but also because I love the surrealism of grocery shopping late at night. Flakes of snow were falling from the black sky, having already covered my windshield. I mean, I think that must be snow ... Baby G!!!
Posted by Dale Luckwitz at 11:04 PM