so there I was, hip deep in yarn bands contemplating the virtues of bamboo needles versus metal when suddenly…

WTF?? This is most certainly not what I want

Garth is of the opinion, like most cats, that anywhere he plops down for a nap is his bed, and good luck telling him otherwise. He doesn’t share. He also has a tendency to find where Eric is napping and steal that spot from him by just being obnoxious until Eric gets up and leaves.

As I was sitting in my chair knitting on a relatively boring cowl, drinking my tea and watching the news this morning I realized that all of “this” – my morning routine – is likely going to change when Lancelot is working from home. But then, maybe it won’t. It got me thinking about routines and that maybe this is a perfect opportunity for me to re-evaluate some of mine to see if they really are still beneficial. I see the difference between “routine” and “rut” as pretty damn subtle, though highly significant.

It’s still going to be important for me to have consistent “go to bed / wake up” times because sleep is so crucial in managing my Bipolar. I feel like it’s also going to be important to have some time in the mornings to do a little knitting and enjoy my cup of tea. That’s almost more of a ritual at this point, and I feel that it does serve me exceptionally well.

Some of the things I do that feel sort of standard like menu planning and getting my outfits together for the week will certainly stay, though I’m hoping to be able to get L more involved with the menu because I think it would be great to get him more involved with cooking. (he has expressed an interest in this, so yay) I also anticipate some of the household chores will either stay the same or at least be pretty similar.

I honestly think the biggest difference will be with my nighttime routines. For a while I had been trying to shut down all of my electronics at 7pm and then pick up a book and read until 8pm when I went to bed. That lasted until I finished the book I was reading and sadly I have yet to get into a new book. I’m hoping that I can shift my bedtime until 9pm (since I won’t need to get up quite so early anymore) and then come up to my office at 8pm and read. I anticipate that time would allow L a little extra time in the evening to wind down how he prefers so that we both get better sleep. I hope anyway.

Today I love… hot tea with honey and cream, I love that there are no external meetings today so I can be a little extra casual, I love that today is chicken noodle soup day, I love that the cowl is coming out beautiful and I’m glad I decided to go with a non-pattern to let the beauty of the yarn shine through

working out of a backpack:  adventures of an IT worker in a pandemic

When the shit hit the fan last March I found myself working at home, pretty much overnight. Our campus was notified that Spring Break was going to be extended to two weeks instead of the traditional one, and the faculty were told to get their classes ready to be delivered remotely. On Friday, the day before my birthday, I packed up all the pieces and parts of my office I thought I would need and that was that. I went from driving to campus and working in my own dedicated office five days a week to working in my pjs with the cats “helping.” I was also in the midst of a triangular move involving Mom and Lancelot, but that’s a whole other story that I’ve told before. Anyway, I started working full time from home and found that when I was able to setup my very own dedicated office at home I really rather enjoyed it.

There’s a ton of flexibility to be had when you only have to really be “dressed” from the waist up, like you can put in a load of laundry when you take a break to stretch, and you can start cooking dinner whenever you need to. Access to the fridge, freezer, and pantry was also pretty damn nice. Shoes? Who needs shoes! It’s rather heavenly. Plus, no commute other than to pick up Lancelot from his job in the morning and for me there was almost no temptation to go out to get food. Living in various states of lockdown and being afraid of catching the plague absolutely sucked, but work wasn’t the same source of stress that it had been.

One of the other added bonuses for me is that I was able to see Lancelot more than I ever had. I still had to keep my working hours during the standard day time, but having him just in another part of the house meant that I could grab a quick hug if I needed it. That emotional support was amazing.

The team I work with proved, well beyond any shadow of doubt, that we could not only perform our necessary functions working remotely but we could offer an even higher level of service than we did before. Working from home helped us to hone some of our skills and forced us to find ways to do more and do it better. And because demand for our services grew exponentially the team expanded in a big way.

So much so that there’s no longer enough physical space for all of us in our designated office suite, even if we weren’t needing to continue observing social distancing guidelines (which we are). We now rotate who is there which days so that we can each have a space for that day where we don’t have to wear a mask the whole time. It’s not awful, but it sure is strange.

I’ve worked here for 20 years. I’ve had 9 different work areas. I’ve never had to share my work area like this. I’m not kidding you when I say I work out of my backpack. I had to figure out what all I need to carry with me every time I go in, including my personal office supplies. I do have a shelf in a closet where I keep a few “kitchen” type supplies for myself but that’s it. Everything else I carry with me on my back, every single time.

It’s not awful but it’s also not great. I always used to joke that my office was my home away from home, and it looked like it.

That was how it used to look. Very personalized, very me.

What’s actually hardest for me is the going back and forth. I work on campus two days a week, Thursday and Friday, and going between home and campus is rough. I can’t keep to the same routines every day, I don’t have my same supports in place, and there are no orange kitties on campus to walk on the keyboard. The funny thing is that I wouldn’t mind going back to working on campus full time, because that would be consistent. It’s the inconsistencies of this that throw my bipolar off kilter.

Even after all this time, 15 years now, it never ceases to amaze me how much of a creature of habit I have to be in order to maintain my sanity.