Working from home has been a bit of an adjustment for me. I’ve had a job since I was 16 years old and have held some pretty interesting positions. Retail was my first experience in the workforce and I have great respect for those who can do it well. I cannot. No matter how much I was asked and expected to pounce on the next potential owner of a cheap pair of earrings, I simply couldn’t throw myself at a customer when I knew they just wanted space to shop on their own. Since then I’ve had some pretty eclectic jobs: camp counselor, graphic design intern, tutoring scheduler, brochure designer for a senior travel group, day care assistant. The list goes on.
One job led to another and eventually I ended up in the mental health field and then, finally, for the next 12 years would be a visual assistant for the blind. I coined that job title and thought it had a snappier sound than simply saying I was Patty’s caregiver. I also thought it was better than the description Patty used when introducing me to strangers: my friend who helps me. Don’t get me wrong, it was endearing, but not a very solid job description according to the IRS.
Since I’ve begun my new venture as ‘professional artist’ I’m finding that I have many crucial decisions to make. Serious decisions that bombard me on a daily basis:
1. Do I get dressed or don’t I?
This is a difficult question because really, if I’m just going to be painting all day then do I really need to get dressed? I mean, the UPS guy has seen me at my absolute worst and I’m pretty sure by now he thinks I’m an agoraphobic drunk.
2. Style my hair, or just cover that mess up with a ball cap?
I suppose however I choose to answer question number one will dictate how I answer question two. I mean, if I keep my PJ’s on all day then why do my hair? On the other hand, if I get dressed then it would look kind of silly if I walked around with my hair sticking up like I’d just poked my finger in a light socket. Unless of course I had just been playing around with a light socket, which should immediately leave you thinking, ‘should she really be allowed to stay home by herself while her husband is at work?
3. Sit down and eat a relaxing breakfast at the dining room table, or kill two birds with one stone and just eat while I paint?
I can already hear Geneen Roth whispering in my ear on this one. Of course I should be focusing on my food and how it tastes so that I am more aware of when I’m full and thus not overeat. Still, I find myself being drawn to my easel when I get up in the mornings and many times end up thinking that I’m some highly evolved multi-tasker who can do three or four things flawlessly at once – until I have to throw out my fourth cup of tea because I’ve mistakenly used it (again) to clean my paintbrush instead of using my water container. (That happens more often than I care to admit right now, btw).
4. Teeth are starting to feel a little gritty. Brush them today or just let nature take its course?
Just kidding. I take oral hygiene vey seriously.
It has certainly been quite an adjustment. I now dictate my own schedule. Well, I mostly dictate my own schedule. Actually, the dogs dictate some of what I do. Because of them I rarely sleep in past 7 AM; they simply will not allow it. Emmie sneaks onto her hind legs and if I’m facing the edge of the bed she aims her nose right at my mouth and with one swift movement, I’m being assaulted in my sleep. Brulee is a bit more subtle. He just jumps onto the bed and walks up to where my head is. When I open my eyes, he scares the living heck out of me while his face is inches from mine, panting his dog breath at me. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to go back to sleep after that display. I can almost hear them saying, ‘We are hungry, two legged thing who feeds us. Please get out of your giant rectangular dog bed and tend to our stomachs for we are ready to eat and then be petted the remainder of the day.’
I’m starting to think that maybe it would do me some good to have a little less flexibility and more scheduled things to do. It’s going to be a long winter and even though I could stay cooped up in my house and just paint until Spring, I’m not all together sure it’s a good idea. When I was in college I used to use a small chalkboard and block out time to do specific things. That may be something worth exploring right now.
And just in case you’re wondering – yes, I did get dressed today. Not for me, but for you – my readers. I figured that somehow you’d see right though my lies if I weren’t actually dressed and freshly deodorized before posting this morning. You are welcome.
See you later in the week!