Happy Tuesday morning. I type this as I’m sitting outside drinking my coffee. It’s just after 930 AM and the weather today is beautiful. It’s not beach weather, but it’s splendid nontheless, probably 65 or so.
I woke up this morning to no alarm clock and a full night’s sleep, a feat not to be undercelebrated. The coffee was made for me and it is way better than the sludge I made yesterday morning (far too strong).
By now, I’ve already collected the house and put things in their place, knowing that the cleaning lady will be here soon. There’s laundry to fold and put away, but that’s small fish in the grand scheme of things. All the sheets are fresh, things are mostly put together, and the trash is on the curb.
I’ve also done the one thing that really makes the biggest difference to my mornings: reading. I started Brian McCullough’s How the Internet Happened yesterday and it is the right balance of technical and lay to be the perfect vacation read.
It is an odd time to take a vacation. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. But these two weeks had been planned for a while- we were supposed to be in a semi-private beach/pool in Jamaica with butler service for 10 days (yes, 10!!!). It is laced with luxury and privelege that as thousands of folks are worried about how they’re going to pay their gas/electric/rent/mortgage, I’m whining about my vacation being cancelled. I have not lost perspective. Just bummed that this is the siutation. I am grateful every single minute that I am still working, relatively uninterrupted. In our daily lives, we’re focused on doing our part: stimulating the economy where we can (ordering delivery and takeout, paying our bills quickly, paying vendors who can no longer work, overtipping folks who have been affected). Not everyone is as lucky as we are, and we are very aware of it.
A part of me wants to capture this moment- capture the feelings that are rushing through my right now, and the relity is they are quite varied. Some days, things feel very business-as-usual-y. Other days, they feel like a time warp that I do not understand.
I want to sit down and brain dump these feelings a bit.
I wore a Hawaiian shirt to work on Friday with the goal of ending the work day at 4 (#FOURPMFRIDAYS anyone? Aside: I will work late any day of the week, but I always want to log off work at 4 PM on Fridays. It has nothing to do with my feels about my job and everything to do with being off work at 4 PM on Fridays. I work during most “business hours” and that hour-long window is the time that I need to be able to get a misc errands done before the weekend begins. Sometimes that’s running to the post office or the liquor store. Sometimes, it’s just straightening up the house. Sometimes, it’s ordering pizza. Don’t ask me why, but getting off work at 4 PM on Friday drastically improves the quality of life that I experience over the weekend.) I didn’t make my 4 PM goal, but at 5:25, I shut down my work laptop, closed my notebook, and stepped out of my office. By 5:30, C and I were in the kitchen cooking dinner over Whiteclaws, both wearing Hawaiian shirts. We kicked off vacation strong.
Casey made fresh fettuccine with shrimp, tomato, and spinach in a butter and garlic sauce. Being somewhat in-between shows, we decided to start watching Westworld from HBO.
It was great to just be together without the cloud handing over us of the following week, or of weekend work obligations.
Saturday was technically the first day of vacation. While I woke up early, I slept through the night, which is not something to be underappreciated. We have a very strict no-TV-in-the-bedroom policy and have for many years, but this particular morning I suggested that we move the extra TV from the garage (where its primary purpose is to play music during workouts) to the bedroom so we could watch a little more Westworld from bed. That was an easy case to make. I went downstairs, grabbed the TV, and set it upstairs where C could set it up.
While he did that, I took action on the four bananas that needed to be used – banana bread would be breakfast. My friend Emily had shared her favorite recipe. Despite not having the basic ingredients (we didn’t have sugar? Really, “domestic goddess” is my middle name), I got it all in the oven and they turned out spectacular. Next time, I’ll add chocolate chips.
That evening, we played some board games with our friends the Parsons- Parcheesi, Taboo, Coup, and Mario Party- over pizza and beer.
All in all, I came out of Saturday feeling incredibly recharged. Nothing about the Saturday was unique, per se, but that whatever stress weight has been sitting on my shoulders was slowly lifting and I could feel what a difference it was making.
Happy Easter! I woke up Sunday morning around 7:30 and did facemasks with my sister over Facetime. Technology, man.
After forty minutes Facetiming with my mom and her, I headed to Dunkin’ Donuts to pick up breakfast for Casey and I: a pair of bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches and four donuts. I also bought a dozen donuts for our local fire station, which is around the corner from our house.
Breakfast in bed over more Westworld was the perfect way to start the day. Breakfast in bed is one of my favorite indulgences, even when I’m the one to make it and bring it into bed.
Casey continued his culinary masterpieces and made Cornish Hens for dinner. We discussed ordering food, but waited until it was too late.
We spent the day moving between cooking, dancing, singing The Greatest Showman, reading, and resetting the house. I do love a good TV binge but I don’t find it recharging at all.
In a world where one or both of us has worked every single weekend since 2019 (yes, it is April 14 as I type this), it was great to not work, to not think about work, to not discuss work- and not because we don’t enjoy our jobs, but because we’re people outside of those too. Let me make very clear: I truly enjoy what I do. In many ways, my job is to learn and implement what I’m learning (and maybe learn a bit by fire) and I am genuine excited to go to work every day, but not focusing on work for a bit helps gain perspective- a zoom out of sorts.
Over the course of the day, we got in touch with all the parents, said an Easter prayer,and cuddled with Bo. I baked a loaf of French bread that was the perfect post-dinner snack.
What do you get when you have two workaholics who are off on a Monday: an extended weekend. Unfortunately, Monday, I woke up at 2 and despite trying to, I could not go back to sleep. Around 4, I gave up the tossing and turning, which is bad for me and for poor C’s sleep, and headed downstairs. When this happens, I try to catch up on the TV shows that I watch without him, like The Walking Dead. Without any of that at that point, I watched Home Town, the HGTV show chronicling a smaller town in Mississippi. I was thoroughly impressed.
I ran through my usual activities around the house- consolidating laundry, doing the dishes, reading, etc- before C came downstairs mid morning.
We finished season 1 of Westworld (there are 10 episodes, so you can tell that we were not watching for sport or else it wouldn’t have taken us so many days) and started season 2. I spent some time reading.
Dinner was going to be vegetable fried rice. As Chef Casey went to prep, I decided to go for a short run. I’ve been really letting my body tell me what it needs and focusing on taking care of me that way, as opposed to from a checklist full of guilt-ridden obligation. After not moving my body for a couple of days (okay, okay, over a week), I decided a short run was in order. I grabbed my Airpods, loaded up the Tiger King podcast, and went for a loop around my neighborhood. I only ran ~ 1.5 miles, but by the time I got home my body did feel so much better.
Before we headed to bed, we found out that a bonus episode of Tiger King had come out and decided to watch that. Was the budget for it 7 sets of Airpods and a Facetime session? I was pretty disappointed in it, if we’re bing honest. It felt a bit opportunistic and growth-hacky because it didn’t present anything new.
I started writing this thing at 9:40. It’s now nearly noon. I spent an hour sitting in the back yard laying in the sun and straightening up the house again.
Today, I plan on NOT spending the day trying to catch up on my self-imposed to-do list. Instead, I’m hoping to make a dent into my current read, spend a lot of time outside, make some magic out of leftovers, and savor the day. This is very un-Emilie of me, but I’m trying to lean into it.
Going back to sleep
Before I wrap up this braindump-y post, I want to note one thing that happened last night: I woke up in the middle of the night and put myself back to sleep. I only think I’ve been able to do this once before, so let me capture what I did.
Yesterday, I deleted my work calendar from my phone. This was late at night, and there wasn’t any particular thing that prompted it, but I did this. My work calendar also has access to the calendar of two of my colleagues. In the middle of the night, I dreamt that I got an urgent Slack message (no such thing, btw) and that making the change to my cell phone had declined all the meetings on my calendar and those two colleagues of mine, creating a lot of work for other people.
I woke up with this immense amount of guilt. These messages were so vivid in my mind. It wasn’t that I had just thought about them, it’s that in my mind I could see these messages in Slack. I was so sure that I had done something wrong.
Just as I was going to get up from bed, I said to myself: Emilie, you haven’t seen these messages in Slack; they’re in your head. I woke up a couple more times with the same concern and talked myself down each time.
Eventually, I was able to go back to sleep, all the way until 8 AM!
When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s not always with anxiety, but it was nice in this circumstance to be able to use reason to be able to bring myself back to reality by anchoring on a fact.
Off to take in a little bit more sun and a little bit more reading!