Friday, October 10, 2008

Working From Home

It's the best offer I’ve had in my thirty-five years in the workforce. My college and other places of business are high on four-day work weeks or giving the option of working from home a day each week, so I’ve tried it a few times.

Last Friday, I made the most of it. Instead of waking at 5:20 a.m. to shower and hit the road, I slept until 7:00 a.m. My agenda was full that day:

7:00 a.m. Let girls outside. Checked office e-mail in my nightshirt and robe. Replied to a few and flagged a few.

7:30 a.m. Showered, dried hair, applied some make-up.

8:15 a.m. Checked office e-mail again.

8:30 a.m. Hauled three budget binders from the trunk of my car to the kitchen table.

Toasted an English muffin for breakfast and listened to Good Morning America for bad news and listened to Regis and Kelly for a few laughs. Kissed Bostons and shared bits of muffin with them.

8:45 a.m. Arranged 3-hole punch and binder materials on the kitchen table. Ready to work!


9:00 a.m. Once again, let the girls relieve their bladders out back and noticed a Mockingbird perched in misty rain. I love its curious look in this photo.

9:30 a.m. Checked office e-mail, replied to a few, and flagged others.

10:00 a.m. Drove to Concord and attended a delightful meeting at Wild Birds Unlimited. Joined their savings club and caught up on bird happenings in the area.

10:45 a.m. Drove from Concord to North Charlotte for a meeting at the Lancôme counter to buy an eye shadow. My priorities were right on.

11:10 a.m. Arrived home and checked office e-mail. Extinguished one fire.



11:20 a.m. Wandered out back to find the same grasshopper I found on the butterfly bush two weeks ago?

11:45 a.m. Checked office e-mail and hit the books.

1:00 p.m. Still working on books, budgets, and balances. Needed a break.


Will you please look at me?


1:20 p.m.
Dogs were snoring and the Bose played lite rock on low volume. Lit a Yankee candle. Continued working on books, budgets, and balances while checking e-mail every twenty minutes. After an hour, felt sleepy.

2:30 p.m. Heard the mail carrier, walked down the driveway and fetched the mail. On the other side of the street, our carrier drove by to deliver my neighbor’s mail. I looked his way, smiled and said hello.
“Hi! Are you Mary? I’m Dion.”

“Yes, I’m Mary. Hi Dion! We haven’t met.”

“Have a grand day, Mary. And a great weekend.”

On the way back up the driveway I had a smile on my face. Dion obviously loves his job…lucky man. And I wondered what made him remember my name, other than I receive mail here. Then I remembered why. He’s the one who delivered my mealworms during a heat wave last spring and walked around my house to find a cool, shady place to leave them. He left me a note as to where I’d find them. I left him a thank you note in my mailbox the next day. That’s why he remembered me.


2:45 p.m. Ate a banana and rearranged three inches of junk we’ve accumulated in a kitchen drawer. Three years in this house equals an inch of junk a year.

3:00 p.m. Checked office e-mail again, cleaned up the budget mess and called it a wrap!


3:30 p.m. Invited Chloe and Bella outside for a play date. Found another Mockingbird eyeing me. Chloe dug a few holes and Bella chased a hula hoop until I made her breathe and rest.

If any of you office lurkers read this, the work got done! There were no phones, interruptions, silly office distractions, or boredom behind the desk.

I could get used to working at home. What a great concept.


But now I sorta regret not taking a photo of those damned budget books.


Susan Gets Native said...

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!
Sounds like a lovely day. Any time you can work on budgets while listening to two snoring Bostons...that's the good stuff.

thailandchani said...

Working at home is the way *everyone* should be working. With computers and networks, it makes no sense to do otherwise.

Just imagine how much less stress there would be!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

It sounds like working at home agrees with you Mary. I am sure the girls were thrilled to have you at home too. The birds even seemed to enjoy your work day.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

We've got a drawer like that, too!
(It'd take me several days to sort through it!)

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, welcome to my world. Pretty sweet, isn't it? Working from home makes you realize how much time we waste in the office. Added benefit: IM and email pretty much eliminate petty office politics and BS dramas!

Today I edited a bunch of newsletters, built a poop-bag dispenser box out of scrap wood, and started organizing the shed. Also facilitated numerous staff meetings with the dogs and chickens. Busy day at the office!

Dog_geek said...

Ah, I wish. It would be pretty hard for me, as a molecular biologist, to do much of my work from home. (9:15 am - hauled $30,000 PCR machine in from the trunk of my car...)

I have a junk drawer that looks *exactly* like that, by the way. When I saw that pic, I was all set to accuse you of working from my home, but then I noticed that my junk drawer remains unorganized. Oh well.

Unknown said...

The "art" of the telecommute. Sounds like you have it down to a "science." It's liberating to get out of the grind, and find one's own groove: its amazing how productive we can be when we break free of the old mold! That is a great drawer: it's almost an "I spy" photo.

A New England Life said...

Sounds like a full day to me!

Love the Mockingbirds! For some reason I rarely see them in our area anymore. It seems we have more Catbirds. And aren't the Cardinals always a sight to behold.

: )

LauraHinNJ said...

Sounds an awful lot like my field days!

I'd love to work from home, but imagine I'd do way too much napping and daydreaming to be productive.

Ruth said...

Sounds idyllic, but my patients need more than a virtual treatment. Computers have a long way to go before they replace hospital staff!
The medical transcriptionists all work from home now. I am sure you got your work done twice as fast at home.

Aim said...

Oooooh, so jealous! My day was NOT like yours =(
But I lived your day vicariously, thanks for the post!

Mary C said...

Not that I commute, but if more people in California worked at home there would sure be a lot less traffic on the freeways! ;o) Mary, I'm glad you get that opportunity to work at home.

Cheryl said...

Sounds like a perfect working day to me.......surely with petrol prices it is an obvious answer.......less stress at home......time to get work done without interruption.......

I think it is the way to go personally and you seem to have had a lovely time Mary......

Unknown said...

Mary I love working from home. So glad you got to do this. I really do get a lot done. Some helpful hints: I turn on email and set it to hide then it beeps me every time a new email comes in. Download Skype it is free and you can talk to the office if they download it also through your computer. No holding up phones. We even have conference calls. And if you have video on your computer you can see each other. Best of all you get to run outside and take photos.

Mary said...

Many of you can't work from home. I'd like to work from home more often but I need to choose my days at home when there are no classes running, which is unusual. Students need us like hospital patients!

Toni, you have great suggestions but I don't think it would work for me or the college.

Oh well. Maybe one day I'll find a "work at home" job. It would be VERY COOL!

KGMom said...

I am glad your work place has offered this option--it makes sense for people who can do work from home, it saves gas, and it gives you new things to blog about!
Now, I have a question--your final photo--there's no L or R on those sandals. What's with that?!?

Jayne said...

Wish I could work from home, but that would mean my patients coming here to me... naw... wouldn't work. Oh, well. Glad you had such a full work day. ;c)

NatureWoman said...

What a great work day, Mary! I have decided to cut my hours back to be at work only during three hours of quiet time (to get work done) and three hours of noisy time, to make sure children are okay. And to get a ton of stuff done at home that I haven't been able to do in years. And to get quality time at the gym.

Anonymous said...

I've been working from home for the last 10 years for an insurance company and I love it!

Have you seen any more hummingbirds? I still have one hanging out here everyday.

Anonymous said...


Above post from Angie is SC

BJ said...

That is great that you have that option to work one day from home. I can see where that is beneficial in many ways.

The state is talking about a furlough which could make certain positions within the department take "six" days. They are also talking about us not getting our annual increments. Over the years they have taken away many things.

I will deal with it as I need my job and am happy at this point in time to have one.

Your pics are great! And as always I love to come here to read your posts. You always make me laugh!

Mary said...

Angie in SC,

No, I haven't seen a hummer in about 5 days. I removed the last feeder yesterday...sniffle. Your probably seeing mine passing through :o)

Rose said...

I always wished I could work at home; no wait, I did--I took papers to grade and lesson plans to prepare home with me every night and weekend! Seriously, though, I'm glad you're able to work at home occasionally. Being distracted by the birds outside your window is infinitely better than office distractions, and I'm sure the girls appreciated having you home.
Sounds like you got a lot done, and even made it to all the important meetings, especially the Lancome one:)

Mary said...

Donna, you made me laugh. Those sandals are easy to slip into - no need to label them like those slippers!

Heidi said...

Now all you need is an iPhone and your email sent to it, so when you run an errand you won't be delayed in putting out a fire! And even better, you can do a lot of the work out in the yard, or at a park, or wherever you're birding :D Plus, you can have that birdJam on it!

Wendy said...

That was the perfect way to work at home! I especially liked your eye-shadow meeting and fresh pedicure (well, it looked fresh).
Your pics are gorgeous!

RuthieJ said...

That's nice Mary--three happy girls at your house on Friday!

Corey said...

Impressive junk drawer! That's something to be proud of . .

Kathleen said...

I love this post! I laughed at your meeting at the Lancôme counter. What a great day!

Sherry at the Zoo said...

Now, that's the life! More companies need to do this. Do you get to do this everyday?

TR Ryan said...

Glad you got to work from home! What a great story. I have the exact opposite problem -- I often wished I could live at the office - especially when I am working in some delightful tropical destination in the middle of winter.

Right now the view from the office window is a gorgeous swath of Aegean Sea with the ancient isle of Corfu off in the distance and a gaggle of old Albanians seated around me having their morning coffee, clutched to their hand carved walking sticks talking in passionate debate. I love the office!!!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Work at home is the best.
Cute, cute toes...Nice Mockingbird pictures.
So glad to see birds at your house.
Are the feeders back up?

jason said...

Stunning cardinal photos, Mary! Absolutely gorgeous.

I like your approach to working at home. It's quite similar to mine. Sure, some work gets done, but most of it revolves around me and not my employer (don't tell them I said so!). Aside from the work, though, I tend to find every little thing that can sidetrack me, somewhat like a ferret and how it reacts to every shiny bobble that comes into view: "Oh, look, what's that over there?"

Treehugger said...

And with such a demanding day, you had the time to do your toenails too! :)

That was such a fun read...and it actually DE-STRESSED ME, just to read it! :)

Thanx for sharing!

JeanMac said...

Oh, sounds like a perfect day - and Mary, I see one "organizer basket" in your junk drawer - way to go:)

Anonymous said...

Mary, I knew this was going to be good even before I read it. Love your meetings, and breaks. Oh, and those work shoes are awfully nice, too.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez said...

You obviously love what you are doing, and that's great! i have been working at home forever and i love it. now i grow old backwards, have an office job and it's a nice change. but i'll be working from home again soon, i know.

Larry said...

I'd love to work from home-sounds great to me! I think most people have those junk drawers-I know I do-(actually-not me-it's my wife that collects junk-I just throw it out when she isn't looking).-Nice photos too!