Until recently, my typical workday consisted of meetings with interest groups and lobbyists, thinking and feeling about all the ways California can be a better place for families, workers, business owners, dogs, and babies. I might churn out policy, analyze other people’s bill ideas, or generally gossip with peers about some hold-up in world-betterment due to the fact: “It’s all politics.”
Until recently, I’d be sitting in a windowless office on the fifth floor of the Golden State’s Capitol building, wrapped in a cozy gray cubicle under the glow of state-sanctioned florescence.
So when our legislative season came to an end and my boss proposed that I manage his political campaign in the Bay Area, I was thrilled to see the sun/to say the least. I’ve taken two months of unpaid absence and have switched over to a campaign role, where I’ll be organizing support and raising funds for the boss man’s re-election. There is a lot of change in the air for me, but the most notable shift is the freedom to work anywhere.
Working from home is a rare experience in my line of work.
While most of my friends work in the tech industry and “remote in” at the slightest sign of sickness/hungoverness/sleepiness/just-because-ness, I work with Type-A weirdos who love their job and generally do not pine for escape. That being said, the opportunity to lead a statewide campaign, go back into the community that we represent, and learn new skills is absolutely awesome, and I’m so grateful for my boss, who looks out for me as a mentor. (Portmanteau check: Bosstor? Mentoss? Nothing here.)
Let me give you a glimpse of my idyllic day.
In the morning, I get up at my own pace and run errands until I grow hungry. I use an embarrassing/impressive collection of 99 Ranch coupons to buy a free dim sum lunch and come home to eat it with my own chili sauce and rice. At the dining table, I do a combo of staring out the window and working until my back and legs felt like a stretch is due. Embodying the flexibility of my work schedule, I unroll my yoga mat and work up a sweat with simple ab and arm exercises. I shower then got back to work. It doesn’t take a lot of deep focus to get what I need, done. Before I know it, I’m gazing out the window again, appreciating the natural light, children walking home from school, and the luxury of being untimed. I’m overcome with gratitude for today, the day, and my life.
I begin to notice the little things, like, is that screaming I hear?
I don’t know what in the Seven Kingdoms would necessitate that noise, but I go back to appreciation now, if not a leery state of presence. After all, how is a little wailing going to get in the way of such peaceful work-life existence? I dream up what perfect girls would do in my scenario, and proceed to boil soy milk to make a soy chai tea latte. I sit back down at the laptop to start a blog post about how working from home is so awesome.
I’m not saying that I’m perfect and I do perfect things, but I do daydream that, if I can successfully brew just one cup of soy chai tea latte, I’d save hundreds of dollars on Starbucks and be this perfect, beautiful, frugal mermaid. But I know that I’m not perfect, and neither is my sense of smell. My head cocks to the left.
Is that burning I smell?
I run to the kitchen and behold my culinary project–once a stewing vessel of milky goodness–now, a charred pot, boiled over and sitting in a pool of its own thickened soy hominy. This is… not perfect. I spend the next half hour salvaging the pot, deep-cleaning the stove, and doing whatever it takes to make my fingers permanently pruney.
Frugal mermaid works from home and doesn’t have it all, but she certainly does it all!