Tuesday, May 26, 2020

In This Together

In This Together
Sorry for staying away so long, friends. I've always found it weird when bloggers apologize for not writing, but I do feel a kind of guilt for being away for two months. I wish I had a better excuse other than the fact that I've been busier than I've ever been, either at work or at home. Now I'm experiencing both, so something has to give and that something is writing.

My category space at work is collaboration: the software and related hardware necessary for collaborative apps, video conferencing, whiteboarding, instant messaging, soft phones, virtual conferences, and the like. The increase in work in this space is completely unprecedented. It has me working some nights throughout the week. Even headsets, the supposedly easy commodity in my space, are eating up a lot of time, as we work through a global shortage.

Work has not only reached a frenetic pace I've never seen before, but Mrs. Done by Forty and I, like so many other parents, have taken on second jobs as full-time child care providers. We've thankfully found a time split that we can live with, but it leaves very little after work, childcare, cooking and cleaning are all accounted for. Throw in even a bit of yard work and chores, and there suddenly aren't enough hours or minutes left.

Baby AF wakes up at five, we're out the door for our morning walk by six before the Arizona sun forces us back inside, and then we're off to handle emails, meetings, powerpoints and spreadsheets before switching back to coloring, ABCs and flash cards, dance parties and songs and whatever else we think will keep Baby AF entertained and, maybe with a bit of luck, at least a little enriched.

It's a lot. And it certainly doesn't leave time for writing. 

That's an excuse. I know it. I could find time to write after Baby AF is asleep for the night.

But who knows what to write about at a time like this, anyway? Something that might be helpful, for finances, or loneliness? 

Maybe just a personal account of what things are like for us in our house?

Perhaps I should just write reminders of the best practices we should all be following, since there's so much bad information being spread on places like Medium?

But I'm no expert: I can only point in the general direction of one. Maybe instead of writing about this disease or what to do about it, I could just try to lift a reader up a bit?

I'd heard that you were juggling childcare along with your job, and I just wanted to let you know you're doing a fucking fantastic job at both. 

I saw online that you were cooking and baking up a storm, now that we're all cooped up at home. That's cool that you're learning & gaining skills, and making something yummy to eat at the same time.

Someone told me you were struggling a bit with loneliness during all this isolation. I am, too, friend. I'm down a lot these days. I think that's normal, honestly. We're all just doing the best we can with this. You're not alone.

So you're a part time teacher and tutor these days, too? I can imagine how tough that is. Just know that you're doing good work. Your kids are lucky to have you as a parent: someone actually invested in their education.

If your hours have been cut or you've been laid off, I can imagine how stressful that must be right now. Things can get dark pretty quick when there isn't money coming in. Please reach out if you want to talk or write about it.

So your partner has been getting on your last nerve with all this time together. I get that. We've had some days (...maybe...some weeks) where we've been fighting, too. It's tough being on top of one another all day, every day, for so long. I hope you two get to a good patch sometime soon.

I think we're all going through some things these days. A lot of stressful stuff is getting mixed in with, hopefully, some of the good, too. 

As isolated as we are, I like to think that we're all in this together. That this weird ass time is not normal, and we're all going to struggle a bit because it's so not normal. But the fact that we're all in the same boat gives me a good feeling, too. 

I'm happy to be able to look across from me, and see that you are in the boat with me, too, friend.

We're going to make it. 

Thanks, as always, for reading.

*Photo is from andrechinn at Flickr Creative Commons.

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  1. Wow, this is the only "all in this together" thing that didn't make me roll my eyes. So congrats on that.

    Sorry to hear you've been so busy. I imagine it's a pretty frenetic pace over there. Things here are quiet, even with Mom here. When she goes, the quiet will probably be too much, so my therapist and I have already planned ways for me to feel less isolated. It will involve some socially distanced visits to a friend (masks probably included especially if we take walks) and lots of FaceTime, which I have mixed feelings about. But we all have to do what we have to do to remain sane. Especially since this situation isn't going to change (at least, certainly not for the better) for quite a while.

    Stay safe and sane and pet the dog for me.

    1. Hi Abby!

      I actually had this post in my draft folder for a week or so and didn't hit publish last week because I thought it was too sentimental. I wander into syrupy stuff now and again.

      I'm glad to hear that your therapist & you have a plan on how to deal with the quiet: more of us ought to proactively plan for our predictable hurdles like that.

      We're doing a lot of little things to stay sane, as you said. I'll definitely give Cayenne a pet & Baby AF a hug for you, friend. :)

  2. Last post from March 16th: "I've been sick, dear readers. For the past two plus weeks, I've had something that feels a lot like the flu. Though I was tested for the flu and it came back negative so I guess that means it was something...other than the flu. But the only test available was the flu test, so that's all I really know."

    Jesus Christ that is no way to leave us hanging for 2.5 months!

    Glad to have you back. Write about anything. Make it short and sweet. It doesn't have to be deep material. Just knowing you're out there keeping on keeping on is good enough. Cheers.

    1. I'm sorry for talking about being sick and then disappearing, friend. That's a bad move on my part. I have made a promise to myself to try to write a little and keep the blog going, no matter how much other things encroach on my time.

      We're going to keep going: we're going to make it.

      Thanks for the good advice. I need it right now. :)

  3. Well said. And perhaps one of my favorite posts of yours.

    What's struck me from meaningful sparks of connection such as what I experience in reading this, is how despite this unprecedented era of distant relationships online (we've never met, although we've been checking in on one another's blogs for, what, six maybe seven years??), plus the current social distancing on top of that...how the need for belonging is such that we still reach out and find a way to meaningfully and vulnerably connect.

    I appreciate your blog bridging the gap between Utah and Arizona, between a psychotherapist and a humble, intriguing collaborative communications (perhaps applicable to your category of work and your category of writing) thinker.

    1. What a wonderful comment to read, Em. Thanks so much for that.

      I've literally never thought about collaboration being my category space at work and maybe something I value, too. Thanks for that insight, Em! I need to noodle that more.

      I really appreciate that we've been friends & supporting each others blogs for so long, too. Like you said, maybe now more than before, we're reaching out & trying to find a way to really connect. I'm glad we're able to, friend.

  4. Take care of yourself and your family. It's tough right now, but it will get better soon.

    1. Thank you, Joe! I know you're right: things will get better, and soon. I just need reminding.

  5. It's good to hear from you. I'm glad you're still getting through this, one day at a time. We're absolutely feeling lots of bits of the above at various times and I am not an optimist so I just have to hold on to the "one step, one day" mantra because as a planner who can't plan right now, this is a whole lot of no fun.

    1. Thank you, Revanche! Sorry for the late reply.

      One day at a time has been a big help to me. I, too, am a big planner and having to basically toss out any idea of where we'll be even 30 days out is not great.

  6. You're a good man, Mr. DBF. Thanks for getting back on the horse for this one. Myself, and I'm sure many others, needed to hear this today. Be safe. Be happy. Be resilient.

    1. Thanks, friend! I had been away too long but thankfully all I have to do is start again. Have one more coming tomorrow, too, so that's something.

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