The Spartan Sprint Is Closer Than I Think

We are signed up and going to the Spartan Sprint at the end of April and I am JUST NOW getting out of my holiday bad food slump.  I gained weight over the holidays, and I am hoping I can drop that weight prior to the Spartan Sprint and some of the obstacles include climbing things.  I would like to have less weight to hoist over obstacles.  I have managed to lose a few pounds since being more strict with my diet and telling wine that we can only hang out on special occasions.

I’ve kept up with the 100 push-ups a day and running around the block every day, although I do have to admit I missed three days last week because I didn’t want to run on ice.  I figured that was the safer course to take.  The problem is when you miss three days in a row, it becomes easier to miss more days.  I ran on Saturday and Sunday, skipped Monday and Tuesday.  This is why our trainer had us run mile today as our Crossfit warm-up.

Will, who hasn’t been running every day like I have, kicked my butt in running, as usual.  As we were leaving Crossfit after the workout, Will told our trainer that if he wanted to have us run a mile more often as we are getting ready for the Spartan Sprint, that would be good.  Our trainer said that we could always be running on our own, and Will agreed but said that he wasn’t really.  I am behind Will mouthing the words “I am!” while pointing to myself.

We get in the car and I tell Will that I am running every day and he still kicked my butt running the mile.

“Well, you are just not the natural athlete that I am,” he said.

Which made me laugh.  Because he is right AND because today we did 6 exercises, with breaks in between, but the goal was to go as fast as we could for each one.  I beat Will 4 out of 6 times, 4 out of 7 if you count the mile warm-up.  This is over half.  I win!  😉

In addition to the Spartan Sprint, Will wanted us to sign up for a 5K the first weekend of April out at Touch of Nature, so I did that on Monday.  Another friend wants to do the Dirty Girl Mud Run in September, and a bunch of friends decided it sounded like fun so a group of us are doing that in St. Louis.

I still cannot run a mile without stopping and walking, so I have no idea what I think I am doing in these races.  I think that they will all be good motivation to keep me running everyday and working hard on the diet and exercise thing.  Because they make me nervous.  I never get nervous speaking in front of a group of people, I never got nervous trying out for plays in high school or performing them, never got nervous singing a solo, and generally don’t get nervous very often because I am hard to embarrass.   I do get nervous before these runs.  I am hoping the nerves can be translated into motivation.

House Issues

Sometimes I feel like our house is held together by duct tape and a wish.  It was an old house, made in the 30’s, so it has issues.  Most houses do.  Yet sometimes it seems all of those issues hit at once.

Last week, Will was trying to make some food.  I was showering in the basement, as the shower head in the upstairs bathroom was installed with the thought that giants might stay with us and like to shower.  For my purposes, it is like showering in the rain and I hate it.  When I told Will this he said, “Oh, yeah!  You are so short!”  Great epiphany, love.  Hope you remember it the next time the issue comes up (i.e. the shower head needs to be replaced).

Our dryer has been making a squeaking noise pretty much since we got it fixed a few months ago.  The squeak drives Will crazy.  The squeak reminds him that he needs to level the dryer when he is already focused on making bookshelves and the living room is a complete disaster area of used furniture, old bookshelves, and generally speaking, Things In The Way.  Because the dryer seemed to distress him, I tried to only dry clothes when he wasn’t home.  This worked for a while, but eventually I kept forgetting to dry the clothes while he was gone.  I had a load in the washer that had been there for a while.  Every two or three days I would think, “Oh, shit!  The clothes!!”  Go downstairs, and add a few more items of clothing to justify running the wash again.

Finally, on this particular day, I decided that Will would just have to deal with the noise as the situation had become ridiculous.  Also, damn near every item of clothing that actually fits me happened to be in the washing machine, so it was getting dire.  I put the clothes in the dryer, and the squeaking started.  I go ahead and shower, figuring that I will suffer through the squeaking.

There is ominous thumping and cursing from upstairs.  Will making unhappy frustrated noises.  Will brings the unhappy noises to the basement and I figure he is irritated about the dryer squeaking, but I am poised to explain that it is necessary squeaking.

I swear to all that is holy in the land, as soon as Will came downstairs, the damn dryer was louder.  Like it was trying to piss him off.  I told him so and he believed me.

“Do you know what I am doing?” he asked me as he goes over to the big buckets that catch water from a leaky pipe.  When I say big, I mean we bail this thing out with 5 gallon buckets and it takes quite a few trips.

“Bailing water?” I asked tentatively, sensing this was a trick question.

“I am getting the roaches out of the oven, but I need a specific tool to take the oven apart, and that tool is down here.  I get down here and I see the bucket is overflowing, so I have to take care of that instead!”

I knew it was a trick question.

So, roaches.  We occasionally have a roach problem.  I am psychotic about cleaning our dishes due to a horrendous ant problem we had early in our marriage that can only be described as an infestation.  In addition to hating the place we were staying, which was essentially a huge ant hill, we decided that since ants are the only other thing on the planet that wages war and they clearly had us outnumbered and they were immune to poison and Will’s wrath a tactical retreat was the only chance we had.  Since that time I wash dishes like someone with OCD.  A writer friend of mine once told me – as she sat in my kitchen and washed dishes – that she was going to write a story with a character who would compulsively wash dishes.  I maintain that clean dishes mean less food for insects.  If the insects have no food they should, in theory, leave you alone.

And yet we have roaches.  Not just the type of roaches that come out at night and scurry about doing their little roachy business.  No, we have tiny roaches that like our appliances.  After spending $160 to repair our oven (we repaired it at the same time we got the squeaky dryer fixed), we now could not read anything on the display because there were two roaches standing in front of it.  Those fuckers were taunting us.  I’m pretty sure they were also laughing at us.  Will would occasionally ask me what time it was and I would glance at the clock and say “Three roach o’clock” because the numbers were blocked by mocking roach bodies.

Well, on this particular day, Will had had enough of the roaches mocking him.  He decided to take them out.  He was quite angry about it, too.

So, we had a tense conversation about the dryer and how it should only have lighter loads and it was silly of me to only run the dryer when he wasn’t home and it was probably squeaking louder because of the extra heavy load, while Will bailed water and I showered.  I shut up, Will finished bailing, found his oven opening tool, and went upstairs.  I took my time toweling off, went upstairs and saw he had taken the oven partially apart to get at the villainous roaches.  I thought that maybe I should tell him to unplug the oven, or possibly flip a breaker so he didn’t electrocute himself as there were lots of wires, then saw his expression and figured that I would leave him alone.

I went to the bedroom, got out socks and underwear, and then I heard a pop, a thud, and the power to the entire house went out.

I wait a beat or two, then figure I should do a verbal Dead Husband Check.

“Will?”

“Yeah, I know!!!”

“I heard a thud after the pop and was worried you killed yourself.”

“I fine!”

Now, Will is starting irritate me a little at this point but I figure that all the man wanted to do was cook a crappy tv dinner in the oven and he has had to bail water, listen to recurring squeaks of doom, and then wage war on roaches, I will leave him alone.

He didn’t just blow a fuse, but blew out the entire house.  He figured that meant he could work on the rest of his Kill The Roaches project since the power is out.  He takes apart the control panel, and honest to god those roaches are smart little assholes.  They are in a part of the oven where we cannot get to them.  It is this clear rectangle box thing that has circuit boards attached.  Will and I can both clearly see that if we take it apart to kill the roaches then we cannot use the oven.  After we curse their name for a while, Will realizes that whatever he did to make the whole house go dark, pretty much killed that part of the oven anyway.  We have to call a repairman, but the roaches can die.

Another $160 to fix the oven.  At this point if the oven breaks again I am chucking it, probably shooting the crap out of it if Will will let me, and buying a new one rather than sink more money into repairs.

Will cannot get the power back on inside the house.  This means that I have to go outside and flip that fuse.  Imagine my delight when I saw that is was raining cold, gray, miserable winter rain.  The power does come back on, so hooray.

Since that time, Will has built a new structure for the dryer that is level and it still squeaks.  It needs a new ball bearing, so we have to call the repairman again.  I am super happy about that, because I am sure it will be something like $80-$160 meaning the dryer will get replaced if it stops working again, too.  However, in the meantime, it works, so that is good.  Also, Will made that part of the basement really nice, with a special foundation for the dryer that is level.  There has to be a foundation because the basement leaks.  Our new sump pump and flood hole (I think there is a technical term for this, like overflow well or something clever, but I am not sure what it is) usually takes care of any leaking the basement does, but if the power goes out, the sump pump doesn’t work and things get flooded.  Therefore, Will puts appliances up above the flood levels of the basement.

In addition we found out that our upstairs renters have a huge mouse problem and maybe a squirrel or raccoon infestation in the roof somewhere.  That will be fun.  We cannot poison the mice because we have cats and they will die.  Trust me on this one – and just as a PSA when you poison mice you are also poisoning hawks, owls, cats, and many other creatures that feed on mice, so it’s a Very Bad Thing.  We cannot use live traps because they will be in someone else’s apartment.  We use live traps at our place but I also check them compulsively because starving to death in a trap seems like a pretty horrible death to me.  Many other people I’ve seen use live traps are not as OCD as I am and would have been kinder using snap traps.  Anyway, Will is going to seek out the advice of our elders and come up with some sort of solution while I try to not to think about poor little mice who finally found a warm home only to get slaughtered.  I know my mouse pity is irrational.  You cannot have vermin eating your food and pooping everywhere.  It is gross and unhealthy.  I still feel bad for the mice.

But not roaches, man.  Fuck those guys.  Roaches do not gross me out or anything like that, but they are little minions of evil designed to ruin household appliances.  I am ok with their destruction and I feel no guilt.  Ok, a teensy bit of guilt, but that guilt is assuaged by the thought of a $160 repair bill.

The point of all of this is that our house is sometimes held together by sheer force of Will, the hero of this and many other tales.

Corn for the Squirrels, Chaos Muppet Strikes Again

Will has pretty much determined that I am the chaos muppet in our relationship.  I would argue, but he is right.

Once upon a time, I bought a bag of corn to feed the squirrels.  I would take out an ear and throw it into the front yard.  Will had a very nice green metal corn holding device in the trees for this purpose, but I am short and cannot reach it.  So I just chuck the corn out into the front yard.

This summer/fall, I noticed that we had an unusual amount of tiny moths in the house.  Most of the poor little moths ended up being cat food.  Joey lost weight he chased so many moths and ate them.  Apparently, they are low in calories.  The moths were seriously annoying (why would a tiny creature just insist on flying up someone’s nose?) and I had no idea where they came from.  Will eventually discovered this forgotten bag of squirrel corn.  Did you know that moths can apparently emerge from kernels of corn?  The corn had these little holes in it and the bag was full of moths.  The bag then went outside where the moths could be free and our house could be less mothy.

Well, I bought the corn and I forgot about the corn and Will brought order to the world through discovering the moths breeding ground.  The rest of this corn I would chuck out into the front yard, to Will’s annoyance, about once or twice a day.  The squirrels when we lived in Carbondale are these huge, fat red squirrels.  The squirrels in Murphysboro are grey, tiny, and more than a bit stupid.  I feel sorry for them, so I feed them.

Will was telling me today that he cleaned out a portion of the gutter.  Guess what he found causing the blockage?  If you guessed corn cobs, you guessed right.  The squirrels apparently make off with the corn, eat it on our roof and then chuck it in the gutters.  Will inferred that this was due to chaos muppet-y-ness on my part.

I laughed and laughed and laughed when he told me this.  It drives him crazy that I just chuck the corn into the yard.  The moths really drove him crazy and now the gutters (that I am not going to be cleaning) have corn cobs in them.  If I wanted to plan the perfect, long running gag to annoy Will, I couldn’t have planned it better.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

(Warning, at least two f-bombs occur in this post.  If you are offended by the f-word, you will be offended twice)

Yesterday, I watched Jeff, Who Lives At Home on Netflix.  I wish I could tell if this movie was brilliant and awesome, or if it was the right movie at the right time.  I honestly don’t know.  There are some movies that just hit you the right way at the right time.  Waking Ned Devine was one of those movies.  The first time Will and I saw we loved it.  Thought it was brilliant and fantastic.  The second time we saw it, we thought it cute, but nothing special.  Some movies are the right movies at the right time.  Other movies (Pan’s Labyrinth) are the wrong movies at the wrong time, but that discussion is for a different time.

I am not going to say much about the movie, because I do not want to spoil it for those who have not seen it.  I will say that if you are expecting a quirky, funny little indie film, you will be disappointed.  It is quirky and definitely has moments of humor, but this is a drama.  Straight up drama.  I liked this movie as much as I liked Dan in Real Life but because the cast has Jason Segel and Ed Helms as the two main characters I think many people go into it thinking comedy and they will be disappointed.  It is not a comedy.  Very much a drama.  Very very very very.  For me enjoyment of movies is about expectation.  If I expect a comedy and it is a drama, I am disappointed more often than not.

That said it was a good drama and it was interesting and it held my attention.  I normally play video games on my iPad when watching movies, but not with Jeff, Who Lives At Home.  I was riveted watching this movie because I wanted to see where the path was leading.  I was also riveted because this was the right movie at the right time.

The past month has been a particularly difficult one for me.  I have been unhappy.  I have spoken here before about the death of my dad, but one of the surprising things about grief is that it just never goes away completely and sometimes, it just kicks your ass for a month, or two, or three.  This past month it has been kicking my ass.  Depression and grief are both very isolating emotions.  Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.  I mean, people can ask, “What is wrong?”

I can say, “My dad is dead.”

“Didn’t he die a couple of years ago?”

“Yeah, but he is still dead, so I am still, periodically, fucked up by it.”

Then the conversation is pretty much over.  No one can really help make you feel better when someone you love dies.  Can you resurrect the dead?  No?  Well, thanks anyway.

My entire life my birthday and my father’s birthday were linked.  His birthday is exactly one week before mine, January 26 and I am on February 2.  When I grew up and moved away from my home town, I would go back to visit on his birthday and we would celebrate both birthdays together.  Out of my entire family, Dad understood me best and I often thought it was because we were both Aquarians and we both had that slightly skewed view of the world.  When I was a kid he would take me with him to run errands and we would just talk and talk and talk.  Before his lung cancer made talking on the phone a trial, he and I would talk for an hour or two almost every week on the phone.  We’d talk about books and animals and guns and politics and all kinds of things.  We read the same books and liked the same movies and generally speaking, got along pretty well.  I am a good mixture of my parents’ DNA, I look like my mother and I have her smarts, but I think like my dad, both for better and for worse in some instances.

This year my birthday kind of sucked.  I had a wonderful, lovely dinner with my in-laws that really was the highlight of my day and saw a movie with two of our friends, but for the most part it was uneventful in a deeply depressing way.  My mom was supposed to come down to visit but couldn’t due to a migraine.  Normally, I spend my birthday with two of my close friends who live a couple hours away – one two hours east the other two hours west – but I didn’t do that this year because my mom was coming down instead.  Those friends who live in the area that I invited to go see a movie were completely unavailable for various reasons.  The overall effect was feeling old and alone.  Guess who is 38 and has no friends?  This girl.  Is this the reality?  No, but sometimes emotions are not based remotely in reality.  During a time when I needed a distraction from my own head, I had none.

I am great at projecting.  Instead of dealing with whatever the core issue is that I am having, I project my upset onto other things.  After my birthday, I projected a lot.  The weekend after my birthday, a friend canceled plans on us two days in a row and I just kind of lost it.  My feelings were hurt and I was insanely upset.  It was at this point I realized that something else must be going on.  The amount of upset I felt did not match the action prompting it – hurt feelings?  Yeah, that is acceptable when someone invites you to do something, thinks better of it, and cancels last minute, twice.  Hurt feelings and irritation?  Sure.  Tears?  Not so much.

Will, who was pretty frustrated by me making a big deal out of what was essentially nothing, went to work and when he came home I told him that I realized what I was really upset about and it wasn’t the friend who canceled.  I was really upset because hey, dad is still dead.  Will looks at the sobbing crazy mess that was me, and offers to go kick the ass of the friend who canceled.  He always knows how to make me laugh.  He defended the friend earlier, so it was particularly funny – Will can’t fix death, but he can go off on an irrational journey for me if it will make me feel better, or at the very least threaten it to make me laugh.  Love that man.

Discussing why I am upset does NOT help and promotes wallowing, thus I have eschewed discussing this with a few exceptions – some people just know you too well to let you get away with saying “I’m fine.”  Since my depressing epiphany, I have been using my arsenal of tricks to defeat depression.  Working out helps, walking outside anywhere helps, reading helps, writing helps, Music helps, stand up comedy helps, cleaning the house helps (environment does have a big impact on mood, I’ve discovered), shiny distractions and even minor accomplishments helps.  My Nightlife editor is probably in shock that I have had stories in either right on deadline or early for the past month.  I’ve done these things but in the back of mind a little voice occasionally pipes up with “Yeah, but dad is still dead.”

Good job on that workout today!  Don’t you feel great?  Yeah, but dad is still dead.

You got both Nightlife articles finished a day ahead of time!  Awesome!  Yeah, but dad is still dead.

The kitchen looks super clean and you even got the floors really well!  Good job!  Yeah, but dad is still dead.

I am really enjoying the hell out of the book John Dies at the End.  Dad would have liked it and dad is still dead.

So, when I tell you that Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a good movie, you have to keep in mind that I am not in a normal (whatever the fuck normal is supposed to be) mindset.  The two characters lost their dad an undisclosed amount of time in the past.  This past informs the present action of the movie.  What I liked about the movie is it made me feel like my grief wasn’t special to me.  Other people feel this, too.  Other people have these very real and very specific emotions that I also have.  The best stories, the timeless stories have what my high school English teacher called a universal appeal.  Love and loss are two universal emotions we all feel, and Jeff, Who Lives at Home taps into both of these emotions rather well.

I cannot necessarily recommend this movie.  I would not recommend it to my mom or sisters who are pretty much where I am this time of year.  I can say it was the right movie at the right time.  It made me cry, but it made me feel better, too.  It was a good movie yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Weirdness

Once upon a time, the internet and cell phones were not widely distributed.  Common man, or poor college students, or just poor 20-somethings did not have access to these devices.  In Southern Illinois, if you do not have cable you do not have television.  Period.  You could get the local Christian channel, but that channel was pretty boring.  When I first moved to Southern Illinois we were super poor, I worked 50 hours a week at a gas station in 10 hour shifts because the 10 extra hours of over time meant I could pay rent and bills and still have enough for food.  There was not enough for a luxury like cable television.

My roommate and I had a VCR and one of my dear friends sent me copies of Twin Peaks in the mail.  My mom would record her favorite television shows and send them as well, but there was not a regular stream of television to watch.  Other than Twin Peaks, I owned the Stars Wars trilogy, back when Han shot first and we all thought Lucas was a genius.  For fun, we watched Stars Wars constantly, because it was a tape we had.  After watching the trilogy dozens upon dozens of times, the brilliance that is The Empire Strikes Back really shines through, and I am someone who likes happy endings.

The other thing we did was lay around the house and stare at the different movie posters we had and make as many different words from the letters on the posters.  We did this for HOURS.  We weren’t drunk or doing drugs or anything like that, and not just because that shit costs money and we didn’t have money.  We were just bored nerds.  However, people ask me why I am good at word games and this is why.  We didn’t have television to watch but we had movie posters with words on them to scramble up.

My best friend at the time had a goofy sense of humor to rival my own.  We would do weird stuff and crack ourselves up and people would look at us like we were insane, which further cracked us up.  One day, and I honestly cannot remember who started it or why, we were making repetitive, weird noises at each other.  There was a rhythm to it, she made the same noise over and over and I made a different noise over and over and we were having a really good time.  A lot of times when doing these types of things – “You go ‘plink’ and I will go ‘ding’!” – the challenge was to see how long we could do it before we got bored or starting laughing at ourselves too hard to go on.

So, we are in the living room making weird noises and Will comes home from work.  He walks in and looks at us intently – we keep making our silly noises because now it is funnier!  We have an audience to think we are weird or to make fun of us!  Will was an interesting new element to play with!  After watching us for a minute, Will jumps in with his own weird noise in the gaps of silence between our two weird noises.  It was completely unexpected, perfectly timed, and overall brilliant.  We didn’t say hi to him when he came in, he didn’t ask us what we were doing, he just joined in.  Aha, we are making weird noises.  I can make weird noises, too.

There is a meme on Facebook that quotes Dr. Seuss as saying, “We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”  Now, a little googling shows that this is actually a quote from Robert Fulghum, but I think the sentiment is true for me.  Will could have interrupted the weird noise session, asked us what we were doing, made fun of us, said something obnoxious like, “If you are bored you can always [insert random boring or tedious chore here]”, or reacted any number of ways that would have been normal but disruptive.  Instead, he just joined the party after studying the rules of the game for a bit.

I have thousands of moments where I knew that Will was the one for me.  This was one of those moments where I just thought, “He is SO great.  He is just perfect.”

Work and Schedules

I work somewhere around 5 or 6 different jobs.  I am a tarot reader for half of my jobs and I am a freelance writer for the other half of my jobs.  I have the luxury of being able to work from home more often than not, and this is something I really enjoy.  I have never been able to get the hang of office politics.  It never makes sense to me that we are all supposed to be mad at someone calling in sick – really, morons?  You think it is better for a sick person to come into work and snot all over us instead?  Is answer the phone a couple more times throughout the day, or doing a bit more work really worth being sick?

I never got the hang of who was on the outside that particular week or why.  I always thought it was petty.  Oh, Joanie got ten cents more than you an hour because she’s been here fifteen years longer?  So, we’re mad?  Ok, crazy.  Wait, you have to actually do your job while someone else has a vacation day?  You poor thing. 

I just never really understood the pettiness of many of my office and retail jobs.  When you spend all of your time at work worried about how much you are doing in comparison to someone else, yeah, you are going to spend the day in a state of pissed off pettiness.  However, even after I learned to keep my head down and my mouth shut I found out that NOT being petty can make people dislike you, too.

Therefore, working from home works best for me.  My bosses email me assignments, I complete them, I send the back, and they send me money – on the freelance writing side of things.  For the tarot side of things, I have festivals I attend in person, in person clients, and then the psychic phone line job.  The phone job is my real bread and butter as I get paid weekly for it, however, I only get paid when someone actually calls in to talk to me.  Sometimes you have to be signed into the the site for hours before this happens.  This works because I can get research and writing done while I am waiting, so it is really a good combination, writing and the phone line.  I also can pretty much make my own schedule and it is flexible as long as I get my hours in.

That said, there are times where you get more calls than others.  If I am signed in for 5 hours on a Saturday, I can make as much money as if I am signed in for 20 hours during the week.  Every time I make plans on a Saturday, I have to work tons more hours during the week just break even, and even then, I usually don’t.

People often tell me how nice it must be to have a flexible schedule, and yes, it is, but it is costly.  A flexible schedule gives me more freedom, but often that freedom comes with a lower paycheck for that week.  It is often worth it for me to spend time with people outside of my house.  While I do not have the pettiness of co-workers and the weirdness of office politics that I simply cannot get the hang of, I also have no one but cats, clients, and interview contacts to talk to.  So I can have weeks where I feel like the book I am reading is my friend, or that the cats truly understand what I am saying because they respond in trills and mers that sound like they are having a conversation with me.

This past year, I stopped going out of my way to change my schedule around to accommodate people.  I used to bend over backwards simply to hang out with friends, and with a couple of exceptions, I have stopped doing that.  I would work 20 extra hours during the week to make the plans I had on Saturday, only to have those plans canceled.  While I could then work that Saturday and make extra money, the exhaustion from working so much extra during the week for someone who just canceled anyway irked me.  It would happen again and then it would piss me off.  Then when the same people who canceled plans couldn’t be budged for seemingly silly reasons to accommodate my schedule needs, I would be pretty much done bothering to make plans that did not fit in with my schedule without effort on my part.

Will says this confuses people.  I would go from being completely available anytime someone needed it – although it was hugely inconvenient for me – to not being around at all.  Will says I go from being totally over accommodating to dropping off the face of the planet and people never know why. 

What I’ve started to do instead is simply tell people that I have to work.  I can see that people don’t really believe this is viable – you work from home, you make your own schedule, you can do stuff if you want.  Not really.  I can do whatever I want, if I don’t intend on making enough money to live on.  However, a person doesn’t work 5-6 jobs if they don’t want to make enough money to live on.  Unless they are just stupid or bored or have some serious ADD issues.

In person tarot clients are always first priority and I will move heaven and earth in my schedule to accommodate them – usually I can’t only if I am out of town or have other tarot clients booked for that time. 

Interviews get second place in the my time priority and those times depends solely on when the interview subject has time.  You cannot write without material to write about and interviews provide that material for most of my writing.  Even though the writing I do is almost entirely promotional – meaning the people I interview benefit directly from what I write – getting people to talk to me is almost always a challenge.  Scheduling interviews is a big deal and if you have someone who will talk to you at a certain time prior to your deadline (so many people will call me weeks after my deadline, confused that they are no longer getting interviewed) you make that time and you talk to them.  This one is particularly frustrating because there are a large number of people who really seem to only have time during my yoga classes, but so be it.

Third priority is the phone gig – I can flex this schedule but clients call in when they think you will be there.  If I am normally in every Saturday, people get upset if you are not there for them to talk to on a Saturday if you are doing something else.  When they get mad, you then don’t hear from them for a couple of months, and that is money down the drain.  If people cannot find you, if you are not reliably available for when they need you, they simply call someone else.  Repeat customers are the life blood of this part of my work, so reliability has to be a big part of it, too.

The last thing I will say about working freelance is that you do not have days off.  I get work primarily from email and secondarily through phone calls.  I can get emails for work at midnight on Friday, and many of them are time sensitive.  I don’t check my email compulsively because I love spam, but because I try to be the first to respond to an offer for work.  I want to be the go-to person when they need someone to do something quickly, as one of the talents I was blessed with was the ability to write quickly, so I excel at the fast turn around times when I have the actual time available to do those types of projects.

I am not writing all of this out to say, “Poor me.  I get to work at home in my pajamas all day and my schedule is flexible and I write for a living.”  I am writing this out because I think people feel like I am blowing them off when I say I have to work.  “Really?  Don’t you get to make your own schedule?”  Yes, but the more I work the more money I make.  If by Friday I have only made enough to fill the car with gas and not enough to pay the phone bill or the power bill or both, then I have to work more.

I wouldn’t trade my jobs for anything.  They have their hassles, and I have my complaints, but I love what I do.  I love seeing my name in print and knowing that I can say I have been a professional writer for over a decade.  I also love being able to read tarot for people and help them through trying times in their lives.  I REALLY love not having to spend tons of money on a wardrobe for work because I CAN and I DO work in pajamas or workout clothes.  I am very lucky in being able to work in areas I love, but the trade off is not really having free time.  Anytime I am not working cost me some money, and depending on the day it may be costing me a lot.