Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Working From Home: All That and a Bag of Chips! or is it?

Do you think you want to work from home? Do you envision a beautifully organized "Home Office," full of Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and The Container Store "Systems?" A DayRunner with entries like:

Thursday, 8:15 AM - CALL MR. BIG! (lock barking dogs in basement bathroom first)

Thursday, 9:30 AM - Go to Starbucks.

Thursday, 10:00 AM - CALL MR. BIG AGAIN because he was not in at 8:15, but it's good to have a nice, early time stamp on voicemail.

Thursday, 10:30 AM - Doodle while catching up on TV shows and the weekend plans with office-bound peers.

Thursday, 1 PM - Record All My Children. Heck, the phone is quiet, just watch it. And do a load of laundry.

Thursday, 2 PM - Reheat leftover pizza. Eat while filling out expense report and playing solitaire (in a separate tab, of course.)

Thursday, 2:30 PM - Quit for day to make up for working through lunch. Go shopping.

Sound good? Go for it! But when you discuss your Work-From-Home Plan with the boss, it is IMPERATIVE that your agreement includes a Personal Emergency System Lanyard Alarm Button.

I work in my basement studio, and also wherever I happen to drag my jewelry parts. Sometimes I hammer metal on the deck. Sometimes I make silver curly-cues while I am talking to my mother about gout. And frequently I assemble necklaces in waiting rooms while my mother-in-law has physical therapy. I can, and do, work almost anywhere.

This morning I hit the ground running; well, after the requisite caffeine fix. Dealt with family business first. We needed rocks for a retaining wall, and some agave plants for the back yard. (FYI: There are no plans to brew tequila. Do you "brew" tequila? Ferment it? It's probably a good thing that tequila is not the plan.) I was on the phone, and on line for a few hours with this Personal Business before I got down to Impersonal Business. Still in my cute-but-indoor-only Vera Wang navy and white pajamas. With matching flip-flops. I was mixing resin, alone in my basement, and there is no dress code there.

Man-o-man, I was Exceeding Expectations! Great rock deals, the jewelry sparkled; and there was hummus and pita in the fridge for lunch. Life was good.

And then, the Old Dog looked kind of...squirmy. The way she looks when she really, really, really needs to go out. Let me pause a moment here to tell you that she is deaf, and virtually blind. And when she gets nervous she scatters about like a pinball.

I opened the front door; she dashed out. As did The Dog Who Has No Idea You Are Talking To Her. This one is a "rescue" from a puppy mill. She spent years in a concrete box, making cute puppies, with no human companionship whatsoever. Conversation is merely background noise to her. She understands nothing beyond the word "cookie.". She is happy now, in a generic way; but, like the blind person who has surgery at age 40 and discovers sight that makes no sense, she just doesn't get the idea that vocalizations relate to her.

The two rather challenged canines took care of business and headed straight back to the corral, because sometimes cookies are handed out if they have been good. I was standing outside on the front step, ready to lead them to their rewards, and grabbed the door handle, which

Fell off in my hand. Wait, FELL OFF??? The door handle just fell off. I was on the outside of the door. The door handle just fell off. I couldn't get into the house. Where I work. Where these creatures live. Where my cell phone is. And my clothes. What the...

My neighbors were all working in office complexes bordered with Windmill Palm Trees (hardy to Zone 3, I learned when I ordered the agaves.) No way to break in, All the doors and windows except this one have burglar bars. And my cute-but-not-so-socially-appropriate Vera Wang Pajamas with matching flip flops were not a good look for flagging down passing vehicles.

I willed myself to stop panicking and be resourceful...coerce the hounds to the back door. We couldn't get in because of the burglar bars, but I could trap the dogs safely on the deck and...think...think...think...of what to do next.

Except, the dogs decided they must be in trouble (or I was insane) because I was flailing about and making loud noises; so they fled in the direction of the nearest busy road. My flip-flops precluded effective chase. Calling a deaf dog and one who has no language skills is not very helpful, but I tried. Fortunately, they encountered a brick wall a few houses down; and turned around. To run the other way. Down in the gully, which leads to the lake. Brambles, rocks and probably sunning snakes. I needed a game plan. Fast. Scrambled up the deck steps and pretended to be eating something delicious. Made lots of yummy smacking noises, and pantomimed exaggerated eating behavior. The dogs stopped running and came toward me, obviously intrigued. (As were the neighbors, I'm sure.) But when they reached the deck to find me dragging the storage bench across the stairs and the "food opportunity" looking a little sketchy the suspicions returned; and they made another mad dash, this one back to the relative safety of the front door. Fortunately they were bordering on exhaustion, so I had no trouble threading the flower hose through their collars to immobilize them.

Forty-five minutes of "tag," now I could sit down to think.

Should I break a window? Could we climb in? (As the cats climbed out...) Would there be any way to reach the keys to the burglar bars through a window? Should we wait, tethered to the hose, for 5 hours until Son One returned from work to pick up HIS dog (who is barking at us from inside, because we are clearly trying to break in?) Maybe I should wiggle that little remaining piece of the handle a little more?

Wiggling seemed the least dangerous option, so I started there.

I wiggled to the left. To the right. Up, down; listening (between barks) like a safe cracker. Slowly, carefully, methodically. OK, obsessively. Maniacally. For a half an hour, and suddenly

I felt something "click." Said a prayer, pushed and

I was in the house. With clothes! And a telephone! And all the animals! Oops, except for the ones tied to the hose. They fought like bulls, but I disentangled them and pushed them through the door.

Took a shower, and it was back to work as usual. Right after I ordered a new door handle, arranged a Door Handle Inspection by a Certified Door Handle Specialist, and called for my Personal Emergency System Lanyard Alarm Button. (Because I dialed "within the next ten minutes" I will also receive a Bonus Personal Emergency System Keyring Alarm Button. I think I will keep it outside, under the hose.)


High Desert Diva said...

Still laughing here

Nancy said...

Yes. Laugh at my tribulations. Whatever a tribulation is. Where's the love?