Saturday, December 15, 2007

Notes from the underground: part 1

I have not completely vanished from the face of the earth, though from my blogging frequency there's no evidence to support this. Instead, I've just been crazy busy trying to juggle three different freelance gigs. This means I've been trying to work every possible minute, in order to stay caught up.

I'm not particularly used to working and getting paid directly for my time. For quite a few years I've written on spec, my real estate adventures (being a landlord, converting a house into condos) were all on spec, and then I spent time taking care of the kids, helping promote theatre productions, and run community gardens (none of which paid anything). Especially after so many years of working as a playwright, where money takes a while to trickle in (if ever), it's kind of nice to get paid a decent wage, promptly. Especially in a month with $600 of car repairs and Christmas presents to buy. And it's not so bad to fantasize a little more seriously about us taking an actual trip somewhere some day. Or saving for Kira's college fund, or Noah's braces.

The odd thing, though, is that getting paid for your time makes you work a little less hard at enjoying how you spend that time. When the time is mine and only mine, I have a strong incentive to ensure that I get the most satisfaction from how I spend it (for the past two years, I found writing a novel very satisfying). Otherwise, I'm just cheating myself. There's nothing to be had other than satisfaction (which is more accurate than "pleasure"--I'm not sure writing or creating works of art is necessarily pleasurable, but it certainly is engaging and satisfying).

The paid work that I'm doing at the moment is pretty engaging, but that feels more like luck than intention or necessity. My time spent away from work gets a little warped, because I can think, "Sure, I can blog for fifteen minutes, or I can get back to work and earn another ten bucks. And I could use ten dollars." (The jobs I'm doing at the moment aren't the kind where I get to get paid to daydream and surf the internet.)

Luckily, I've been able to squeeze in 6-9 hours of paid work every day this week, despite needing to pick up the kids from school, cook dinner, help with homework, shovel snow, and do a little bit of sledding after the blizzard.

Anyway, my brain is a little fried at the moment. I need to get some rest, so I can get up at 5:30 and get in a few hours before the house gets hopping tomorrow.

A few brief thoughts first:

There's nothing quite like sledding on a foot of fresh snow. Noah and I went to a huge hill at Larz Anderson park yesterday and had a blast. Sledding is something that I would do even if I didn't have kids. A good sled run is a moment of pure joy for me.hooded merganser

I had the delight of seeing a hooded merganser this morning while I was out walking the dog. What a treat to see a bird different from the usual Canada geese and mallard ducks.

My kids assembled our Christmas tree all by themselves today. You don't really picture them doing this when they're babies.

I feel grateful to be married to a woman with whom it's fun to do just about anything, including Christmas shopping. We've been married for almost twenty years, and I'm glad we're not sick of each other yet.

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