The curse of the second hand

NaNoWriMo is kicking my butt, but I’m still plugging away. I’ve actually been more productive in week two than I was in week one, which is a little strange. The real test, as it always is, will be week three.

I made the Instant Pot yogurt I’ve been planning to try since very early in the lockdown. I don’t remember why I didn’t do it when I mean to, but I’ve done it now. Came out great. I can’t believe how easy it was. I used to eat yogurt every day, and now I can see myself doing it again since it’ll cost so much less if I make it myself. Yee-ha.

Too tired to write. I’ll pick this up Sunday morning.

So we nod over coffee and say goodbye
Bolt the door it’s time to go
Into the car with the radio on
Roll down the window and blow the horn

Ain’t that the curse of the second hand
Ain’t that the way of the hour and the day

Transitioning back to the office has been a challenge. Once I’m there, it’s pretty good. I focus better in my dark cubicle. I like seeing my coworkers. I do better in in-person meetings, which I still dislike, but at least I can engage, read the energy in the room, and pay better attention.

The biggest snag is the time issue. I joked all the time about waking up at 9:00 to be at my desk working at 9:15, but there’s a lot to that. I got used to working a certain way in my living room, and I can’t just switch back to how it was two years ago. I have to pack up my personal laptop and all the things that make my setup my setup: my mechanical keyboard and wireless mouse (which I was already toting to and from the office before the lockdown), my four-port USB hub with my USB-C, lightning cable, micro USB, and wireless mouse dongle. The mouse is Bluetooth capable, but it just works better this way. I’ve found it’s easier to just bring the entire hub with me back and without unplugging anything, so I don’t leave anything out.

Then there are my wireless headphones, my Bluetooth external speaker, my iPad, and my Kindle. Oh, and my company laptop. Most days I don’t need all this, but I’m so used to having it according to my moods and tasks that I’m not ready to deviate. It all packs in my eBags laptop backpack, everything in its assigned space, so as long as I don’t deviate from routine, I don’t forget anything.

For a while I was also lugging an iPad stand (I prefer to Zoom on my iPad as a first choice and my phone as a second choice), but that got ridiculous since it didn’t fit in the backpack, so I just bought one to keep at the office. Which I suppose is what I will do for most of the other stuff, piece by piece. Some of that stuff is pricey.

I picked up the iPad partially so I could leave my personal laptop at home most days. Still working on a system I like for making sure whatever I work on at home is available at the office. Yes, we have cloud storage but for some reason I’m finding it easier to email myself any in-progress work. Which is also cloud storage.

I picture myself most days, perhaps by next summer, just hauling my iPad and Kindle, perhaps in a messenger bag. Oh, and probably a gigantic water flask, as I’m also trying to figure out a system for having plenty of ice-cold water. We had an ice machine (a nice machine) in the breakroom that made good ice, but it’s broken and they’re not planning to repair it. The freezer in the breakroom that used to make things cold very quickly no longer does it for some reason! So frustrating.

This long, uninteresting breakdown of my process illustrates my point well, because it’s just one aspect of returning to the office. There are other things, like being able during the workday at home to prep dinner. Or to wash dishes or tidy the kitchen. All these domestic things I could incorporate into my workday that now wait until I get home from the office, at which time I’m too spent to do it.

I don’t have the mental bandwidth to prepare a lunch either, which I knew would be the case as soon as they called us back to King Street. Resigned myself immediately to dining out for lunch every day until I get back into some kind of groove. I actually don’t mind it, most of the time, since the lunch options are good around the office, but geez it adds up.

The commute’s not really a problem, since it’s a short, unstressful drive both ways most of the time. It’s actually making it easier for me to get to the beach regularly. It’s just the time. Forty minutes or so (totaling both trips) I could be doing something else, like sleeping.

I’m mildly surprised I haven’t gotten takeout for dinner more than a couple of times. I’m just so tired I want to get home. Plus, since it’s NaNo, I have to be ready for the nightly Skype sessions at 9, which means getting certain things done ahead of time, if I want to get to bed at a decent hour.

Meanwhile, I have a few health things to work on. I’ll save that for a separate post.

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