Saturday, September 20, 2014

The no-work weekend

Since about late June -- except for the two weeks we were on vacation -- I've been freelancing like crazy. The one company I work for has sent me a steady yet impressive amount of work over the last three months. This is the most proficient work period I've had since going part-time at the newspaper several years ago. And this was my goal to, especially after quitting the newspaper in March. Oh, I am still writing for my old employer too, just adding to the freelancing madness.

Amid this load of work, I haven't had much time when I wasn't thinking about what I needed to get done next. I get a little free time, I more often than not will pull out the laptop and work. I pulled back somewhat on vacation -- managing about five or six work-free days -- but was slammed when we returned to Utah. In the eight or so weeks since vacation, I've been a machine ...  and have worked in some way, shape or form every day.

After knocking out 17 ghostwritten blog posts and two news releases in the past two weeks, I managed something that had been eluding me: a weekend off. There is nothing imminently due, and I'm not feeling like I need to work to get ahead of the curve.

I actually am able to get a lot done on the weekends. Even with soccer having restarted, I can get a little production on Saturday and a lot on Sunday. These past two NFL Sundays, I've been playing Red Zone (the NFL Network's live, in-progress highlight show) on my phone, propped up on my laptop, as I've worked. This is actually a good setup I discovered last year, and even better, this fall I'm not going into the office afterward (and I so don't miss that).

So what will I do for the rest of my weekend? After three soccer games and some grilling today, I'm going to work on the yard tomorrow. The boys and I tossed the football around today, and maybe that will occur Sunday as well. I'm thinking about board games, some closet clearing, more writing, and plenty of NFL (just without the freelance multitasking).

I already have some assignments for next week, and I'll get on those Monday. For now, I'm content have a whole weekend to myself and to spend with my family.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Summer 2014, days 86-103: The conclusion of summer

At the end of every summer, I'm always a little sad. In my youth, the end signaled the beginning of school again. After college, when I was working as a sports journalist, the end meant the beginning of football season, which was always an exciting transition but also a return to a crazy busy seven months of the newspaper business (summer is always the mellowest time of year for sports desks). After I had kids and they started school, the end of summer meant a slowing down of any adventures and vacations and the return to a routine, with the inevitable cooling and short days just around the corner.

I go through these cycles always looking forward to the next summer, inexorably setting myself up for everything going too quickly. I have a fifth- and a third-grader now, and I'm still trying to understand how that happened.

Something was different this year throughout August. Not resignation that summer was ending and went by in a heartbeat. Not melancholy that my favorite season was ending and before I know it, I'll be shoveling snow again. Not even missing the boys every day, which I do. No, this August, the end of summer was a little bit of a relief.

The last month, since we returned from vacation, has been a jumbled mess. Yes, we had fun, but we still never seemed to do the things I hoped before summer ended. The weather has been schizophrenic, with so many days when the skies couldn't decide between sunny and rainy. And, I've had so much work but never seemed to figure out how to peacefully get it all done. I managed, but it's been a slog.

Thus, I'm happy the boys are back in school. The routine hasn't settled in yet -- I caught a back-to-school cold that has slowed me down a little. But today, on this last day of summer, I felt non-rushed for the first time in a while. I got work done, took Michael to basketball, took the dog on a long walk, and found time to type.

I feel a little guilty about wanting the boys back in school. Next summer, hopefully the last month of summer will be different. But for now, I'm glad it's September.

So what have we done the past 17 days? We hit the waterpark a few times. The boys returned to school last week and are enjoying their new classrooms. I've already co-oped both kids twice. I'm coaching Ben's soccer team again; our first game is Saturday. Both kids got to hang out with friends in the last playdates of summer.

And now I'm calling it: Autumn is here. This summer was fun. But it zipped by too fast. They always do.