The old adage is “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Well, I am living the dream because I am wearing T-shirts and sweatpants these days in my new work-from-home life.
I’m pretty spoiled as a journalist anyway. My office attire is typically a blouse and jeans paired with boots or sneakers. Every time I think it’s time for me to leave journalism, the thought of giving up my casual wardrobe is often a strong deterrent.
However, while I’m away from the Napa Valley Register office, I wanted to create a work-from-home attire that was separate from my relax-at-home wardrobe. I needed to have a physical way to distinguish “Work Samie” from “Home Samie,” so I opted to order several sets of black sweatpants. These are my new work pants. When I’m done at the “office,” I switch into my pajama bottoms and change T-shirts.
Columnist Samie Hartley found hand sanitizer two days in a row. That must be some kind of record.
I host Spirit Weeks at my home office. The first week was Star Wars week, followed by hockey week. This week has been concert tees. I’m thinking next week might be Disney or superheroes. I haven’t quite decided. Considering I’m the only one participating, I don’t feel too pressured to set a formal schedule.
I do try to stick to my regular work hours though. I start my day in the actual home office that I share with my husband. Chuck has been working from home for three years, so he’s a pro. He has two monitors — plus a laptop, a fancy webcam, a special desk light, and an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
He has several face-to-face meetings throughout the day, so I typically leave the office at lunchtime and move to “my office” which is otherwise known as the kitchen table. This kitchen table has been my desk for nearly 30 years. It’s the table I used to do my homework at as a kid. I’ve written term papers here, conducted science experiments, researched the American Revolutionary War, built rocket models and cried over pre-calculus prompts. This table and I have a long history, and here I am once again.
The cats aren’t allowed in the home office — too many wires and cords to chew on — but they are welcome in my office. It took some getting used to, but the cats and I have a nice working relationship. The novelty of having me home all day, everyday, has worn off for the most part. As long as the window blinds are open so that they can see out into the world, all is well.
Columnist Samie Hartley is working from home and learning to get along with her new co-workers: her cats.
I like having the blinds open, too. There aren’t too many windows at the Napa Valley Register office, so I like having a view from my new desk. Granted, I’m looking into the backyard, which desperately needs a makeover, but it’s nice to see blue skies.
Since working from home, I’ve made friends with Jumpin Jedediah — JJ for short — a squirrel who busies himself running along our back fence in the afternoons. He sits on the fence, waving his bushy tail, before running into my neighbor’s tree. An hour later or so, I’ll see him heading in the opposite direction, darting off to some other escapade. These squirrel cameos add a whole new layer to my work-from-home experience.
But the thing I like best about working from home is that I get to eat at my desk. Eating outside the break room is forbidden at the Napa office. At home, I can eat my lunch at my desk or grab a snack and carry on with whatever I was doing. It’s a luxury I will have difficulty parting with when “normal” life resumes.
But don’t worry. I do take breaks away from my computer. I vacuum. I load the dishwasher. I wipe down all the light switches and door handles with disinfectant wipes, and I steal come cuddle time with the cats.
It’s all about finding a balance, and I think I’m doing OK so far. Then again, I’m not sure. I’m making it up as I go along.
Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Simple & Sassy runs every other Sunday. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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