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Welcome to The blog of whall

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Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

My wife’s knee surgery was 2 weeks ago, and she still needs assistance getting up and down from the bed, chair or wherever she’s resting and healing.  I’ve been working from home for that period, and will continue to do so for about another week, depending on how she’s able to fend for herself in this wilderness we call home.

I call it a wilderness because A) the kids are home from school now and B) just look at these weeds!

Now if you’ve ever worked from home (I mean really working from home not “quote” working from home “quote”), then you know that there are tons of potential distractions.  Not everyone is cut out for telecommuting.  It takes a special type of discipline to avoid the perils that await.  Most of them are right there, available to you at any time in any capacity.  There’s TV, Wii Fit, food, blogging, Guitar Hero, reading blogs, movies, commenting on blogs, youtube, organizing your closet, general video games, lottery scratchoffs, home computer, playing with wireless settings, testing the fire pit, household chores, reading books, roller skates, taking DITL footage, snacking, converting VHS to DVD, testing older pantry food for freshness, experimenting with new dessert recipes, working on super secret blog projects, finding things to sell around the house, and filing.

The ability to resist these temptations is a learned habit; one is not born with this talent.  It takes years of practice and constant refinement.  Being raised with a good work ethic is an important factor, as is a hunger for excellence.   

Fortunately, all of the above items have something in common.  Can you spot it?

They are passive interruptions.

It’s not like the TV walks up to you and pokes your shoulder and nags you to turn it on and watch it.  The pantry doesn’t cry at you from across the house saying the fridge is being unfair and besides, is too cold.  The books don’t throw themselves at you in self-defense from the guitar hero controller.   To put it in scientific terms, these interruptions are potential energy.

Contrast that with kids.  Kids are kinetic energy.  They *do* walk up to you, poke your shoulder and proactively nag you to watch it.  Dogs can also be proactive with expressing their needs, but with dogs you can plan ahead, walk them before work and they leave you alone for hours on end.

Kids represent active interruptions.

Knowing this, I sat them both down ahead of time.

Me: Kids? come here, I need to discuss something with you.
Them: *collects themselves*
Me: Ok, I need you to understand something. Daddy’s going to be working from home to help Mommy while her knee gets better.  That means I actually need to work here like I work at work.  It means I need to be free from interruption all day.  Do you understand that?
Them: Yes
Me: I need you both to take care of yourselves as much as possible and not ask me to do things while I’m working.  Don’t ask me to play with you, don’t ask me to help you, and don’t ask me to feed you.  I’m supposed to be dedicated to my job and Mommy is the only one who can interrupt me.  Got it?
Them: Yes
Me: And something that’s also very important – while I’m working, I don’t want to hear the two of you arguing or fighting.  I might be on the phone, or I might be working on something important and the distraction is something I don’t want to have while I’m working.  If I have to stop working to break up an argument or whining, it’s going to be bad for you.
Mommy: Don’t just tell them it will be bad, tell them what will happen.
Me: I don’t know what it is now, but it will be bad
Jaden: You mean, like you might take something away from us?
Me: Yes, definitely.  At the very least, that will happen.
Jaden: Can you take away something, like a toy, that we don’t like?

What’s cute is he was completely serious with his question.

And lo, the people did comment thus:

19 Comments

  1. Hilly says:

    As someone who truly does work from home, I totally get the whole “passive interruptions” thing. I mean, sure…my TV does really come poke me on the shoulder but no one ever believes me!

    Hilly´s last blog post..Let’s Hear It For The Girl!

    • whall says:

      Hilly – I didn’t know you worked from home… and I read your blog a lot! how did I miss that? and I know for a fact you’ve n ever mentioned this ambulatory television set.

  2. martymankins says:

    While I like working from home, I don’t get much of a opportunity to do so. But the few times I do, there are distractions, especially if it’s on Reba’s day off. So I know the distractions well.

    As for the toy I don’t like anymore, we sell those at the yard sale.

    martymankins´s last blog post..Rain Delayed

    • whall says:

      martymankins – For a long time, I worked from home 2 days a week. Then I went back to working in the office full time. then I tried riding the bus to save money on gas. then with the surgery, I’ve been working from home full-time. I guess I’m the epitome of flexibility.

  3. Robin says:

    Well it’s a valid question. I mean, if you are going to take away a toy they don’t like then it’s not a very serious threat.

    Robin´s last blog post..The Day We Meet Verbal

  4. Ren says:

    You left off “napping”, which can be passive but can also be active.

    Ren´s last blog post..Macro Monday #13

  5. Avitable says:

    He makes a valid point. When Amy gets mad at me, I ask her to only take away the toys I don’t want.

    Avitable´s last blog post..My weekend

  6. Sybil Law says:

    Hahaha!
    Totally cute. 😀

    Sybil Law´s last blog post..Headache

  7. Sybil Law says:

    I almost forgot to tell you – you were in my dream last night!
    Too bad I don’t remember it exactly, but it involved the govt. making people use some kind of “logic boxes”, and you and I figured out how to logically get around them somehow.
    Yes, I am nuts – why do you ask?!

    Sybil Law´s last blog post..Headache

    • whall says:

      Sybil – normally I charge for being in people’s dreams, but for you I will frequently make an exception. or I will barter. tonight at midnight, then?

  8. bubblewench says:

    I don’t have kids, but 5 cats that will crawl and climb all over me when I WFH. I have to throw them outside or give them nip to keep them busy and away from me! Other then that, I don’t get easily distracted. Thankfully. So what are you going to take away? Something they don’t like? That is pretty darn cute.

    • whall says:

      bubblewench – yeah, but at least crawling climbing cats are pretty quiet for when you have co-workers or vendors on the phone. And? you can lock them in the utility room without too much guilt.

  9. Smart kid 😉 I think you have a future lawyer (good negotiator) on your hands, there!

    Gurukarm (@karma_musings)´s last blog post..Darfuri Women: Nowhere to Turn

    • whall says:

      Gurukarm – BOTH the kids are master negotiators. So much so, that I’m thinking I’m going to have to implement a “no negotiation” policy.

  10. marilyn says:

    That’s funny.

    I work from home and I homeschool so I’m always trying to decide if I have the balance right. Basically, the kid can read and write and figure and we’re paying most of the bills but all in all it’s an imperfect arrangement. She’s going to highschool just because I don’t think she’ll get a good enough education otherwise and I’d like to pay all of the bills all of the time.

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