Wednesday, July 13, 2016
"We can't have a crisis. My schedule is already too full," I yell back to her. She walks into my office as I continue. "It's 10 am. I have meetings at noon, 1:30, and 4. Abbie has karate practice at 5:30 and Ben has dance class at 6. Paul is out of town until tomorrow and Nancy is sick." Paul is my husband and Nancy is his mother. She helps out with the kids' schedules whenever she can, but she has the flu and there is no way she can feed and chauffeur our 9 and 7 year old kids to their various activities. Not today.
"Well the Andersons called, and they don't like something Chad said in their last meeting and want to pull all their ads for the rest of the year."
Shit. She was right. That is a crisis. Harry and Marlowe Anderson own several businesses in the area, and are the largest advertisers by far in our regional magazine. Losing their ad business basically equates to losing the salary of one of our employees. "Okay. First, have Chad in my office in five minutes. Second, have Janie try to reschedule one of my meetings. If she can't, I will need you to cover for me at one of them. Or more. This might actually take a visit to them, not a phone call. We absolutely cannot afford to lose their business."
Twelve hours later, with the offence worked out with the Andersons, Chad severely reamed and on probation, and the other clients handled and ruffled feathers smoothed, I called Paul for our nightly chat.
"Hey, Babe, how was your day?" His face filled the screen of my iPad. I couldn't help but smile at him. I could tell he was with other people, though.
"I had the worst day," I began. I wanted nothing more than to simply talk to my husband about my rotten day. After getting the work crisis taken care of, I was late leaving work which meant I was late picking up the kids, who were each late for their activities. The day ended with a hungry, cranky, overtired mutiny. After a late dinner of takeout pizza they went straight to bed. I was having a hard time talking to Paul, though, since he kept getting interrupted by others in his group, or he'd interrupt me to add a comment to whatever conversation was going on around him. I found myself growing more frustrated.
Finally I just couldn't take any more. "Listen, Paul. I'm exhausted and you're busy. I'll see you when you get home tomorrow night and we can catch up then." He distractedly said goodbye and we ended our call.
I got ready for bed, but couldn't go to sleep easily. My mind just wouldn't stop replaying all of the headaches of the day. I was already feeling out of sorts and the disjointed call with Paul didn't help any. I felt like such an afterthought in my own life. At work I was the boss,which made me the fixer of problems. I didn't have many opportunities to find the joy in my work like in the past. At home, I was "mom" - I kept the schedules, made sure everyone was fed and clothed, and kept the house clean. But who was taking care of me anymore? Who was I supposed to go to when I needed to talk, when I needed support? I knew I wasn't sleeping for a long time anyway so I brought up a book on my iPad and started reading. That always helped distract my mind so I could fall asleep.
About an hour later my phone vibrated. I picked it up and had a text from Paul. I'm sorry things were so crazy here tonight. I want nothing more than to be home with you to help you unwind after today. I'm sure you're asleep and won't see this until morning, but know I love you and can't wait to see you again. You're a kick-ass wife, mom, and editor. I am in awe of you.
And just like that, all my doubt and tension vanished. There is my support. I put my iPad away and settled into bed. Tomorrow would be a better day.