Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Working From Home, or Reindeer Are Ugly

Now that we have achieved a safe rear view distance from the mayhem of the Christmas season, lovely and magical though it was, I can begin thinking clearly again. Due to the arduous demands of overspending online and wrapping mass-produced items in paper with friendly/adorable reindeer printed on it, trivial things like thinking clearly and eating leafy green vegetables are set aside between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to be resumed only once the shredded scraps of four-dollars-per-roll reindeer paper have been disposed of and the mass-produced items held within have been assimilated without a trace into the overabundant collection of mass-produced items that everyone already owned. Now, finally, I can have a salad and reflect.

Strike that. School vacation. Continued mayhem, different flavor.

The Tornadoes are at that adorable age where they can neither be left to their own devices while I go to the office nor have any desire to spend a waking minute in the company of anyone older than themselves. This makes for a truly touching experience. Instead of spending this week engaged in quality activities with them, or putting on attractive clothes and leaving them in the paid care of others while I interact with other adults all day, both of which evoke fond memories of Christmas vacations past, I will pass the next several days ricocheting between pointlessly staring at the screens of my remote access workstation, knowing full well that I can't actually accomplish anything this way, and being coldly ignored by my own children in favor of a stream of other people's kids who are apparently never fed anything at their own homes.

Oh sure, I suppose I can still use this time to reflect. As long as none of my thoughts require more than three seconds to complete, as that is about how much time elapses between teenagers throwing open the pantry door to rustle every packaged food product inside before grabbing something and walking away with the door left open. I will repeatedly tear myself away from staring uselessly at my work screens to close that damn door and then yell uselessly down the stairs that the kitchen is now closed, dammit, and then I will return to staring uselessly at my work screens. Perhaps on my journeys from desk to pantry door, I will reflect. But before you start framing up helpful hints about reducing the quantity of packaged food choices and replacing it with healthier options that we can all prepare together, to the health and bonding benefit of all, let me point out that I've used the word "adorable" twice in an ironic manner, once to describe reindeer and another time the Tornadoes. In the last twenty-seven days, neither of them (the Tornadoes, that is, I can't speak for the reindeer) has turned down a single proffered sugar-laden baked treat. Trust me, they are not adorable right now. (Still the Tornadoes. Although, if you have ever seen an actual reindeer, well.) I will eat my hastily prepared salad over the kitchen sink in solitude, if it's all the same to you.

I have to leave you now, because it is time for the bright spot of my week. I have to place a call to my employer's tech help desk, located in an overfriendly Midwestern state, to seek assistance getting remote access set up on my new laptop. I can't wait to talk to an over friendly midwesterner. It might be the only cheerful voice directed at me that I hear all week.