I feel like I’ve been at work forever. My shoulders hurt and my eyes are dry. Above me looms a giant, firm deadline for the launch of the new business website, a website that has proven to be beyond complicated for so many crazy reasons These reasons are almost innumerable, but at the top of the list is the fact that the sheer number of SKUs in our inventory, their stupid slight differences (.240-inch diameter pultruded carbon tube at 32.5 inches vs 40 inches, 48 inches, 60 inches, and whatever cutoffs we have in clearance, for example), and their multi-tier, multi-volume discount pricing structure. Sound exciting?
Owning our own business is exciting, but it sure is a lot of work, and I don’t quite feel like we’ve hit a payoff yet. So it still feels like and uphill slog, albeit one with a vast treasure at the top, and that sometimes gets me down (although other times it keeps me going). Like when I don’t go sledding with my family the day before Christmas because I have to work. Or when I have to work the whole weekend before Christmas. Or when I have to go in early all week this week. And stay late. It’s a tough time of year for me to put in extra hours because the opportunity cost of this work is so great: time at home with my family during the holidays.
Consequently, I never quite got into the Christmas spirit this year. Family descended upon us, but I wasn’t around much to make them feel welcome or help with the cooking. My exhaustion and the work overload and the house full of people put into sharp relief that our lovely little house is getting too small. I started to try to think of ways to embiggen it for next year: a new dining table with multiple leaves; the children sharing a room (that will probably happen anyhow); getting my act together and clearing the crap from the island so it can be used as a place to gather; moving the toy box downstairs. Ultimately, though, I need to find a way to experience the whole season without a cloud of stress, exhaustion, and illness hovering over me.
One of the big things that’s missing is the sense of leisure that used to come with a two-week winter vacation. Though I don’t expect to ever have that again, not even taking a day off to enjoy life was tough. And our families didn’t want to join us for more than two days, which is much too short a visit for Christmas – there’s too much to do to make two big family dinners and the gift extravaganza happen in such a short amount of time. I’m not sure how to reconcile this for next year; driving to the beach is a pretty big hardship for us, what with being smack in the middle of careers and having to also cart with us two kids, a dog, and the presents, and 3/4 of our parents are not working during the winter. But if they don’t want to come to us, what option do we have?
Bottom line, though, is that I got almost everything I wanted for Christmas: a family in (mostly) good health, an extra ten pounds from delicious, delicious food, and two boys who were ecstatic with their Christmas gifts. Jamie got TWO trains from the Thomas the Tank Engine family and has already run the batteries down in one of them. Charles got some roller skates and killed a whole hour in the garage going around and around. He also got a Flynn & Rapunzel doll set, and he spends a goodly amount of time having Flynn fight the Stabbington Brothers (who are represented by two Japanese robot action figures) and leaving Rapunzel in the boat because she’s boring. They both received several books and lots of new clothing. And, as a gift to me and Tony, they have both slept well for the past week.