Mum - there's flames now

>>  Thursday, August 06, 2009

I have commented before on how hard it is to work from home - well school holidays make it even harder.

Having picked my daughter up from riding at 4pm, she wanted feeding immediately in the "I'm Starving" manner. She couldn't hang on "just an hour please".

Rushed meals are rarely healthy meals so burger in a cob it was, appeasing my conscience by throwing a microwaved steam bag of veg in with it.

But part way through the phone rings and a particularly demanding and hard to deal with developer wanted me to flick the "gofast=true" switch again*

I have a smoke alarm in my utility that goes of at the first whiff of smoke from the grill so I tend to just put it into sleep mode at the first blip, which I did and then continued to be distracted by the call.

"no, you have to tell me what you are wanting to achieve in order for me to be able to...oh that's the smoke alarm, I'm cooking for my daughter....no I usually try to finish at 3 on a....yes I do appreciate you have a job to do...no, you will need to tune each statement the database won't...hang on there's too much noise, let me shut the door"

Subconsciously I knew the other smoke alarms had started but it didn't really register. Now imagine this conversation at the pace and gentleness of 2 old friends rocking on the veranda:

"muuumm, the alar....."
"not now, I'm working.....so as I was saying if we look at each statement..."
"muuuuuuuum, ...."
"H I'm working, go away"
"muuuummmmm there's flames now"
"flames..right....would you mind hanging on one second my kitchen is on fire....."

sounds of 3 smoke alarms, doors banging, water running, grill going outside, child coughing, windows opening

"I'm sorry, I'm back...yes I know you need to get this problem resolved....yes I can put that change in, could I do it in 30 mins...ahhhh now...fine"

It was a most surreal moment of complete calmness, no panic from me or my daughter and quite a bizzarre response from the customer on the phone who completely ignored the whole happening and continued to mumble on!


Gives me confidence that between us me & H could cope with anything!


*apparently only a DBA knows this doesn't actually exist in the real world and even if it did it wouldn't get "flicked" on a single user development system

6 comments :

Strictly 8:26 pm  

I've juggled working from home and kids in the past, never set the smoke alarm off but then my phone callers were usually more understanding!

jennifer 5:27 am  

Love the way y'all kept your cool! School begins here on Monday. I'll miss my kids but... well, sounds like you know exactly how I feel :)

Coding Mamma (Tasha) 9:10 pm  

Cannot believe how un-understanding he was. I try not to answer the phone to numbers that look like work when I'm Rosemary duty, but accidentally did on Rosemary's birthday. As soon as I realised it was work, I said 'I'm sorry, but I'm actually not working today. It's my daugher's birthday. Feel free to call tomorrow morning or just send an email and I'll get back to you.' He seemed a bit shocked but was fine about it.

Other times, I'll answer the phone but say right at the start 'I'm not at my desk. You can try to talk now, but I may have to run off and deal with a small child at any second, you might prefer to call back later/tomorrow/send an email.'

I will also quite happily point people at my office hours, which are clearly stated in my email signature, along with the fact that those are term-time hours and school holidays will be all over the place!

Fortunately, I work in a heavily female-dominated industry, so most of the people I work with are mums themselves and many have worked freelance during their children's early years. And, in fact, these days, there quite a few of the men are dads and spend at least one day a week looking after their children.

The wife of bold 9:48 am  

That sounds awful - and the ignoramous on the phone didn't even acknowledge your minor fire - how rude. I would have flipped out, i am definitely no good in a crisis, well done!

Working Mum 1:06 pm  

Working from home - nightmare. I can only do my marking after she's gone to bed!

Perhaps if you'd said your daughter was on fire the client would have been a bit more understanding?

Kelloggsville 8:29 pm  

working mum: I'll try that next time!

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