Posts Tagged ‘work’

Effective Monday, Daddy Daycare scaled back to a half-time operation. That’s right: The kids won.

To be fair, the decision was two-fold. First, we happened to find a home daycare that’s run by a former school counselor and mother of twins. She lives in our neighborhood, doesn’t charge during the summers, had room for our 11-month-old twins and was willing to take them on a half-time basis to coincide with our 3-year-old going to preschool. It was too good to pass up. Still, we wouldn’t have been looking for help if I hadn’t started to crack under the pressure of taking care of my three youngest children on top of working full-time with only occasional help from a rotation of nursing students. (more…)

So I’m on vacation this week. Actually, it’s more of a staycation in that I’m not going anywhere and don’t have anything planned.

To wit, Day 1 largely consisted of taking care of four kids while my wife tended to an ailing family member and then cooking a pasta casserole to freeze for a future dinner. I’m not complaining, having realized that real downtime doesn’t exist when you have such a large family. Rather, I needed a break from work, feeling like I was on the edge of burning out after a long year – so many NCAA tournament bids to cover and a major health scare for one of my daughters.


I got stuff on my mind, man. Little things. And here they are:

* It seems like Sparkling Ice is taking over the beverage world. On what do I base this assertion? The fact that my wife and my grandparents both drink it despite living in different Dakotas. Air-tight case.
If you’re among the uninitiated, Sparkling Ice is carbonated water that comes in a variety of flavors. There are no calories and minimal vitamins. In other words, it’s like fruity diet soda without the caffeine.
I like it just fine, but it raises a question: Why don’t we just drink water when seeking basic hydration? It’s like we feel compelled to entertain our taste buds for fear that they’ll get bored and leave.

* Sweating is awesome. It’s my favorite bodily function at the moment.
This crossed my mind the other day while I was at the gym, pounding out a couple miles on the treadmill while watching Wimbledon. My gym is air conditioned yet there’s no question that I sweat more there during the summer. The only downside is that it makes my earbuds more slippery. But it’s a small price to pay for the positives – the warm, the accomplishment, the fresh start. I imagine that’s how a snake feels when it sheds skin.
This is why I refuse to complain about the weather being too hot.

* I’ve gotten in the habit of doing (at least) a couple hours of work before going to bed. Tuck in the kids; get stuff done. I’ve found it gives me more freedom during the day.
It’s just that the downside can be mentally taxing. When my wife and kids and whatever company that might be at our house are laughing and carrying on, enjoying a care-free summer night, I get anxious, start to withdraw and think about all of the stuff that’s hanging over my head, knowing that time is slipping away and my sleep will suffer for it.
I doubt that I’m alone in this – plenty of friends and colleagues also do the late-night work thing. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s worthwhile. Maybe it’s better to be absent more during the day if that means being entirely present at night.

* Know what’s awesome? Coffee knowledge. That’s not to be confused with coffee snobbery.
The folks at Science Friday have put together a series of videos on what makes coffee work and how it can be manipulated for greater enjoyment. You can watch them here. Really interesting stuff.
Coffee enthusiasm and the craft-beer craze seem to have many similarities. The thing I like about the former more than the latter is it’s built around a stimulant rather than a depressant. With four kids in my charge, energy has to be in abundance meaning coffee is a more practical hobby for me than beer. I’m looking forward to trying to find a nice cup this week during a work trip to St. Cloud, Minn. And I’m considering buying a Moka Pot in order to start tinkering with homemade espresso.

Then again, maybe I should stop considering so much minutia and, you know, do something. There’s always tomorrow.

We’re going to try something different this week, introducing multimedia elements into our weekly review of stuff that’s worth your time. Why? Because just as Gov. Jesse Ventura ain’t got time to bleed, TV ain’t got time to read – at least, not as much time as he’d like. That’s hard to do while you’re sitting in a car, driving to an assignment.

Plus, it’s fair to say that America in 2012 does not live in print alone. Let us know what you think:

* Although I know next to nothing about English Premier League soccer and miss about half of the jokes, the Men in Blazers podcast on the Grantland Network is certifiably awesome. It’s two futbol experts from across the pond discussing, yes, games, but also also styles and personalities and culture. They’re smart and funny and have delightful accents. Honestly, they’re enjoyable enough to entice me to pay more attention to the EPL. We should all do our jobs half as well as these blokes.

* Jordan Conn, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last spring, hit a home run with his profile of Mo Isom, an aspiring kicker at LSU who has overcome an eating disorder, the suicide of her father and a serious car crash. Oh, and Mo is a she rather than a he. Fascinating stuff.

*A social-experiment piece in The New York Times claims that working four-day weeks can make people more productive, as can dedicating a month to creative thought. Frankly, I can’t imagine having that much time to dedicate to new ideas. Sounds wonderful … and impossible in most industries.

* Big moment for TVFury this week – although not as big as expected – in that an NPR show in Hartford, Conn., read a post in which TV defended energy drinks, and subsequently invited him on the show. He got 5 minutes instead of the expected 20. Sigh. Still, here’s a link to the replay.

* Fury here. Hollywood lost a great director this week when Tony Scott took his own life. He directed Top Gun, True Romance, Crimson Tide and many, many other entertaining films. Here’s a Chris Jones piece on Scott’s death, along with a piece Jones wrote about Scott a few years ago.

* Will Leitch of New York magazine wrote a bit on everyone’s favorite TV sports pundit, Skip Bayless. At this point, Skip’s sports proclamations are sort of like PETA publicity stunts but he still gets people upset.

* Meant to link this a few months ago, but worth it now. A letter from legendary editor Maxwell Perkins to F. Scott Fitzgerald about the book that ultimately became The Great Gatsby.

* Mike Francesa has a meltdown about the Mets. An epic rant. Ah, sports talk radio.


Dying to work

Posted: November 30, 2011 by terryvandrovec in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

So I took a day off Tuesday. Like, a full day off. Even used some vacation time. Can’t tell you the last time I did that.

Except I didn’t really avoid work all day. I tweeted some links, did a long-distance interview, checked my email – that stuff just shows up on my phone; how can I just ignore it? – and dealt with some podcast issues. Technology has made it virtually impossible to get away from work. (I sometimes joke that I wish my phone had an off switch. Good one, huh? I missed my calling as an edgy comedian.)

And why did I (sort of) not work? No real reason other than to ensure I don’t waste a full 10 days of vacation this year. That’s right, my work has a use-it-or-lose it policy on vacation, and I chose to lose on an annual basis even though I have a wife and kids and friends and hobbies.
OK, I don’t really have that many friends and I don’t have any hobbies – but that’s related to my compulsive work habits. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

This begs a question: What the hell is wrong with me? Wait. Don’t answer that. Let’s narrow it down, make it multiple choice.