Working at home is no labor of love

August 08, 1994|By KEVIN COWHERD

They say that by the year 2010, half the work force will work from home. Or maybe they don't say that, it really doesn't matter.

The point is, I don't see how anyone who works at home gets anything done, especially if you have a family and it's summertime.

I work at home a lot, and this is how a typical day goes:

8 a.m. -- I get my coffee, sit down at the word processor and . . . BAM! BAM! The coffee spills all over my lap. Something's banging against the door of my office. It's the dog. He wants to go out.

Any other dog would scratch at the door. But this dog is so stupid, he actually hurls himself against the door.

Then, reeling from the concussion, he staggers around like a sailor on a weekend liberty.

I'll tell you, seeing a dog do that to himself, that's a tough way to start the day.

8:22 -- BAM! The office door swings open. It's the 3-year-old, all jacked up from watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He aims a few roundhouse kicks at my desk and announces he wants a bowl of Cheerios.

Sometimes I look at this kid and all I see is a cell door clanging shut 15 years from now.

I hope they have Cheerios in the joint.

9:05 -- The phone rings. It's the 8-year-old's friend. The friend wants to know if there's swim team practice.

I walk all the way upstairs, find out practice is on, then pick up the phone.

"Yeah, there's practice," I say.

"Well, I'm not going," says the friend. "Swim team's stupid."

Hey, now. Apparently we've found a future cellmate for the 3-year-old.

9:44 -- The doorbell rings. I run to get it and the dog bolts from the couch and attacks my leg. He thinks we're playing. He's still snarling and chewing my sneaker as I open the door.

It's two Jehovah's Witnesses. They're handing out literature about their church.

"Your church -- is it quiet?" I ask.

"Oh, yes," they say. "Very peaceful."

"No kids, no dogs?"

"Children do belong to our church," they say.

"Get rid of the kids and dogs, I'll join tomorrow," I say.

10:07 -- My wife asks if I can watch the 3-year-old for a few minutes while she runs to the supermarket.

Sure, why not? After all, I've written two whole paragraphs. It's definitely time for a break.

10:09 -- The 3-year-old wants to play a board game: Candyland.

No, I say, Candyland only takes a few minutes. Let's play something like Monopoly that takes a couple of hours. That way I'll be sure to blow my deadline.

11:30 -- The doorbell rings. I run to get it. This time the dog comes flying off the couch like some kind of vampire bat and latches onto my shirt. He's hanging there by his teeth when I open the door.

It's the kid next door. He's looking for the 12-year-old.

"How come you're not working?" the kid asks me.

Noon -- Time for lunch and another well-deserved break. I've got four paragraphs written. My editor's always telling me to write shorter, anyway.

1:20 -- The doorbell rings. I run to get it. Sensing an imminent attack from the dog, I cover my head with my arms and go plowing into the bookcase. This time, of course, the dog doesn't budge from the couch.

The guy from the lawn maintenance service is at the door. Apparently he's already put down the weed-killer, since huge vapor clouds are rolling off the lawn and the smell of chemicals is choking.

"Don't worry," he says. "It won't hurt the dog."

"Yeah," I say, "that's what I'm afraid of."

Me, I'm thinking of slipping into a Mylex protective suit and oxygen mask.

2:05 -- The phone rings. It's a company that does home improvements.

"Well," I say, "I might need a new office door soon, on account of I have a psycho dog who keeps trying to break it down."

3:12 -- I hear the sound of jingling bells and feel a shiver of terror. Instantly, my body goes into full fight-or-flight response. It's the ice cream truck!

Quickly, I try to hide under the desk and . . . BAM! It's too late. The office door swings open. It's the 3-year-old. He wants money so he and his thuggish little friend can score a couple of Jetstars. To make his point, he karate-chops the printer.

I'm afraid of him, so I give him two bucks.

Although I'm even more afraid of the dog.

Maybe I'll knock off for the day.

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