Bodies suspended in the cottony infancy
of someone else's dreams, rocking rhythmically
in 65 miles per hour time - thump, thump, thump,
the wheels go round and round
ticking minutes away from our collective
days. Once it's gone it won't come back, we
know time is a commodity, but is our time
worth more than our money, is the time spent
worth the cost? The early mornings, the early nights
tossing and turning trying to sleep, the big house
on the big lot miles and miles away from
where we need to be every day.
I get these strange moments when I wonder how long I'll be able to do it. The commute, that is. Or the commute the way I do it now, anyway. And maybe all this is triggered by the fatigue I'm currently feeling as a result of my recent illness, but I just wonder if I'll be able to keep doing this in another five years.
First off, I try to work four ten hour shifts, rather than five eights. So that has a big affect on my commuting choices. The company I contract to now has a 9/80 schedule - one week of five days, nine hours and one week of four days, nine hours. This has led to me working a 40 hours one week and 50 hours the following. I've found it quite hard to back off from the ten hour days. It does give me some padding so that I can bug out early from time to time. Though I never come in late. Odd.
Anyway, my typical work day is as follows:
4:00 AM wake up, hit the head, check weather reports, check email for anything new that came in overnight.
Between 4:35 and 4:45 - head out the door
Between 4:57 and 5:05 - get to bus stop
5:07 board bus
5:10 leave for Anchorage
Check email as they come in, work issues that need working, ~1/2 hour of work completed during commute
5:55 arrive in Anchorage
Between 6:07 and 6:20 arrive at work
6:25 boot computer and check email, launch apps needed for first tasks
6:27 change into work clothes
6:33 make breakfast, check local news, light surfing while eating oatmeal, check calendar, pour coffee and sigh
6:33 until 3:50 work - whatever tasks are at hand
3:50 get changed into bike clothes and head out
Between 4:10 and 4:15 arrive at bus stop
4:30 get on bus and head out of town
Keep tabs on email and work issues, as needed during ride, ~1/2 hour work
5:20 arrive in valley
Between 5:32 and 5:45 arrive home
Between 8:30 and 9:00 get in bed
So, I'm only physically in the office for a bit over nine hours, but the total time worked each day is ten or more hours, depending on how many tasks I have to deal with during the commute.
I also see now that I could wait to head out to the bus in the afternoon a bit longer. There is generally a fairly long line to get on the bus in the afternoon, though, and I really like to get the seat right next to where I put my bike.
The days are really long and it takes a toll. Particularly when I also have my second job as an adjunct. That means that sometime between when I get home and when I go to bed, those two precious hours, I have to shower, eat, try to spend some time with the family, and grade papers, answer student emails, and all the other stuff that comes along with that work. It makes it so that in essence every waking moment during the week is spent working.
And you know what sucks about that? When I have time off or vacation, I find that I can't really relax because I always feel like I should have something that I should be doing. Or something I should be procrastinating.
I could step back to eight hour days. That would allow me to sleep in until 5:55 each morning and still be home at the same time each night. I could also shift my commute back so that I leave later in the morning and ride a later bus home.
I like the bus I ride in the morning because it is generally not terribly full. I also like getting to work early when there are not a lot of people around. I also like having a bit more time at home with the kids in the evening. Though if I didn't have to get in bed at 8:30 each night I might end up with the same or even more time with them each day.
The ideal situation is, of course, finding clients in the Valley so I don't have to commute. Or finding clients in Anchorage who will allow me to work remotely most or all of the time.
Okay. Enough of my whining. The riding is glorious right now, for the most part. A bit slick in areas, but fast everywhere else. I need to just enjoy it. Right?