One of the last tasks I complete before leaving on vacation is setting my Out of Office message. In the past, I always worried about missing something.
Setting my out of office time was easy; everything else gave me anxiety. Did I give a reason why? Did I set expectations for how often I would check my email? Would I let people know what types of messages would get responses? How many places should I redirect people?
My second guessing of these questions always depended on the duration of my leave and the point of the semester we were in. I wanted to be helpful but I also wanted a real break.
Then I went on maternity leave. I had zero qualms about staying offline then. My automatic reply essentially said: I will be gone these dates on maternity leave. Contact this main email or schedule an appointment with another librarian here.
That was it.
It's a recipe that still works. Now, I just say what dates I will be away, give an alternative email, and link to our appointment scheduler. I don't say why I'm gone. I don't say I'm going to check email. If I do check (and reply) to email, it's a bonus.
I've been using this system for three years now and it's never been an issue. People don't complain. Nothing gets missed. More importantly, I don't feel the need to justify why I am on leave or working while I'm away.
All of this is a nice introduction to say that I will be out of office next week. There will be no posts on the blog. I will resume my regular posting schedule on Monday, August 15, 2022.
I'm on my last day of work before vacation. What's different is that I spent the whole week working from my in laws. Instead of having to race home to pack and prep things, I can just log off and declare myself done. That is very exciting.
Here's what else was good in my week:
I'm working from home this week. But "home" is actually my in laws place in South Carolina. They set me up with a desk in the guest room and I have more space here than I do in my actual home. It's nice. Plus, they have super soft carpet that feels great on my bare feet.
While I'm working, our kiddo starts her mornings with swim lessons and then gets all day grandparent daycare. I'm fairly certain she will not want to leave.
Also, another slight change to the format of the post this week. I want it to reflect more of how my job is structured.
Here's what I'm working on:
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This was a rush of a week.
I had a bunch of things to wrap up for work while preparing to leave town for two weeks. No matter how many lists we have to keep us on track, that last night at home and the few hours before we leave are always chaos. I love going places, but I hate the anxiety that comes with preparation and the actual travel.
Now that we are settled, I can breathe. Yes, I will be working remotely for the next week, but the grandparents are providing daycare services and I can sneak out with my laptop to work on their screened in porch if I want. (Or even sit on there lawn. Their grass is that suspiciously soft kind that feels really nice on the toes.)
I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to be more productive than usual this week. First, there's no worry about daycare drop-off and pick up. Second, a new workspace always comes with productivity vibes. Third, I saved a bunch of work I know can be done in smaller bursts. Finally, the following week is vacation time and I always have the urge to clear out my task lists before logging off.
Dare I say, I am excited about this work week? I love my job and rare is the day I grumble about work. But there is something about this week that has me hopping. I'm eager to get a bunch of things done.
Now I get why my brother is enjoying the digital nomad life so much.
We are on the road to visit my in-laws. This is a split trip where one week we are working remotely and the second week we are on vacation. Our kiddo gets two solid weeks with grandparents and I know she is going to love every moment. I am looking forward to getting to work outside with my feet on their very soft grass.
Here's what else has been good lately:
We were supposed to be joining friends to celebrate a birthday in Asheville, NC this weekend. That was relocated to New Orleans and we're not ready to take the kiddo on a plane. Since I already had remote work approved for next week, we decided to venture to my in laws a week early. Now, we'll be at their place for two weeks. We're both going to WFH one week and then take leave the next. The grandparents are kindly providing their own version of daycare. Kiddo is going to love it!
I am in the midst of menu planning and packing list checking. Long gone are the days of packing in an hour. Now I've got to make sure we've got everything for the kiddo (and enough snacks and battery power for a 7+ hour car trip). Thank goodness the Husband had the foresight to maintain a constant packing list. Makes things a little easier.
Here's what else I've got going on:
Death by Dumpling
I'm not normally a mystery reader, but I saw this on the shelf at the library years ago and the cover stuck with me. I’ve decided I’m going to read her whole Noodle Shop Mystery series. It was easy to spot who the murder victim would be, the suspects are lining up, and we've entered the whodunit pages.
This falls under the "cozy mystery" subgenre and I'm finding it quite enjoyable so far.
The lovely recommendations from Wowbrary strike again!
You can see my complete TBR list on Pinterest.
Somehow, our daughter managed to make it through three exposures and a week of test-to-stay without testing positive for COVID. We are, understandably, relieved to have dodged the virus again. While we know this is more luck than anything else, an article I read in the Washington Post [gift link] about those who haven't gotten COVID yet got me thinking.
While constantly testing negative could be immunological mixed with luck (lots of luck), I would posit that it is because some these folks (us included) are still taking the pandemic seriously.
Our family has no known pre-existing conditions. We are fortunate to have jobs we can do from home. We are privileged to be able to send our child to a daycare that had a more conservative response then most. This all helps a lot.
More importantly, I think it's because we don't really go anywhere or do anything. We do not dine indoors. We do not go to large outdoor gatherings. We are careful with who we see and how. Crucially, we still wear masks everywhere. I'm in a cubicle in the office. I wear a mask all day. Our daughter still wears a mask at school - even when they went mask optional. Every time we step foot inside a public place, we wear our N95 masks.
When we know we are going to see friends indoors, we ask about symptoms, vaccinations, and the like. We ensure that others are rapid testing before they visit. We test ourselves.
Essentially, we never changed our behavior.
I don't fault anyone who tests positive at this point. You can do everything right and the BA5 variant can still get you. We know that, eventually, we will test positive for COVID. But I think the difference is, we have not yet given the pandemic the shrug.
Our kiddo got her second dose of Moderna this week. That Garfield Band-Aid on her arm is a measure of relief and gives us a touch more flexibility. We might start doing more things, but we're still going to mask. We may be the only ones doing so, but we don't care.
At this point, it's going to feel weird when the masks finally come off for good.