14 November 2009

Bob's Books and Adult Day Care Center

If I'm retired, why do I still go to work 8:30-5:30 M-F?

It's a little hard to explain, even to myself. It's the result of a twisted combination of unusual circumstances. The short it answer is: You do what you gotta do.

Here's the deal. Scarecrow works for a book distributor. It's a company of, maybe, six people, working in a warehouse full of books, with some offices along one wall. There are more offices than there are people. There is also an accessible bathroom. Scarecrow's employer (Bob) lets me use one of the empty offices, and his Internet connection, during the day. So I go in to work with Scarecrow. I read, pay bills, blog, watch movies, whatever. Scarecrow has an office upstairs. If I need anything (like help getting in and out of the bathroom), I send him an IM. When Scarecrow is finished for the day, we go home. So I go to work every day, even though it's not my work, and I don't actually do any.

Trying to untangle the unlikely chain of circumstances that evolved into this routine makes my head hurt.

It started when I stopped driving. Getting to work -- my work -- by public transportation was such a pain in the butt that I started working from home. I worked for a network software company, for Pete's sake. If I couldn't work from home, who could? That was OK as long as I could still get in and out of our tiny, disability-hostile bathroom by myself.

Then, couple of winters ago, our part of town lost power for about a week. (It was nine days, actually, but seemed longer.) I couldn't work from home. Since it was way too cold to sit around in a dark, unheated house, I went in to work with Scarecrow. I took my laptop, camped out in an empty office, and found that I could work as well from the warehouse as I could from home. Better, even, because of the accessible bathroom. Our power eventually came back on, but I kept going in to work with Scarecrow.

Since I retired, I still go in to work with Scarecrow. I just don't do any work.

My employer was amazing for letting me do this for as long as I did. I was lucky to have a job where it was possible. I was lucky Scarecrow had a job where it was possible. Scarecrow's employer was amazing for letting me do this, and for allowing Scarecrow the flexibility to help me out during the day. Each of these circumstances, taken alone, is kind of unlikely. Having them all occur together still has me shaking my head in amazement. It's not a solution you could ever plan. But you do what you gotta do, and that's what we did.

So it's Saturday. It still seems like a weekend to me!


  1. Zoom - I've been out of the blogging loop for a bit and I just read about 10 posts of yours in a row. What a pleasure! I enjoy so much the snapshots of your life and your writing style.

    It's funny how our daily routines evolve so we end up in places we never thought we would. It's wonderful that Scarecrow's boss is good with your arrangement as I can see many advantages of your arrangement, not the least of which is the safety factor.

  2. This is an amazing story! Glad this has all worked for you.

  3. Cranky - Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad to see you back -- you know how I worry!

    Bibliotekaren - Crazy, isn't it? It's such a fragile, tenuous, unlikely combination of circumstances that depends so much on the kindness and generosity of so many people.