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Excerpt from Bless Your Heart, Tramp

Working at Home - Sort Of

Friends and acquaintances often stop me on the street to ask, “Hey, what’s that thing hanging out of your nose?” No, what I meant to say was they ask me what it’s like to work from home.

I didn’t always, you know. For 21 years, I went to work like a normal person, fudging on my so-called “time card,” taking long lunches during the Belk semi-annual lingerie sales and chalking it all up to “research.”

This is easy to rationalize because journalism isn’t a 9-5 job. No-siree Bob Woodward. In the exciting world of journalism, you never know when you might be called out for a, whatchamacallit, fire or something.

The biggest thing I miss about working in a newsroom with other real, live human beings (not including the sports guys, of course) is the office gossip.

Around here in my little upstairs office, writing with a 10-year-old cat asleep in my lap and a toddler blissfully sedated by a “Blues Clues” home video downstairs, there isn’t anybody to “dish” with or about.

It’s not like Snowball is suddenly going to rouse up, treat me to a Sheba-scented yawn and start gabbing about the day’s only visitors, a man who wanted to rake my yard and whose fly was unzipped and a teen-age boy who hung a piece of paper shaped like a pizza slice on my front door.

What can I tell you? It’s lonely at the top. Of the stairs.

The other thing I miss is the chance to catch up on my sleep during staff meetings.

Last week, I decided I was sloughing off too much and decided to call my own staff meeting. It was just like old times. Asleep in 30 seconds.

I woke myself up, told myself that I was a Huge Disappointment to the profession and that there would be a nasty pink memo placed in my Permanent File and ooga-booga, wasn’t I scared now?

I then made myself so upset by nearing firing myself that I gave myself the day off and checked out the Bali separates sale at Penney’s to cheer myself up.

The next day, still reeling from nearly getting downsized, I faked a cold and hacking cough, called in sick and told myself that if that wasn’t bad enough, my husband’s grandmother had died (32 years ago, but who’s counting) and I wouldn’t be able to work that day.

Some things never change.

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