Hitting the Wall – Light Days and Heavy Days

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By Harry Hodge

Today is going to be a “heavy day.” You know how I know? It’s a Thursday.

For more than a year now, I’ve been doing “heavy” Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as recently Wednesdays sometimes. This dates back to my old job and my two (new/current) jobs. But they only really became truly “heavy” when my mother-in-law left, and I had to add a new spin to the days: Picking up the kids, playing with them and feeding them. Before I teach private lessons at home for an hour after dinner.

When I was working near the airport, my main concern was just getting through traffic and making it through the day. But now I face two battles in my work-from-home situation; getting the kids to school in the morning and dealing with them when they come back.

My son and daughter are super-cute, but they’re also very young and needy.

“Make me milk please.”

“I don’t want to eat that one.”

“I don’t want to go to school.”

And so on. Every morning is a plea bargain, and then there’s the brief spell of unwinding in front of the computer. Until I have to go teach at the university. Managing 30-40 students of middling ability in English for a couple of hours a day has its own pitfalls. I don’t know that I’d want to add to my current teaching load.

Then coming back, picking the chill’uns up, etc. Hear what they did in the day. Maybe cranky, maybe not. I seriously have no idea how single parents do it, especially with more than one kid. My wife gets home at 6:45, which gives me some time to mentally prepare to teach again at 7:30.

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Streamlining the Schedule

I wrote recently about placing too much emphasis on “stress.” But I neglected to look at different needs: Fatigue and free time. Once that last student is taught, all I want to do is close my eyes. This means not wanting to read a story, make small talk, do anything. I feel like this is an adjustment period, and have taken some steps to streamline my daily workload:

  1. Many mornings I go for a run as I’m hoping that will give me energy throughout the day.
  2. I have experimented with little catnaps when possible – something I couldn’t do at my old regime.
  3. I have cut well back on my coverage of Saigon Heat games, only enough to ensure I can produce a final chapter for a book I’m completing with the team.
  4. I wrote my final sports column for Word Magazine last month. Whatever I think can help me avoid “hitting the wall.”

Grandma has missed the little ones, and is returning for a visit this weekend for a couple of weeks. She was always a case study in organization, so I intend to observe her more closely in person before she heads to Nha Trang to attend the birth of yet another grandkid! Learning from the best is always the ideal way to go. Everything always works out, I just hope to make it so sooner than later.

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About hodgedude

I'm a Canadian journalist and teacher, most recently living in Edmonton and Toronto, now located in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. I've taught English in S. Korea, pulled rickshaws in Canada, taught at a Taiwanese language boot camp, edited newspapers in China and played a French-speaking Spanish colonel on Vietnamese TV. I also play Australian football. Pick up a copy of issue one of my independent comic, "Getting Lucky," at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, the Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Spotted Cow Pub, 111 Bui Vien, District 1, Saigon.
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