Thursday, August 25, 2011

Take Up Embroidery

After many years in the corporate world, I decided about 10 years ago that I was never going to be happy providing my expertise to an endless string of employers whose main goal was to make their employees as miserable as possible. After a year of planning and saving, I stayed home and started working for myself. As well as being proficient in office technologies, I had spent most of my free time in sewing, quilting and machine embroidery, so I felt confident in my ability to combine all of my varied skills. I was overjoyed to spend 16 hours a day working for my new boss … me!

Wishful thinking can get me through some days when nothing else can! I had a bit of a rocky start, but things started getting easier and the necessary flow of work started falling into place almost on its own. It’s taken me nine years to reach this level of contentedness, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

One thing I’ve had to get used to with working at home has been my husband’s alternative schedule. He works 2-3 days at a time and then is home 2-8 days; more, if he takes vacation time. When I worked outside the home, this schedule left us little time together, but left me lots of time for making quilts and embroidery projects.

My husband is currently on a 21-day vacation. In the past 15 days, I should have gotten in at least 80 hours of work done. I’ve worked less than ten. I am behind on my obligations and ready to scream, but he is happy that I’ve spent so much time with him. Actually, if he paid attention at all, he would have noticed that I’ve spent most of the time cleaning the house. All he sees is that I have not been making quilts or creating machine embroidery designs! Of course, this must mean that I’m spending all that time with him! Men are so funny.

I can work when I want, but I am most comfortable and efficient when I’m on some sort of schedule. I have certain things I like to do on certain days or time of day, and I also have a few deadlines each week and month. These are not tasks that I can do ahead of time to free up time like my husband can for vacations. When he is on vacation (or just one of his multi-day breaks), he assumes that I have all that time off, too.

While I do love to spend time with him, I also enjoy machine quilting, machine embroidery, and the variety of projects of these two art forms. I enjoy it for personal enjoyment and professional enrichment. It is a hobby that allows me to earn a living. The light of my life enjoys the income I bring in, but he still treats my business like a cute little hobby that I can do or not, depending on his whims.

Tomorrow, I get the one day that I ask for during his longer breaks. On this day he handles all the housework, errands, meals and anything else that needs done, and I spend the time working or crafting depending on my needs and deadlines. On these days, I start out strong by catching up on business emails. I then head into the studio and get started. By 11:00 am, I’m ready for lunch. Hubby will want to go downtown for lunch and cappuccino, so I tag along.

This is the effective end of my productive day as we wander the cobbled streets of Chania, looking at vintage Vespa scooters, enjoying the beautiful weather and our time together. The vendors love my husband because they can always cajole him into buying some little thing for me.

So, footsore and laden with small packages, we return home in the late afternoon to our hyper dog and welcome air conditioning. We sit and converse about our day and listen to the new CD that we have picked up. I may not have done any quilting or embroidery, but I’ve got the love of a good man, and that’s the best.