Last Edit, Aug 4, 1995
Published in the AMCC Blue Chip News company paper 1986
My normal day is supposed to begin at 6:00AM. I am supposed to work out, after all, I am middle-aged and I do live in California. I am also single, work two jobs, have a house, a mortgage, car payments, and all the rest of the middle-class requirements, including the requisite two kids.
My normal day begins when I feel guilty enough to finally get out of bed.
On a normal day, we eat breakfast, get dressed, pack up and leave for school, day care, and work in some semblance of order. At least we are supposed to.....
The alarm clock radio has gone suddenly silent in the middle of the song I was using as an excuse not to get up yet and I realize that I've done it again. It's already 7:15AM. I am supposed to be up and the lunches should be packed. I make excuses to myself, as I usually do, as I climb out from under the laundry that is forever on my bed waiting to be folded. Since I've been single, I've never felt lonely. There is always a load or two waiting for my attention. On cold nights, I cuddle up under it and enjoy it. Today, I just ignore it and head for the bathroom.
The dentist has decreed that I wear a plastic appliance to keep me from grinding through another cap since I grind my teeth at night. For some strange, unexplained reason, I can't imagine why, I started doing that neat little trick, and that neat little trick has cost me the price of two gold foils in repair. So I wear it.
This morning it tastes as it always does, like stale morning mouth and I can't wait to remove it. Besides, I can't yell at the kids until I remove it and the house is too quiet. They've overslept again.
Now, I do relish the peace and quiet of early morning when I do manage to get up on time. And, once in a while, I do just that. Get up on time. Not today.
Oh! That first cup of coffee, the drink that three doctors want me to stop enjoying so much. I usually ignore their comments and rush downstairs to fix one. What do doctors know?
On a good day, when I get up on time, I take a cup of this purported poison out and sit on the porch swing my brother hung up on the children's swing set and which hasn't yet been restored to its intended home. From this strange vantage point I can look back at the house. The baby trees are growing taller, one Eucalyptus has made it 20 feet beside me, morning creatures get fairly close, hummingbirds flit in and out of the flowers, and the mist is just lifting out of the valley below. Then I am apt to be late because I stopped and indulged in this expensive home-with-a-view I am working to pay for.
Today, there is no time for swings and mist. I am late. The kids are late. It's garbage day. It's also save-a-chicken-day at cub scout camp and we haven't made the egg-toss package. I head downstairs for the coffee and yell as I descend. No answer. I ignore that too and grab my cup (feeling guilty) and my morning toast.
I consume this standing up, as I haven't sat down for breakfast in years. My shower can be skipped since I took one last night. My hair is still wet, not damp, wet. I'll wear it up. The hairdryer sits on the floor upstairs and I was too lazy to use it last night. I did feed the fish and check on the hampsters. The rabbit can wait.
Back upstairs, I find and get into my bra. I'm always amazed at the places I find it, and then hunt up my slip, figure out what I can wear to the office that doesn't need ironing, and finally move down the hall, slip in hand, to rouse my little ones. At 10 1/2 and almost 5 they are out cold but show signs of life. I keep calling them as I hurry back to my room, tugging the slip over my head as I go.
The ten year old stumbles down the hallway while I shout at him to find his camp shirt, swim suit, and towel in the dryer. The drying of these things was supposed to be his task but he's forgetful. After all, we have two new Atari games and they took up most of his evening. I tell him he'll feel better if he runs up and down the two flights of stairs. It will get your blood moving, I say. I have just done this and all mine wants to do is lay down and go back to sleep. But, he listens.
I've finally made it into my underwear when the almost five stumbles into my room, cuddly soft in brand new, too-big, glow in the dark Transformers pajamas, he climbs into my bed with blanket and thumb and assumes the fetal position. I stop to pat the round bottom and hug the ball he has made of himself before I hunt for my stockings.
He whistles as I struggle into panty hose and my size large diet-trim girdle, that is supposed to be a size medium by now, 5 years after the birth of this small moose I am raising. I am still 20 pounds up (30 if you follow the rice diet) and still promising to diet, one of these days.
I ignore the whistle and head off to fix my makeup while the almost five slips out and downstairs to find his brother. They are supposed to get dressed. That is the theory. Instead, I hear thumps and bangs and hesitate to ask.
"Are you dressed yet?"
That is the classic no-I-am-not-ready-I-have-found-something-else-to-do response.
Now bear in mind that I am not really lazy, I brought several hours of work home from the office. I cooked dinner. I made home-made cookies for lunch boxes. I vacuumed the family room and I even scrubbed the kitchen floor. The kitchen floor does not often get scrubbed. Just spot cleaned as needed. With two kids like mine, that guarantees that the whole floor will be washed several times in the course of a week without making any special effort. However, once in a while, I get the nesting urge. I actually stayed up past midnight and mopped that floor!
"I'm cleaning up after the rabbit!" comes the plaintive voice from downstairs.
Ooops! The rabbit, a dainty little buck who does what all bucks do, marks his territory whenever allowed to do so, has laid claim to my kitchen on earlier visits there. He has been relegated to the garage when not in-arms or being chased around the lawn. I assume from the door banging that this little black and white jewel is being so chased. Why then does he need to be cleaned up after?
My clothes on, my make-up more or less applied, and my wet hair firmly pinned and sprayed, I finally stray downstairs in my stocking feet to see if they are dressed, their lunches up, and whether or not some attempt at breakfast has been made. On cereal day, there is no reason why they can't serve themselves. I encourage this often.
The kitchen floor, so neat and clean when I last left it, is strewn with broom, dustpan, towels, the almost-five's blanket and assorted other debris. They've only been down here 15 minutes!
The children are up on the counter, seated on it, with cereal spread around them more or less in bowls. The rabbit is inside the house, looking guilty. The newly washed kitchen floor isn't. The ten and a half year old whisks the rabbit back to his cage while I erupt around the room, practicing the vocabulary they have so carefully taught me.
Sensing their peril, the children scatter in all directions as they hurry to remove the miscellaneous items from the floor. There is water dribbled. I don't know which sponge was used to clean up after the rabbit. I slip in wet (please, let it be water! I'm out of nylons!). They assure me that it is.
"But, Mom. At least we cleaned up after him!" they protest.
My children look properly sorry and hurry to sit in the chairs they should have been in. It is at times like these that they confirm that they really do know how to sit in chairs. And how to eat. With a spoon.
Lunches are not up so I race through my drill of peanut butter sandwiches, cookies, granola bar and drink packaged in a bag. The swimsuit and towel are still in the dryer. The almost-five is still in his cuddly pajamas. It is now 8:00 AM.
The Cub Scout wants his egg drop done in a Nerf ball so he retrieves the long neglected toy from the garden, sopping wet and dirty. He tries cutting into it. It will take him a week to do this and his cereal is soggy. I use scissors that needed to be sharpened last year and strong-arm an incision large enough to accept one forlorn egg wrapped in plastic bubbles. I then am required to perform surgery and sew up the incision so the egg stays put.
I shout at the Cub Scout to round up his things while I hunt down and dress the almost five, who takes all opportunities to escape and delay the departure. It's a game he has become very good at playing. I have now run up and down the stairs at least four times. I am no longer guilty about my exercise program.
In the midst of all this, we manage to drag the garbage to the curb just in time for the truck, round up my purse, grab the work I stayed up late to finish, lunches, and children, and actually leave. They have at least put their socks on. Their shoes go on in the car. I have managed to step into mine.
The day care center is used to us by now. (I.e., accustomed habitual action.) The almost-five bolts into the center and races away without a goodbye kiss. He knows I won't leave without one. I catch him and hug him soundly while he fakes a struggle, one arm firmly grasping my leg lest I take him seriously. Then, I hurry back to my cub scout. He needs to be driven to downtown San Diego, to his campgrounds. I steel myself for this mad trip through morning rush hour traffic. We are late enough that it should be clearing up by the time I get there.
I am then informed by this "well prepared" innocent that his required bathing suit is still in the dryer, at home....
Now you know why the dentist ordered the appliance....
The office is used to me by now. No one would consider bothering me until after I have fixed a cup of whatever and sat down and enjoyed it.
They wouldn't dare!
Original Copyright © 1984 Donnamaie E. White
So what happened when this was published in the AMCC company newspaper? First, I was the new Director of Training (we called it something else) and I was to write all the User Manuals for the bipolar, CMOS, and BiCMSOS arrays, document the software (the first version of what we now call design rule checking) (more user manuals), and document how to do the design on the Daisy, Mentor, and Valid workstations. This was the age of schematic capture. One manual alone was 1800 pages. I also wrote the seminar for the Logic Design for Array-Based Circuits and ran the 3-day classes at the minimum of once a month for a very long time. And the 2-day workstation classes. 1984 (this article) was the early days of this adventure. I did this job from 1984-1995. So when I was taking work home - it wasn't filing. Children were in bed by 8:30 period so I could work. Children were tasked with trying to help get us all out of the house on-time. Well, sometimes.
I had already been drafted into being a den mother (yes - they both grew up and made Eagle Scout). I hadn't yet been led to understand I would be doing scouting for the next 15 years!
People at work (except the man who knew me from another company and had brought me in to do this gargantuan job) were very curious about a woman who, gasp, shock, had a PhD and was a scientist-engineer. So when the article came out at this little start-up (all of 307 people), worked stopped. Everyone read the story.
Older women hunted me down nodding and saying, "Right on."
The company president came down and said, "I had no idea."
And no one ever got between me and my morning coffee.
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