I think it is time to update my strangely popular series of posts on the day-to-day logistics here in the Cloud-Snarky household. (Hmmm... I should perhaps turn that order around and have it be the Snarky-Cloud household, and make Snarky Cloud the name of my next band...)
Anyway, I promised I'd update once we'd settled into a routine after my company moved. Well, my company moved in December, so I think it is time to acknowledge that this is my new routine.
First, the details of what changed:
My old office was roughly 11 miles from my home. Google maps tells me that it would take me 15 minutes to drive there right now, and that was indeed roughly what my morning commute was most days. Some days traffic would be a little worse, and my morning commute would take 20 minutes. On a really bad traffic day (i.e., rain, an accident, the stupid golf tournament) it could take 30 minutes. I do not think my morning commute ever took more than 30 minutes.
My evening commutes were harder, because the traffic getting out of the area in which I worked was truly horrendous. I dealt with this by shifting my schedule such that my commute home (after picking up Petunia from day care) was roughly 20 to 30 minutes and it reliably took less than 10 minutes toget to day care. On Thursdays, I did not pick Petunia up (Mr. Snarky did, so I could go home and exercise) and the drive was reliably 20 minutes. On a really bad traffic day (heavy rain, accident requiring lane closures, some jackass setting fires in the freeway median), the commute could be as long as 45 minutes- but that was rare.
My new office is roughly 15 miles from my home and requires more non-freeway driving. However (and this is the saving grace), there is not usually much traffic. After much experimentation, I have found routes that make my drive to and from work take 30 minutes most days. I'd estimate I get a 30 minute drive to work 4/5 days per week and a 30 minute drive home 3/5 days per week. The other days, something random happens somewhere along the route (today, it was a stalled school bus on the surface street I take from the freeway to my neighborhood) and my drive takes roughly 45 minutes. It has rained once since we moved to the new office (yeah, we're in a severe drought), and that day, it took me 1 hour and 10 minutes to drive home, even though I left a little early. Mr. Snarky cannot be relied upon to leave early when it rains, so he and Petunia also got home late- very late. Our entire routine was messed up and everyone was grumpy. It was a really rough evening. I think that if it had been raining the next morning, I might have quit my job.
The other thing that has changed in this new configuration is that my work is now nowhere near day care. Driving between work and day care takes roughly 20 minutes and is out of my way, so if I drop Petunia off, the drive to work takes an hour. Therefore, Mr. Snarky does most day care drop offs and pick ups and I take Pumpkin to and from school (which is 2.5 blocks from our house). On days when Mr. Snarky has an early meeting, Petunia watches TV until his meeting is done and he can drive her to day care. I am not thrilled about this, but it doesn't happen often, so I've made my peace with it.
So, with that long preamble out of the way, here is the new routine:
The Base Weekday Schedule
Both grown ups get up at 6:20, unless Petunia has woken up earlier. If she has, I get up with her most times, because by the time I wake Mr. Snarky up to get up with her, I am awake already. I use the time to catch up on blogs, so I only half-resent the early wake up. I'm staying up later at night for reasons I have not analyzed, so the old routine of getting up at 5:55 for a short run has been dropped.
Petunia almost always gets up as soon as I get up (another reason to drop my attempts to get up early). I wake Pumpkin up at about 6:45 if she hasn't gotten up earlier.
We all have breakfast, the grown ups shower, everyone gets dressed... the usual morning stuff. We all leave the house together sometime between 7:40 and 7:50. I walk Pumpkin to school. This takes me about 20 minutes, round trip, because although the gate to her school is only 2.5 blocks away, the room her before-school program is in is literally as far from the gate as it could possibly be, which is the equivalent of another block and a half. Also, there's sign in, etc., etc. But I like this 20 minutes, and driving her would only reduce it down to maybe 12 minutes... so now I walk. Mr. Snarky drives Petunia to day care. Since he works around the corner from where I used to work, I suspect it takes him 30 minutes or less (15-20 minutes to day care, 5 minute drop off- day care is far more efficient at this than the school program is, 10 minute drive to work).
We work/go to school/play at day care all day. I leave at 4:30, get home between 5 and 5:15, and walk to pick up Pumpkin. Then I make dinner. Mr. Snarky leaves at 5, picks up Petunia, and is home by 6, when we eat dinner. He refuses to time shift as much as I did (he likes his lunch breaks too much), so he spends more time in traffic than I used to.
I usually do work-related reading while I eat my lunch, and take a 20 minute walk most days at lunch time. One day per week (usually Tuesday or Wednesday), I have a short workout in the company gym instead of the walk. The new building includes a decent little gym. I wasn't going to use it (I am a manager, and female, and a little heavier than I'd like... and either you get why or you don't, maybe I'll explain further in a future post), but then they installed a really nice heavy bag and I decided "screw it, I want to hit that." So I spent roughly 30 minutes figuring out an acceptable work workout outfit (again, either you get this or you don't...) and now I go hit/kick the heavy bag for ~15 minutes once per week. With cool down, changing and showers, this takes 40 minutes. I may be able to shave that down to 30 with practice.
(Aside: I will someday write a post about the reactions of the men I work with to learning that I like to kickbox and/or to seeing me hit and kick the bag and realizing that I really meant kickbox and not cardiobox. But this post is already too long and I'm only up to lunch time.)
On Mondays, we both leave work a little early (4:15 for me, 4:30 for Mr. Snarky) and pick up our assigned kids for swim lesson. Mr. Snarky picks up Petunia, changes her at day care, and drives to swim lesson. I pick up Pumpkin, bring her home to change (it is on the way), and then drive to swim lesson. I drop Pumpkin off, and then drive home and make dinner. Mr. Snarky stays with the girls and they get home at about 6:20.
On Thursdays, I go for a jog by Mission Bay. Except for that awful Thursday when it rained, when I came home and did a dance workout in my garage. This is made possible by the fact that we pay our Chinese teacher to go pick up Pumpkin, walk her home, and give her an hour long Chinese lesson. Pumpkin loves this part of the new routine. The downside is that there is no flexibility- I get my workout time on Thursday, and if it is raining, well, I can figure something out. There is no just switching the workout to the next day.
On Fridays, Mr. Snarky leaves work at about 4:15, picks up Petunia, and takes her to soccer. They get home at about 6:30. I come home at the usual time, and make dinner. We almost always have Boboli pizzas on Fridays because I am just done with real cooking by then. Most Fridays, I have to give myself a pep talk just to make a green salad to go with the pizza.
If there is time after dinner, we play/read/fall down internet rabbit holes, as our fancy takes us. At about 7 p.m., the kids have bath. We alternate nights giving bath. The grown up not giving bath works/blogs/takes the trash out/does the finances/whatever.
After bath, I give the kids snack and make the next day's lunch for myself and part of the lunch for Pumpkin (Mr. Snarky makes the rest in the morning). I pack a snack for Petunia who insists on taking "lunch" and eating it as soon as she gets to day care.
After snack, the kids watch a show or we play a game or they just play- it varies. Then at about 8:15, Mr. Snarky gets their teeth brushed and we each get one kid to sleep. This involves reading stories, and if you are getting Petunia to sleep, lying in bed with your back to her while she "snuggles" (a.k.a. "gently kicks") your back. I read short stories or tweets during this time. Mr. Snarky sleeps. The parent who got Pumpkin to sleep (read her stories, kiss her goodnight, turn on music, spray "monster spray"- i.e., Febreeze- and leave) does the dishes.
Then the grown ups work, blog, read, watch TV, play video games... whatever.
I try to go to bed at 10:30, but usually don't get to bed until 11, as you'll confirm by checking the timestamp on this post. I have no idea when Mr. Snarky comes to bed most nights, because I am usually asleep.
We continue to have Friday Night Beers. That is sacrosanct.
Gymnastics is now at 9, which sucks for me sleeping in (i.e., I don't get to) but is great for leaving us more family time in the day. I usually take the kids to gymnastics and Mr. Snarky stays home and does laundry.
Every other week, we also have a 30 minute Chinese lesson for both kids. That is sometimes on Saturdays after lunch and sometimes on Sunday mornings.
I sleep in (sometimes until 8! or 8:30!) most Sundays. If our schedule permits, Mr. Snarky goes for a run once I get up, while I sit around and drink tea and write. The kids play and interrupt me roughly every 15 minutes.
I do the grocery shopping Sunday afternoons. Usually.
We plan out our weekend during Friday Night Beers, and try to always include at least one "family fun" thing, which ranges from a trip to the park to a trip to Legoland to riding a ridiculous bike around Coronado.
We do a lot of chores on weekends. Or at least Mr. Snarky does, because he refuses to pay someone else to do our garden work. I haven't been able to determine if this is because he actually enjoys the gardening or if it is another one of his weird "I can do it so I shouldn't pay someone else to do it" things.
Mr. Snarky cooks dinner on the weekends. We usually have my sister around for dinner one night (or sometimes go to her place for dinner instead). We sometimes have other people over, too.
And that's it. The sick kid routine is unchanged. Petunia gets sick less often now, although she did just get sent home with a fever today. She is also more willing to let the grown up who stays home do a little work- particularly if that grown up is Mr. Snarky. She likes me to "snuggle" her on the sofa (which again means "let her put her feet on me") and I like to sit and keep her company, so I don't argue too much.
So, what do I think of the new routine? I'm not sure. I love walking Pumpkin to and from school, but I miss picking Petunia up and watching her play soccer. I don't care for the longer commute at all. I know that it is not long by many people's standards, but... we sacrificed a bit on both space and neighborhood to buy a house in a location where our commute wouldn't be too long. Now I have the smaller house and the more boring neighborhood, and I still have a long commute. I'd be lying if I said this didn't annoy me. I also hate the ever-present risk of a much longer commute. I always allow 45 minutes for the commute, and I think that I'll need to allow at least 1 hour 15 minutes on rainy days.
I'm not sure what I'll do. I like my job, and I would not be able to find another similar job right now. So I am trying to decide how much, exactly, I hate the commute. It feels like I drive for such a long time, and it feels like wasted time. I've tried audiobooks, but I don't like them. There is not a lot of traffic, but there is some traffic, and I kept missing important bits when I had to focus more intently on the road. Also, I like to highlight while I read, and you can't highlight an audiobook. I might try podcasts next, but right now, I'm just listening to music I like and trying to enjoy the drive.
I dislike Mondays the most, because I leave work at 4:15, and don't get home to stay at 5:30, and must then start dinner almost right away. We're considering having me stay and watch swim lessons (which would be fun!) one or two times per month, and then going out to eat afterwards. This scrunches our bath/bedtime routine, so it is not without cost. But it might help make Mondays less unpleasant.
So what do you all think? Am I just being a commuting wimp? Anyone with a long commute want to suggest ways to make it less sucky? Other suggestions for optimizing my routine? Want to share the best/worst parts of your routine? Just say hi? Leave me comments!