My days consist of trying to get Deep7 products released and preproduction done on the major film projects on my radar, taxi service for my kids, truant officer for my son, while trying to maintain a semblance of social order here at home (I can hear those of you with adolescents laughing at me). Yesterday it included opening up the panel on the washer to drain and dismantle the water pump, removing half a chewed up pencil and a kid's paintbrush.
By the time I've driven all over town, paid bills, edited manuscripts, designed ads, burned DVDs, posted the mail, washed dishes and cycled laundry, and picked up those little messes that seem to appear all over my house, there's precious little time or energy for me. It's getting just a little old.
Today is a perfect example. While my posts on Emerald City Comicon may have sounded glamorous, it's really just a case of 12 straight hours of face-to-face marketing. You aren't there to relax, you're there to sell. It's fun enough that I don't want to shoot myself afterward, but it's not a cushy job. It's draining. One of the old arguments Sam & I used to have was over her assumption that I was having the time of my life working in the videogame biz. Yes, I was making a good living doing art, but it wasn't my art - it was someone else's. It was soul-sucking, technical, tedious, and once again, draining work, being "creative" on a 9 to 5 schedule (and it was far more than 9 to 5, as most folks in the videogame biz are salaried, aka "exempt", aka 60+ hours on a regular basis with no OT). And of course the whole reason we started a traditional game publishing company was so that we could be drained and exhausted working on our own products.
So today was all about getting the RADZ virtual product up for sale and scheduling done for the next couple weeks. Add in some financial/retirement planning for added chuckles. Then the sun broke, and revealed that my yard once again resembled the Mekong Delta. So I hauled out the lawnmower and got to work on the front. Tyler had mowed the back yard over a two-day span a couple weeks ago for extra cash, but the funny thing about grass is that it tends to grow in rainy conditions.
Stepmom came over with a watering timer for the garden and some chicken to grill, and so after I was done mowing and edging in front, I hauled out my big table and set up the new 'q'. Tyler didn't like either the chicken or the fish stepmom had brought, and he started campaigning for me to give him money so that he could go buy hamburger to grill. I told him this is what was for dinner, and if he didn't want it, he didn't have to eat it. He went off to sulk. We ate outside - it was nice. Then I cleaned up after dinner. Meanwhile the kids were starting to campaign for letting them run around with the hose. For some reason, that little thing was the straw that broke the camel's back. I denied them access to the hose for what would have ended up in muddy puddles throughout the house, much to their bewilderment and indignation. And then I called a family meeting.
It was more of a Come-to-Jesus meeting. We've all had those at work, when a project is in trouble. Where you totally strip the issues down to their bare components. I told them how exhausted I was, constantly cleaning up after their little messes and piles and projects left half-done around the house. I praised Kayleigh for her assistance in setting up for dinner, but overall had to reassert the rules. The basic message I kept hammering home was a very simple premise: If you help out, Dad won't get exhausted and cranky cleaning up after you, and is more likely to reward you with more flexibility and privileges. If you don't help out, Dad is cranky and tired, and puts the kibosh on fun. They seemed to get it, but I don't expect it will have been a useful exercise in a week when I'm collecting glasses of moldy orange juice from Tyler's room.
And to put the perfect cap on the evening, Tyler just came upstairs, holding his broken alarm clock. The alarm clock he broke by severing the power cord (or pulling it apart). And he spent a whopping 15 minutes trying to talk me into replacing his alarm clock. Now. This very minute. At quarter to eleven at night. The same boy who either forgets to set his alarm or ignores it outright. Sigh.
I know this reads like a vent, and I guess it basically is. Sometimes it feels really rewarding, single-handedly raising a couple of terrifically bright and talented kids. Other times, I just feel tired. This is one of those times.
And now, to bed.