The latest instalment in a series in which I answer the ongoing question “How do you fit it all in?”, which people ask me when I tell them what I do.
Normally I fill these in every morning about the previous day. However it’s currently Thursday afternoon and I’ve just managed to open this week’s post.
I think people expect that I fit things in easily, or that I have an exact routine from which I never deviate, or that I never procrastinate or get things wrong. That’s not true. This week has been stupidly busy and I’ve not been feeling like doing anything much, and those two things have come together to make it a bit of a challenge to get shit done.
But of course I have still done things. Some of the things, anyway.
I’d barely slept on Sunday night and I’d been awake since 5am, although I’d been resolutely lying in bed trying to make sleep happen again. It didn’t.
At about 9am I forced myself out of bed and into the kitchen. I had a client call at 10, for which I was insufficiently caffeinated. I ended up being a grumpy arse on the phone with him, but luckily we’ve been working together for years and he’s cool enough not to be offended by Morning Scar.
The call finished at 11ish, and I did some work for the same client until midday.
I was not feeling OK or motivated at all. I was doing that thing, you know that thing? The thing where you randomly click on tabs in your internet browser without really looking at them and it makes you hate yourself a bit because you know you have a load of shit to do but you’re not doing it but you need to so you make yourself stay online but then you keep clicking randomly and it makes you hate yourself more and oh god will it ever stop.
That thing happened. Coincidentally the BFF sent me a video of herself hula hooping in her garden when she was meant to be working, which gave me the idea of inviting myself over to her house for the afternoon to see if we could both get some work done, or if not at least procrastinate together.
We managed to do some work. Thank fuck. In my case not as much as I was meant to do, but at least something. Sometimes a change of scenery is necessary.
Her work space is seriously amazing, too.
When I got home in the evening I felt less like I hated everything, and I thought I’d take the evening off and try to chill out a bit. I watched Fleabag, which is currently back on BBC iPlayer, and I loved it. Eventually I fell asleep, but again it took longer than I wanted and didn’t last as long as I’d have liked.
The tweet at the top of this post about not giving enough fucks is from Tuesday. I’d really hoped the fucks would come back overnight, but they did not.
I spent two and a half hours in the morning working on a task that should have taken me twenty minutes. My brain just Would. Not. Play. Ball.
I carried on forcing myself to do work, albeit slowly and not very well, and then I went to my usual Tuesday afternoon appointment. After that I decided to take myself to the garden centre for lunch because that normally makes me happier. It did. The walk over there also gave me some inspiration for the day I was planning at a high school on Wednesday.
Following lunch I went and sat under a tree for a bit and stared at the light dancing over its trunk. It was a sycamore, which meant it had that tortoiseshell bark that’s particularly intriguing if you look at it while the sun’s setting: the colours all shift under the golden dusklight.
I wandered home feeling a bit happier and went to bed early. Didn’t sleep much, but more than the night before: I fell asleep at about midnight and woke up at 4am.
My alarm would be going off at 5am, so I stayed up, knowing that if I went back to sleep I’d be even more grumpy when I re-woke.
I downed some caffeine and changed my outfit about six times before settling on something vaguely comfortable. Only vaguely because I’m currently wearing in three pairs of shoes and once and it’s practically killing my feet. Oh well.
These are pinchy fuckers but they’re pretty.
By 7am I was on a tube across London, then a train to Brighton, then a train to Shoreham, then a taxi to Steyning. I do not miss commuting.
This is my favourite bit of the London-Brighton line, near Balcombe. When I used to do the Brighton-London commute daily for work, this was the moment all the tired suit-wearing people would stop looking at their phones and gaze longingly out of the window.
I arrived in Steyning at 9ish and was happily installed in the library at my old school by 9.30. I spent the day talking to groups of year 9s, 10s and 12s (13-14-year-olds and 17-year-olds) about working in digital forensics, investigating cybercrime, and being a woman in tech. As always, the kids were fantastic and asked insightful questions. We had a great time, or at least I did.
By the end of the day I was about ready to drop, but I’d fortuitously run into an old friend in the morning and I was desperate to see more of her, so we hung out at her place for a bit and caught up. It was wonderful.
I arrived home at about 9pm and went straight to bed. A full day on my feet talking at people was exhausting, but rewarding.
I woke up not entirely sure if I’d be able to move, but it was OK. I decided nonetheless to take it easy, and I cancelled my driving lesson since the left side of my body wasn’t working very well, and it’s kind of important for both sides of your body to be functioning if you’re driving a car that hasn’t been modified for that purpose.
I’d finally slept and I’d woken up quite late, and it was about 10.30 before I’d got out of bed, so I started work late and did some bits and pieces for clients until the early afternoon, when a fellow geek came to try and fix a problem with my computer. It’d completely stumped me and I was worried I’d lost my knack for programming, but as it turned out it wasn’t just me: he was stumped too. It took the two of us almost three hours to work out what was going on and fix it, but now my Macbook is working as it should and I learned some stuff, which is always fun.
When he left I couldn’t bring myself to do any more work, so I got in the bath with the latest issue of the Hegel bulletin.
And then this happened, which made me VERY EXCITED.
Yes, I got so excited that I managed to spell ‘Omg’ wrong.
As you’ve probably guessed from the screenshot above, I have recently discovered Instagram Stories, which I thought I would hate but I actually love them. I’m @jeviscachee over there – come say hi!
I got out of the bath and into bed, where I continued reading about Kierkegaard, then I stopped for a while and wrote some stuff. I keep a notebook beside me most of the time, and sometimes words pour out into it.
At some point I realised it’d been ages since I’d drunk any whisky, so I finished off the final dram of Laphroaig Lore that’d been languishing in the bottom of the bottle for years, and then I messed around on the internet for a bit before falling asleep. I slept pretty well: hopefully this means I’m coming out of the insomnia period and into a period of sleep.
Finally, a productive day! I got up, immediately started working, and managed to do almost all of the things I should have been doing throughout the week. I worked for about twelve hours, with a short break for an appointment in the middle of the afternoon.
By 9pm I was done, so I got into bed and watched some of the new season of 13 Reasons Why. I’m not sure if I’m just not in the right mood for it or if it’s not as good as season one, but I’m not feeling it so far. I’ll stick with it though since I think it’s an important show.
I woke up not sure what I wanted to do. Then I realised my supernatural tomato plants had grown another few inches since Thursday and were now hitting the ceiling, so I spent some time moving them onto a lower shelf. I also discovered something exciting: a couple of them already have little tomatoes!
I texted my friend to see if she was up for brunch at the garden centre and a wander through Chiswick, which has some beautiful and quirky little shops. She was. Yay.
Fuelled up by avocado toast, we walked down Chiswick High Road for a bit, checking out various shops including The Source Bulk Foods, which is a new vegetarian bulk shop. I quite liked it: everything was perfectly aligned, which always makes me happy, and they had a good selection. Being in West London the produce was of course rather pricey, but that’s the premium we pay for living here.
Somehow we ended up at the river, which happens to me very often, as you may have noticed. We wandered the Thames Path for a while, then ended up at a pub overlooking the bridge in one direction and some houseboats in another. Wine by the river is one of my favourite ways to end a day.
Gradually the street lights started blinking on, and at 9.30ish we decided to call it a night. I came home and went straight to bed, hoping I’d sleep. Luckily there was a thunderstorm, which for some reason always makes me sleep really well: there’s something about the crash of the thunder and the pouring rain that calms my heartbeat and soothes my soul. I fell asleep hearing the rain getting gradually more enthusiastic, and slept right through til morning.
I woke up feeling refreshed and well-rested for the first time in I don’t know how long. Thunderstorms are wonderful things.
I’ve been working from bed a lot lately, since my body hasn’t been at its healthiest, but I was feeling alive enough to begin my day from the living room, so I retreated there with my laptop and started writing the following week’s blog posts. Actually I write them two weeks in advance, so the week after next’s posts, I guess. I knew I was going to have to write two weeks’ worth of posts this time since I was planning to go to South Carolina the following Thursday and I wouldn’t want to stay inside writing while I was there, so I settled down in front of the tomato plant jungle and started writing.
After a while I stood up, which was when I realised I was feeling more energetic than usual. This was surprising considering the long river walk I’d been on the day before: I’m tentatively hopeful that my body might be coming out of its latest round of refusing to do anything.
Since I had some energy going spare, I decided to pull up the living room floor. It took a couple of hours, and I shared each step over on Instagram Stories, where you can still see it because I pinned it to my profile. Under the manky fake wood stuff was AN ORIGINAL FLOOR. HOW PRETTY.
Once I’d finished pulling up the flooring I stood in the middle of the room ecstatically singing for a while, then I wrote my blog posts for the week after next. At some point I made dinner, then settled down with 13 Reasons Why and eventually went to bed.