Saturday, 23 December 2017

One Day in the Life of Marty

Wednesday December 20, 2017

7:02 am. I’m usually awake before my alarm goes off but today I’m woken by the beeping of my phone. Up, washed, dressed, I’m out of the door by 7:15.

7:15 am. I take my daily photo as I leave the court and message it to Fran: a good morning routine that grounds me as I start my day. Some time I will gather the photos together and post them up as an album: Kingston Park through the seasons. Today is very mild. The app on my phone tells me it is 52F / 11C.

7:25 am. It is a short walk to Starbucks in the Kingston Park Tesco store. The staff know my order: a tall black Americano in my reusable cup which saves me 25p each time I remember to bring it with me. There are few other customers. A couple of tables away, a woman is writing in a notebook or diary. I’ve seen her before and wonder what she is writing.

I check our book’s Amazon rankings (print and Kindle, dot com and UK) on my phone and record the numbers my Midori notebook. The rankings give an estimate of sales. None overnight but we there were some yesterday. I check the news headlines (BBC, Guardian, Reuters, Politico), Twitter and Facebook. I message a couple of people, including a meds reminder for one good friend in the US.

It’s Wednesday, so I check that this week’s blog piece has posted. It hasn’t. I must have forgotten to schedule it. I log into Blogger and post it, checking the links work and sharing it on social media. This week we have a guest post by someone I connected with recently on Twitter. The article is called Let It Go: Reducing Holiday Triggers for Your Child, very appropriate for the season.

8:00 am. Taking my coffee with me, I head for the Metro station. A few spots of rain: nothing much. I have five minutes to wait for my train. I read a couple of news articles that catch my eye. I have become far more interested in UK and world news – politics especially – in the past couple of years. The train is pretty full but I get a seat.

8:15 am. Arriving at South Gosforth I have a choice: a second train (ten minute wait) or a twenty minute walk. The rain has stopped so I decide to walk. The sky is gorgeous: a pale flat orange that defies my attempt to photograph it. Down the hill, past the Compassion Centre and the cosy little café I frequented earlier in the year. I cross the busy junction at the bottom of the hill, and a few minutes later I am away from the traffic on the old waggon way.

8:30 am. I take photos as I start on the waggon way, sending one to Fran and another to my friend Robyn. The path runs straight and slightly uphill behind St Mary’s Comprehensive School my kids attended and Benton Park View where I work.

8:45 am. I arrive on site and make my way to our building. This close to Christmas there is only me, Tony and Logan in from my team of five. (Next week, between Christmas and New Year, I will be in on my own.)

Coffee is the first order of the day, and a pot of Golden Syrup flavour instant porridge. I log in to my work computer and put my phone on charge. My work day has begun. I check emails and incident queues, and chat with my colleague Tony about what’s going on for him.

My boss Judith has probably been working from home since the crack of dawn but she brings treats in for everyone today. My gingerbread tree and Christmas pudding cookie don’t last long! The best boss ever and a great friend, Judith gets a hug – and another which I am passing along from Fran. Fran knows how supportive Judith has been to me this year when I was going through some really rough times, and to me and Fran over the whole time we’ve been friends. Judith, you are an absolute star!

The morning passes easily enough. I am on a half hour conference call at 11:30. It overruns slightly.

12:10. Lunch time. I fix my pot of Singapore curry flavour noodles, and move to the open seating area at the end of the office. Normally, I’d have a short Skype call from Fran, but we’ve not managed that recently and don’t today. I miss the check-ins, but she hasn’t been sleeping well so it makes sense for her to rest as much as possible in the mornings (midday here in the UK is 7 am for her in Maine).

I write my journal, catch up on social media, and do ten minutes on my Spanish language app. Fran is going to Mexico for a month at the end of January and this is one small way I can support her preparations. I’m having fun, although I’m not sure how much I’m actually learning or how helpful I will be when she is away! I was never much good at languages at school. Robyn chats me and we have a little catch up.

1 pm. Back to work. I am in the office on my own this afternoon, but things are relatively quiet and I don’t have any significant issues to deal with. Fran chats me when she gets up and brings me up to speed on what she’s doing today.

4:25 pm. I leave work and take my twenty minute walk back to the Metro. I ponder what we are having for dinner: figure it is sausage, egg, and chips. Pam will have the sausages (meat ones for her and our son Mike, Quorn ones for me) and chips in the oven. I will cook the eggs and serve up when I get home.

I have twelve minutes to wait for my train. I’m home by 5:30 pm and finish cooking the dinner. No need to go out shopping tonight so once the dishes are done I settle down in front of the TV in my rocking chair. The Simpsons and Hollyoaks are part of our daytime routine: we have watched both for decades. There is a certain comfort in familiar routines.

6:00 pm. I turn the PC on and let it boot up, then realise with dismay that it has not yet completed the Windows 10 updates it started installing the night before. I watch the progress indicator nervously, concerned it might not complete by 7 pm when I want it working so I can Skype with Fran. 33%. 50%. 75%. 78%. 92%. It reboots for about the fourth time with about ten minutes to go. I breathe a sigh of relief, then groan as it starts installing something else, with no indication how long it might take. One final reboot and all seems good to go. Just in time.

7:00 pm. Fran and I meet on Skype as usual. It is 2 pm for her. Most of our time together at the moment is spent planning for Mexico, also a week she is taking in the US with her Mom the first week of January. We review our shared calendar and To Do List, ticking things off and prioritising tasks for the days ahead.

8:00 pm. Almost all the Christmas presents are wrapped and cards are written and posted, so I figure can have an evening off! I spend the next few hours watching TV (Masterchef UK followed by Midsomer Murders). I also take my bath, and reply to emails and messages.

11:00 pm. Fran is home this evening so we meet up again. There’s a lot to do but we find ourselves discussing relationship issues with friends and family, honesty and commitment. These are deep topics, no less so for being familiar. We test Fran’s PayPal account (newly installed on her iPhone) and cancel a hotel booking which is no longer needed for the Mexico trip. We leave time to watch the next episode of Broadchurch series 2 on Netflix. We watched the first series recently. It’s a great show: strong story line, great performances by David Tennant and Olivia Colman, and stunning Dorset scenery.

1:10 am. Time for bed! It’s been a good day. Good night, world!


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