Week 1

I made it through my first week on the job (I knew you were concerned, so I wanted to let you know). I realize that a new job isn't that traumatic for most people, but I was at the old job for 13 1/2 years. Normally, the most profound change I can handle is taking a slightly different route to the mall. Trying a new brand of cereal, maybe.

The biggest challenge so far is getting out of the house at 6:40 a.m. My old job was literally a stone's throw from my house (and from my daughter's school). I was pretty spoiled with that situation, I know, but I told myself it was some recompense for the nightmarish traffic I used to encounter every day when I lived in the suburbs of DC. Now I have to drive considerably farther. The main hurdle I face in getting out of the house is roughly 39 inches tall. Phrases like "please get dressed" and "you can't eat breakfast if you're still naked" and "for the love of God if you don't get moving right now I am shaving your head" have no impact on her. So, I make it to work on time every morning, but by the skin of my teeth.

Speaking of arriving at work, I set off the alarm on the second day. Booyah! I thought I knew how to disarm the system but apparently not. On the first day I learned that most of the company's eating utensils have wandered away from the kitchen over time, so I had to eat my Weight Watchers lasagna with a spoon. Yeah, I'm classy like that. I remembered to bring a fork from home thereafter.

Other than a few minor glitches, I have to admit that the new job is actually kind of exciting. The other employees seem to be genuinely nice. The company offers a lot of technical services that I'm anxious to learn more about (I'm a project manager in web development, so that's been my little corner of the world for the past several years). Despite my considerable trepidation at the outset, this new gig may just turn out fine.

It was a long, challenging week, however. On Tuesday night I went to step aerobics with my neighbor. I thought this would be a good opportunity to work out some of my stress. Well, the instructor (I don't want to call her out by name but it starts with a B and rhymes with Sri Lanka) had it in for all of us. I think even my fingernails were sweating. The good news is that my neighbor knows CPR and feels reasonably certain she would revive me if needed.

After class, I wanted to take a nice hot shower. And I wanted to do it alone, so I locked the bathroom door. For five minutes straight, I heard tiny fists pounding on the door and a shrill voice shrieking, "MOMMY! I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!"

"TELL YOUR FATHER!" I bellowed back. Suddenly, the pounding stopped. A few minutes later, I heard the voice again, but this time it was right on the other side of the shower curtain. "Mommy, I said I have to tell you something!" My little ray of sunshine had gone into her room, grabbed her plastic IKEA chair, dragged it down the hall, through the kitchen, and across the dining room. She set it below our key rack and then stood on the chair and grabbed a set of keys. Then the little bugger JIMMIED THE LOCK on the bathroom door. I don't know whether I should be horrified by that or vaguely proud.