Friday miscellany: Orlando, turning 12…

A certain young lady turned 12 this week! This is very exciting — also crazy to think that I now have kids who are 16, 14, and 12 (well, and 8 and 3…but they still feel little). We celebrated with a pasta dinner (her favorite) and presents (mostly clothes purchased at Target). We will celebrate with a few friends this weekend.

More activities are starting up…The 16-year-old is now singing in his school a cappella group in addition to the regular choir, the select choir, and the church choir with me. Plus voice lessons! The 14-year-old went to his first robotics team practice yesterday, which meant I had to pick him up at school at 4:20 to take him to fencing. Jazz band hasn’t started yet, but the 12-year-old’s first pep band rehearsal is Monday. The 8-year-old is, of all things, most enjoying this comic club that our local library hosts every Wednesday. The kids create comics, which will then all be bound together in a book. Given that he loves doing the various flips in parkour, I would not have guessed this would be his favorite activity, but kids surprise you.

We welcomed a new treadmill into the family yesterday. My eldest son in particular is interested in running but there aren’t great running roads right by us (and he cannot yet just drive himself elsewhere). So he tried out some treadmills in a local show room and we wound up buying a NordicTrak model. I ran on it yesterday (as did he, I think, and the 12-year-old), and while I prefer running outside I can see that this will make it easier when it is cold/rainy/dark.

Speaking of places that are not cold…I traveled to Orlando for a speech on Monday/Tuesday this week. I had to assure my children that I was not going to Disney without them. Orlando just has a ton of conference space! As it was, I was on the ground for all of 17 hours. When air travel goes well I am always amazed at how quick it is. Apparently not many people were flying to/from Orlando as I got a surprise upgrade on the Tuesday flight.

This week the Before Breakfast podcast covered a few topics. I suggested people “Keep gas in your tank” — in life, you never want to run on empty, literally or metaphorically. I also suggested people consider “Substance first, balance after that.” Lots of jobs can offer flexibility and autonomy, especially over time and with negotiation, but taking a job primarily because of the hours or flexibility can sometimes lead to dissatisfaction for ambitious people.

A Before Breakfast note: I am publishing an update this weekend — I am completely retiring the “New Corner Office” podcast. I started this podcast during the pandemic to share quick, daily tips on working from home. I stopped creating new episodes at the end of 2020, but we would rerun an old episode in the Before Breakfast feed on Sundays. I have decided that the material just doesn’t feel as useful anymore, so those episodes will be replaced with another “Second Cup” episode — that’s what I call a re-run of a prior Before Breakfast episode. So I create five new episodes per week and re-air two older ones. There are more than 1100 episodes at this time so…I’d like to give a little more life to a few of them!

(If you’re new around here…I host a short, daily podcast through iHeartMedia called Before Breakfast — each episode features a tip that will hopefully take your day from great to awesome. Here’s a link to the Apple podcasts page.)

I want to apologize again for anyone receiving a repeat run of the Time Tracking Challenge emails. It looks, from the email chain, like customer service identified the issue overnight, so I am hopeful.

In non-work news…We finally got the fridge door handle fixed. This turned out to be way more complicated than just screwing a handle back on — like the whole door had to come off and be reset. I feel like a lot of modern things are not built to be easy to repair yourself!

6 thoughts on “Friday miscellany: Orlando, turning 12…

  1. Happy Birthday to your daughter. My 12-year-old daughter is turning 13 in March and she is definitely channeling the teenage vibe early (if you know what I mean!).

    I’ve only been to Florida once in my life – the dead of winter 2010 – and it was FREEZING. It was actually warmer back home in Eastern Canada than Florida and when we got back home there were signs in the grocery store about how there was a big fruit shortage because of a freak deep freeze in Florida and I was like: “Yup. I know all about that…”

    1. @Elisabeth – we had a heat wave here this week (well, for October) so it was about the same in Orlando as in Philly!

  2. Curious logistics question… how do you organize your “tips” for Before Breakfast to keep straight which topics you’ve covered already? Seems like it would be really challenging after a while with so many episodes! Especially since some topics are very nuanced and can be covered from various angles, etc. Just wondering if you keep some sort of spreadsheet that you search first to make sure you aren’t repeating or…. ? I would never be able to remember what I already talked about or not!

    1. @Kae – I have a spreadsheet with all the episode titles, descriptions, and air dates. I know I’ve covered similar broad topics many times (like, say, planning) but I try to change the angle at least a little. And yep, I do search!

  3. I completely agree with the substance-before-balance point. I teach at the university level and thus have a fairly flexible schedule. However, the years in graduate school, on the job market, and on the tenure clock (also flexible) were too difficult for work-life balance to have been a sufficient motivating factor for this career choice. Bottom line: I love teaching young adults and am willing to do enough research to make that possible (currently working toward taking on more research projects about which I am truly passionate).

    1. @Sara – totally get it. You wind up with flexibility, but you had to work hard to get there. I had a conversation recently with a woman at a major think tank (she may read this, so hi!) and she remarked how strange it was that there were so few women with that job, given that it is 100 percent flexible. But of course the issue is she had to become a thought leader to get the job, with all the publishing, research, speaking, TV punditry etc. required to get that designation. That is all difficult to do, and may not provide work/life balance in the process.

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