Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The hazards of working from home

Since it's the holidays and my last post was a bit of a downer, I thought it would be nice to share from my collection of funny stories that have happened over the years because I work from home. After all who couldn't use some humor during one of the most stressful times of the year?

Having my studio in my basement has it's advantages but it also has some amusing drawbacks, usually in the form of my cats or my husband. Yes, this is their house too but that doesn't mean they always understand that it's also my office. Try explaining to a cat that you are "working down here" and the only response you'll get is a louder cry. This is what happens when one of my cats wants out during class, and usually during Savasana.

This isn't the worst of it I'm afraid. When we still had Hunter, the world's friendliest cat, he would often saunter down the stairs, crawl into someone's unwitting lap and make himself comfortable. Or curl-up next to a student laying in a spinal-twist. It got so bad that I had to put up a child-gate to try and keep him out. Unfortunately, he quickly figured out how to get his not-too-slender body underneath the gate and come down anyway. He also enjoyed jumping up on the massage table when I had a client. I used to joke that I was going to charge extra for cat therapy.

Hunter's replacement, Abbott, is much more polite and shy. However, he and his sister Diamond, got into a terrible scuffle once while I had a client on the massage table. We heard the ruckus upstairs, shortly before it moved downstairs under the table. Both cats were screaming and the fur was flying. I have never been so mortified in my life! Fortunately it was a regular client who was very understanding despite nearly jumping off the table. Not exactly a relaxing massage for her that day.

My husband is a little better trained than the cats. He knows not to talk on the phone during class since he has a voice that I'm sure even the neighbors can hear. He also knows not to enter though the garage during class times or appointments. However, he does occasionally venture downstairs during class, again usually during Savasana to get a snack. One particular time, I was talking a class through a visualization that involved the woods. After class a woman said to me, "I felt like I was really there until Bigfoot started stomping through the woods."

Speaking of snacks, food smells are another consideration, especially since I offer a prenatal yoga class. For awhile my husband loved to come home and cook eggs for dinner right before class. Eggs of course have a terrible after smell even to those not pregnant. I finally got him to lay off when I explained that he would have to clean up after anyone he made sick because of it. Now, we just get treated to microwave popcorn or burritos occasionally but never during the prenatal class.

On the weirder side, I once had a mystery person enter my house at the end of class. At the time I assumed it was the ride of one of my students who had been told it's OK just to walk-in. I motioned to the person who I couldn't quite see because of the darkness to wait for a moment until class was finished. The person then left. As I wrapped up class, I asked if anyone was expecting a ride. They shook their heads and said they all thought it was my husband coming home. Since my husband was already home that made me a bit concerned. I asked him to take a quick look around outside to make sure all was well. Whoever it was had vanished.
Later, I learned that it was a student who had shown up at the wrong time and was a bit embarrassed so she just left.
With the exception of keeping the house constantly clean, or at least the first two floors of it, and being conscious of food smells, working at home really has more advantages than drawbacks. People remark that they couldn't stand to have others in their space and that they would never really feel like they were away from work. Since I don't use the studio for anything but massage and yoga, I don't really feel that people are in my space. I could say something very yogic like my space is inside of me not where I live but I don't want sound like a bumper sticker. The reality is I've just never thought of my house as a boundary but something to share.

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