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Waking at Dawn
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Yawwwwwn. The alarm on my cell phone plays Paperback Writer at 7:15 a.m. Is it really time to wake up already? No way! It’s practically the middle of the night, like the crack of dawn. I haven’t had to wake up early like this in what seems like a long time ago, nor have I signed on for work five days a week, might as well be “Eight Days A Week” or “I’m So Tired” or “A Hard Day’s Night.

Even Guinness the Cat is confused, wondering why I opened the curtains so early. He looks out the window from his perch on a box next to my bed and blinks. Oh my gosh, daylight! I stumble into the bathroom where I’ve set up my coffee maker and flip it on, take my meds, and space out for a few moments. Then I took a picture of my cat and posted it to Facebook. Got a reply from my youngest daughter who lives in LA, “Mom, you’re awake and it’s early. Good for you It’s not the crack of dawn either!”

I blinked. Sure seems like the crack of dawn to me. Up until this past Monday, I’d stay awake until 3 am or even later and sleep in until around 11 am or sometimes noon. I’ve also been working nights for the past year, from 6 pm until 3 am two nights a week. But we’re doing training for the new law firm, and everyone has to work this crazy day shift FIVE days a week. I’m fortunate that I telecommute and I have been since 2016 when I moved from California to Oregon. I’m a Legal Document Specialist, and I do stuff to documents. It’s too early for me to explain the details here.

I semi-retired when I turned 62 even though some warned me to wait until I was eligible for full retirement at the age of 66 1/2. I’ve been working full-time doing this stuff for at least 30 years, since before Megan was born and she’s 28 now. I also raised four kids at the same time and though they’re all grown and on their own now and I have grandkids, I was still pretty burned out from high-pressure, deadline-oriented work. I’m not ready to fully retire, and when I was offered the opportunity to work part-time and collect social security, I grabbed it. I never could have pulled this off if I had stayed in California. I’d have to work until 70 I’m sure.

I thought, okay, this is my time to finish my writing projects and focus more on doing the things I love with one foot in the work world still. Well, this week I had to dive in headfirst, but I must admit it’s fun to talk about formatting and styles and running a table of contents, along with all the other crazy stuff we do that is difficult to explain to anyone who doesn’t do what we do — or who doesn’t work at a law firm. Our new “team” has around 50 people, a few who came from the law firm I worked for in-house and telecommute for over 15 years, and a lot of new people as well — all different ages, from younger with kids to older like me. In fact, my job share partner, Roni, is 72 years old and still works part-time.

Well, a worldwide pandemic hit and I’m still attempting to finish writing projects, but I haven’t yet. I also try to write via Creative Caffeine. Sometimes I come up with witty stuff; other days it’s just a rambling mess of what’s happening at the moment. Today is one of those times.

Maybe I need more caffeine! No, three cups of coffee are enough. I know I’m losing it when I have to watch a 45-minute video about privacy and confidentiality (I know these things inside and out because I’ve worked at law firms forever). But today, while watching, I found myself yelling at the video. “Yeah!” — when I worked directly for Dechert and other law firms in the San Francisco Bay Area, they refused to work with bill collectors because of privacy and confidentiality. I thought of those of us who struggled, the single moms with several kids like me whom I worked with all those years, all of us attempting to survive in an area that was way too overpriced for us… but somehow, we managed to pay rent and buy food for the little cherubs. Nobody talks about us and how we struggled though we worked for a multi-billion dollar company. We didn’t mention it either. We were proud and we worked hard. I felt protected then…not “revealed.” California also has better laws to protect folks.

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