A little background is perhaps required. More than a year ago, I took a fairly long-term (so far) consulting job, and in order to keep our small family together (it's just MOH and I, no children or plans/hopes for any at this late date), MOH took a job with the company that hired the company that pays me. He gets 7 days in a row off every 28 days, plus some other days off during his rotating dayshift-nightshift schedule - days off while I'm working. While out here, in the hinterland or outback of eastern Nevada, we live in a tiny house, which the company rents for me in lieu of paying the expense of renting me a motel room. The house is about 450 square-feet in size, and contains absolutely no insulation as far I we can figure out - based on rapid heating rates in the summer and even more rapid cooling rates in the winter. Fortunately, as part of my expenses, utilities are also covered - although it would be entirely more "green" if our landlady would insulate the place! For our part, we do our absolute best to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter.
When staying in a motel while doing field work, which is how I've mostly done these 10-4, 20-10, or 30-15 type work stints (hardly ever renting, but sometimes getting a motel on a monthly basis so I don't have to haul my stuff back and forth on days off) - in the evenings, I usually spend time talking to MOH on the phone or Skype, I email or call parentals or others, I write, I read, I download photos, I watch motel TV, or I just crash for the night. Because I don't tend to go out to dinner that often but instead have long preferred to eat in the motel room, I have a little more time for these activities - maybe from about 5:30 to whenever I get to bed (generally 8:00 to 10:00, with 10:00 being rather late). For motel mornings, I have a little time beyond eating breakfast in the room and getting ready for work to have coffee or go get it at a nearby espresso shop, time to walk if I get up early enough and don't mind the dark, a bit of time to write, time to talk to MOH on the phone or Skype, and time to sleep in late some mornings - with me having to be out the door by 5:30 to 6:30, depending on how far I have to go for work and how early I have to be there.
Now, because I'm not in a motel but am in a small house with MOH actually working in the same town in which I'm based, the schedule or routine that I go through varies, depending on whether he is on dayshift, on nightshift, or on days off between shifts.
In this new, little-house rental setting, I normally get up by 5:00 am, and have about 1 hour prior to when I get ready for work. During that one hour, I can do things like make coffee, shower, read or write blogs, download or upload photos, crop or otherwise enhance photos, pay bills, find things I need to take to work so I can make daytime personal phone calls like for paying or checking on bills, maybe send an email - not much different than the motel routine other than not calling/skyping MOH. I then normally arrive back at our little house by about 5:30 - and then I have a mixed schedule in the evenings. If MOH is on dayshift, I have about 1 hour to do things like exercise, check or read mail, pay bills, read or write blogs, mess with photos as above, do very minor errands if some place is open after 5:00 pm, organize or find things needed for the next day. If MOH is on nightshift, I have at least 3 hours in which I can do any or all of those things, assuming I'm in bed by 8:30. If MOH is on days off, I may have a half hour before dinner in which to mostly wind down or maybe to check mail or maybe to read a blog or two; I then may have 1 hour after dinner in which to do whatever, or a bit longer if I stay up later, like to 9:00 or 10:00. On his days off and when he is on dayshift, we usually watch a DVD of some old TV program like Stargate. We don't have TV, though.
The balance problem is, I think, that I really do like to spend a fair amount of time with photos I've taken and creating and reading blogs. It's easy to stay up too late, and it's also easy to forgo other things like sorting mail or paying bills (not that these don't get done). It's also been way easy this year to not get very involved in keeping in touch with people via email. I probably should be better at that, but have regressed to being about as good at that as I used to be at writing letters. (I by no means grew up with email; in fact personal computers weren't around at all until I was about 28 to 30 years old! Can you believe it? And I had the first personal computer of all other geologists at Former Mining Company: a Compaq -they called it portable; it was huge.)
Recently, because I was feeling burned out [and wrote about it here] [MojaveEx blog currently not available], I slept extra hours to get caught up, ignored blogs almost entirely for at least 24 maybe 36 hours, and called the Alaskan parental types. I got a little bit caught up on mail sorting and bill paying. And I've been using lavender at night in order to feel somewhat de-stressed. I also started doing my evening exercise, but lapsed when MOH went off nightshift. Should start that back up again.
Anyway, I guess this is a rather long post about finding a kind of balance that I'm not sure I've really found. It's like trying to have balance while almost always away from home, or while traveling. We have a kind of home, more than a motel room, but with that comes more things to do (like trash to take out, beds to make, sheets to wash - things done by someone else if you are in a motel!). I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas or comments?