This and That

I think I mentioned that, in my new job, I had negotiated to work 60% time initially – three days per week – so that I’d have enough time to do the writing I really want to do.

“And how’s that working out for you?”

Not so well, I’m afraid. I love my new job – it’s an opportunity to have enormous positive impact on the world, more than I’ve ever had. And slowly but surely, I’m coming up to speed and being able to meet that opportunity. But, I’ve learned it’s not something I can do on 60% time. To keep up, to actually provide forward thrust, I’ve been putting in 80%, and often 100% of a normal work week, trying to squeeze the writing back into the interstitial times before the kids are awake in the morning, and after everyone’s gone to bed.

The work is important enough that I’m going to give into it – with my manager’s permission, I’ve gone up to 80%, now officially having one day per week to myself. I’m going to put the novel back on hold, and will probably fall back to just updating the Roadtrip blog when I have actual roadtrips. Which brings me to another item….

I’ve got a roadtrip coming up. Election observing in Kenya, with The Carter Center again. Much like with the Liberian election back in 2011, we’re asked to hold the details of our deployment until after the election, after TCC announces its findings. So I’m going to be writing as frequently as I can, but not actually posting until I’m on the way back on March 9th. There’ll probably be a ping or two (“Hey, I’m alive!”) and maybe a pretty picture in the meantime, but I promise I’ll be writing as much as I can.

For now, it’s a bunch of prep. I’ve been flying to Africa a lot lately, but but it was mostly Ghana (“Africa for beginners”), and mostly in Accra, which had become a friendly, familiar city for me. I’ve been to Kenya once, something like 25 years ago, and as an exquisitely pampered tourist. This time? It’ll be a little different. So I’m packing, unpacking, re-packing. Making another trip to REI, unpacking and re-packing a third time. Getting some more vaccinations, making another trip to REI… you get the idea. And I’ll keep spinning up and re-packing until some time later this morning, when Devon tells me it’s time to stop fretting and get in the damned car.

Am I worried about the trip? Eh, a little. There’s some ethnic unrest in places, and tension leading up to the election. But honestly, the thing that has me most worried is this: except for me, in the past week and a half every single member of my team at work and most of my family have come down with some flavor of cold or flu. I’m going to be on airplanes for the next 24 hours (yeah – Nairobi is far away) – heh. I’m going to try not to think about it.

[And yes – I’ve had my flu shot. And every other shot I could get. For the past four or five years, I’ve been pretty much inoculated against everything known to man.]

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