I'm almost three weeks into being back at work and trying to get into the groove of having a commute again. I'd like to think I'm starting to get into a routine, but the truth is, it's hard.
Although I start work at the same time as I did at my last job, I'm leaving for work about the time I used to get in the shower and getting to the office about when I used to leave home. That's the difference 12.3 miles makes. Instead of taking 3 minutes to travel one mile, it takes 30 minutes to travel 13.3 miles. And those 30 minutes grow to 45 if I leave 10 minutes later.
Gone are the days of running home at lunch to play with Lillie Biscuit (or just let her out or in). No more running to Kroger, putting away the groceries, grabbing a bite to eat and making it back to work within the confines of a lunch hour.
No more going home at lunch really sucks. It means no more getting laundry done during the day (in the washer in the morning, start to dry before going to work, finish drying and put away at lunch). No more quick chores around the house. No more 20 minutes naps in the comfort of my own bed.
And getting home. Getting home at the end of the work day used to mean dashing out of the office and being in my kitchen making dinner within 5 minutes. Now, it's at least 35 minutes door to door. There is no best way home that I've found. I merely choose whether I'd rather sit in traffic for a shorter distance or move at more of a constant speed but travel a longer distance. Any way I go, it's at least 35 minutes (then there's the evening I followed two truckloads of chickens on I-40 and had to navigate through a blizzard of white feathers).
So, I get home at the time we used to be sitting down to eat (or at least I do on the two days a week Joe and the Bear are home when I get there). My dinner strategy has shifted from my version of "30 minute meals" to "what can I throw in the slow cooker at 7:00 AM that will still be edible at 6:00 PM?" (answer: not much) or "what can I make ahead that Joe can put in the oven an hour before I get home?". My plan is to spend a couple hours every other weekend putting together several casserole type dinners that I can freeze. The biggest challenge to that will be finding space in our tiny freezer (my long-term goal is to get a deep freezer for the garage, but that will require rewiring the entire house). Even then, it's a much more attainable goal that teaching my husband to make dinner... PB&J anyone?