There have been a thousand tiny changes at my office since I left 14 months ago. It’s as if my pre-maternity leave workplace and my post-maternity leave workplace are represented by one of those Find The Differences puzzles, and as soon as I think I’ve got them all found, I notice the lampshade is a different colour or the window is ajar. They’re all small things, like where the tea bags are kept and how files are transferred, to who we call for IT support and how we update the website. It will take a few weeks before I figure it all out, but after three days I at least feel that I’ve got my head above water.
Some things, however, are exactly how I left them. My long distance dialing code is the same. My fingers tapped it out on their own the first time I made a long-distance call. Muscle (and ligament) memory I guess. I’m sure the half bag of nachos in the break room cupboard is the same one that was there when I left. In fact, I tasted one and I am absolutely certain of it. My burgundy desk still collects dust like nobody’s business, and my old faithful carpel tunnel is back after just three days on the job.
But three days in and I’ve already got the babysitting routine down. Up at 7:00 a.m., on the road by 8:00 a.m., drop Sylvia off at 8:50 a.m., resist the urge to call, text or drop by to see her for the next eight hours… home by 6:00 p.m. Three days of commuting and I already recognize the vehicles I’m sharing the drive with. Except for today. My babysitter had some unexpected appointments come up and we had to call in Plan B. As of 9 p.m. last night we didn’t even have a Plan B! It was a whole new experience to be calling friends and family, begging favours and juggling schedules. I know things come up and we’ll need back-up plans in place, I just didn’t expect to be calling in the cavalry on my third day back to work!
Our new routine should be back to normal tomorrow, but I’m quickly learning that any new routine is subject to change without notice.