The sun rises, and I’m still asleep. Soon after, my wife wakes with no use of a clock. I don’t hear the shower run. A while later, a child crawls into bed next to me and presses her cold feet on my bare leg.

“Daddy?” She says looking the other direction.

“Mmm?” I say with eyes closed.

“I made a powerpoint.”

“Hmmm!” I say, impressed.

“It’s about dolphins.”

“Cool.” I stretch.

“Today is chess.” She says – which means they have to leave soon.

The smell of food wafts in through the door. A young, big dog jumps on the bed and we take cover. He flings himself upon us, rolls over and snorts. Feet kicking in the air.

“STRIDER!” we growl in unison.

I roll off of the bed and onto my knees. I splash on some water, slip on socks then go into the kitchen and push the blue button on the coffee maker. I will push the blue button three more times before lunch.

“Daddy, I made a powerpoint. It’s about dogs.” The daughter in the kitchen says.

“Hey, I want to show him mine first!” Daughter yells from the bedroom.

Kitchen daughter doesn’t care. She sets up the laptop and starts her show. The coffee maker hisses, and its belch is Pavlov’s bell. I sip. The powerpoint is over. It’s good. Not great. I expect too much from my kids. I tell her it’s great.

Computer wakes. Email. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. Then news. Three kisses goodbye, and I’m alone with dogs who shark me around the house until I load them into the truck. A quick trip to the park where the young, big dog chases yellow balls as far as I can throw them and old, big dog does the same with Frisbees. Though not as far. And not as often. Little dog sniffs the ground and then proceeds to communicate with other animals who are not there. All over the place.

Home. More coffee. And a Clif bar. Or banana. Sometimes, when I’m lucky, my wife leaves a smoothie. Work begins. Email. Calendar. I slip into automaton mode – focusing exclusively on a project. Phone on silent. The words arrive. Then comes the distribution of words. Engagement. Outside. More work. More email. Sometime, after the Clif bar disappears, there’s food. Fast (and not as consistently healthy as I’d like). The afternoon is filled with work. Some active. Some passive. I want to be selfish and write. But there’s no time.  Ok, maybe a half-hour. But it’s not enough. It never is.

Then I pick up children and ferry one or both to extracurricular activities. During the drive, one of the girls says, “We’ll be there in a jiffy, Daddy.” And that makes me smile. Darkness arrives. My wife gets home from work and cooks dinner. I feel guilty for not being more helpful with that. But I hate to cook. I’m an awful cook. I am, however, very good at fetching take-out. We arrive at home and then we all gather round a wooden table, bow heads, pass the salt and pepper – and talk. For a half hour. Then it’s showers and reading and ipad and macbook and work (and sometimes writing) and melatonin and hitting knees again before hitting pillow. A little dog jumps in bed and burrows under the comforter at the bottom. It’s cold. The heat kicks on. I’m grateful for our family making it through another day inside of the machine.

Every day a page.

Each page stacked onto the previous day.

But it’s onion paper, so the stack is not as thick as you’d think.


Jim Mitchem

The Truth About This Social Media Business
My Prayer for 2012

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.