Working Late Presents an Impossible Choice

Rushing to Maybe...logoThe moment of truth arrived in what seemed like warped speed. Roxie had already clicked the snooze button on her computer’s calendar twice, but she knew it would be another hour before she could leave the office.

Her morning started like most other days of the week. Roxie woke at 5 a.m., after exactly five hours of sleep. She sat on the side of the bed for 15 minutes, ready to make an early morning swirl if her hubby, Andrew, felt frisky. Andy snored. The tips of his graying curls peeked from beneath the bedcovers…odd because he usually complained that Roxie kept the house too warm. Roxie placed a gentle kiss on the blanket covering his shoulder and shuffled to the laundry room in her bathrobe and slippers.

Just like clockwork

© Ekaterina Panina |

Roxie folded the load of whites that completed their dry cycle in the wee hours of the morning after she fell asleep. Next, she transferred a load of dirty clothes from an awaiting basket into the washer, and headed to the kitchen, where she ground the coffee beans she premeasured the night before, and started her morning brew.

“Early morning—the half hour right before my family gets up—is the one part of my life I can control,” Roxie said. “I like being able to take care of the laundry. And I feel good about packing my kids’ lunches (usually pre-packaged cold cuts with crackers) and making Andy’s coffee every morning.”

The McLaughton family was well trained. The moment Roxie’s French manicured toes stepped out of the shower, she called out:  “Up and at ‘em!”  Seconds later, Andy and her 8 year-old twin boys (from a previous marriage) were out of bed and into the motions of getting dressed for the day.

“Our mornings run like clockwork…they have to. It’s a 20 minute drive to my Mom’s house where I drop-off the boys before school. Then I drive another 45 minutes in the opposite direction to work.” She added “I like to be at my desk by 7:15 a.m.  I don’t want to be seen as a slacker, like the folks who stroll into the office after 7:30.”

The Final Notice

Nearly 45 minutes after waking, Andy leaned against the kitchen counter sipping coffee and scrolling through the emails on his Blackberry. Roxie scurried in, right behind the twins. She handed each boy a lunch and a backpack, opened the back door and watched them sprint toward the car port. Roxie planted a juicy peck on Andy’s lips and grabbed her coffee for the road.

“Love you, boo,” she called over her shoulder while dashing through the door.

“Not so fast. Don’t forget to tell your mother we’ll be late picking-up the boys, tonight.”

“Took care of that yesterday,” Roxie cooed.

“Our reservations are for 7:30 tonight,” Andy said. “This is it. I mean it. If you can’t make time to celebrate our anniversary, then I’m out. No more rain checks.”

“I know we’ve had to postpone—“

“You’ve cancelled,” Andy quipped.

I’ve had to postpone our celebration a few times. I had to work, I couldn’t help it…but that’s not going to happen, tonight. I’m all caught up and nothing will keep me from meeting you at Geja’s Cafe  by 7:30 tonight.”

The Moment of Truth

Roxie arrived at work on schedule. She sailed through her daily “to-do” list, and by 1 p.m., she pondered leaving early to buy a belated anniversary gift for Andy. But that was a pipedream. Later that afternoon, her company found itself in a legal crisis and Roxie was the only labor attorney left on the payroll after the last wave of cutbacks (besides her supervisor who is now on maternity leave).

By 7:15 that evening—after clicking her computer’s snooze button twice—Roxie knew she would have to make the phone call she didn’t expect she’d have to make. Once again, she would have to cancel her anniversary celebration with her husband…she couldn’t leave the office without finishing her responsibilities and keep her job.

“I guess I’m going to have to call and let Andy know it will be another hour before I can meet him. I don’t know what else to do.  I need to keep my job,” Roxie said. “He is going to be so upset…I’m pretty sure this will mean divorce,” she said.

What would you do, if faced with Roxie”s situation? Please share your thoughts by replying below.

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