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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

What time is it, anyway?

Friday, August 6, 2010

(Photo)
Like most people, I like to claim I like change. We love to say, "Change is good," but what happens when the change happens directly to us?

Worse still, what if you have to adjust to multiple changes at the same time?

Lately I'm finding I'm too tired to really notice.

I've spent most of my life working second shift. My workday has begun somewhere in the 2 to 5 p.m. range and ended sometime shortly before or after midnight. This has included jobs as varied as machine operator, janitor, loader/unloader, UPS driver, shift supervisor, sports editor and assistant editor.

Whatever the job, the evening shift never bothered me much -- except for missing the World Series.

Only twice, in my job as a human resources intern and my job at the Review Republican and Fountain County Neighbor, have I had to get up in the morning. Both times, making it in at 8 a.m. was a struggle, to say the least.

(I guess I also had the few months after I started at the Banner when I had to get here at 5 a.m., but that's so early that it was almost a different form of the night shift.)

But here I am again, adjusting to a day job. With the addition of Amanda to do the designing in the evening, my schedule is freed up to do more writing than designing, which I think is much better for my soul. Drawing boxes on a page got to me after a while.

The only problem is those pesky daytime hours. Being "normal" has never been my strong suit, so why would normal hours fit me?

Luckily, it's acceptable to come in at 9 a.m. here at the Banner. Additionally, the need to cover night meetings really makes my schedule pretty flexible. If assignments aren't dropped and appointments aren't missed, we're all happy.

Oh, if that were the only change, though.

There's also this matter of a baby who will be two weeks old today. Do you think he's making the transition easy? In a sense, he is. He wakes up at 7 or 7:30 each morning. I suppose it doesn't really allow Daddy to sleep in as he otherwise might.

On the other hand, there are the midnight and 3 or 4 a.m. feedings. Those sort of make me a zombie until about 11 a.m.

But, really, what is time anyway? It's all relative. I don't care what a clock says. Instead, I'm living in a perpetual cycle of fuss-change diaper-prepare bottle-eat-burp-eat-burp-eat-burp-eat-not burping yet-try harder-finally burp-back to sleep-fuss-pacifier-sleep again-start back at the top.

That's a cycle that runs anywhere from 2 1/2 to 4 hours. And that's how we now mark time.

So, I have an appointment coming up in about 30 minutes, but for me, it's about one feeding from now.

Ten minutes? That's a diaper and clothes change, unless the baby is particularly surly. Then it's 15.

Forty five minutes to an hour is an acceptable nap. Two hours is a good nap.

Three hours is a nighttime sleeping session -- if we're all fortunate.

I really can't complain, though. Based on what I hear from other parents, Nicole and I have a wonderfully behaved baby. We are truly thankful for it. However, it's an adjustment for all the same.

I guess I'll conclude by simply saying, if you see me out on assignment and I seem slightly disoriented, I'm not being unprofessional and I'm certainly not under the influence. I'm just off somewhere in the New Parent Twilight Zone.

If you'd like to help out, give me a kind word and a cup of coffee. No sugar or creamer necessary. It only dilutes the stuff I really need.

Jared Jernagan is the assistant editor of the Banner Graphic. He can be reached at jjernagan@bannergraphic.com or 653-5151 ext. 21.