Wee Young Things

Way back when we were wee young things (as opposed to being old young things now), Chris and I lived with odd schedules.  I worked a regular 8-5 job, but his schedule in college and grad school was always weird.  But, we were wee young things and so we did what we had to do to work around it.

Have I ever told you about Chris’ job?  He’s explained it once or twice in the Man Cave (remember that place, Chris?) but in case you missed it, I’ll recap it for you in layman’s terms.  You know when you look at a stage and there’s all that scenery and stuff up there?  Well, let me tell you how it got there.  A person called a scene designer reads a play and then they draw a real pretty picture of what they want the stage to look like.  That drawing is then given to the technical director who figures out how to make that drawing become real.  This is what Chris did in college.  He took pretty pictures and figured out how to make them real.

When he got to Yale, he learned how to take a picture of something that moves on stage – say a building that falls down or a car that flies over the audience – and build that.  When you’re working with anything that moves, it’s called automation.  So, Chris learned how to build automation for theater.  But that was only half of his program.  The other half of his program taught him how to manage the people who drew the pictures and built the scenery and made things move.  That person who manages all of that is called the production manager, and that’s what Chris’ job is now.

Now, Chris sits in a big plushy office all day figuring out budgets and personnel issues and safety hazards and paychecks.  But before all of that fancy stuff, he was a worker bee.  He was the guy who actually put hammer to nail and built the sets.  But building those sets comes with odd working hours because normally the technical folk don’t get access to the stage to build until everyone else has gone home.

Which means that technical folk in theater work some long, crazy, weird hours.

At Yale, they were called 10-outta-12’s.  Meaning that if there are 12 working hours in the day, Chris would be working 10 of those.  Usually, those long stretches of crazy hours came just in the week or two leading up to a production and Chris and I adjusted accordingly.  Some of my most favorite memories of him being in grad school were of sitting on his dinner breaks in the back of a dark theater while actors rehearsed on stage and Chris and I whispered about our days.  I wouldn’t have seen him since I left early that morning for work and I probably wouldn’t see him again until he rolled into bed around 2 or 3 in the morning once rehearsals were over.

It was a strange life, but we were wee young things who didn’t know any different.

When Chris graduated, he took a job working at one of the largest scene shops in the world.  A scene shop is a place that mass produces scenery for people.  So, say you wanted to produce a Broadway play.  You would hire a scene shop to build your set for you.  And that’s what Chris did.  Only, he was specifically in the automation department so he built anything that moved on stage for Broadway.  It was a great job because he worked in an office and managed things instead of building, which meant for the first time in our lives he worked the same hours as I did.

Which meant for the first time in our lives we got to have dinner together at an actual kitchen table at a normal dinner time.

And all was right with the world.

This morning I got an email from Chris.  It was a rehearsal schedule for next week.  And – surprise, surprise – it was practically a 10-outta-12 schedule.

Por que?

But I thought we were past all of this weird schedule crap?

I thought we were upper management.  Office people.  Water cooler talkers.

And Chris explained that being new to his job now, he can’t manage a theater if he doesn’t know how it functions.  And so he’s going to these grueling rehearsals for a whole week so that he can get a feel for how the theater operates.  He says it will make him a better manager because nobody likes a boss who doesn’t get his hands dirty.

As frustrating as it is to see these long hours come creeping back into our lives again, I can’t help but smile because I married a hard working person.  A person who doesn’t hide from work.  A person who will step up to the plate and be there for his team – both at work and at home – so that they can perform the absolute best.  It’s a quality he has had since he was fifteen years old.  And while sometimes that means he can’t always be home at 5:30 on the dot and sometimes he might have to be at the theater on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, he’ll kiss me goodbye and happily be on his way because he knows that he’s working to get the job done.

There are always things we’d like to change about our partners.  I’m sure Chris would like it if I were neater or if I didn’t cry and moan and roll on the kitchen floor every time I have to do the dishes.  And I would love it if Chris were not blind to the clothes hamper that sits on the floor right next to his pile of dirty laundry.

But, you know, Chris’ work ethic is something I would never change about him, even if it makes our lives a little difficult at times.  I love that in him and I hope he teaches that to Bean as he gets older and has more responsibility.  Because a person who is loyal and responsible in their jobs are more than likely loyal and responsible in their homes, too.

Besides, when he’s gone at night I get sole ownership of the remote.  So, you know, there’s that.

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31 Thoughts to “Wee Young Things”

  1. Ha, having sole control over the remote is a great great thing! And I love a man with good work ethic!

  2. Sabrina

    can i just say ‘aaaw’ and add that whenever you talk about something in layman’s terms here on the site i picture you explaining it the same way you explained the internet in that one video?! …and yes, this includes you questioning chris’ intentions aka “are you making fun of me?” 😀

  3. I had a job where I worked nights and weekends and most of my free time was during the day when my husband was at work. Have control of the remote is a great thing!

  4. Nikki

    I still get a little stressed when J has to travel for work. I have to keep telling myself that it’s a good thing for him to get requested to help with other people’s projects. I do like those few days of having the remote control, but I end up with a ring of food wrappers around me and an indention on the couch….

  5. I agree. A strong work ethic is sexy. Perhaps because it gives a sense of security that we will always be taken care of? Not sure, but I like it.

  6. Elizabeth

    Unfortunately I don’t believe that the 9 to 5 job exists anymore. Both my husband and I are consultants, leaving for the airport Monday morning and arriving back home again late Thursday night. It’s hard, but it’s what the job requires. Even when I was at a local client, I never was home before 7:30pm. It’s hard on relationships and it makes you get creative about the time you spend together. Friendships certainly suffer, but at the end of the day you make time for each other. I wish this was an uncommon problem in relationships, but these days with everyone getting ahead in their careers, it is more common than not.

  7. You’re very luck to have such a hard working hubby. There are many men out there who would never put in as many hours as Chris does.

    I know exactly what its like to work a weird schedule. My husband is a firefighter/paramedic and I am an EMT/nursing student. We both work 12-24 hour shifts at a time so depending on our schedule rotation we may or may not see each other for DAYS at a time! Its grueling, but that’s why I am in nursing school so I can have a more even schedule. Mostly all of it is worth is because both of us are doing what we love and love each other 🙂

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

  8. I love this post. My husband is a dedicated worker as well.. I better give him a huge hug when he gets home tonight. 😉

  9. For some reason I just figured when I saw a theater show the set magically appeared! I didn’t realize real people actually put those together! I now have a better appreciation for the “behind the scenes” folks! My husby is a CPA so I understand the late night! Probably not to the same extent though. I also get the remote ownership! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Sarah H.

    Great post! My husband is also a really hard worker–it’s a wonderful and admirable trait! And he also has an issue with piling dirty close literally 2 feet away from the hamper. But it’s OK; I THINK I may be seeing an improvement 🙂 OH and I think you’re really good at explaining things!

  11. Ann G-B

    My husband gets up at 3 am to go into work and then be able to pick up our little man at 1 pm from daycare. There is nothing sexier! But hard because by the time I get home he is ready for bed…

    Maybe that is why my husband can’t seem to hit the laundry basket either!

  12. My husband and I both have not-always-normal schedules. For instance, he is working nights these two weeks. The next two weeks, he’ll work pretty much from home. The next two weeks, back to nights. The two weeks after that, a more normal 7:00-6:00 schedule.

    And my work fluctuates on my clients’ needs. I could work 9:00 to 5:00… Or I could work 7:00 to midnight… or any number of variations.

    Definitely not always easy, but it always keeps things interesting!

  13. Ashley

    I’m have to jump in and say something even though my husband doesn’t read your blog and so won’t know that I said anything…. but he always puts his clothes in the hamper and it is I that sometimes ( ok, more than sometimes) don’t get my clothes in the hamper…although I do have “excuse”…I don’t usually wash clothes unless they are actually dirty, meaning sometimes I think I could wear a shirt or pants again but I don’t hang it up and then it gets wrinkly and then I wash it…I’m trying to get better cause it drives my husband nuts as it drives all of you crazy.

  14. Tressa

    What a wonderful post about your love!
    We all should appreciate our hard working men. Just like they should appreciate us hard working women 🙂

    My husband and I both work long days. We leave the house at the same time every morning, 7am, and return home about the same time every evening, between 6:30-7pm. Although we work long days, but the same hours, we do not have much time in the evening together. With household chores and the yard work we are always busy. We make every minute count 😉

  15. Katie,

    Yup I know all about 10 out of 12’s…I was a lighting designer in undergrad and an ME in a couple of places before going to grad school for my MBA and taking a normal person schedule.

    It was the unpredictability of the lighting side of theatre that got me out of it…but I do miss it.

    Can’t wait to hear more about Chris’s schedule and work.


  16. How interesting – I didn’t know anything about the stage management/production business so I really enjoyed reading about what he does. I’m sorry for your change in schedules though, I feel your pain! My husband gets home between 7:30 and 8:30, depending on the Senate’s schedule. It’s so frustrating some times!

  17. Summer B R

    I enjoyed reading that, Katie! I never knew any of that.
    Im proud of my little cousin (who I used to babysit–had to throw that in there).

  18. dave

    “Because a person who is loyal and responsible in their jobs are more than likely loyal and responsible in their homes, too”

    Wow! I always thought women never appreciated a hard working men. You proved me wrong.

  19. Jennie

    Yes, theater people’s schedules can be crazy. My boyfriend currently has a summer internship with at least 10-hour shifts. His schedule during the school year is generally more sane. Then again, I shouldn’t speak too soon – he’s going to design three shows during his second year of grad school.

    I’m totally with you in admiring and appreciating a good work ethic. Enjoy having the remote to yourself!

  20. ayejaydoubleyou

    I understand completely! Both my boyfriend and I are both technical theatre majors so 10/12s and tech and late nights in rehearsal and even LATER nights in the shop are part of day to day life. We learned early on in our relationship that if we wanted to make this work, we would have to support each other. Which has taken us (currently) to two different parts of the country.

    Though thinking about it, I love my determined and focused guy.

  21. What a great post about Chris. I love it! but… I must say… my favorite part of the whole thing…. was the last line! Thanks for the chuckle at the end!

  22. mm

    My husband’s work ethic is one of my favorite things about him… even if it does keep him away for long periods of time some days.
    And I laughed about the pile of dirty laundry next to the hamper – my husband does the SAME THING!! It drives me crazy! 🙂

  23. And usually theater-types are lifers…just look at all those advisers and professors Chris has at Yale…still on those crazy schedules well into adulthood! At least you know the crazy hours in advance – you can plan for remote control, pedicures, girls nights in, etc. My hubby just switched to a job that is 3 nights and 2 days each week but because we aren’t finding out about cross country travel less than 24 hours out, it feels like luxury!

    Also, I loved the layman’s explanation…I might have to send this as reference to others!

  24. Kristin H

    Hehe, as a theatre professional (lighting designer) I get a huge kick when things are explained in laymen’s terms! Good for you to be so supportive of his crazy theatre schedule – my fiance is also a theatre professional (sound) so we both work crazy hours! I can never decide whether it’s better when our tech schedules line up (so we can actually spend time together on our days off) or when they alternate (so the person who is not in tech can take care of the person who is!).

  25. Jess

    Great post, you let us a little more into your world every day!!! Really shows how committed you are to each other that both as wee young things and old young things, you are devoted to making it work and making time for each other, even on ten hour long work days! Enjoy the extra one on one Bean cuddle time!!

  26. pam-tastic

    Well, look at it this way, it gives you time to “miss him”. You know? Sometimes I think a relationship needs that…you need to be away from somebody, even if only for a little while so you can miss them…that’s how you get through the mountains of laundry that they seem to produce 🙂

  27. Debbie

    I love reading your posts. I have become a real fan.
    I agree; it really is great to have a husband who is so dedicated to his work and in turn to his family! I, too, know this first hand. My hubby has to travel to London regularly (after the first few times it takes real dedication to get on a plane and travel for that long)… and my favorite part of the whole deal is sole ownership of the remote. Alas, there is always a silver lining!

  28. kara

    Thank you for the fascinating description of Chris’ job; it is a specialized field of work that I would never been exposed to otherwise. It is heartening to see someone find their niche in the world. You too are so deserving of each other, what a beautiful couple and family. 🙂

  29. It’s good to hear someone talk about scheduling. Sometimes I feel selfish when I just want more time with Rob and can’t have it because of what we have going on in our lives. But this is great to see a different perspective and see that someone else misses their partner being at home too.

    Enjoy the remote!

  30. Farm Boy is the same way. Work is work and when he must do it he must. It is refreshing yet there are times when I especially wish he was with me. He’s not in a management position yet but with every day that passes he is getting closer and closer to more hours and more responsibility…which means more time away. I try to keep that in mind as I wish away the days until we move closer to home. There are always ups and downs to everything.



  31. Sometimes changes in schedules can be a good thing, I’m a shift worker and our varying schedules make us appreciate the time we send together even more. I find when we work the same schedule, the time we spend together is usually in front of the T.V.
    We don’t have a little one though..
    As for the laundry hamper, you sound like my partner? I mean does it matter? It creates extra bedding for the dog ; )
    Enjoy your boy-free TV!

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