Chris’s job isn’t like most other jobs. He is the general and production manager at a regional theater here in Orlando and a large part of his job is overseeing the technical aspects of the plays they produce. Normally, this job can be done in a typical 9-5 work day. When he was in grad school, he was the one who did the actual designing and building of scenery. And that job is time intensive. Lots of working through the night to get a set ready to for actors the following day. As a manager now, though, Chris doesn’t really have to put in those kinds of hours anymore. That’s actually the reason he took the job he has now. With two little kids at home, we were looking for a job where he wasn’t tied to the theater at all hours of the day and night and this position was the perfect fit.
But once a month, Chris has to work technical rehearsals. It’s called “working tech.” At these rehearsals, they aren’t running through the play itself, they are running through the play from the technical aspects. They go through all the lighting and sound cues, all the set movements, all the costume changes, etc. And that takes a LONG, LONG time. As the production manager, Chris is at most of these tech rehearsals, just in case there are problems with anything technical and to make sure everything goes smoothly. On those weekends, he works “ten out of twelves,” which means that out of twelve hours, he is working ten of them. And that goes on for two, three, sometimes four days. It’s a long process, even when things are running smoothly. But for the show they are working right now, things aren’t going so great and so an already long process has become grueling. He didn’t come home last night until 3:00am and then he was back up at the theater by 9:00 this morning.
It’s hard on all of us when he’s working these kinds of hours. I miss having him around, to help with dishes, to help put the kids to bed, to cozy up on the couch with after bedtime. The kids really miss having him around, too. Even though it’s just for a couple days, they only get to see him once or twice a day for half an hour or so. Bean asks about him when he’s gone and Gracie…well…she gets so excited when she finally sees him that it’s like she’s just been sitting there waiting for him to walk in the door.
But out of all of us, it’s Chris who has it the worst during tech. Not only is he working really long hours, but he really misses us, too. He calls and texts me all day, asking what we’re doing. He comes home any time there is a chance, even if it’s just for 20 or 30 minutes. Sometimes, it takes him longer to get home than he has to stay. Basically, he’s just beat.
(Look, they have the same cowlick!)
Chris has one more day of tech left and I think we’re all ready for him to come home. When he’s working like this, I try to make things easy for him at home. I bought some of his favorite snacks at the grocery store today – pretzels, Barq’s Root Beer, Velveeta and chips for cheese dip. I make a lot of plans for me and the kids, so we’re not just sitting around waiting, because when I sit around and wait, I get pissed. Even when I have no reason to get pissed. So, we stay busy. My mom came down and spent all day with us Saturday and then she babysat Saturday night while I went out to a jewelry party with a new friend (post coming soon about my new awesome jewelry and my attempt to make friends…). Then, today we made rainbow rice and went for a two hour walk around our neighborhood. Tomorrow we have a play date. Busy, busy, busy.
Sometimes, marriage is about love and passion. Sometimes its about going through things together, side by side. And sometimes, it’s about being the safe place to come back to after life beats you up for a few days on a theater stage.