Thursday, July 07, 2005

And To Think I Pride Myself on My Professionalism

One minute it's here, the next it’s gone -- it's the Incredible Vaporizing Credibility!

I was just about to start making dinner this evening when the phone rang. Normally at that time, phone calls are from either Jeff or a telemarketer. This time, though, it was a brand new freelancing client, one I'd been eager to land.

We were going over the details of the work I'd be doing, the kids were playing quietly, all was well. Until, that is, Sean decided he was going to wash his hands himself in the kitchen sink. As I am trying to sound professional and accomplished on the phone, Sean drags a kitchen chair across the floor, climbs on it, and turns on the faucet. Full blast.

Did I mention that I was on the wall phone across the room, not the cordless phone?

Not one to miss out on the festivities, Allie climbs on the chair, too (Note: it's a large, sturdy chair, and they were leaning against the counter and not in danger of falling). Much splashing and giggling ensue. Periodically Sean calls out to inform me of their progress. So my end of the conversation, about confidence intervals and statistical significance and P values, is punctuated by "Mommy! Look! We're all wet!" and "Mommy! Mommy? Mommy!!! I'm washing my hands all by myself!"

Still tethered to the wall, I'm gesticulating wildly for them to be quiet -- why I thought that an impersonation of a windmill would have any effect at all I don't know.

Finally, the conversation ends. I'm now free to go dry off the kids, the sink, the counter, the chair, and the floor. The client never mentioned the noise in the background, either because she couldn't hear it or out of politeness. I kind of doubt it's the former.

I know I could have excused myself at some point to intervene, but I didn't want to give the impression, right off the bat, that my work would be conducted in the midst of domestic chaos. Has something like this ever happened to you?

At the least, I suppose, I learned a valuable lesson: "Always keep the cordless phone handy."