That wasn’t so bad, was it?

He thought he was pretty cool, that guy, Ctesibus, when he invented the alarm clock back in the day in ancient Greece. Google tells me he designed an elaborate system that dropped pebbles into some kind of gong. A waste of pebbles. Probably not the best for the sound quality of the gong, either. An allround horrible invention. I don’t think Ctesibus had many friends. Google also informed me that the first American alarm clock was created by a person by the name of Levi Hutchins in 1787. Another guy that must not have been liked very much. although his alarm was purely for personal use. Apparently the product was then commercially developed by a business guy named Benjamin Abrams, who died in the 60’s. I don’t know why these horrible ideas catch on.

The alarm ringing this morning at 06.30 felt pretty miserable. I hate alarm clocks. I haven’t needed one for a long time.

For some reason, my son had decided during my two-month leave that he would learn how to wake up at 08.00. For two years, he would never, and I mean NEVER, sleep past 07.00, but usually would be firmly awake anywhere between 05.30 and 06.30.

My son was the best alarm clock. One of the very few that I never want to throw out the window.

I am not sure if he’s broken, or whether the batteries are low, but I think he needs to ease back into it. We sure as hell needed an alarm this morning. Horrible. And why was it still dark when it went off? The shock was surreal. Parental leave had me totally convinced that it was ALWAYS light at wake-up. Two months of leave really messed up my brain.

By 06.35 I was making oats and fruit breakfast for the family. By 06.45 I had finished my first double espresso. By 07.30 or so, my son and I were ready to go! A luxurious half an hour of relaxation before we had to be on the move. By 08.20 I delivered him at the daycare. First day, so the little guy was a bit nervous. He hadn’t said a word all morning, they told my wife when she picked him up in the early afternoon. But he did eat two pieces of birthday cake. (Why would you give a two-year old two pieces of birthday cake?) He seemed to have had fun, and firmly expressed the desire to go back tomorrow quite a few times in the afternoon. Little weirdo. He must have that from me.

By about 08.35 I was at my desk, late for my self-organized team meeting. Sorry team. It will have to be another time, and a bit later, apparently. Instead, I went through a few rounds of good old panic, because well, what better ways to start the first workday and spend your energy reserves than to have your heart pounding in your chest, create an overall feeling of dizziness, and a lack of focus. It was only after my body decided to release it all on a series of sanitary stops, that I was back to okay. Ish.

Then I worked the entire morning undisturbed. The entire morning!! That hasn’t happened, probably since what, over a year? I prioritized a student report that still needed grading, and finished it faster than I had scheduled. All marks have now also been handed in. I guess the summer semester is over for me. I used the rest of my morning and early afternoon to write a long-due update for the department website. Even that went more smoothly than expected. The afternoon was briefly interrupted by two kids both needing double vaccinations. I figured that my assistance here would be helpful. (I think I was right.) I almost fainted myself (me and needles, eh), but we all survived.

That was pretty smooth for a first day back at work. I think it is safe to use tomorrow for a revision of one of the most exciting manuscripts I have written in my career. Not because it is such a fantastic piece of writing, per se, but more because it is my first ever single-author manuscript, which I was personally invited to write last winter for Basic and Applied Ecology. It spent some time in review, but now received very positive reviews, so I hope the process will be rather smooth and straightforward. I will certainly be very proud when it finally comes out. I might spend some words on it here, too! But for now, enough with the words. Time to rest, because first workdays are exhausting!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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