Brand new day

Whether you like it or not, things change sometimes.

Some of the best changes come when you’re down. And my industry is down.

So after a lot of discussing and debating and contemplating and negotiating …

My cohort Laura and I agreed earlier this week to a proposal that has us starting our shifts at 5 in the morning. And those news shifts started today.

After having the first discussions about these new shifts last week, we figured it wouldn’t actually happen as fast as it did … Then we got the word on Monday that, Oh, it’s happening.

The following days were somewhat amusing as we plotted Ok, how late can I sleep until I absolutely have to get out of bed and still have enough time to get myself ready? … Or How late do I have to go to bed so that I get just enough sleep to be able to function the next day?

Oh, the agony.

But the flip side was that we were going to have increased responsibilities, and responsibilities we welcomed with open arms. And, perhaps best of all, our new shift would end by about 1:30 in the afternoon, giving us the rest of the day to enjoy.

Laura and I also have joked that the rest of our staff is probably saying “Oh, Mark and Laura, here they go again, trying something new and playing with the Internet!” And how we’re such suckers because it seems as though we’re always the ones ready and willing to try something new.

The changes were announced in a staff meeting yesterday. The response was immediately positive. And when we left our work areas at the end of our shifts there was, I think, a feeling that we were on the verge of something really good. I came home feeling reenergized, renewed, refreshed, ready to start this new phase.

Kates and I filled our night with playing with Phoebe. A mac and cheese dinner and the regular chores that follow our dinner time these days. We let ourselves be sucked into the latest mesmerizing episode of “Lost.”

Then I had to force myself to head to the bedroom at 9 …

I enjoyed a deep sleep …

And the chimes of my alarm pulled me awake at 4:17 a.m.

Tip-toing along our creaky floors, I got in the shower, found my clothes and downed a bowl of Cheerios. … Downtown I headed, with no traffic and flashing yellow stoplights all the way. So eery.

At almost exactly 5 a.m. I parked my car in the building lot and stepped out of my door -- to see Laura stumbling through the lot. I let out a sinister laugh and together we walked into the dark building and up the staircase to our office, no doubt thinking, What have we agreed to?

But we quickly settled in as though the hour never mattered. Items were coming in and we were posting them for the virtual world. We were getting the information and reporting it. … By 6 a.m., our editor appeared through the office door -- we knew he wouldn’t be able to stay away -- singing some folk tune about changes and a new day or something like that … And at 6:30, our cohort Joe appeared in the door. Out for his morning walk, he bought each of us some donuts and some caffeine for our sacrifice.

By 9 a.m., our day was in full swing. The rest of the staff had arrived. Keyboards were clicking, debates were going, phones were ringing -- and for a few moments, I couldn’t keep from thinking, I can’t remember the last time our office seemed so engaged, so focused on doing what we do.

Maybe we can survive this thing after all.

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