It shouldn’t happen to a freelance writer

The phone always rings when I’m in the shower. It doesn’t matter what time I choose to shower – that’s when the phone will ring.

It happened again this morning. I had just finished rinsing the shampoo from my hair when the phone shattered the silence. Stumbling from the shower, I quickly swaddled myself in as many towels as I could muster, and rushed to the office – previously known as "the spare bedroom".

"Hot Igloo, Amber speaking!" I said brightly, praying to whatever God was listening that there was nothing of the "I’m dressed in only a towel!" about my voice. I would have got away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for Rubin.

Rubin is noisy. Very, very noisy. And like the phone itself, Rubin has an unerring instinct for the worst possible time to call.

He sauntered into the room just as I reached the end of my sales pitch to the client on the end of the line. I watched in horror as he made a beeline for his favourite toy. Rubin’s favourite toy is a plastic squeaky object shaped like Mickey Mouse. Or, to be specific, shaped like Mickey Mouse’s pants. He has one shaped like Mickey’s hand as well, so quite the collection of Mickey body parts goin’ on there, yesiree.

As I started to explain the intricacies of hiring a copywiter to my prospective client, Rubin seized Mickey’s Pants with glee, throwing them joyfully into the air, from where they fell with an almighty THUD. In the home office, with its hardwood floor and its echoes, the noise was implausibly loud. Every time the pants hit the deck, Rubin hit the pants. "SQUEAK!" said the pants. "GRRR!" said Rubin, his growl totally belying the fact that he is, in fact, a fluffy white dog, and not the fierce wolf he so fondly likes to think he is, I edged my way slowly across the floor. Mission: separate Rubin and The Pants. The mission was successful. I lunged, the Pants fell, Rubin stopped growling – and the towel preserving my modesty dropped dramatically to the floor.

For a moment I stood there, dog in one hand, Mickey Pants in the other, phone under my chin, towel-turban (now my only adornment) on head. "Hello?" said the client. "Are you still there?"

I stumbled back to my desk, somehow regaining both my composure and my towel. "Give me that website address again," I asked the client, smiling through painfully gritted teeth. I had just finished typing it into Google when the screen turned blank. Glancing down, I saw Rubin staring up at me, smiling, with one paw pressed firmly on the "power" button on the PC…

Mickeyhand_1  Somehow I got through the rest of the call. I don’t THINK the client realised that I was naked, or that a small white dog and his squeaky Mickey Pants were calling the shots. She made an appointment to meet with me, anyway. Needless to say, I suggested we meet up at HER office, rather than mine. I’ll aim to be better dressed this time, too.

And I learned a lesson. Well, three, really:
1. Whatever you do, and however you do it, if you work from home, keep regular office hours. That means that if it’s 9am on Friday morning, you’re at your desk – not in the shower.
2. Pets and business don’t mix.
3. Clothes are good. Really.

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