Monday, November 30, 2009

Wanted: Personal Assistant

Working for a living really cuts down on my free time.

It probably doesn't help, of course, that I am a perfectionist workaholic who doesn't know enough to go home at a reasonable hour. It's compounded by the fact that I have 6 (yes, count'em, 6!) working days left and am frantically trying to wrap up a to-do list several metres long. I have a great replacement -- one of the senior analysts on my team is taking over, and I know she will do a bang-up job (probably better than me, and they won't want me back). But I'd like to leave things in as good a shape as possible so she can start fresh.

It definitely doesn't help that I am also trying to deal with recent personal losses. I have decreed to the universe that henceforth, every person and animal that I care about must stay well and healthy until they reach a grand old age along with me. Dying at something too close to my own current age is NOT ON, not for anyone, not anymore. Listening, universe? I'm not kidding.

In the meantime, I'm supposed to be planning for my year off. I have no time or energy by the time I get home from work ... or this week, home from about four parties of the kind that will last till the wee small hours (one of which is all about me ... $5 martinis, anyone?). So I'm still not much further along than I was two months ago.

Which brings me to my title: anyone willing to volunteer as a personal assistant? You'd have to take care of travel plans, keep my fridge stocked with food and clean the house from top to bottom. I won't offer to pay you since, well, I'm not going to have an income next year. But surely there are nurturing people out there who would jump at the chance to make my life just that little bit easier?

I could let you tag along with me to the corner of the world of your choice, in compensation. I promise I'm pretty easy to travel with (note to sisters: you are banned from commenting upon this statement).

And then I'd have time to actually decide how I want to spend the next year. Which I haven't had much of yet.

I realized recently, though, that I do NOT want to attempt West African travel entirely on my own, so I've been looking into tour options -- the low-key kind that basically just get you from place to place, make sure you're safe and otherwise leave you to your own devices. There are some good options out there, I was happy to see, even allowing for the somewhat last-minute nature of my planning.

The difficulty is finding time to get visas ahead of time, as I need one for just about every country I might want to visit in Africa. And I'm out of the country for two separate periods between now and the end of January, which means my passport must be in my hands, not tied up in some bureaucratic office somewhere awaiting the magic stamps.

So I thought maybe I'd need to start the African leg a little later. Then I thought of great ideas to spend the rest of January and part of February: dogsledding in Algonquin Park, going to see the northern lights in the Yukon and/or volunteering at a climate change research study in Churchill at the end of January.

All excellent ideas ... but if I just keep adding new things to my list for next year, without actually arranging any of the things I'd already decided upon, I will never get off the ground.

Which brings me back to that personal assistant. So send those resumes ASAP: I promise to give them my undivided attention from my hammock in Key West in a week and a half ... and if you're the lucky candidate, maybe you can even come join me. Hey, SOMEONE's got to make the margaritas.

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