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Thursday, 21 February 2008

How to go on a business trip

I've been so remiss with the blog that even my former boss, Richard Charkin, has started to nag me about it. (A couple of years ago I had this crazy idea that he should start a blog to introduce more effective company communications; he posted every day for two years but he has never forgiven me for it, and I think the nagging is by way of punishment). Part of the reason is that I started another blog at the end of last month: the digitalist. It's a work-based blog by me and my team, all about the sweeping changes being introduced to the media by digital technology and trends. It takes a little more brain time to post to it, and so babyjuggler has taken second place for a bit. Part of the reason is that I'm secretly lazy. I do an excellent job of pretending not to be... but every now and then my true character emerges, blinking, into the sunlight, and... lies down for a rest. But the main reason is that I went off to New York for a week at the beginning of February,on business. I was only away for a week, that's true. But still, it took a week of careful preparations, military planning and conniving to make it possible. First, there was the blackmailing of my husband, Paul, who was not entirely overjoyed, shall we say, at the prospect of spending five days entirely in the company of small children under the age of six while I gallavanted off to the Big Apple. I had to promise seven inch singles from New York's finest indie record shops and something gorgeous from Kenneth Cole before I got the first smile out of him. Then, there was the blackmailing of the children: "I know Mummy's going to be away and that we'll all miss each other, but guess what? I'm going to come back with such lovely presents! An American doll for Eden and a fire truck for Nathan!". Ava is too young to be blackmailed. She was also oblivious to my imminent departure. But this made the guilt at leaving somewhat worse in her case. Glittering presents duly promised, it was time to brief the friends and neighbours: one to pick up Eden for school; one to distract Eden and Nathan with visits to the park; one to check Paul was eating OK.... Next it was off to the shops to buy a children's book about New York for Paul to read to the kids at bedtime so that they could imagine the world I would be inhabiting for a week. And finally, I wrote letters for the kids to 'discover' around the house during my absence, and taught Eden how to send a text message so that we could be in touch. In the end, the trip was OK, Paul didn't stop talking to me altogether, everyone loved their presents and it was really lovely being reunited on my return. (And don't tell Paul, but spending a few days away in a nice hotel without the everyday demands of the kids, was really, really good).

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