Homebrewing -- Does it take too long?

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Rotgut

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I have 3 kids as well... all young. 8yo, 6yo, 4yo. 10 minutes a day is one thing. 5 hours on a weekend is a big deal. Weekends are the only days I have a large enough chunk of time to brew. For my own sanity, I try to set aside some time every weekend for me to do something. Some weekends I go to the gun range. Others, I go for a hike. And others, maybe I brew. But every time I take "me time" I have to keep in mind that it's going to take away from something else I could be doing. Some of these things I can do with the kids... they love to help brew and I am sure to keep them away from the hot wort, so I let them measure ingredients, or maybe bottle on bottling day. They can join me on my shorter hikes (and we can bring our dog on these too.. bonus). There are times though, that I just need to be in my own head without worrying about anything else. Fortunately for me, my wife is very understanding about it, and she gets her time as well.
 

biochemedic

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My solution has been to do the wicked early start...I often am mashing in by 05:30 and have started the boil by 7 when the rest of the family is just starting to stir...
 

FiddlersGreen87

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My solution has been to do the wicked early start...I often am mashing in by 05:30 and have started the boil by 7 when the rest of the family is just starting to stir...
Oof. Props to you brother. I have to be at work by 5:30 every day, there's no way I could pull it off for fun. You should treat yourself to a Beer-Mosa at the least. I'd be mashing hops and boiling yeast.
 

kombat

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Married 14 years, no kids, and threads like these are exactly why we chose to remain child-free. That said, I tend to start most of my brewing as early as possible on weekend mornings so I have everything all cleaned up and put away by 11:00 am. My wife likes to sleep in on weekends, so I'm only "absent" for a couple of hours of overlap time, and she's more than content to use the time to read books or catch up on a few of her TV shows that are of no interest to me.

That leaves us the rest of the day to do stuff together.
 

NathPowe

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I always find threads regarding time constraints around brewing with a family very interesting. Makes me realize that I should take advantage of my current situation (I live with my girlfriend, who is totally cool with brewing - no kids) and nerd out on my brewing a bunch before things change. (Directs new browser tab to Jaded Brewing website...) :rockin:

To the OP - seems like you've got things properly prioritized and have a great family, so I'm sure you'll be able to continue to make your brewing schedule work one way or another. I have no frame of reference when it comes to family life, but seems like we all gotta have at least a little bit of "me" time. Perhaps I'm in for a rude awakening though :) Anyway, I don't really know where I'm going with this other than to say good luck with the brewing balancing act and keep at it.

Cheers.
 

Transamguy77

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MY wife and I have been together for 18 years and have 5 kids, when my kids were little we did a lot with them and had a lot of family time but as a person you need time for yourself, I only started brewing 4 years ago so by that time my youngest was 3 so I got them involved and explained the process which them made them interested for the next brew and made it easier to fit in brewing.

At this point when I brew I don't plan for 5 hours, I plan to brew all day and I do other things with my family during the process, so if I mash for 1.5 hours or longer that's ok, they also help me set up and clean up, there does have to be a balance of hobbies and family but again you still need time for yourself to just decompress and I think that needs to be a mutual respect for everyone.

To the OP it sounds like you have a good handle on things and in the end you will figure it out, sorta just like raising kids.
 

frankjones

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Some couples have date night. Why not have a brew Saturday once a month? Like let a guy have the day to himself? 7 kids here... No one says a word. And even offer to help out. I keep food on the table , two cars in the drive way and the lights on. Would you be fair in bitchin about swmbo. Having a sewing room or a craft room? No. It's about compromise. And honestly after set up costs my beer of far cheaper than buying beer.
 

NickTheGreat

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I don't have kids but I have trouble finding time. Not sure where it all goes either!
 

poptarts

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Married 14 years, no kids, and threads like these are exactly why we chose to remain child-free. That said, I tend to start most of my brewing as early as possible on weekend mornings so I have everything all cleaned up and put away by 11:00 am. My wife likes to sleep in on weekends, so I'm only "absent" for a couple of hours of overlap time, and she's more than content to use the time to read books or catch up on a few of her TV shows that are of no interest to me.

That leaves us the rest of the day to do stuff together.
this is me exactly
 

beernutz

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Kids seem to change everything and brewing is a thing. I started brewing pre-kids around 1992 and continued for about 14 years until my oldest was 13 and youngest was 9 when I went on a 7 year brewing hiatus. Kids and their activities were maybe half of the reason I stopped with the legal status of homebrewing in my state (it wasn't) making up the other half.

Now though is a great time for me to be brewing as my oldest is about to turn 21 and since she loves my homebrew that is another incentive to get her to come home once in a while. My wife has always been very tolerant of my brewing even when I was doing it in the kitchen and even through a few boilovers and spills. As long as I keep something she likes on tap I'm good to brew whenever I like. Considering how little I know about women it is amazing I got so lucky when I married one.
 

henchman24

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It seems like most of the time I am really happy that I don't have kids and a super cool GF that pretty much lets me do what ever I want. We will probably never have kids, so I don't see my situation changing anytime soon. :ban:

I usually brew every other or third weekend so ~20 batches a year with ~6 hours being dedicated to it each session. I actually spend more time weekly on other hobbies than I do brewing, but brewing is infinitely more enjoyable for me.
 

jbaysurfer

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Best thing you'll ever do in your life is raise a child. Hardest thing you'll ever do in your life is raise a child. My daughter is a wonderful person who in many ways has restored my faith in humanity. I'll trade a little brew time for that any day.

I still brew more then most of you btw.... :p Just sayin'.
 

fartinmartin

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It dose not matter how you justify your brewing, but like most of us you feel guilty, you are arnt you, you must be , that's what the post is about really, guilt. I have it too.
The swimbo and kids have to come first !
We can do our brewing late, it is after all not such hard work.
Plan the brew night well several days in advance.
Have the kit ready several days in advance.
Don't even start the brew till the kids are in bed.
Do the brew, leaving the clean up till tomorrow night.
Give swimbo something special every brew night.

Most of all the family is more important than the brew.
 

Darwin18

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A brew day can take 5 - 6 hours, but respectfully, there is usually a ton of down time throughout that 5 - 6 hour block. If I'm mashing then there's really nothing to do. There's also really no need to stare at the flame the entire time. What I'm trying to say is that you can brew AND do other things that your wife may be nagging you to do.

If I were in your position I would be getting up at 5 am and brewing. By the time the family gets up and wants to start their day you'll be more than half way through the brew day. The additional plus, or minus depending on your POV, is that brewing that early usually doesn't involve drinking so you're good to do other things with the family afterwards.
 

Eucrid

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Everyone needs a hobby of some sort and some relief from responsibilities. Guys who golf disappear for far longer than 5 hours. My father played twice a week when I was a kid, still does, but he still had plenty of time for us.

If you brew Saturday do a family thing Sunday. Make sure you give SWMBO time for herself too to do her thing.

Any good SWMBO will care about your happiness anyway.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

thrust

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I opened this thread, read the first few posts, then left. So disturbed by what I read, I returned to express my surprise that there are (married) guys who are in such a predicament. OP, my advice (and I mean no offense) is to have a talk with wifey and tell her you intend to brew and if she doesn't like it, tough.

I pursue any of my hobbies, which are many, without a hint of nagging from my wife. I give her the same respect and it works splendidly. I'm still flabbergasted that adults feel the need to seek "permission" from those who purportedly "love" them.
 

grittanomyces

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Haven't read the whole thread, so not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but I've never understood why people act like brewing prevents them from doing things like spending time with their family.

There's a lot of waiting and downtime in brewing. Sure you can't do anything that takes a long time or takes you too far from the brew, but you can definitely still play with your kids or hang out with friends during the less involved parts, which is the vast majority of the brew day.
 

Komocabo

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I brew with my kids. I brew beer... he brews root beer. Quality family time, both happy. Wife and daughter go shopping or help with the stuff they want to. Though my daughter is now starting to brew root beer... gives the wife some free time, I get a lot of QT, and we all win. That said, every once in a while, I demand a free day and brew solo. We all need time together and alone. If the misses doesn't like you using this time, help her find a hobby, or hell, include her until she gets bored and does something on her own.

Note: I did not mean this to be gender oriented. Wife could easily be switched with the word husband, etc.
 

jbaysurfer

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I opened this thread, read the first few posts, then left. So disturbed by what I read, I returned to express my surprise that there are (married) guys who are in such a predicament. OP, my advice (and I mean no offense) is to have a talk with wifey and tell her you intend to brew and if she doesn't like it, tough.

I pursue any of my hobbies, which are many, without a hint of nagging from my wife. I give her the same respect and it works splendidly. I'm still flabbergasted that adults feel the need to seek "permission" from those who purportedly "love" them.
Flabbergasted and disturbed? LOL..very dramatic.
 

jbaysurfer

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Exactly. Hell, it's not even really much of a vent.

I know why she gets annoyed with a 5 hour brew day. It's the same reason I get annoyed when she goes out for a hair cut/color and a pedicure. Is the annoyance at being left at home alone with them...

Overall, she supports my hobby. She knows it's important to me and makes me happy.

I posted because what often seems like a big time sink when you think of 5-hour chunks really isn't that much when you really consider how infrequently those chunks come.
I see a LOT of posters who think OP is here whining about his SWMBO, but he's not. Read what he writes here. He broke down his time investment in brewing. He's mindful of the impact it has on his family. He did not solicit marriage advice.

All the tough talk is cracking me up. I've seen selfishness ruin marriages. I applaud the OP for his selflessness in exploring this topic.
 

thrust

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Flabbergasted and disturbed? LOL..very dramatic.
Perhaps, but in all seriousness, OP sounds like he's trying to be a great husband and father. And, it speaks well of his character that he considers the needs of his family above his own. However, I do question whether guys (and I realize there are some females in a similar situation) who concede to rather trivial demands of their spouse set a bad example as a role model. IMO, asking for "permission to [insert hobby here]" is unhealthy for a relationship and causes children to question their parents authority, leadership, and character.

My dad spent considerably more time with me when I was young, and involved me in his hobbies moreso than my friends' fathers. I admire him greatly for doing that, but I believe I would have lost respect for him if I thought he did it because it fit within some magic mathematical time calculation furthered by a controlling spouse. Should that have been the case, I'm sure I would have resented my mother as well.
 

Billy-Klubb

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Flabbergasted and disturbed? LOL..very dramatic.
I thought the same thing. but then again, we as men need to tell our wimmins that we will do what we want when we want and how ever we want to do it. then they will go into the kitchen and make our sandwiches. and if they don't like it, I'll make my own sandwich and respect my wife and our marriage. and I will realize that that a healthy loving marriage is comprised of love and some give & take sprinkled with a heavy dose of respect.


what the flocc are we all going on about again? trying to tell a guy how to live his life or some crap?
 

Agate

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Some couples have date night. Why not have a brew Saturday once a month? Like let a guy have the day to himself? 7 kids here... No one says a word. And even offer to help out. I keep food on the table , two cars in the drive way and the lights on. Would you be fair in bitchin about swmbo. Having a sewing room or a craft room? No. It's about compromise. And honestly after set up costs my beer of far cheaper than buying beer.

You, sir, are a saint! 7 kids... Wow, I have three kids and that's a LOT of kids. Mine are 7, 5, and 1. Someone else said it on this thread, but my brew days are also in the background. While water is heating, I'm playing with the kids. They love turning the grinder handle and fights break out over who gets to use the mash paddle first. Then I play with them during the mash and while sparge water heats.

I've been trying to make simple recipes with just bittering hops, so that I can watch the kids during the boil. Then, no chill lets me do something else while the wort cools. It is all about sacrifices and balance, but think about how much a stay-at-home wife deals with the kids all day longhand all night. I would like to make more IPAs and stuff, but if I can brew every couple of weeks with simpler recipes, then everyone wins.

Call me whipped if you want. Raising kids is awesome, and the most difficult thing I've ever done. No, having a dog does not qualify you to have an opinion on parenthood. If brewing can be done while spending time with the family, then all is good!
 

frankjones

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You are right. Compromise. We all get involved with what each other is doing. Encourage. Share. Fix bikes. Make beer. Help cook dinner. Sew pants. Change diapers. Brew with a the kids... Stand over a boiling pot soup.. Spaghetti.. Or beer... We are all in this to win this. I'm also a model for swmbo when she needs a mannequin for a dress. Lol and I can change a dirty diaper one handed!
 

frankjones

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It's not whipped.. It's called being a family man.
 

SupervisingChildren

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You are right. Compromise. We all get involved with what each other is doing. Encourage. Share. Fix bikes. Make beer. Help cook dinner. Sew pants. Change diapers. Brew with a the kids... Stand over a boiling pot soup.. Spaghetti.. Or beer... We are all in this to win this. I'm also a model for swmbo when she needs a mannequin for a dress. Lol and I can change a dirty diaper one handed!
Please tell me you're not brewing while changing dirty diapers!

With a 6 and 4 year old, I brew frequently still, mostly extract and some PM batches. I usually brew at night to avoid having to multitask with the kids, but they usually help me when I bottle and they love helping AND I get done way faster! Great quality time :)

I usually ask to brew out of respect, but it's usually a given that I'm brewing that night. Brewed last night since the kids were gone and swmbo was out with friends :)
 

Agate

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It's not whipped.. It's called being a family man.

Well said! I've heard plenty of comments about how I'm not doing it right if I'm looking for shortcuts in my brewing. I haven't slept for more than three hours straight in 7 years-- I'm beyond caring what other people think. It's about what works best for my family first.
 

frankjones

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No diaper changes while brewing. Lol but no doubt I need to stop what I'm doing and get the diaper changed.
 

frankjones

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Family comes first. Why have a hobby. Why take enjoyment in brewing or anything if you can't enjoy your family as well. Whether it's my mother who is 72 needs me to take her grocery shopping or my son who needs his bike fixed or my wife I need to buy tampons for... I do it... Yeah. I went to Sam's club and bought a few years when of ladies supplies.. Got that out of the way. Lol we encourage our selves and each other to do the things that we enjoy. And make adjustments on the way.
 

mmb

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If brewing takes up too much time, try taking up hunting or fishing. Up before sunrise, home an hour after sunset. At least deer season only lasts from October 1st to December 30 in Michigan.

There needs to be a balance in your life and a few hours for brewing is not being a bad husband or father. If the time concerns you, record how many hours are spend "together" watching TV, using personal electronics, or video games where there is little to no interaction. You'd be amazed at the wasted time spent "together" in those activities.
 

Braufessor

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Not saying this is specific to the OP's situation, but I think it is relevant to the issue as I have seen it referenced a few times in the thread - "Once kids are involved in other activities you will really be busy sort of thing."

I think one thing that has really changed over the last 10-15 years or so is the amount of time parents feel it is necessary to be right by their children's side. I have been a teacher and a coach at the JH/HS level for 20 years. Things have changed..... A LOT. I am just stunned by the amount of time parents spend dragging their kids all over creation and attending every waking moment of their children's play time.

At least where I live, it is completely and totally normal for parents to attend every single thing their kids are participating in - from the time they are 5 until they are 18...... everything..... always. Regardless of distance from home, regardless of significance of the event, regardless of the need to miss work, or even just have a few minutes to themselves. I know a lot of parents that sign their kids up for 40 hours a week of baseball and swim team and..... whatever else. And then, they attend all of it (on top of their full time job, and house/yard work, etc.) I think it is flat-out crazy.

#1 - in my experience - it is just unhealthy for the kid. It sends the message to the child that their "play time" is the single most important thing on this earth, and everyone should drop everything when they have a game to play. It places a disproportionate value on something that is just not that important.

#2 - it does not allow kids to learn how to entertain themselves. Sometimes kids just need to be on their own a little bit.

#3 - It has to be crazy for the parents and their lives....... every person - husband, wife, child should have time that they do things that are just theirs, and on their own. It let's people recharge and enjoy themselves with something that is theirs. If 24 hours of every day is scripted like a job.... what is the point?

I often have parents ask me (as a coach) what they can do to help their kids in the sports I coach. I tell them this: If you really want to do something for your child, pick at least 1 meet or game per season and say this to your kid:
"Good luck at your meet tonight. We can't make this one because we have some things we need to take care of at home (or we are going to do something else). Do your best, have fun and I am sure you will do a great job. Bye."
When they get home, tell them that you are proud of them for doing the best they could, and that you hope they had fun...... at that is it.

As kids get older, and are involved in things they like to do, that is not another "job" on a parent's plate. It is a chance to do something you like. Teach your children that having hobbies and enjoying life is healthy. It is something to do as children and as adults. Don't make their activities your "job" (which in turn ends up making their activities their job too).

Skip that track meet once a month and brew a beer. I will make sure your son or daughter has a great day "playing track." You have a great day brewing a beer.

Again - not saying this is the OP's specific situation, and not saying anyone should ignore their children as they grow up..... but, I think the key to a healthy, happy life for everyone is finding that place somewhere in the middle that allows everyone support and attention, but also independence and enjoyment.
 

TyTanium

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A shorter brewday makes weeknight brewing easy. 3 game changers: 45 min mash, single batch sparge, and 45 min boil...I'm start to finish in 3 hrs.

6:00 - 6:30 Measure water, water additions, start heating, crush grain
6:30 - 7:15 mash
7:15 - 7:45 sparge / heat to boil
7:45 - 8:30 boil
8:30 - 9:00 chill / pitch / cleanup
 

catalanotte

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Depends on the age of the kids and interest if the spouse, but they all get into it. Kids love to help (crushing grains is their favorite), wife has picked up a growing interest. I have a good hour to play catch during the mash, another hour to hang out during the boil. More time while the chiller is running. I save the clean up for after their bed time. Probably only loose 90 minutes of actual time. About the only thing that I focus on without interruption is hitting temps on mash/sparge water, the sparse process, and the first 10 min of the boil. (missed that once and the burner still stinks of burnt malt). The rest is a bunch of 5 minute tasks with lots of time in between that be used to keep everyone happy.

Last time we pulled a few chairs around the brew kettle in the back yard and had a drink together (wife, not the kids). Kind of like a humid hoppy campfire🍻😄
 

Hello

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A shorter brewday makes weeknight brewing easy. 3 game changers: 45 min mash, single batch sparge, and 45 min boil...I'm start to finish in 3 hrs.

6:00 - 6:30 Measure water, water additions, start heating, crush grain
6:30 - 7:15 mash
7:15 - 7:45 sparge / heat to boil
7:45 - 8:30 boil
8:30 - 9:00 chill / pitch / cleanup
Even if I cut my mash and boil by 15, I am not chilling and cleaning up in 30. At least not in the summer.

Either way, I have no one to answer to but frankly, if my imaginary SO brewed and I did not, I would not care because he would be home and we could still hang out. He may be busy but at least he is around. I don't get wives that bitch about these things and I understand not just wives bitch but this is a male-centric hobby so I am generalizing, basically.
 

hunter_le five

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Would you be fair in bitchin about swmbo. Having a sewing room or a craft room? No. It's about compromise.
Haha setting up SWMBO with her own sewing/knitting/craft room (lady cave?) was my compromise to her for all the brewing $#!+.

Giving her something to retreat to to be all by herself helps me to do the same whenever I want to brew beer.

Though we don't have kids yet, so I'm sure the whole dynamic will change the day she "forgets" to take her pill. I'll continue to take advantage of the situation while I can.
 

frozennorth

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I am a lucky one. My wife supports my brewing whole heartedly. My son helps with some of the brewing, but it also helps that my kids are teenagers (although my daughter is 14, which is such a joyous age to. Haha). It also does not hurt that my wife works 7/12s every other week.
 
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betarhoalphadelta

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Not saying this is specific to the OP's situation, but I think it is relevant to the issue as I have seen it referenced a few times in the thread - "Once kids are involved in other activities you will really be busy sort of thing."

I think one thing that has really changed over the last 10-15 years or so is the amount of time parents feel it is necessary to be right by their children's side. I have been a teacher and a coach at the JH/HS level for 20 years. Things have changed..... A LOT. I am just stunned by the amount of time parents spend dragging their kids all over creation and attending every waking moment of their children's play time.
Totally with you on this... Do you read the Free Range Kids blog? Totally hits a lot of these same points.

My 7 yo is completely fine on brew day. He helps me with stuff, and then gets bored and rides his bike around our little cul-de-sac while I halfway keep an eye on him. I personally am trying to get my wife (and my neighbor's wife) to allow him and their boys (10 and 8 yo) to walk 1/8 mi to a little creek in the back of our subdivision to explore, but the wives just WON'T have it. Seriously... What do they think's gonna happen? Not what could happen, but what's likely to happen? They're going to have fun and be totally fine and come back with the biggest smiles on their faces for being allowed to be independent.

My other two are harder. The 5 yo is barely-verbal autistic, so he takes extra attention. That said, as long as he's inside or in the backyard, he's safe enough for me to leave him somewhat alone during brew day just checking on him from time to time. The 2 yo (actually turns two next week) is a rambunctious toddler entering the terrible two's with gusto and will probably burn the house down if I leave her alone, so she's really the one that makes it hard to brew.

But yeah, I completely agree that parents today are completely smothering our kids, and I'm trying to fight that battle with my wife -- and losing. My wife was mad at me that I couldn't make it to my son's swim meets this summer. The swim meets are at 4 PM on Thursday's, and I have a standing staff meeting at work from 3-4:30. WTF are us breadwinners supposed to do?
 

unionrdr

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I had a tough time with meeting schedules when I was a foreman. Tougher yet on Fridays. But once she learned I was in a meeting, she was OK with it.
 
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