Tomorrow, I go back to the office.  Not just for a quick check in, as I’ve done a grand total of three times over the past two years, but as a regular day in, day out thing.

Back to normal.

But not quite.  Two things will be different. 

First off, “normal” means three days a week, whether I feel like it or not.

Reader, I feel like it.

Corporate offices are cold—literally cold, as in wearing a sweater in the summer.  The lunch rooms are filled with stale pastries, half eaten birthday cakes, and bad coffee.  People jam into tiny rooms for way-too-long meetings and check their e-mail when it’s finally your turn to talk.

People are always bugging you—asking you about your weekend or what you thought about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock when you’re trying to get work done.  There’s at least one person who talks too loud on the phone (that’s me), chews too loud,  doesn’t clean out the microwave when their lunch explodes in it, or steals someone else’s special vanilla almond coffee creamer.  And someone always has a particularly disgusting habit, like clipping their fingernails at their desk and letting the nails fall into their keyboard.

You can’t just turn off your camera when you need to roll your eyes.

Man, I missed that place.

Second, I’ll be starting a brand new job on Monday.  After seven years at my current company, I’ve decided to try something new.  So it’ll be a brand new office, brand new co-workers, brand new work.

I feel like a kid going back to school after summer vacation—nervous and excited.

And I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm.

Some of the items are the same as the back to school list—I spent the weekend buying new office-appropriate clothes, as my current uniform of jeans and t-shirts isn’t going to cut it.  I also needed a new lunch box, having lost the old one somewhere in the last two years.  I needed lunch food—yogurt, berries, power bars.  I need extra treats and toys for Blinker, who will not be pleased with this turn of events that takes me out of the house for most of the day.

I also sprung for a brand new backpack to haul my laptop, shoes, and notebooks back and forth.

I dug out some out some old friends I haven’t seen in a while—my travel coffee mug, and a big water bottle.

There’s a few things that were never on my back to school list—I have new hire paperwork to print and fill out, and finding my passport to verify my identity.  I already took a test drive during rush hour on Friday to get an approximate drive time.

I have to dye my hair.  I have to cook a big batch of soup for lunch all week.

And of course, I have to pick out my first day outfit.

Tomorrow, I’ll be up and at ‘em early, showered, fully dressed, caffeinated, make-up on, and out of the house by 7:15.  Then I’ll do it again on Tuesday.

Back in the fray.

Let’s do this.