A Resolution Solution!

My office.
Will I be able to work in an office without glass walls? It’ll be tough, but I’ll try!

A couple of weeks ago I posted my first ever list of New Year’s resolutions. I am pleased to report that one of those resolutions is resolved!

I will do something bold yet well-planned.

What is the bold thing? I quit my job. Beginning in February, I will earn income solely through freelance and independent writing projects.

How long did I plan this? About three years.

The reason? Because my wife’s and my Mid-Life Crisis Clocks serendipitously synced up.

Up to this point, Ellen had been working out of the house earning an excellent supplementary income as an SAT tutor. As for me, I wrote for and edited The Lawrenceville School’s alumni magazine, earning a good salary and getting medical benefits. For quite a long time this worked out just fine.

But my wife was, slowly but surely, going stir crazy. Once Alex began attending school, Ellen, a former high school English teacher, longed to return to the classroom.

She also hated, hated, HATED doing housework. This is because Ellen is normal.

I like doing housework because I am not normal. (OCD, for all its negative connotations, does create excellent house husbands.) But my day job and it’s long, long commute didn’t give me many opportunities during the workweek to help out much.

Also, my job, for all its frequent awesomeness (I got to interview, Peter Gould, a writer and director for Breaking Bad! Woo!) was beginning to wear me down. I had been there 11 years. I thought my work was getting stale. No one else noticed, but I did.

Furthermore, the job was keeping me from the children’s book writing thing. It was also keeping me from expanding my freelance clientele. And, more crushingly, it was keeping me from spending much time with my boy.

So Ellen and I talked. We made a plan. And we implemented it.

Ellen spent the last couple of years getting certified in middle school math. She is now employed full time at our town’s middle school.

Meanwhile, for the past couple of years, I have been cultivating contacts and clients. I will now work out of my home office.

This change is exciting, to say the least.

It will also now allow me to accomplish two more of my New Year’s resolutions:

I shall write early and often


I shall become a Laundry Master.

Here’s to new adventures in 2015!


130 Replies to “A Resolution Solution!”

  1. That sounds brilliant! i am laundry master in my home. although my boyfriend is the cleaner (also ocd.). i’m not allowed. Good luck with freelance and your projects, sometimes Serendipity really helps!

  2. Woo hoo! I am so excited for you! Bold is good…changing stuck lifestyles is even better. So nice that Ellen’s job is in town. This is exactly the kind of thing I would do. Welcome to your new adventure and may you have a blast doing it. Congrats on starting off the new year in a big way. 😀

  3. !!! You have done a bold and brave thing. You have cleared the path for exciting adventures – in a responsible way! Congratulations to you, and kudos to your wife for following her passion, as well. Good times in your household.

    1. Thanks, Sarah. I think this is going to work out pretty well. Especially once I get my black belt in laundry.

      Well, it’s not a black belt, really, it’s just a bunch of dress socks I tied together to make something that looks like a belt.

  4. WOOHOO! How fabulous for all of you! And for all of us, as Mike Allegra titles can now start hitting the shelves at a faster rate for our reading pleasure! So planful of you! (And I am like Ellen, so if you ever run out of things to clean I know where you can vacuum to your heart’s content… we have dogs… ’nuff said :))

  5. So, Mr. OCD, did you dust off those slippers before putting your feet up on your desk? Or did you wipe off your desk after you put your feet back on the floor? Inquiring minds want to know.

    Congrats on making the big switch! Congrats to Ellen for saying good-bye to housework and making your town safe for middle school math! Congrats to your son who will now see more of his crazy father!

    Send out the town crier! Ding!Dong! the switch is done, the long commute at last is gone! Ding! Dong! the long commute is gone!

    1. I wipe off the desk, then the slippers, then the desk again and then the slippers. Then I put my slippers on the desk while I vacuum the spot on the floor where my slippers used to be. Then I use Formula 409 on the vacuum which is followed by a thorough vacuuming of the Formula 409 bottle. Then I vacuum the desk and my feet while my feet are still on the desk. After the photo is taken, I remove my feet from the desk, Formula 409 the desk, then Formula 409 my feet. Then I put the slippers in the laundry.

      So really it’s no big deal.

      Thanks for the kind words, my friend.

      And now I have The Wizard of Oz stuck in my head.

  6. Wow! This is great that you have the opportunity to do this! I’m jealous — no I’m not — yes I am — 🙂 And at least this had been well thought out, not some impulsive action. Hooray! Keep us posted.

  7. Ah–now you’ll have time to illustrate my cow joke book.
    Hmm, this one seems appropriate:
    “Why did the cow cross the road?”
    The grass is always greener on the other side. * shyh-boom *

    Happy creativitying. May the dust bunnies be friends, not foes (maybe that last doodle bunny is actually a dust bunny with a glandular issue. Or do they grow them bigger on the east coast?)

      1. So when your calendar clears maybe we could talk cow collaboration. I let my dust bunnies convene and congo dance and they aren’t nearly as cute as yours.

  8. Wow! good on you mister and good on Ellen too to go to back to doing something she enjoys.
    I decided to resign from my job too last month so that I can focus on writing and being a good housewife (for me that relates to cooking and cleaning but not doing laundry).
    Congrats on fulfilling your resolution in the first month 🙂

      1. I love the ‘free’ time. I’ve started jogging again & of course writing more (&napping) must say it’s taking some getting used to. I used to work with my husband now he goes to work while I go jogging. I also have to endure the funny look I get when I explain to well-meaning people that I left my job to focus on writing.

        So, how are u handling?

  9. I’m dancing in my home office. Can you see me? (My guy just left the room, that’s how good I am!). Truly, this is a remarkable, brave, risky, smart, silly, scary and WONDERFUL resolution. Not to bring it all back to me (but that’s what I’m doing…), I did the same thing when we moved from the left coast to the right coast this fall. I gave up the job I loved (boo hoo) but am focusing entirely on my writing (whoopee). So far, no complaints. In fact, I love it.
    (However, my o.c. guy still washes the dishes, but I’m totally in control of the laundry…)
    Wishing you washer loads of luck. But you don’t need it – you’re going to do spectacularly well.

  10. Mike, I’m so happy for you and Ellen because the things you really want to do actually compliment each other in the ways that enabled you to make these plans and see them through! How wonderful to DO what most people only talk about. It all sounds so full of promise. Less wasted time, more family time—and on a selfish note—more Mike Allegra books will be comin’!!! 😀 Congratulations on your New and Improved lifestyle!

  11. It certainly sounds like your plan has come together really well. I love it when that happens. It’s taken me a long time get use to working from home. In fact, I’m still not sure I am. When it comes to laundry and housework I wish we could channel some of that OCD. My housework stares at me daily, taunting me. It makes it hard to work.
    I’m really pleased for you and your wife making this work for you.

    1. As Christmas approached (and all its accompanying madness) the laundry in our house began to pile up and arrestingly overflow the hamper.

      So I got into the habit of singing, “O laundry tree, O laundry tree, you really are so stink-eeee.”

      Ellen was not amused.

  12. Congrats, Mike! That is beyond awesome. Also beyond awesome for us, because we get to enjoy more of your writing, right?

    I, too, enjoy house-cleaning more than the average bear. By the way, is that the same sweater we usually see in your header? 🙂

  13. This is excellent Mike, sounds like win-win all round! I have no doubt you will have lots of freelance writing success, and lots of great laundry! I used to absolutely hate hate hate housework, and then for some reason in the last few years I like it, I find it quite therapeutic and satisfying, if I have a day at home with nothing else to do but clean the house, I’m quite happy! Although I’d probably have to throw some baking in there too 🙂

    1. I feel the same way about house cleaning.

      Baking, on the other hand? Well, that’s quite a different story. As a new House Husband, I’ll probably need to expand upon my current menu of eggs, cereal, and frozen dinners. Oh, dear.

  14. Welcome to the pajama club! That’s awesome news, and good for you both for making this new plan happen. You’ll also have less laundry by working at home because, and I know this from personal experience, you can pretty much wear the same clothes all week, and it’s never really necessary to wash your jeans.

    1. I like the way you think, Laurel… but I can’t say I’m entirely on board with your “Wear The Same Clothes All Week” philosophy. After two days, my anal retentive instincts kick in and in the hamper they must go.

      But you’re so very right about the jammies; they are a key component to any writer’s wardrobe.

  15. Congratulations! Wishing you & your wife all success! Maybe you need to reach the rest of us some freelance tricks? 😉
    In return I can help you achieve true mastery of the washer & dryer…

  16. That sounds awesome I hope you both have the best of sucess! Love the fact you’re getting to do something you love. I’m trying to figure that out so it’s great to see its possible 🙂

  17. I gotta say…I wish my freelance work payed enough for me to not have to have a job! that would be a dream! Plus I would most definitely be all over cleaning as well haha quick question though, is it true freelance writing is easier to get paid for than freelance art/graphic design?

    1. Many moons ago, I used to be a graphic designer. I never attempted to build a freelance career in that profession, however. The reason? I was a terrible graphic designer. So I’m not equipped to compare and contrast.

      That said, may your dreams of self-employment (and a spotless house) soon become a reality!

  18. Oh Mike that is so wonderful for you! Congratulations!! Don’tcha just luv it when a plan comes togetha?! My hubby works from home… although it is a structured job where he sits in front of a computer all day and deals with other physicians. But he gets to sit in his beautiful office, in his scrubs (working pjs he calls them) with a huge window where he can see the deer eat grass in our front yard! Literally! ME… on the other hand, not having a job outside of the home for several years had to do something to get OUT of the house, so I went back to school for fun! Yeah, yeah, I know…I’m weird, but I took Acting classes, Theater Appreciation and this semester I have Photography and Developing Motion Pictures which is WAY cool! Get to watch movies in class and analyze them. Life is pretty good! I wish you blessings, and success and peace my friend! 😀

  19. Wow – you’re one speedy resolution resolver!!! I’m so excited and happy for you. That sounds fantastic, for all three of you, and the fruition of much hard work and planning that now pays off. Enjoy! Thanks for the hint, I’m not the biggest fan of housework either. What’s the easiest way to spot an eligible guy with OCD?! Hugs, H xxx

  20. Hi Michael,
    Your announcement certainly came as a surprise to me . . . . have you considered playing poker as a future career?? I am so proud of all your accomplishments to date, and can’t wait to see all the new things you will tackle in 2015. I’m available for laundry issues as they come up, however, I DON’T IRON! Wishing you much success in all you projects.
    Aunt Elaine

Join the conversation! We're all friends here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: