Things finally feel like they’re back to normal.

As much as I enjoyed the holidays, this year they really messed up my normal rhythm. I’m a creature of routine and habit and since mid-December things have really been off.

December is a chaotic and weird month. As a reporter, it’s the month that requires the most amount of planning.

People are off for the holidays, but often take more than just Christmas Day. The job grinds to a halt.

For the early part of December, in between my regular meetings and photos, I was working for the new year. Like a squirrel readying for winter, I was stockpiling stories that could fill the paper when the holidays started.

Getting ahead wasn’t the hard part. The actual challenge of the holidays was getting the paper out. Because The Missourian wanted to give its employees Christmas  Day and New Year’s Day off, so that meant we had to alter our production schedules.

Not to bore you with the details, but we normally produce papers on Tuesdays and Fridays. For the holidays, production days got shifted to Thursday and Monday. It was weird.

I’ve been at the paper for five years now and 99 percent of the weeks run on the same schedule. When we alter it, my brain forgets how to work.

The normal flow of the week is all broken up and, I’ll be honest, I forgot what day it was multiple times.

One Wednesday, I emailed a co-worker with the subject line “Happy Thursday.” It was not a joke.

I came home from work on the Friday before Christmas not knowing when the holiday was. I still had to finish my shopping and honestly wasn’t sure if I had just one day to shop or several. I felt pretty dumb.

The end of December was the toughest. The Thursday after Christmas, I got stuck in a confusing conversation because I kept asking about “last week” when I meant Monday as in three days prior.

The fog was finally lifted last week on Wednesday. I came into the office and noticed it seemed like everyone else was back to work, too. City hall was hopping and the square around the courthouse was packed with cars like a normal workday.

Without having a Thursday press deadline, I was able to go back to my normal routine. It was a relief.

While no one looks forward to Monday, it was nice to get agendas for board of aldermen meetings again. I felt good to be on the familiar path.

Filing Update

Speaking of the board of aldermen, filing for the board, mayor’s seat and school board closes soon. By the time this paper hits the newsstands, interested candidates will have less than a week to file for office.

Right now the April municipal election ballot looks like it’s going to be short. The only contested races so far are for mayor and Ward 2 alderman. I’ve been trying to urge a friend of mine into running for school board (not in Union), not because I think the current board is doing a bad job, I just think my friend would do a great job.

There are a lot of smart people just sitting on the sidelines. These municipal elections may seem small and it’s not like it’s a stepping-stone to the White House, but they are important.

I don’t have anything against the candidates who have had already filed, I just think democracy works better when more people take an active role in things. This is where I will put in my public service announcement that if you’re thinking about running for office, now is your chance.