I’m trying to get my writing voice back. I have had trouble writing anything that I like ever since my divorce. Once a month, I’m just going to record a day as it happens, in an effort to teach myself to pay attention to what’s happening around me. Will this work?
7:00 – One of my favorite times of the day is right after I wake up. I take the 5 minute walk down the road to our mailbox to get the mail and the morning paper. We love to eat breakfast together; to drink a cup of tea and talk about the news. I eat my honey-nut Cheerois, and then I am off to the dentist. When I was about 6 years old, I chipped my newly emerged front tooth on a piece of playground equipment. It has been repaired for many years, so imagine my shock a couple weeks ago when I woke up and looked in the mirror to find my six-year-old self looking back at me. Shiiiiiiiit! Chuck came to find out what I was swearing about and could not resist a smile. “It’s not funny! Look at me!” “I love your chipped front tooth!” That’s how he is.
8:15- I drive out of Little Cottonwood Canyon and into sunshine. About this time in the fall, Chuck tells me, the sun will no longer reach his house; and it will not be seen coming in the windows again until mid-February. The Canyon walls are steep.
8:30- I visit the office of Dr. Russell, my very warm and personable dentist. I visit with his hygienist, who is getting up at 4:30 in the morning these days to go to Boot Camp fitness training. She will be in the Miss Utah pageant in a couple of weeks. She is about 19 and looks flawless to me, but she says she needs more muscle. They fix my tooth and I listen to her explain the world of $500 evening gowns. This time, hers will be black – her pageant director picked it out for her because of its contrast with her blonde hair. Not her favorite choice.
9:30- After much filing and fitting, I have an even smile again. Because I have a meeting at noon in this part of town, it is pointless to go to the school. I go home (smiling in the rear-view mirror as I go) to do a few chores: make the beds; wash up the breakfast dishes. Then I take a little time in the yard, my happy place. I have enough time to plant some bulbs, mix some compost-maker-stuff into my compost box, surround my new lilac bush with chips from the wood pile. Chuck borrows my car to go to the hardware store. When he comes back he reminds me: only 15 minutes until I have to leave.
I change clothes into something appropriately corporate (Don’t get too excited – even my most ball-busting outfit is…uh…not very ball-busting. The red jacket with the big, padded shoulders? I don’t own one.)
11:40- I drive over to the new Worker’s Compensation Fund building in
. The address I have been given is not
correct. I call one of my colleagues for
12:00- Meeting of the Executive Committee of our school’s Board of Directors. I have been asked to come so I can fill them in on the Adult Education program: how the past year was; problems that I need to solve; goals for the coming year. The meeting is at times tense. I have disagreements with the way our budgeting process was handled last spring. My boss clearly does not want to be having this dialogue in this setting. She is probably mad at me, now. That is bad. I got a chicken salad sandwich and a bowl of pea soup out of it. That’s good. And a cookie. Even better. Almost worth it.
1:00- I exit the meeting, gratefully, when my turn is finished. I drive downtown to
. Guadalupe School
1:30- I get to work. Yesterday, when I was planning this day, I thought I had yet another meeting, up at the university. I mentioned that I might not actually come in to the office, because I would be zooming from meeting to meeting all day. The afternoon meeting was cancelled, though. When I walked into the office, one of the newer members of staff exclaimed, “Hi! I thought you were taking today off!” Two more veteran members of staff, including one who is not well-disposed toward me, both pricked up their ears. Ooooh. Is Kate taking a day off in the middle of the week? Is she being lazy? I had to state (for the record) that there is a difference between taking the day off and not making it into the office.
However, here I am. I send a bunch of e-mails. I put together enrollment reports for the two programs that are currently accepting new students (Here’s how many students you have, here are the ones with missing pieces of paperwork, here are the ones who still need to take tests, here’s how many children were in the childcare last night, etc…).
I call the Catholic church next door. We always rent their hall, which gets more and more expensive every year, it seems. Last year, I was shocked when the price went from $100 to $200. But I found the money and put $200 in this year’s budget. So, when the priest’s secretary told me that this year, the hall rental would be $535 (!!!!!!), I about hyperventilated. She went to talk to Father and pleaded my case (always keep secretaries and cooks on your side). Today she delivered the good news: $285. I’ll still have to find $85, but I am in a better place.
I took a moment to change my address for the purposes of voting. No problem, except that I have to deliver the registration form to the
Office in person within the next few days if I want to vote in this election.
Booger. County Clerk
4:15- I am ready to go home. Lately, home is where I want to be. Home is the place where I have forgotten the shopping list. I call Chuck and ask him if he is near the fridge door. He reads me the list and I leave work.
To Smith’s. Honey crisp apples, salad fixings, a couple of those long lighters for the cook stove, beer, oatmeal, cornflakes.
5:20- Home sweet home. I unpack the groceries and change into my running clothes. I ask Chuck if he wants to go with me. Hmmmm…No, but yes. He puts on his running shoes. It is nippy out. My fingers chill. We do a trail run on the Granite Quarry Trail, and then the Little Cottonwood Trail for about 45 minutes. The trail is steep and rocky. Every week, I do this run with the goal of getting as far up the trail as I did the time before, then an additional 60 paces. I was strong until the last few hundred yards. The trail got really steep and I did my stint, but with that lungs-ripped-out feeling.
6:15- it is starting to get dark when we get back to the house. I put on water for pasta and Chuck kindles a fire in the cook stove. I jump in the shower to thaw out. I wash my hair and shave my legs. After a bit, Chuck arrives with a glass of white wine for me, which he balances on the window sill. “Are you a prune, yet?” I trade places with him and get dressed. Supper is simple tonight: pasta with the pesto I made last week, and salad. We get Scarlett out of her cage and let her hang out with us while we eat. She perches on Chuck’s shoulder for a while, but is attracted to the pasta. She makes her way down, down, down his arm and begins tossing his dinner out of the bowl. “Hey, learn some manners, bird!” I give her some of her own pasta on a little plate. She is very orderly – removes each noodle and lays it out on the table before consuming it an inch as a time. After supper, Chuck does the dishes and I clean up the kitchen. I want dessert, but there isn’t anything. To Smith’s for ice cream? OR to Dairy Queen for ice cream??? Finally, we decide to make cocoa and put Bailey’s in it. Chuck settles down to watch a rugby match on YouTube and I look at the paper for a little while.
I scrub out the kitchen sinks and clean the gunk off the dish drainer. I survey the pantry. It’s a mess: everything thrown in there higgledy-piggledly when we first moved in, and not yet changed. I start organizing it, putting like with like and discovering that my disorganization has resulted in the purchase of multiple bottles of vinegar and jars of chicken bouillon; and somehow we have become the proprietors of 7 bottles of hot sauce. Chuck does not disapprove of the hot sauce, though. In his opinion you need a lot of different kinds: some moments call for
. Come for
Chulula, some for Tapatio. I wash walls in the pantry, too. Chuck calls this “burning sage”. I find myself wondering if I will finally
feel that this is my home, not “Henrietta’s”, after I have cleaned the whole
place from top to bottom? Tabasco
10:00- I get my shit together for the morning and Chuck proposes a soak in the hot tub. We retire to the back yard with another cocoa (for him) and a whiskey (for me). We hang out talking in the hot tub for a long time. This is partly because we are having a talk about our relationship and our future and partly because it is chilly out there and I don’t want to get out! I finally make a run for it and dash to the house and almost directly to bed.