Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Paying Attention

Once a month, I try to focus on the details. Here's yesterday.

6:00:  I am awakened by Chuck and am almost immediately bright-eyed.  I go to bed much earlier now, than I used to.  Alarm clocks are forbidden – Chuck wakes me up at whatever time I ask.  I know!  How does he DO that?  I wake up the kids, get the kettle on and Sara joins me to go for the newspaper.  The paper delivery guy is at the mailbox when we get there and hands it straight to me.  Breakfast, sack lunches, dishes. 

7:00:  I get a cup of tea and Chuck’s vitamins ready for him before I leave.  He pulls me in and whispers in my ear that he loves me so much that I make him cry sometimes.  It has been a long time since he has spoken to me in this way, and I carry it with me for the rest of the day. 

7:20:  Out the door and off to school.  The sunrise has not hit the canyon yet; but the Oquirr Mountains on the other side of the valley are pink. 

7:40:  I drop Sara at her middle school and then drive over to the church parking lot from which Nathan’s bus will leave in about 45 minutes’ time.  This has been awkward ever since the divorce.  His school starts more than an hour later than Sara’s.  Do I leave him at home and go back for him?  Waste  of gas and time.  Drop him off at his school?  Too early.  The bus stop is so close that I can see his dad’s house while we sit waiting.  But it isn’t fair to the custody agreement to drop Nate off and have him wait at his dad’s.  We have a routine now:  we both have our books and we read while we wait.  In the coldest part of winter, it sucks and we freeze.  Otherwise, it’s not too bad.

8:20:  Nate sees his friend Ethan headed to the school bus stop and leaps from the car.  They race every morning to see who will lead the bus line.  As soon as he has a companion to wait with, I leave and go to the Rec Center.

8:50:  It’s a fat-burning day!  This means I lounge on the exercise bike, keeping my heart rate at a mellow 114 beats per minute.  At that rate, I can read my book!  For an hour!  YES!  Today, I get a fair amount of ribbing from the peddlers of the other bikes when I drop my book spectacularly (lunging to catch it, missing so that it bounces off my finger tips and goes flying, etc…).  The old guy next to me asks me please to do it again.

9:50:  I’m reluctant to stop reading; but my butt is sore from sitting on the exercise bike – and it’s time for work.  OK…  I drive downtown.  

10:15:  I arrive at work and transform myself from sweaty fat-burner to semi-groomed semi-professional. 

10:30:  Unpack the crate of work I took home over the weekend and start working on phone calls:  Will one sanitation company offer me a lower price than the other to pump Chuck’s sewage holding tank?  Can I persuade any of the commercial radio stations to air a public service announcement, requesting volunteer tutors?  I have been working on one of the local media conglomerates for several weeks, and am finally invited to come to the corporate office to be interviewed by the producer of the X96 morning show, “Radio from Hell”.  I think that the company will probably just interview me and air sound bites in the wee hours of the morning.  BUT!  What if I am really hip and funny and the producer of the morning show is entertained by me?  Could I get some sort of morning show exposure? 

11:00:  Time for e-mail.  The bottomless pit:  teacher licensure questions; meetings to schedule; Thanksgiving food donations; student payments for textbooks;  ordering business cards; following up on broken technology; volunteer recruitment; Sara’s English teacher.  With interruptions to review the latest draft of the rules for our childcare; giving teachers advice about which textbooks to choose; interpreting Spanish / English at the reception desk.  By the time I have finished scaling Mt. E-Mail, it is...

1:30:  OK, the main event for today is supposed to be updating volunteer and student enrollment for the new month.  I start working on that, with breaks in the action to deal with:  someone calling from Brigham City to find out whether there are English classes up there; discussions about how to organize a baby board book lending library for parents.  And could I have my picture taken leaning out of a school bus tomorrow?  Sure.

2:45: A little lipstick.  I know I am backward about this; but I get prettied up before I go home, rather than before I go to work.  I want to look nice when I walk in the door.

2:50:  Time to pick up the kids.  Time for hectic, but of a different sort.

3:20:  Sara and Nate are waiting behind Nathan’s school. Sara’s school lets out earlier, but I’ve told her that she has to walk up to Nate’s school, and that I’ll pick them up together. 

Quick stop at their dad’s house, because Sara can’t find her shin guards, then home.  The house is cozy and welcoming:  my ginger chicken has been bubbling in the crock pot since early morning; Chuck tosses another log in the wood stove.  I have about 30 minutes before I have to go out again, and daylight is at a premium, now; so I head out into the yard, tossing my “dirt coat” over my work clothes.  There isn’t much to do out there anymore:  oiling and stowing tools, coiling hoses.  Little things. 

4:15:  Time to drive Sara to her soccer practice.

4:30:  Drop off Sara and boogie over to Blockbuster.  Chariots of Fire for Monday Movie Night.  Chuck is on a “sports movie” jag.  I get home a little before 5:00.  Just a few minutes to get a bunch of things done.  I kinda simultaneously get rice water boiling on the woodstove, mop the upstairs floors and drill Nate on his spelling.  Chuck keeps his eye on the rice and I leave again at 5:30 to go get Sara. 

5:45:  I pick up Sara and we head home.  Like many thirteen-year-old girls, she is ready to talk about things on her own time frame.  The drive home was spent talking about “cutting” among teenage girls:  “cutters” that she knows; their motivations; the dangers involved.

6:00: Ahhhh…  Supper was so delicious.  Crock pot every Monday!  Talk about a time-saver!  Supper table conversation also get a little edgy:  Aids; condoms; bodily fluids!  Man! Dishes, ice cream.  Chariots of Fire.

Late evening conversations with Chuck about firewood, sewage removal, snow tires, whether or not I am sufficiently pretty for him.  That’s a whole other blog entry…



  1. Enjoying your blog as I work my way backwards, one post at a time.