Monthly Day Off

Once a month, I work on a weekend. We all gotta do it, on a circulating schedule decreed by our masters at the newspaper. On a week that you work a Saturday or Sunday, you get a weekday off to compensate.

So once a month, I get a single day off work, with no kid. He's at school, and the paper just has to manage without me. It's my mental health day, or so I always think of it. Of course, it's crammed full of Stuff To Do, so it's not exactly restful. Sometimes I think of it as my Other Life Day, in which I get a brief look at what my life would be like as a full-time freelance writer instead of a full-time reporter/full-time mom/half-time writer/full-time juggler. Juggling in a house of cards, that's my favorite analogy.

It goes roughly like today:

7 a.m. Alarm goes off. Smack it into submission.
7:20 a.m. Haul ass out of bed and kick child into motion.
7:30 a.m. Shower.
8 a.m. Yell at child for not being ready.
8:25 a.m. Take child to bus stop. (So far, same as a normal day.)
8:30 a.m. Child gets on bus.

8:35 a.m. Relax with cup of tea and laptop, to read email and blogs in calm and peace.

9:30 a.m. Turn on Book Playlist and work on the book.

11 a.m. Prepare chicken for crock pot. Realize don't have all the ingredients. Consider and reject mad dash to grocery store. Too hot. Make due with what one has.

11:30 a.m. Check email and blogs again.

noon - Venture out into world with good intentions of running errands. Drop by office for potluck party - hey, free food, and it's a worthwhile celebration.

1:15 p.m. Drive past three grocery stores muttering that I really don't need most of the stuff on the list yet.

1:30 p.m. See the new bookstore in town is finally OPEN. Drop in to smell books. Run quick check in mystery/thriller, horror and romance. Realize they are NOT carrying your books. Yet.

2 p.m. Return home, not having gone to the grocery store. Laptop stares accusingly. Kitchen smells vaguely of chicken. Lie down for "brief rest" because it was frakking hot out there.

4:30 p.m. Awaken from "brief rest" and realize you really must have needed that nap and therefore should not be feeling guilty about it.

4:45 p.m. Check email and blogs. Nothing much has changed. Go to make corn muffins for dinner and realize you really DID need milk.

5 p.m. Start writing silly blog entry about your exciting day as a full-time writer.


Now my prediction as to the rest of the day:

6 p.m. Retrieve child from afterschool program. Wait through excited tales of the day before telling him I have a surprise for him.

6:15 p.m. Pull up to new bookstore. Listen to boy squee. Take him inside and resign self to purchase of at least one book.

6:45 p.m. Mull that all we REALLY NEED is milk, toilet paper and beer. Consider that I could buy that at the convenience store for only twice what the grocery store would charge. Reconsider that grocery store is almost literally next to the bookstore. Tune in for result of internal debate.

7 p.m. Return home. Make corn muffins while chicken theoretically finishes cooking. Do dishes.

7:30 p.m. Serve dinner. At the table. On plates. With glasses full of milk. Wait for child's jaw to drop.

8 p.m. Order child to shower. Then back to shower to shampoo this time. Then back to bathroom to brush his fangs.

8:15 p.m. Book time. Almost finished with CHARLOTTE'S WEB. Prepared for the sniffles.

8:30 p.m. Boy goes to bed.

8:45 p.m. Pour beer and check email and blogs again.

9 p.m. Get back to work on the book.

11 p.m. Wrap up for the day. Put away leftovers. Collapse in bed.

Not so bad, right? Except, um, much of the day is taken up with silly stuff having nothing whatsoever to do with the book, right? And then there's that To Do List of Doooom that got totally ignored. And the fact that I might go totally insane from the lack of adult conversation by the fourth day.

And how much I'd miss the news. Just that brief time I was in the office, and I was checking the wire. Sue me.

But it might beat juggling in a house of cards. Oops, time to arrange child care for Saturday.


  1. 11 a.m. Prepare chicken for crock pot. Realize don't have all the ingredients. Consider and reject mad dash to grocery store. Too hot. Make due with what one has.
    This may have something to do with the disappointing results, although I really don't know.

    Your day sounds much like mine ... most of mine! At least you have the reasonable excuse that it's a mental health day. Sometimes that means forgetting or ignoring the lists and going to the bookstore instead of the grocery store.


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