Thursday, April 06, 2006

What I did SERIOUS detail

Sheryl at Paper Napkin invites her readers to blog the minutiae of an entire day on the 6th of each month. This is the first I've been aware of it, and luckily for all of us, today provided plenty of Day-in-Jen's-Life fodder. If it'd been yesterday I might have skipped it.

Be warned: This is long. Very long. It's stunning how much can be written about a regular day of errands and E-mail. You might want to go get a snack before we get into this. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay then:

5:04 am - Wake, check clock, review day of week and status of day. It's a school day, the kids are home, must wake up at 6:00. Enjoy fact that it's not yet time to get up. Reprogram brain for 6:00 wake up call.

6:00-ish am - Wake again, check clock, recognize again that it's a school day. Begin wake up process: Thursday. Robin needs to wear her gym uniform and take her recorder to school. Joanna is coming to clean the house. Remember to call Joanna and pick her up after going to the gym.

6:10 am - Kids wake up, come into my bed.

6:21 am - Time for me to get up. Kids want to stay in bed but don't want to forgo the all-important ritual of holding my hand when I first go downstairs. Inform them that they must get their school clothes laid out if they want to be able to go downstairs when I do. (We got home late last night so they didn't lay their clothes out before going to bed.)

6:23 am - Boot kids out of my bed so I can make it.

6:25 am - Open curtains, make bed, put on flannel shirt over shorts & t-shirt worn as pajamas. Turn on radio, unplug cell phone ("Charge Complete"), open north-facing curtain in girls' room. (West-facing window tends to have builders directly outside of it--here on the second floor--so that curtain stays shut until the girls are dressed or, sometimes, all day.)

6:30 am - Ready to go downstairs, but Julia is barefoot & Robin is still wearing yesterday's school socks. Send both girls to get something on their feet.

6:33 am - Fish Julia out of her closet, find that she has in fact gotten slippers on. Take both girls' hands at head of stairs. Walk down stairs. Let go of girls' hands at foot of stairs. Wonder why this is such a big deal and be grateful that the at least the daily struggle over who gets to be on the right-hand side has abated been effectively quashed.

6:35 am - Uncover parrot cage, open cage door, open front curtains, unlock front door.

6:37 am - Pour corn flakes into two Sponge Bob Squarepants bowls, open new bag of raisins & sprinkle over corn flakes, pour milk into two plastic Teletubbies mugs. Call kids for breakfast.

6:40 am - Wash up the bulk of the dishes sitting in the sink because it's really not Joanna's job to wash two days' worth of cereal bowls and noodle pans.

6:55 am - Robin is done eating. Send her to dress, brush teeth, brush hair, make bed, put pajamas away. Julia finishes shortly thereafter. Send her to do the same. Fix usual breakfast of granola with extra raisins, forgoing the bananas, which are too green. Pour large glass of water. Put coffee on. Appreciate that both girls are done eating so I can enjoy a good book (Simple Jess by Pamela Morsi) over breakfast.

7:00 am - Julia screams/cries/whines. Yell up the stairs that Robin is to leave whatever room she is in and accomplish the remainder of her morning rituals without, at any time, occupying the same room as Julia.

7:10 am - Remember that the girls' lunches & snacks have not yet been packed. Pull out last night's pizza (as planned), cut with kitchen scissors to fit into faux-Ziploc reusable plastic tubs. Toss in small apples as the snack fruit, raisins as the lunch fruit, package of microwave popcorn to round out lunch & as once-a-week special snack treat for the girls.

7:20 am - Realize that, with the washing machine out of commission, there are no clean shorts to wear to the gym. Check odds-on favorite alternate shorts and discover two inconveniently located bleach holes (from cleaning Lisa's bathroom once upon a long-ago visit). Look at other shorts. Dispair.

7:21 am - Consider Alex's shorts. Two out of three gym-type shorts are actually mens' bathing suits. Try on the third one, which fits but is badly stained. Try on one of the bathing suits. Find, fortuitously, that it fits well and permits a full range of motion despite the...erm...banana hammock aspect of the bathing suit. Experience relief. Experience a momentary high upon discovering clean purple ankle socks that actually kind of match this improvised gymwear. Get dressed. Remember deodorant. Appreciate self for remembering deodorant.

7:24 am - Brush hair, remember that scrunchies Must Be Purchased. Wonder again at how two scrunchies could be lost in one swell foop in one day. Decide to buy scrunchies before going to the gym. Decide that, at a couple of days post-shampoo, a bun might work okay (ie, not slide out becaus of too-clean hair). Make infinity bun. Check out bun in mirror, experience dismay. Check clock, decide "WhatEVER," opt not to re-do bun.

7:27 am - Put Robin's hair in ponytail.

7:28 am - Say "Julia, how is it possible that you are STILL not dressed? I sent you up here to get dressed like 20 minutes ago. If you need help with something, you have to come find me and ask for help, not sit there for 15 minutes Not Getting Dressed." Acknowledge that she did, eventually, get the pants snapped. Switch her shoes to the other feet, tie shoes.

7:32 am - Acknowledge that there will not, in fact, be time to drink coffee before leaving for school. Recognize that there will, however, be time after dropping off kids and before going to gym. Find travel mug on bottom shelf. Rinse.

7:35 am - Give lunches to kids. Break good news about popcorn.

7:36 am - Brush Julia's hair, find yesterdays' ponytail holders in backpack, notice that comb is still upstairs and part her hair with a car key instead. Make two ponytails in Julia's hair.

7:39 am - Wipe parrot poop from tile floor, shove parrot back into cage, shut cage door, wash hands. Get cell phone, water bottle, yesterday's gym towel (never reused one before, but fortunately doesn't seem to smell despite defunct washing machine). Pour coffee into travel mug, add lots and lots o' creamer, bit of vanilla, lament lack of milk.

7:45 am - Complain that kids are blocking door, usher kids outside, exit, shut door but don't lock in case Joanna comes on bus instead of waiting for ride. Open car door, refuse to arbitrate fight over who gets into car first. Unobtrusively observe to make sure no pushing takes place, as this would result in forfeit of bedtime video priviledges.

7:47 am - Tie up dogs. Curse aloud at Scruffy for jumping up and dirtying/scratching bare legs. Unlock gate & push open.

7:49 am - Start car. Fully appreciate that car does, in fact, start. Marvel at how much it has cost to achieve this ability to start on the first try and not stall when backing out of the gate. Notice (again) just how hideously long the grass has gotten. Back out, shut gate, untie dogs, slip back out of gate, lock gate.

7:52 am - Restart car, back into road, head down to school. Take deep breath. Appreciate that we actually have 8 minutes for the 8-minute trip. Say bad things under breath when coffee mug tips over & begins to leak on dash. Wave hello to Ramon the taxi driver on way down hill.

8:00 am - Arrive at school, lift kids over 2-foot-deep drainage ditch, walk them to school gate. Momentarily forget to kiss them goodbye, wonder if they will remember, note that they don't, although Robin does chirp her usual "see you in seven hours!" before heading out of sight. Julia does not look back.

8:01 am - Deep breath. Recall coffee, retrieve it and book from car, walk one block to park, find bench with back to sun, drink coffee, read book. Experience frustration at excessive drips from leaky coffee mug, resolve problem with gym towel.

8:30 am - Check time on cell phone, gather up book & empty mug, head back to car. Cross street and wave hello to Ramon the taxi driver, who is just passing the park.

8:35 am - Decide to skip buying scrunchies, drive 1 mile to gym. Remind self that horrifically difficult spinning classes are just four days a week, and that this is last day for this week. Sigh.

8:40 am - Enter gym to find Abel [ah-BELL], the owner, free to chat. Ask how long it generally takes someone in my general condition to become used to spinning classes. Acknowledge that, while I'm willing to give it a break-in period and don't expect it to be easy, I'm really interested to know how long it should take to be able to at least do most of what the others are doing and, you know, not fall off the bike dead before class is over. Experience pleasant surprise to hear "two weeks" as an answer, this being the second half of the second week. Continue to chat with Abel about fitness goals, how hard spinning really is, gyms, personal trainers, acupuncture, negative energy, personal relationships. Find Abel talkative, but enjoyably so.

9:00 am - Fill water bottle, begin weight routine. Get through about half of the assigned exercises before spinning class. Notice that the Tae Bo instructor, a tall, lithe, muscular, friendly, probably gay black man with long hair in fine braids, is pumping some serious iron and also wearing a tight red outfit that resembles those typical university "Property of" sports shirts, but instead of saying, for instance, "Property of UCLA" or some such, it actually says "Property of Sixty Nine." Giggle to self.

9:15 am - Choose a bike near the front where there is a remote possibility of a breeze from window or door, and where I won't be directly facing anyone else. Adjust seat & handlebar heights, begin pedalling as others select bikes & make adjustments.

9:15 - 10:00 am - Make it through spinning class, sweating buckets but keeping up fairly well, considering it's just the second week. Get a thumbs-up from Abel.

10:00 am - Finish weight routine, remembering partway through about picking up Joanna.

10:20 am - Call Joanna, who has been waiting for a while, pick her up, drive home, waving hello to Ramon the taxi driver on the way up the mountain. Explain to Joanna about the dead washing machine, which contains a thoroughly soaked quilt that has to be dealt with before it rots completely away.

10:30 am - Arrive home, leaving car outside of gate. Turn on computer and radio. Check messages, including one from a customer who is buying a survey instrument from Alex. Remember washing machine, check quilt. Decide it has not mouldered too much, get Joanna to help wring it out a bit and hang it on the line. Suspect that the problem with the washing machine is a slipped or broken belt. Unplug washer and try to unscrew back plate to see if anything is visibly wrong.

10:47 am - Answer phone call from Alex. Assure him that I will immediately check to see if instrument buyer made major bank deposit yesterday as claimed. Hang up phone and head to computer.

10:50 am - Find entire bank website offline. Briefly contemplate reality of third world countries. Appreciate access to online services, but wonder if reliance on them is truly warranted. Check bank website again. Still offline. E-mail Alex that, if the bank doesn't come back online before this afternoon, I will check the balance at an ATM when picking the girls up from school. Hope his PIN number is still in my wallet, because Alex for sure won't remember it. Answer a few quick E-mails.

11:15 am - Return to washing machine. Find longer phillips screwdriver for more leverage, succeed in removing back. Find nothing identifiably wrong with the parts visible inside. Take Joanna's advice and try machine again with a load smaller than a queen-sized quilt. Figure that, even if they must be hand-rinsed, at least there will be clean gym clothes for tomorrow. Start load.

11:10 am - Head back up to computer, experience relief that bank is back online. Verify deposit, notify both Alex & buyer that money has been received.

11:15 am - Feel hungry. Bring yogurt & glass of water to desk and turn to "Computación" section of yellow pages. Start making calls. Find that the call made on Tuesday was not typical, as the shops contacted today deal only in new computers, not used. Get quotes for new CPUs that will be able to handle DSL service. Begin to feel that Tuesday's call was the way to go. E-mail neighbors to ask if they have any suggestions about where to buy computer.

12:05 pm - Recognize that computer shops close for lunch. Find digital camera and start downloading photos taken at quilt show yesterday. Check on washing machine and rejoice that the problem has fixed itself. Move clothes to dryer but don't start the cycle because it would get too hot in the laundry room and Joanna is in and out with her cleaning supplies. Grumble at waterlogged quilt that has snapped the clothesline, fallen to the ground and been traversed by dogs. Wonder if washing it again will re-break the washing machine.

12:20 pm - Marvel at how long it can take to download a measly 100 freaking photos from the digital camera. Check blogs. Discover that Sheryl has declared Friday "Day in the Life" day. Read two of her prior Day in the Life entries and realize it's today, not tomorrow. Feel satisfaction that today has, thus far, provided good fodder for this. Not like yesterday when I was so tired after the gym that I lay around reading a novel & taking a bath for the rest of the day. Although after school we did go to the quilt show. But still. Today is better.

1:00 pm - Finally follow up on multiple announcements to Joanna that I was going outside to clean up the yard. Go outside and clean up the yard. Find fewer branches and rocks than expected, but comprehend just how hideously long the grass has truly grown. Remove clothespins and wind up broken clothesline. Toss into shed. Feel self-conscious about guys building house next door, especially that new one who works with a knitted ski hat and no shirt on, and who (unlike the others) doesn't immediately look away if our eyes happen to meet through the window when I'm sitting at the computer and he's laying cinder block on the second floor of the house they're building next door.

1:15 pm - Feel foolish for letting grass grow so long and therefore resolve, with impeccable logic, not to cut it today. Maybe tomorrow. Wish Elberth was here to cut it for me.

1:20 pm - Drink STRONG coffee Joanna has made, return to computer, rotate any quilt pictures that are sideways, view as slide show to check quality and make sure they are right side up. Fix two that ended up upside down. Read blogs.

2:15 pm - Remind Joanna that we'll be leaving in half an hour. Shower. Reflect on Coconut Lime Verbena creamy body wash, a product I would never have sought out on my own, but which was one of several products I selected when given a Bath & Body Works gift card. Relish the lovely clean coconut scent of the wash and exfoliating properties of the "puff" with which it is applied.

2:20 pm - Notice that the top half of the shower window will need to be glazed when the neighbors eventually build the second house on their lot. Notice in passing that the sky has grown a bit darker than usual, although some blue is still apparent. Think nothing of it.

2:40 pm - Take note that it has begun pouring rain for the first time since last November.

2:45 pm - Appreciate this morning's impulsive decision to leave car outside of gate, meaning that dogs need not be tied up in mud and pouring rain in order to open gate and drive out. Get in car and drive down the mountain and out of the rain. Drop Joanna off for job interview, arrive at school right at 3:00.

3:00 pm - Greeted by Robin, whose first words are "I'm OK, Mommy." Check out and kiss big red scratch running entire length of her forearm. Watch Julia do several "tricks" on the monkey bars. Congratulate accordingly. Head inside to reconfirm vacation schedule for Easter week. Mention computers in passing, get phone number of computer guy to call about replacing CPU.

3:10 pm - Tear children away from friends & monkey bars, herd them out to car. Drive to José & Yolanda's. Hear about the lather-rinse-repeat treatment given to Robin's scratch, conclude (silently) that the extensive washing was because the scratch was from metal. Recall that tetanus is supposed to result from puncture wounds, not ugly but superficial scratches. Decide she'll live.

3:15 pm - Leave Robin to play with new rabbit (I left town for ONE DAY last week and my in-laws bought my children rabbits. Real, live rabbits. Fortunately, everyone involved was clear on the fact that the rabbits will remain at the in-laws' house.)

3:20 pm - Go to store, taking Julia along. Buy smoked chicken-ham (My children like ham. MY children. Like. Ham. [This week]), cheese for cheese cubes (because Robin wants to make a recipe she has learned, which calls for three things: sliced ham, cheese cubes and toothpicks), alfalfa sprouts (to make tortilla roll-ups with ham, cheese, cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts), strawberries (because Julia wants to make her own recipe, which calls for ham, cheese, bread and strawberries), yogurt (for me), and Ramen noodles (for me).

3:55 pm - Return to José & Yolanda's house, try to get Julia to stop crying. Decide to leave when kids' TV show is over at 4:00 but then see José serving them something to drink and Jello to eat. Recognize that we won't be leaving in 5 minutes. Settle into a rocking chair in the sun, chat with José who admits to wanting to go out for dinner tonight rather than tomorrow, since they are not supposed to eat meat on Fridays during Lent. Call Yolanda, who says she'll be home in half an hour. Agree to wait.

4:05 pm - See Robin carrying rabbit by ears. Freak out and make Robin cry.

4:30 pm - Rain begins, phone rings. Yolanda asks for ride home. Drive 1/4 mile to pick her up just as rain begins in earnest. Explain to Yolanda in car that rabbits are not to be carried by ears.

4:35 pm - Return to José & Yolanda's house, expecting to leave for restaurant forthwith. Recall paltry lunch of yogurt and water. Wish it had been followed up, as intended, with slice of leftover pizza.

4:40 pm - See that the other adults are simply not ready to go yet. Sit on couch and watch "Harry y su Cubeta de Dinosaurios" with kids. Try to get Julia to stop crying.

5:00 pm - Sense that adults are ready, turn of television (to chorus of protest), try to herd children toward car. Discover that entire household must wait for Angela to arrive on 5:05 bus. Wait for bus. Tell kids to stop playing with umbrella, making both of them cry.

5:10 pm - Bus arrives one block from house, Yolanda hustles to meet it. Angela dismounts, is escorted with umbrella to house, arrives soaked to skin. Angela must be helped to change, served food and drink, television tuned to station she enjoys.

5:30 pm - Load family into car (Julia crying). Get very very wet. Drive 3 miles home, emerging from rainstorm at halfway point. Julia arrives sound asleep.

5:40 pm - Arrive home, unlock gate, tie up dogs. Appreciate that it is not raining. Curse at Scruffy for scratching/dirtying bare arms and legs despite my death-grip on his collar. Send children and in-laws across street to restaurant.

5:45 pm - Feed dogs, cat, parrot. Close curtains. Check messages. Check E-mail and turn off computer. Change into jeans, get sweater. Get long pants and sweaters for kids. Get kids' pajamas out and turn down their beds. Shovel clean clothes off of my bed and onto nearby shelf to make room for kids when we get home. Check mirror, decide bartender won't care if my bun is a little fuzzy.

6:00 pm - Cross street to join kids & in-laws. Julia is crying and must sit in my lap because she hates the food she has been given (at her request). Order food and a beer and agree to let her sit on my lap until my food arrives.

6:10 pm - Notice that the big screen TV is tuned to Discovery Channel show about UFOs. Try to hear a bit of it, end up attracting Robin's attention. Deal with wide-eyed 7-year-old interest in/fear of aliens for remainder of meal. Order second beer.

7:00 pm - Time to go. Re-cross street, hold Scruffy's collar while kids go up to house. Try to re-lock gate without letting Scruffy loose. Fail. Send kids up to put on pajamas. Lock door, check messages, turn on radio, turn on computer, turn on dryer, write first two lines of this post.

7:15 pm - Phone rings. Chat with Rita for a few minutes, instructing kids in stage whispers and sign language to brush their teeth.

7:20 pm - Hang up phone, get kids into my bed, start video. Get back to writing this post.

7:30 pm - Hear crash followed by frantic crying. Go investigate to find Julia on floor beside bed. Turn off video, comfort Julia, kiss head. Decline to become involved in discussion about whether or not she was pushed. Explain that if so little attention was being paid to the video that a person could fall OR be pushed off of a bed, that perhaps the video isn't necessary at all. Carry Julia to bed. Immediately pursue Julia and carry her back to bed. Carry Robin to bed.

7:40 pm - Leave both kids crying in their beds

7:45 pm - All quiet on the bedroom front.

7:53 pm - Robin calls, can't sleep because she's thinking about aliens. Say, "It's okay to think about aliens." Point out that that people don't leave Earth to go bother aliens, and that aliens also have their own lives and don't need to spend their time bothering people. Yes, but she's still thinking about it. Offer to turn on the light so she can read for a few minutes (Julia is, of course, down for the count). Pass her the Christmas "finding things" book as requested, turn on lullaby tape, return to writing this post.

9:15 pm - Take a bathroom break, turn off lights & music, return to this post.

10:26 pm - Finish this post.

11:08 pm - Finish rereading/proofreading this post. Oh crap. I have to send 25 copies of a note to school with the kids tomorrow. Better write that now.


Dad April 07, 2006 8:12 AM  

The fun part for me is that I can PICTURE all of this, except for the gym. (And Ramon.)

I wonder if anyone else will notice that you appear to have left the in-laws at the restaurant to walk the three miles home in the rain. (Of course I know that you wouldn't drive them home if you had had even a half glass of beer, let alone two. And that they have taxi service there.)


Anonymous April 07, 2006 12:17 PM  

Very nice post. Thank you. I can't wait 'til my girls are older.


CarpeDM April 07, 2006 4:59 PM  

Wow. What a great post. I love the Ramon sightings. That was fun.

I think it is cute that your girls want to hold your hands to walk downstairs. This post reminds me a lot about how my sister and I would constantly fight about everything, including our mother. Kari still refers to Mom as "My Mom" on occasion which usually results with me saying "I believe you mean 'Our Mother?'" And then she giggles.

I have many questions and forsee reading your archives for answers.

Sheryl April 07, 2006 5:23 PM  

"Deal with wide-eyed 7-year-old interest in/fear of aliens for remainder of meal. Order second beer." Those two items together cracked me up! Thanks for sharing your day with us. PS Is your parrot nice? Birds make me nervous (too many Alfred Hitchcock movies, I guess).

Kris April 09, 2006 6:59 PM  

Your post made me laugh! Nice job. How fascinating that you live in Costa Rica. Glad I found your blog.

Laylabean April 09, 2006 8:49 PM  

Thanks for sharing your day. Aren't little girls the best!

lisa April 10, 2006 9:50 PM  

I've been thinking about something lately that I've been meaning to mention to you. It's about how I've turned downright girly when it comes to a shower. I still usually do the 5-minute-in-and-out-look-at-me-I'm-Saving-Water thing. But for an extra special treat now and then I'll savor a good scrub with body wash on a puff. I just feel so extra scrubbed and clean and soft and it smells so good. It's luxurious. (And I circumvent the saving water thing with a little internal it's for me. I'm worth it!.) So when I read your description I thought need to explain.

Poor Robin.

lisa April 13, 2006 9:26 PM  

Oh, and....

You have a housekeeper and go to the gym. Suppitat?

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