A Day in the Life: September Edition

It is that time again, Saturday morning when everybody is still asleep (or in J’s case, gone to work, poor man) and I can think about posting to this blog. I have taken my computer to the little mudroom/summer breakfast nook off our kitchen and am looking out at a grey sky and the canopy of grape leaves that shelter our picnic table. Th iron that Jeremy hung from the lamp is swinging in the breeze. If you look closely, you can see the dragonfly lights lost inside the lush foliage.

View from my window

I am thinking of the month of September and trying to remember how every year I am faced with the same problem- I am too busy to do anything but work and keep children alive (which admitteldy is getting easier as they can do a lot by themselves). September is a month of meetings, of registering children for activities, for getting the machine that is our family back to full steam. My writing time is always the first to be sacrificed on the altar of daily obligations. Reading is next. I know this level of busy-ness is self-inflicted, that it will end, but I can’t help feeling a certain sense of panic.

What if this is all there is? What if this is all I am?

I spend my days cataloguing books. Barcoding them. Running around making lists for teachers. Haranguing students about the importance of taking care of their books. By the end of the day what I have accomplished is large if you look at the task, but minimal in terms of its impact on humanity. I can see it now- when my children are old and I am long dead, they will sit around the kitchen table and regale their own children with my exploits. They will say things like, “Oh your grandmother could paste a mean barcode on a book. She brought textbook management into the 20th century at her work  (even though she was working in the 21st)! She was an expert list maker and could check things off her to do list like it was nobody’s business. And oh my, how she could nag!”

No, you do not have permission to write this on my tombstone.

And then this morning, as I was meandering through my weekly social media path, I came across this awesome song by one of my most favouritest bands in the whole wide world, Nomeansno:

And it pretty much summed up how I feel in September.

So, in honour of the September grind, I am going to do another day in the life post- something I have not indulged in for a while now.

5:00 am

Radio blares on. It is CBC running a BBC science show as regular programming hasn’t actually begun. Lay there half asleep while they are talking about neurons.

5:15 am
Actually get out of bed. Go to the bathroom. Try not to look at myself in the mirror. Mirrors are evil. Pour myself some coffee I programmed to start percolating at 5:00. Drink some hot water and lemon.

5:20 am
Sit myself at my computer. Check the weather.  Because I am so busy at work these days, spend my writing time writing a letter to my father-in-law. I got into the habit of writing him an email everyday last year when he was in the hospital. I enjoy writing them and I think he enjoys receiving them, so the practice continues.

6:00 am
Spent too much time writing the letter so have to make due with only a half hour run. This has been happening too often lately and I am feeling the effects. A little more aggressive when I get home. More impatient with the kids. Make mental note to go to bed earlier. Devil in my head reminds me that I have been saying that for years now and still haven’t managed it. Petulant child in my head sticks its tongue out at devil and retorts that it is never too late.

6:35 am
Get back from run. Quickly throw blueberries and yogurt in a container. Pack the lunch I made the night before.  Shower, dress, braid stupidly long hair that I have to find the time to cut. Brush teeth.

7:00 am
Run out of house to catch the metro. Wave to the newspaper guy handing out the free metro news flyer. He has stopped trying to hand me a copy as I never take one (I have a book!). Instead he smiles in recognition and waves. It is nice. Get to the platform seconds before the train pulls up. Make sure my book is out before train comes. Find a seat or a suitable place to stand and read until my stop. Position myself at the door so I can run out as soon as the train arrives. I have already strategically placed myself at the exact door that opens right onto the stairs. As soon as the door opens I quickly make it up before the throng.

I hate being in a throng. I also hate walking behind people who walk slower than me.

7:16 am
At bus stop. Bus pulls up and the bus driver with the frog baritone says hello. I say hello back. He sings out the names of each stop as we climb the hill. I read.

7:30 am
Get to work. Don’t stop until 1:30 pm.

1:30- 1:45 pm
Eat lunch quickly.

1:45-5:00 pm

5:00 pm
Walk home. I walk across the mountain. Sometimes I listen to an audiobook. Sometimes I need to not listen to anything.

6:00 pm
Get home at about the same time as J. Start thinking about dinner. Go to store and get ingredients. Start cooking.

7:00- 8:00 pm
Eat dinner. Talk about our days. What was the best part of the day? the worst? Learn anything new?

8:00 pm
Clean up. Kids have showers/do homework. Parents sign things. Plug in new activities in calendar. Practice piano for a few minutes. Make lunches. Program coffee.

8:30 pm
Make sure the kids are in bed. They read for a while. Used to read to C but haven’t gotten back in the habit yet.

9:00 pm
Sit down on couch with a glass of whiskey. Watch a show. J falls asleep. I want more whiskey.

10:00-11:00 pm
Got to bed. Try to read. Mostly fall asleep at first page.

And repeat.

The night routine is frequently interrupted by obligations at work which keep me at school until 8:30, or meetings at C’s school. If I am lucky, I go out for a drink with a friend after work, but not often. This week it was interrupted by voting.

The morning routine is always the same.

Is this all there is? Is this all I am?

These questions haunt me.


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