My weekday schedule is something of a failed attempt at ye olde work/home life balance:
7AM — wake, shower, dress
7:30AM—head to office (stopping at post office M&Th)
10:20AM–1PM—childcare for Emile/work out/run errands/housekeeping
3:45PM–4:50PM—write (a.k.a. suck down a latte and try to think)
4:55PM—pick up Susanne
5PM—home/make supper/childcare for Emile/pick up 17,238 small toys/crash on couch to a stupid show like House Hunters
If it’s swim class night, spend one full hour packing a diaper bag, wrestling Emile into a swim diaper, heading to gym pool, splashing for 30 minutes with Emile, wrestling Emile out of a wet bathing suit, driving home, getting Emile to bed. If it’s not swim class night, trying to make and eat dinner and clean up while Emile plays, gets a bath, and asks to read 3,844 different books that you’ve already read more than 98,000 times so far (plus or minus 100).
8PM—put Emile to sleep for the night
8:20PM—do best zombie impersonation while watching fucking House Hunters
11PM—finally conk out after making half-hearted attempt to clean up house after supper
I admit it, this is a challenge to sustain. It may actually be as unsustainable as mountaintop removal for mining, or as unachievable as swimming from Walla Walla to the Indian Ocean. I wave my white flag. Wait. I don’t have a white flag. Not one that’s really white, anyway, as most everything made of fabric in our home has some kind of stain on it. So the best I can do is wave a splotchy beige flag, but it’ll have to do.
I am now officially just making the best out of things that I can. I relish Friday afternoons when my office is closed because I’ve got four gorgeous hours of writing time. This also happens to be precisely when every soul I’ve met in Walla Walla wanders in to the place where I’m writing and strikes up a 15-minute conversation with me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a talker, of course. And I love to see friends and acquaintances. ButI dribble away my block of creativity and then kick myself at 4:57. Somehow I’m pushing through, ready to get into the latest and greatest book project in my hopper, but I can tell that little pieces of balance are in free-fall, such as sleeping a good eight-hour stretch at night. Emile “Big Boy” Maroon-Beechey has been waking up lately because he has started dreaming, and it requires a good measure of adjustment. A few nights ago he woke in the morning to tell me that there was a “house, up in the air,” and that he was flying in the sky and really liked it. But last night and the night before (24 robbers came a’knocking at my door) he was upset at having dreamed something, and wanted to be consoled at 3AM.
As soon as I was ready to doze off again in my own bed, two cats had some kind of rough sex incident in our driveway. It went on for 20 minutes, but I am not fool enough to try breaking up a cat fight. I mean, I was when I was 12. Important lesson learned the hard way. Then finally, quiet.
Not long after the quiet, a new urgent sound cut through the night.
“Daaaaaaaady! I need rocking!”
I stumbled to my feet, made my way to Emile’s room, and he sighed when I opened his door. In his tiny voice he squeaked his requests: music (Zero 7), Puddles (the dog), binky, rocking chair. His head was a magnet to my shoulder and he was back asleep in under four seconds.
Daddy, on the other hand, was awake until it was time to get up. I’ve yawned through this Monday.
I checked my cell phone once I was dressed, on my way out the door for work this morning. There was a text from Susanne:
Please buy yourself some Breathe Right strips today
Uh-oh. I asked her if I snored particularly badly last night. She confirmed it was god-awful. I asked if I sounded like I was struggling to breathe.
“Then there would have been periods of quiet,” she answered.
Okay, so maybe I wasn’t the only one having trouble sleeping last night.