Friday, June 1, 2018

So Much To Do, So Much Time To Do It

The snowbirds are gone.  School is out.  The temperatures brush up against triple digits.  Tucson in the summer is slow.

There is very little traffic on the roads, but that doesn't stop people from driving poorly.  When did it become acceptable to slow down blocks before the red light, tooling along in the left lane at 25 miles an hour?  Today's major offender wasn't even driving a Prius.  I was late, she was slow.  I kept my outrage in check, although with some difficulty.  After all, it's summertime and I have very few Must Do's on the calendar.

#RedForEd has morphed into #InvestInEd and the meetings keep happening.  I took on a few assignments, and spent the early afternoon driving up and down Oracle Road to accomplish them.  I added in REI for a high school graduation gift, the bank to fund further adventures, the library, and a few random don't forget the.... items.  The afternoon stretched out in front of me.  Not Kathy and Scarlett are out of town, Amster is working hard, TBG had a doctor's appointment - all my usual suspects were unavailable to amuse me.  

I stretched out those errands for as long as I could.  I reminded myself of G'ma.

Summer after freshman year, home in early May after protests closed Cornell early, I offered to do all the housework and errands for G'ma, who was still working.  Her smile lit up the kitchen.  I took notes as she listed all that was needed.  I dropped her off at work, took her car, went to the bakery and the fish store and the butcher and the dry cleaner and the grocery store and the fruit market.  I mailed the mail at the post office.  

I was home by 10am.  There was nothing left to do but clean.  I ran the vacuum, emptied the dishwasher, fluffed the pillows, swept the kitchen floor after wiping down the counters, and checked the mailbox.  

It still wasn't noon.  There was so much to do, and so much time to do it.... and I was done.

I read a lot that summer, between my job as a Day Camp Counselor, babysitting, and doing the errands.  By July, I was totally flummoxed.  How did she manage to make that work last all day, before circumstances required her to return to the workforce?  Finally, I asked her.

"You don't do them all at once, honey.  You go out, come home, put stuff away.  You go out, pick stuff up, come home and cook it.  You go out, get the kids, take them places, come home, and feed them.  You make everything its own adventure."

Turns out she knew when her librarian would be free to chat, when the butcher wasn't busy and could cut her the exact piece of brisket she desired, when the fish store unpacked the freshly delivered chests of ice packed swordfish and salmon.  She kibbitzed. She met friends and acquaintances. She examined the shelves.  She made the mundane a source of pleasure.

She missed that when she went back to full time employment.  Her spare time became precious.  My offer to run errands gave her time to read again, to garden, to sit on the swing in the backyard and just be.  I never learned to stretch those errands out to cover the whole day, but I did learn to find joy in the everyday.

And now, home before 2, post written, chores finished, errands run, I am done for the day.  Time to take a book into the shade and, once again, become my mother.


  1. In retirement, I have become your mother. I try to have one "adventure" a day. Some days I just stay home and do some housework or gardening (my least favorite tasks). Today, I have managed to schedule two "adventures" and it's making me crazy! How can I do that much??!!


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