Friday, October 28, 2011

What to do with 45 minutes?

So today after work I turned down an invitation to go out for happy hour with all my colleagues who I REALLY wanted to hang out with.  But I was already late for my kids and thought it best to head home. Once I was in the car and on the highway, though, I got two phone calls from my kids asking if they could have their own happy playdates, because, "MOM, it's FRIDAY!"  Being the understanding mom I sometimes try to be, I said yes.  Of course, it was too late for me to play. I would have had to turn around, park, try to find everyone, so I just headed home looking forward to 45 minutes of quiet alone time in the house.  What would I do for 45 minutes?  I needed a plan to take full advantage of the precious minutes.  Here was my list of options:
  • Pedicure - no, takes a little longer and I had worn boots
  • Pick up a new set of headphones at Radio Shack- boring
  • Clean the house - NO!
  • Go for a run - not without new headphones
  • Food shopping - not necessary, I can't squeeze one more thing in the fridge for all the left overs
  • Fabric store for Halloween costume - no
  • Work - I really needed to organize all the new information from our daylong meeting and figure out my plans for next week...
  • Make phone calls, check emails - probably
So here's what it looked like:
  • 3:36-3:48  Picked up stranded items from around the house and took to their rightful homes
  • 3:48-3:59  Called to contest the ticket I got from the broken parking kiosk and made a cup of jasmine green tea to keep me calm (Next available hearing date - February!)
  • 3:58-4:01  Changed the laundry (after checking for smell cause I think it was in the washer since 6am)
  • 4:01-4:22  Piled and filed - I find that if I just pile first, it feels like an accomplishment
  • 4:22-4:30  Checked emails and weather reports for tomorrow's sports! 
(Even though they say you can't multitask, I was able to get several things done simultaneously... you get the idea.)
Of course my kids didn't get home until 4:35, but I didn't get to really take advantage of it because I had such short notice!  I was caught off guard.  These moments for a mom come once every six months or so.  It's a random act of the universe and it's almost as shocking as snow in October.  You panic - you think, how will I do this?  What do I need to prepare?  It hit me and I was in a tailspin. 
But I learned something.  I think from now on I'm going to keep a list of 45 minute activities so I'm not caught off guard again.  It will be my secret list and I'll keep it inside the cabinet over the sink in case I ever get stuck there, you know, doing the dishes and not knowing where to go next.  Someday I might find I have a little time to myself and I'll forget what to do again.  It will be like a bucket list of sorts, just shorter and simpler, a bowl list, so I can remember what it's like to have free time - time where I get to do what I want.
So here's my revised list:
  • Stop and talk to my neighbors
  • Take a bath
  • Take a nap
  • Call my friends who I haven't had a real conversation with since summer
  • Draw
  • Write
  • Walk
  • Read
  • Look at one of the magazines I bought for 50 cents at the library to make my coffee table look more like a coffee table 
This is just a starter list, this bowl list, but I'm going to keep adding to it and hopefully I'll find that my bowl time comes a little more frequently, but not too frequently.  I had a great afternoon once my kids got home.  Then I knew what I had to do!

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