The Totem Pole
new summer hours went into effect this week.
Basically we'll be
working a 9-9-9-9-4 schedule from now until September: chained to our
desks from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, then
released on Fridays at noon.
Although this will be my
third summer working for the TPC, this is the first year that they've
attempted to juggle our summer hours around this way. As is usually the
case whenever a big change is announced, there are people who are happy
about the new schedule ... people who couldn't care less about the new
schedule ... and people who feel compelled to make a big noisy stink
about the new schedule.
I fall somewhere between
groups #1 and #2, I guess.
I'm not thrilled by the
idea of spending ten interminable hours every day in a place I loathe,
doing stuff I am not even remotely interested in for people I can
barely tolerate most of the time. It's like being in ninth grade
again. Plus, this plays serious
havoc with my journal-writing / bike-riding / hanging-out
... plus this means I'll
have to start taking the fudking BUS
home again on Fridays ...
... but ask me again
tomorrow afternoon how I feel about the new summer hours, and I'll
probably have a different answer for you entirely.
* * * * * *
In the meantime -- as I
watch my available free time slowly shrivelling away to nothing -- I am
forced to continue re-evaluating what is and isn't important to me.
When you've only got a certain number of hours available every day to
do the things you want to do/need to do -- as opposed to
to do -- then it makes sense to pare your "Want To Do/Need
To Do" list
down to the absolute necessities.
Which is what I've been
doing again today.
Here are the imperative,
non-negotiable, Want To Do/Need To Do items on my list ... the things
that I absolutely MUST find time for. I'm not including the obvious
stuff, like meals or sex or Saturday afternoon naps. Those are givens.
But these are the priorities that must remain
priorities ... even if I have to kill somebody in order to make sure
Critical on a bunch of different levels: a fitness level, a personal
motivation level, a spending-time-with-David level. A minimum of
three nights a week -- Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for
six miles or
sixty minutes, whichever comes first -- plus *Big Rides* on
and Sundays. (This Saturday morning we're shooting for my first
I don't care if I have to pay somebody else to come in here and write
the fudking thing FOR me: *FootNotes* goes on.
Besides the afore-mentioned Saturday afternoon nap, it is
critical that I maintain my regular 9:30 p.m. - 5 a.m. sleep schedule,
this next month or so. I'm crabby when I don't get enough sleep. I look
like I'm collapsing inward when I don't get enough sleep. I get sick
more easily when I don't get enough sleep. I'm not an effective
parent/SecraTerri/fiancee/journal-writer when I don't get enough sleep.
Plus there are no groovy *Wedding Anxiety Dreams* when I don't get
enough sleep, and right now, the *Wedding Anxiety Dreams* are pretty
much the backbone of the journal.
Self-explanatory: otherwise I'm likely to end up
with two maids-of-honor in halter dresses.
On the other hand, these
are the things that I can probably manage to live without for the next
little while -- or at least significantly cut back on
-- just until
life slows down and things morph back to normal:
It's all re-runs and "Fear Factor" right now, anyway. One of the very
few times in my life when I'm actually glad
we don't have cable.
When you live in a four hundred square foot apartment --
and half of
that square footage is given over to record collections and
ironing becomes a Very Big Deal. It necessitates moving all sorts of
stuff around, just to make room for the ironing board ... it requires
temporarily re-routing foot traffic ... it means stretching an
electrical cord across the room at a dangerous and inconvenient angle
... etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah. Plus it wastes valuable *time and
Plus I hate ironing.
Pulling stuff out of the dryer immediately -- or hand-washing and
drip-drying, thereby avoiding the laundry room and the ironing board
altogether (or just going out and buying new clothes every two or
three days) is definitely the way to go here for a while.
This is the one that hurts. (And, if I'm not extremely careful and
diplomatic here, this is the one that's going to get me in
Please continue to send me fun, uplifting, supportive e-mail.
it almost as soon as it lands in my mailbox, probably ... I'll
enjoy it to pieces ... I'll immediately forward it to David/to my
mom/to the appropriate government agencies, whenever applicable ... and
I'll lovingly and reverently file it away in my absurdly-organized *To
Be Answered* file, as soon as I've finished reading it and enjoying it
and forwarding it.
it that might be a little bit of a problem for a while.
How many times can I type my own name into a search engine, anyway?
*Junk-reading* is out. ("His
& Hers Style Secrets of the Stars:"Brad
prefers suits by Dior designer Hedi Slimane, while Friends star Aniston
favors understated Prada and Calvin Klein").
If I can't eat it raw (apples, baby carrots, cereal) ... or if it isn't
a no-brainer (baked potatoes; those little wooden Lean Cuisine
"pizzas") ... OR if it isn't lovingly hand-crafted for me by the
cheerful counterpersons at the Marina Village Subway
Sandwich Shop ... then I'm going to
have to pass on it for right now.
I have no fingernails these days anyway.
time *on hold.*
If they can't answer my question/solve my problem/provide my account
information within the first twenty seconds of the conversation ... OR
if they have to summon a "supervisor" to assist me ... OR
if they expect me to listen to twenty-four minutes' worth of "I Shot
The Sheriff" while I wait ... then I'll just have to send them an
e-mail instead. (Except that I don't have time for e-mail,
Forty-four days from now, I will be a married woman once again.
Forty-four days from now, the wedding will be history, and David and I
will be on our honeymoon, and all of the hoopla and folderol and
headaches will be over with. (The CREDIT CARD BILLS, on the other hand,
will have just begun. But that's another story for another day.)
Forty-four days from now, I'm going to look back on all of this and
laugh, I swear to god I will.
So it just doesn't make sense to me to
spend these next forty-four days stressing over buffet menus and bridal
shoes and whether or not "Spruce Green" is the same thing as
*FootNotes* Green (it's close enough, to my eye).
Stressing is NOT
a good look for me.
Stressing is NOT
a big bunch of fun.
Plus if I'm stressing,
that means I'm NOT
experiencing all of the other groovy emotions I should be experiencing
right now, like joy, and
anticipation, and blind shrieking OhmygodwhatamIDOING?
terror in the middle of the night ... as well as pure undiluted
whenever I think about spending the next thirty or forty years
partnered to my very best friend.
So stressing --
television, and ironing, and lengthy e-mail replies, and ego-surfing,
and junk-reading, and cooking, and fingernails -- is off
the Need To
Do/Want To Do List. At least, for a while.
One of my fondest hopes,
of course, is that someday my "Want To Do/Need To Do" list and my "Get
PAID To Do" list overlap slightly more than they do right now.
But in the meantime ...
I'm paring it down to absolute necessities.