Thursday, May 23, 2013

Third Year, Week Five - Managing Time.....

It's trash day.  Trash, recycling and miscellaneous out to the curb no later than 7 AM or we'll miss the pick-up, and that, I can assure you, would not be a good thing.

It's pool season, or it will be next week.  The pool needs to be cleaned, pH balanced, and backwashed.

It's almost summer.  The lawn needs mowing and the yard and porch furniture needs to come out.

It's Memorial Day weekend.  We usually go camping, set up things for friends and family, and generally plan a good time.

It's time to plant the vegetable garden.  Ordinarily that would have been done last weekend.

I obviously have a few obligations:  A chronically ill child, a mom with dementia, a home, and a job that tends to use up all of my free time.  Hubby made an unexpected trip to Florida to help his older sister, who fell and broke her leg.  He's been gone nearly a week and has a week to go.

Every single thing on the above list except the garden usually falls into the "honey do"  category.  He is the trash man, the pool guy, and the camp packer.  I'm the cleaner, pet-carer, gardener and dementia-problem solver.  This week, needless to say, has had its special challenges.  In order to take a weekend off I need to find someone to check in on Mom at least twice daily, someone to take care of the pets, and a campsite and all the stuff needed to make a camping weekend work.  In order to not be inundated by trash, I have to remember when to put it out and still find time to be the one who collects the trash on the inside of the house.  And in order to keep the pool on its spring-clean schedule, I have to try to remember all that Hubby tried to teach me in three minutes about how to run the pool filter.  And then there's work, job, friends, church and grandchildren.

I've pared my life back quite a bit.  No extra work hours.  No choir.  Very few obligations outside of my home that I can't cancel at the last minute if need be.  But these extra little kinks just keep rolling in.

My older brother generously offered to come for a weekend and help with Mom.  I asked if he could come Memorial Day so we could go camping and not worry.  Well.....since then he did make a trip up here, the weekend Mom moved.  He discovered that his awesome electric car takes 12 hours (driving plus recharging) to travel the 3 1/2 hr trip.  He's likely thinking that he won't be coming up too often. 

Things get done.  Not always efficiently, not always in as timely a fashion as usual, but they get done.  Mom's good friend has volunteered to stay with her this weekend and mind the pets.  Babygirl has agreed that camping can wait for another weekend, and we're going to go visit Grampa.  Paperwork is done, the house looks reasonably tidy especially since Babygirl has taken up some extra household slack this week.  We'll leave Saturday instead of Friday.  We'll maybe shop for plants tonight and see about garden layout and seeding as time permits.  I'll maybe vacuum the pool on Saturday morning in the cool of the day.  The porch has an umbrella and some chairs, and the rest can wait.  The laundry is done.

I've joked about "mindfulness" in the past, but it is a good discipline.  Keeping my mind from leaping like a cricket from on item on the to-do list to another is a skill I am finally beginning to master.  Making the to-do list is actually part of the process.  Listing what needs doing, setting priorities and following those priorities is a good stress reliever.  I don't need to deal with the garden until I've managed the paperwork.  I don't need to do the paperwork until I've confirmed that someone is coming to take care of Mom this weekend. I don't need to rush and leave on Friday if it gives me more freedom from stress to cross off a few more things.  I don't need to deal with the 10th thing on the list until I've handled the 9th.  Focusing fully on the task at hand takes off most of the pressure.  Sure, sometimes I feel like mindfulness is just a way of slamming the lid on Pandora's box.  Absolutely, that cricket in my head just keeps hopping some days. 

Today is not one of those days.  I am at rest.


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