Sunday, October 18, 2009
And a voice from the heavens bellowed..."LOWER YOUR STANDARDS"
OH - MY - GOD! I had no idea. I sort of did, but not really. My first week of full-time work is behind me and I am in serious shock. I knew it would be a big adjustment going from running my own show to being accountable to a "boss", but what I hadn't counted on was how little time would be left over for my life outside of work. How do all you women who work full-time ever get anything done??? In a mere five days, my life as I once knew it vanished. I had no time for my family, no time for my house and no time for myself. I spent the week immersed in a learning curve that took up 12 hours of my day. That includes getting ready for work, driving to work, working, and then driving home from work. Terrific! After that I had a whopping 4 hours before collapsing into bed just to do it all over again the next day. Two of those hours were spent cooking, eating and cleaning up after cooking. After that I spent approximately one hour planning wardrobe, food and other details for the following day for myself and my daughter and my husband. The remaining hour was spent doing various things like reading, watching TV, grooming, laundry and ironing. This cannot be happening to me. When am I to play tennis, power-walk, exercise, shop, run errands, go for a massage or a pedicure, or socialize? Maybe I am a lousy time manager I started to think. In my defense, I was under the weather with a virus all week, so my normal energy level was low. But I got to thinking, I was going to have to make some changes if I was going to survive this new way of life. And today, it came to me like an epiphany as I was folding the third load of laundry on my "day off". LOWER YOUR STANDARDS! It was like a voice from the universe. It was so loud and so clear, it made me wonder why I hadn't thought of it already. As I pulled six pillowcases from the dryer, the voice got louder and louder. Normally, I would toss the pillowcases into the "iron" pile. I like my pillow cases ironed, the cotton is softer afterward and I have a wee anal thing about how nicely they look all folded and stacked in nice piles in the linen closet. "Hmmm, " I thought, "is this really necessary?" Will anyone in my family die if the pillowcases are not ironed? I reached into the "iron" pile and pulled them out and started folding them. Forget the ironing, they would be fine the way they were. I had just effectively "lowered my standards". Then I started thinking about all the other ways I could eliminate chores and tasks I once had time for, but were not entirely necessary. I won't carve pumpkins for Halloween, I'll just plug in one of those fake electric ones. I won't fill vases with fresh flowers or bowls with fruit, I'll use fake ones. (OK - not the flowers - I just can't go down that road, but the fake fruit looks pretty convincing these days) I will reduce ALL ironing to the absolute minimum and the whole family can look a bit rumpled - who will notice? I will start buying pre-washed and torn lettuce (oh yeah - I already do that) and I will try those little packets of already sliced and diced veggies. I will hire a lawn service to cut the grass, a gardener to clean up the flower beds and rake the leaves and get my cleaning lady to come every week, instead of every other week - one week for cleaning, the next for ironing and laundry. Now I was on a roll. I will use the treadmill while I am watching my one hour of TV and kill two birds with one stone. I will enlist my daughter to start doing more chores - a long overdue notion anyway. I may have to play more singles tennis rather than doubles as getting four together is harder work than finding one partner and it will have to take place either super early in the morning or late in the evening. I will never again venture into my daughter's room to gather laundry. Eventually she will run out of clothes and do something about it....that is my hope. I will hire someone to string up the Christmas lights, put up a fake tree, buy ready-made urn inserts and shop on-line for the gifts. I will become the anti-Martha. It was never possible to compete with her in the first place, now I have an even better excuse. I will book standing appointments for hair, nails, massage, naturopathy and mine and my daughter's other assorted health care visits for early mornings on my days off and maybe, just maybe, all of this will give me enough time leftover for writing my blog, writing my novel and reading. Now I just need to figure out if I will have any money leftover after I start paying people to do everything around here. The windows need washing, the car needs detailing, the living room needs painting.....the list goes on. Let's hope the new job feeds my need to be creative - that could make it worth the sacrifices. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I'll be "lowering my standards". So - get used to it. Martha has left the building.