Although Ezra's stillbirth two and a half years ago prevents me from counting chickens at this stage, Laura's impending due date in December has nudged me into a contemplative mood.
One object of contemplation is time. I'm told that my free time is due to take a nosedive come December. I already feel like I'm too short on time. Between a full-time job, my modest almost-weekly scuba diving (three or four hours when it happens), and standard issue home economics (money management, grocery shopping, cooking, and other household management), I have very little free time for projects (like blogging, and writing fiction) and a social life that I consider "important" but which are obviously secondary.
Hardly a day goes by where I don't marvel at someone else's ability to juggle a 50-60 hour a week job, creative projects, social relationships, and a media diet that far exceeds my own. Although I don't feel as though I'm wasting my time anywhere, I don't see how I can't have a minute to spare and others can accomplish so much more than I do.
I have identified two factors working against me: I truly need at least seven hours a night of sleep, if I'm to be mentally effective, and I tend to execute creative projects in time slots of 90 minutes or more. I imagine that most hypercreative busy people can use much shorter time slots, and operate on less sleep.
I'm reminded of several years ago, where many of my co-workers seemed to have endless money to go out, go to concerts, buy clothing, and generally consume broadly if not conspicuously. By contrast, I just didn't feel that I had the money to indulge in all of these things. Where was their money coming from? Sure, some of them were probably digging themselves deep holes of credit, but not all were. Later I realized that I was putting a full 10% of my salary into my 401K, and that perhaps in addition to credit, my colleagues weren't putting aside enough money for a rainy day.
Unfortunately, I'm not "banking" sleep, or if I am, I'm overtaken by inflation and bank fees.
Here's hoping that taking care of an infant will teach me how to be effective on less sleep and work in smaller time increments. (And here's hoping that all goes well enough that this is the problem I want to solve.)
Well, my plans for today more or less fell through, so I'm chilling alone at home. Somehow, the grill on the roof-deck broke just in time for the hottest week of the year, and is still busted. So I'm heating up the broiler, which means for dinner I'm having a salad, quick-pickled zucchini, and a broiled steak. I'll drink a beer, too. Not bad, all told.
I'm definitely enjoying the time and space to myself, which has let me accomplish a bunch of stuff: record-keeping, bill-paying, some housecleaning, some organization. I managed to sort the stuff in my freezer, which is good, and type up what I've written so far of a short story, which is better. All the money stuff is up-to-date, all the dishes are washed and the trash out. It sounds simple, but it's stuff I don't normally have time to do the way I'd like to.
I'd hoped to have a lot more time to do this kind of stuff with Laura out of town, but work calls: nine days, five cities. Tuesday I fly to Boston, where I'll work Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday night I'll take the train down to Connecticut, and possibly work in Greenwich on Friday. It's not unlikely that the customer won't be available, which would give me a three-day weekend just a bit north of New York.
I'll see some family over that weekend, perform remote maintenance for a customer late Saturday night, and that Sunday I'll fly to Atlanta. Monday I'll have meetings in Atlanta, then fly to Baltimore. Tuesday I'll have a meeting near Baltimore, return the car to the airport, and take a train to New York. Wednesday I've got a meeting in New York. Possibly I'll take the train up to Greenwich that afternoon, or the next day, if I'm unable to do that work the previous Friday. Right now, however, I'm scheduled to fly home that Thursday.
I'm exhausted just thinking about it!
Tonight, after dinner and dish washing, I'll probably watch 300, which I'm only moderately interested in, but which Laura is completely disinterested in. I've also rented Vantage Point, which I might see tonight, or tomorrow. Tomorrow I'll hit the Farmer's Market in the U District, pick up a couple of things for dinner, and basically knock around all weekend relaxing. I'm thinking spicy garlic-chili-basil pork noodles tomorrow night, pizza Sunday night, and leftovers Monday night, so there's not too much hanging around when I fly away on Tuesday.
If you've got anything fun planned in Seattle this weekend, let me know. I've got enough to keep myself busy, but I'm sure that I'd find time for exciting stuff.