Wednesday, November 30, 2005


A shower takes me seven minutes. The actual shower part, that is. The post-shower routine (hair and tooth brushing, moisturizing, etc.) also takes about seven minutes. Abraham, my fabulous husband, thinks this is too long. (This coming from a man who can spend upwards of 20 minutes in the bathroom for non-shower reasons).Granted, his shower may take two minutes – no joke. (I sometimes question how clean he actually is.)

I know exactly how long tasks will take.

A trip to the grocery store, including drive time, takes an hour and a half at best. I really, really dislike going to the grocery store. I didn’t mind it when I lived in New York City. I walked there with my shopping cart, stocked up, and walked home with a heavier shopping cart (or had it delivered for just the price of a tip to the deliverer). Shopping in the suburbs of Washington, DC, has a whole different feel – especially with a toddler in tow. The grocery stores are huge. Have I walked a mile or more by the time I am done? I am usually exhausted and a bit dazed – and I can go out and run 10 miles at a moment’s notice!

Walking Iz to his babysitter takes 15 minutes each way, so a half an hour for drop off and a half an hour for pick up means an hour gone.

In a given day, if I want to go for a run, get some editing and writing jobs done, make sure Iz is fed well (which is a trick in itself – the kid hates eating) and not totally neglected, keep the house in some semblance of livable neatness (and my standard of “neat enough” has dropped way down), get myself fed, and perhaps run one errand – there is no way I can get it all done:

  • Running (or other form of exercise): up to 2 hours (including preparation and recovery)
  • Editing and writing: 2-4 hours
  • Feeding Iz breakfast and lunch and a snack or two: 2 hours (including preparation)
  • Entertaining Iz: 4 hours (which is usually quite nice)
  • Maintaining livable neatness: 1 hour
  • Feeding myself breakfast and lunch: 45 minutes (including preparation)
  • Completing any one errand (post office, supermarket, etc.): 1-3 hours
  • Total: 12:45-16:45

And I didn’t include dinner (which Abraham, thank god, deals with most of the time). Or my shower time. Or maybe watching a TV show or reading a newspaper article. But I often abandon the errand or livable neatness completely.

So I have started waking up at 5:15 a.m. to run before Abraham leaves for work at 7 a.m. That makes me feel a little more on top of things. But tired.

I know I don’t have a bad life. Clearly, many in this world have it worse. I have a pretty good life.

My awareness of how long everything takes, however, can make me a temporary, but recurring, basket case. (Even more annoying – Abraham has no clue how long tasks take. He thinks a grocery trip takes half an hour – completely forgetting drive time and wandering quotient.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

boy crazy

My mother described me as “boy crazy” in high school. I thought that sounded so 1950s. But she wasn’t wrong. I would like to say that I was tough, independent, intellectual… and maybe I was. But I was also boy crazy – insane, really.

I have pulled out my freshman year journal and have not yet been brave enough to read more than a few sentences. A cringe-worthy sample: “Today was the last day of my freshman year at school. I can’t believe it is over. I didn’t get a chance to say a good, sound goodbye to anyone but A., J., and S. I didn’t even get to say ‘hello’ to N. I won’t see anyone until school starts again. Isn’t that freaky? I’ll miss some people so much. I’ll miss N. more than anyone, even though he lives stronger in my mind than in my life.” Oh, it goes on and on and on. I don’t even think I had talked to N. in at least a month by the end of that school year. And we were never close. I was simply obsessed with him. And he was a total a*sshole. (As I typed this, I read beyond those few sentences and cringed even more. This is going to be hard.)

I could not throw out all my old journals, but I never thought I could bear to read them again. My mother found them stored in a closet in the New York City apartment and carefully wrapped each bursting volume (I pasted clippings, letters and pictures into them) in plastic wrap (yes, the kind you use to store food). I know she didn’t read them. She is still appalled that her brother found and read her diaries from high school (in the 1950s) – and they were in their 50s when he did so.

So here is the next grand writing idea – find something worthwhile in the old journals. Write the story of my freshman year, or high school years, and emphasize the 80s-ness of it all. I was in high school from 1985 to 1989. And the 80s seem to be attractive again (legwarmers, Dynasty and Dallas on Soap channel reruns, 80s songs now classic rock).

But is it really interesting to read the story of a boy crazy girl? Ick. Well, I guess there is the whole chick-lit genre… But I don’t think I can write that way.I’ll just have to write it my own way.