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The Hapless Househusband Finds A Quiet Moment
Never Enough Time...
It blows me away how being at home eats away at every available second. I believe I may need to report a serious case of theft, let me explain…
In my case, She-who-is-adored leaves for work just before eight a.m. She normally comes home somewhere between six and seven in the evening. That means there are ten full hours in which to accomplish a great deal, right?
Turns out, not so much.
When I was a working stiff, I was on at 7:30, and could, on a very good day, escape by four. Lunch was a rarity, so I was pretty much running in place for eight or nine hours. Those hours were chock full of busy, and never seemed enough, but looking back, a great deal was achieved. Parent meetings, Staff meetings, time with the students and teaching were interlaced with responding to emails, in the region of 200-250 per day, 90% of it forwarded by people playing "not me". I even did some critical reading, some planning and at least once a week, a reworking and rearranging of schedules. Discipline issues and various mini-crises had me running about like a loon, but looking at my daily schedule, much was achieved.
So, once at home, I'd be bored.
I dream of being bored...
After quickly tidying up, dishwasher, beds made, etc.
It is nine.
Check job sites and applications in progress.
It is ten.
Read a few hubs, write a little, respond to emails.
It is eleven.
Have a cup of coffee, eat an early lunch.
It is eleven-thirty.
Start the day's project (Yard/laundry/cleaning/shopping) and it is three o'clock already.
Take a much-needed shower and put on clean clothes, quick check of emails.
It is four.
Walk, planned for noon, is postponed (again) but reward at Starbucks taken anyway.
Quick writing session of about 1,000 words.
It is five.
Go home, prep dinner.
It is six.
First question from my loving wife is, you guessed it, "what did you do today?"
Honestly, I wish I knew...
Did I make those phone calls I'd said I would? No.
Did I check into those web sites like I said I would? No.
Did I write anything new on the novel? No.
Did I do any exercise like I'd promised? No.
Now, to be fair, the laundry is done and put away, the dishes are clean and in the cupboard, the bed is made, and there is food on the table, but big fat giant whoop, right?
Something in my house is eating time.
I think it may have started the last time we messed with all the clocks and fell back or sprung forward. Time does not like to be messed with, and twice a year, that's exactly what we do. It is getting its own back, taking a few minutes from every hour, surreptitiously, so that in fact, what we actually have are billable hours or therapist hours. These are normally 50 minutes long.
Twenty-four of those in a day and you have lost 240 minutes, or FOUR HOURS!
Do the math, actually I did it for you… you lose four (hours a day) times seven (days of the week), which equals twenty-eight hours in a week. That is more than a day! That's why the week rushes by. Time not only stole Wednesday, but also took a chunk of Thursday.
In a year you lose almost sixty days, which is why your vacation never seems long enough. No wonder we look older than we feel, every seven years we lose a whole year! Extrapolating my perfect math, this means that I am not 53, I am in fact, only 45!
Yes, I was a math teacher once upon a time, but seriously, this particular math is causing me some very real grief and making me very irritated…
So who, exactly, do you go and see to get your time back?
I could really use those seven and a half years. I mean, other than a select few people with life sentences, or very bad marriages, who wouldn’t want this extra time? Think about all the stuff you could get done, books you could write, and the books you could read…
The “Honey-do” list could actually become “Honey-done”, restoring hitherto unexpected high levels of domestic harmony and general happiness for both Venus and Mars.
If I am right, and someone has been putting our time into a vault, I have a few questions:
Did it earn interest?
Is it with all the stray socks that disappear from our dryers?
Is there a Time version of Social Security?
I ask, because, if there is, I’d like to cash it in now. I’m not too sure I want it when Old-timers sets in. Sure I plan to sit on my porch (yet to be built) and wave my stick at the “durned neighbor kids”, but I figure, in a couple of weeks I’d get bored with that.
The idea of a mid-life hiatus is very appealing. I don’t mean in a “what do I do now I’ve lost my job” kind of way, like I am experiencing, but given those extra years, how easy would it be to save up for, say, four of those years, and spend it in the remaining three.
Going back to work after a three year break, would be OK as you now know what retirement looks like, and you can manage those last ten or fifteen years knowing how great getting up when you wake up and doing bugger all, can be.
So, let’s make it our mission to find this missing time. And, if you happen to come across a stray sock or two, that would be a great side benefit. Just think how much better your life would be with that extra time. You could eke it out a few hours a day, or take a giant chunk of it at one time.
You can all thank me later…
Dear Hub Reader
If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,
Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,
A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.
Available directly from: