Tag: Workaholism


Present Perfect

My head is full up to here. Lesson plans, present perfect study guides, proper British spellings, and would they translate it as cinema or theatre in the UK? Dust clusters, cheese baked onto forks, a weekend filling up fast. Blank pages staying blank, clock face a blur, heart applying whiteout with a heavy hand. Lists like a rolling sea and the tide coming in.

We leave to camp our way across Europe in just over a week, but the days are still picking up speed, and I’m bracing myself for the almighty impact of vacation… or rather, the night before vacation when we’re playing Trunk Tetris with the car and my eyes are only half open and I still have half the kitchen to pack. Being a detail person generally works well for me, but I do have a habit of drowning in my own practicality—especially, say, when we’re T-9 days from an epic camping trip with pretty close to nothing planned. We haven’t even figured out which country we’re going to spend the last week of it in. That would be more than enough to overwhelm my head if there were any space whatsoever left in it right now.

But seeing as there’s not, I can’t manage to work up a good panic, and truth be told, involuntary oblivion is kind of nice. I guess all that really matters is that four of us leave home together and come home together, even if I forget to pack the kitchen sink and/or we accidentally detour through remote Slovenia. (Come to think of it, that could be fun…)

I’m grateful for these spastic little glimpses into the brain clutter reminding me that yep, it’s pretty full in there, no room to worry about the future, and hey what do you know, we’re all surviving. What’s more, we’re all happy to be here right now, and I suspect that two weeks from now when the unknown is our new right now, we’ll still be glad to be living it. However, if there were room in my head for the kitchen sink, I wouldn’t complain. Just saying.


Pit Stop

(Photo from last summer’ road trip to get me psyched about researching this one.
A photograph is worth 1,000 motivational speakers, right?)

I’m beginning to understand the term “breakneck speed,” caught like a reluctant driver in these days that trade time for whiplash. Good lordy. I stayed up until 1:00am on Saturday cleaning the bathrooms simply because it was the first opportunity I’d had in… uh, weeks. Don’t you wanna come party with me now? ::wink wink, nudge nudge:: (My definition of weekend fun might be a little off, but I can offer freshly scrubbed toilets!)

I don’t intend to keep going so long between posts, you know. My dearly beloved blogosphere is on my mind here and there throughout each day, my thoughts briefly lunging toward it while a work document loads or lesson plans shuffle into folders, but life in the fast lane is teaching to me to reel in my focus and quickly, before any synapses get tangled. Nevertheless, I haven’t forgotten about this space, and your comments and letters have meant the world to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with me, even if I haven’t been able to reciprocate yet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Over the weekend, I finally wrapped up a huge project and am now embarking on the next: our annual epic camping trip. I always forget just how much work goes into planning these things until we’re three weeks away with nary a campsite reservation to be seen. Plus, Magellan needs some serious TLC before we leave (he still hasn’t recuperated from last summer’s adventures), the line of super-duper-urgent-VIP errands waiting to be run is now winding into last year, and the ironing pile has officially usurped our sofa.

…Aaaand this is also why I haven’t blogged much lately, because pretty much anything I write will eventually degenerate into a to-do list. Apologies, friends. Just know that I’m grateful for you… and if I’m not around much, it’s only to spare your dear necks from secondhand whiplash.



Chai and Dry

Raindrops are rolling out of overfilled clouds and scattering evenly into our balcony planters from which seedlings slurp and spring skyward. The daisies are practically giddy; I, meanwhile, am tucked up inside with a mug of peppery chai trying to stave off nap-envy. As much as I would love to doze away the afternoon in a nest of flannel sheets, the results would not be pretty:

Exhibit A: Hungry children’s pleas for supper wake up my brain but otherwise fail to lodge it out of rigor mortis. (I have heard rumors that naps actually make some people less tired rather than more, but I’ve never come across any supporting evidence.)

Exhibit B: Mothering instincts eventually drag me out of bed by the ear; however, they do nothing to diminish my ill will toward mankind, specifically the portion of mankind requesting me to make pasta for them.

Exhibit C: I slump to the kitchen with all the motivation of a dead leaf and then realize how late the time is, how little I’ve accomplished today, and how very much I dislike existing.

Exhibit D: I stay up three hours past bedtime trying to accomplish more, more, more but really just stirring up dust and aggravating my rigor mortis… and then, when I finally lay me down to sleep, I can’t (see above re: nap).

I get that rest is important, and our gentle Italian life has helped me to see relaxation as a treasure rather than a waste of time, but I haven’t yet reached the stage of self-actualization that will let me wake up from a nap as anything other than an obsessive-compulsive corpse. So sorry rain and flannel and Siren-soft afternoon, but there will be no surrender today.

So long, chai


Six-Word Summaries

Much work to do. Grateful. Busy.

Sick child at home getting sicker.

Laundry wrangled into submission. House not.

I haven't dusted in awhile

Mountain of email threatening to erupt.

Haven’t showered yet this morning afternoon.

Facebook? Blogs? What’s social networking again?

Inspiration knocking, waiting, giving up, leaving.

Care to share your six words?



Now We Are Six

The girls’ school called me this morning to pick up my newly minted six-year-old, caught in a rackety upsweep of fever. I was barely through the entryway before Natalie wrapped herself around me. “I want to go home,” she whispered, eyes drooping onto flushed cheeks. “Of course, kiddo; let’s get you home.”

Mothering hadn’t factored into my plans for the next few hours. I had just left work, and I had lesson plans to go over, an editing project to finish, and mountains of both laundry and correspondence to scale. I was also chewing on an upcoming writing deadline I’ve been hoping to meet, and the house needed disaster relief aid after yesterday’s birthday party in which glitter featured heavily. Just in case I had time left over (ha) and was wondering how to spend it, I could always put a little thought into birthday party #2 fast approaching on Sunday. Oh, and Natalie’s presents should probably be wrapped at some point, considering her special day is was yesterday. Also, if truth be admitted, I wasn’t feeling too hot myself and wouldn’t have turned down a nap.

However, tomato soup, fairy tales, and plenty of unrushed snuggle time were clearly called for. Natalie didn’t require any brain power or motivation from me, just the number one remedy used by mamas worldwide: love (give or take a cool hand to the forehead every three minutes). She is growing up so quickly, that girl—sugar and spice making way for vocabulary and art—and she has her own trajectory now outside of my arms. It’s incredible to have grown-up conversations with my wide-eyed baby, read long-winded books to her, give her scissors and a workspace and let her go to town, giggle over shared jokes… but I so miss the days of rocking her to sleep that my heart squeezes the breath from my lungs. So while I might not have planned to spend today burrowed under blankets and storybooks, I can think of worse ways to celebrate a girl whose years are rushing by faster than time itself.

Sick girl snuggles Ti voglio bene, Natalina mia.



Life’s (Not) a Beach

These past several days have been so busy, so ripe with tasks and opportunities, that I find myself wondering if I’m allowed to stop plucking for a moment and catch my breath. I steep a mug of green tea—a sneaky attempt to ease myself out of late afternoon coffee dependence—and simply sit. It feels strange, and not twenty seconds go by before I’m antsy. Do something! the motivational speaker in my brain urges. Write something! Clean something! Finish something! Be all you can be! I wish I could punch her.

I just want to be. Not to be all I can be, not to be productive or witty or any one of a thousand admirable adjectives, but just to exist. Memories have been weighty burdens lately; I could do without them for awhile. Responsibilities too. I imagine this is what drives normal people to take beach vacations, the prospect of lying under sun and salt spray and forgetting everything else. (When I go to the beach? I stay in the shade all day reading novels unless I’m there with offspring, in which case cleaning sand from crevices factors in significantly.)

Of course, instead of disassociating from the present, I’m writing about it. This defeats the point, I’m sure, but I always feel more settled when I can give sentence structure to my emotions. Plus, a little bit of introspection goes a long way toward reminding me that the present is worth sticking around for. I actually do like the heft of goals and the importance each minute takes on when I’m busy, and I even like needing a late afternoon caffeine boost to wrap up a day well-packed. If the motivational speaker in my head doesn’t shut up soon, however, I’m taking off for the beach and leaving both novels and green tea behind.


My Squalor Comes With Binder Tabs

Dust bunnies are procreating under the night stand. Ants march unhindered into the kitchen to nosh on leftovers. The stack of bills on my desk keeps casting reproachful glances in my direction. The wastebasket overfloweth, and my legs are starting to resemble cacti. Welcome to trip planning mode at our house!

Our Scotland-bound campingstravaganza (affectionately nicknamed Highland Fling) is set to start in just two short weeks, and my brain suddenly can’t be bothered with technicalities like bills and housework, not when there are tent pitches to reserve at Loch Ness. I love this kind of organized daydreaming—researching locations, reviewing accommodations, planning meals, compiling packing lists. However, it’s not fast work, and I’m already up to my ears in neglected everyday demands. (Some of them look perilously close to throwing tantrums.)

I just wanted to explain why the blogosphere will need to carry on without me for a bit. Also how the quantity of dust came to be greater than that of all life forms in the house. I’ll remedy the abject squalor situation, I promise, but it may have to wait until we’re back. The castles of Inverness await my search engine command!

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