Posted in about me, mindset

On being late

The Kid and I were talking about our school-day mornings recently.

On that particular day, I had woken up half an hour before the alarm. The alarm is half an hour before I need to wake The Kid, and I wake him half an hour before we need to leave. I got up and took advantage of the quiet time: wrote in my journal and did some other writing, used the foam roll and stretched.

It was a beautiful morning, even if it was early. (As my ability to sleep in eludes me, I have taken to enjoying some quiet time to myself in the mornings when I have it.)

On a typical morning, after I wake him up and make sure he’s moving (if he’s not moving, he’s definitely back to sleep), I go to the kitchen, put on water for tea, and pack his breakfast and lunch.

Because of COVID precautions, there is no recess before school this year, and they eat breakfast in their classroom. He doesn’t like to eat soon after waking (neither do I), so I pack his breakfast. Mornings at home are smoother (he’s not a fast eater even when he’s ready to eat), and he can eat later. It’s a good setup. I will be glad when COVID is behind us, and I will miss this perk of the current era.

Also related to COVID, school lunches are free for all public school kids this year. He usually takes lunch anyway. As a vegetarian, his options don’t usually include hot lunch. We can pack a sandwich as easily as he can get one at school, and it has better sides.

On that particular day, they were serving grilled cheese, and he was excited to get school lunch. (Novel! Exciting!)

When it was time to wake The Kid, I was in the middle of something. Because I didn’t have a lunch to make, I went back to what I was working on after waking him.

It wasn’t long before I’d worked on my stuff too long. I got breakfast together, and we left as late as we usually leave.

Usually we leave ten minutes later than the “time to leave” time. But the “time to leave” time is calculated to account for that likelihood. Rarely are we late to school.

In this context, we had a conversation, and this was our conclusion:

  • If Mama wakes up early, we’re late leaving.
  • If Mama wakes up late, we’re late leaving.
  • If Mama wakes up on time, we’re on time leaving, unless we’re too efficient getting ready, in which case we’re late leaving.

He didn’t immediately understand the last one. But if we’re ready to go ten minutes before we need to leave, instead of leaving and waiting at the school gate for ten minutes (because he can’t go in before the gate opens), we’ll find something else to do at home. Rarely does a task take the few minutes we have; lost in the task, we forget about the clock.

“Oh yeah, Mom! We totally do that!”

Yes. Yes, we do.

Feeling a need to finish what I’m working on is probably the most common reason I’m late. If I’m in a flow state—whether it’s for creative work or for housecleaning—I will most likely not find it again when I return to the partially-completed task. If I’m doing a “head down and get it done” task, I really don’t want to have to pick it back up. I come and go, being better about this.

For occasions that aren’t recurring, I will sometimes have seared into my head the time it starts which is not ever the time I need to leave or get ready (for online meetings), and I realize, too late, that I’m thinking about leaving at 11:30 instead of about arriving at 11:30.

Sometimes I remember things I need to take with me as I’m ready to walk out the door. I don’t know how to reset that.

Sometimes, I just underestimate the amount of time needed for the task before an event. For example, “I have 45 minutes. I could run to the grocery store and get that done before I need to be on that Zoom call.”

Either it’ll take more than 45 minutes to drive, shop, check out, and drive, or I’ll be back in 45 minutes … with groceries to put away and a computer to log onto and a Zoom to log into. Those things don’t take a long time, but they take longer than zero minutes. Or I’m taking my Zoom call on a treadmill and don’t have socks on. (The Vibrams aren’t great on the treadmill.) Again, doesn’t take a long time, but it takes more than no time.

Right now, I have 23 minutes to save, put the laptop away, put shoes on, go do a porch pickup, and get to The Tall Daddy’s house to pick up The Kid. Will I make it?

It took me almost ten minutes to get out the door. I was three minutes late.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 21Mar21

The Climbing Daddy was in the kitchen and yelled, “Come here and bring your camera! Or your phone! Bring both!”

I grabbed both and hurried in, and on the back wall—because we have walls here in lieu of fences—was a hawk.

He took some shots with my phone and I took them with the Nikon, hoping they’d turn out—as I was shooting through the window. (I knew that if I opened the sliding glass door, the bird would fly away.)

I didn’t notice it when I was shooting, but you can see its meal. I saw it when he took off from the wall.

Fortunately, this hawk appears to be too small to prey on our small but not that small dogs. There are others I’ve seen that would make me more nervous.

In other parts of the yard, the aloe out front are blooming and are lovely.

I rearranged some furniture in the house and have a mini-office in the corner of the living room now. I bought myself some flowers for the space. They’re a lovely purple which looks fabulous against the bright green wall.

Same flowers up close. The shots were taken on different days. It’s interesting how much difference there is in the color, based on the light. The pictures below are more true to what they look like, though if they were more purple and less magenta, that’d be fine by me, too!

I put the vase on a wool ball trivet, an impulse purchase a long time ago from Trader Joe’s. So while I was getting shots of the flowers, I captured the wool balls, too…

That’s all for today! Have a great week!

Posted in about me, meandering

Big change from removing a small hurdle

We recently replaced our vacuum with a cordless vacuum.

It’s remarkably easier to vacuum now. Doing the living room “real quick” actually happens. Getting the bedroom done while the vacuum is out is no big deal. The hallway between the main living spaces and where we store the vacuum has never been cleaner. Doing just this little bit without moving the furniture is easy.

We bought this vacuum because it had good reviews and was on sale and is supposed to be particularly good for animal hair. I was ambivalent about the cordlessness. A common complaint was that the battery didn’t last long enough to do the whole house. We decided to give it a whirl. Our house isn’t that big and it’s not all carpeted.

It’s fantastic. Truly, a chore that I have long hated doing is not so bad any more.

I had no idea how big a hurdle something as small as plugging it in was.

Part of the problem was the reach of the cord, of course. And then there’s the unwrapping and rewrapping. And keeping the cord out of the way while using the vacuum.

When I was a kid, we had a vacuum that had a separate tank, and it required water.

image from

The tank on the left came apart and needed to have water added to it, to catch all the dust and such. So you pulled that thing around while vacuuming, plus it was plugged in. And the water had to be dumped. I have memories more vivid that it seems they should be of dumping the vacuum water in the toilet.

But it’s been a long time since I used that machine, so the convenience of only dealing with a cord has long since worn off.


Seeing the difference in my cleaning habits simply by removing the cord from the vacuum makes me wonder … what else in my life is a dreaded task that could be made so much better by simply “removing the cord”? I don’t assume literal cords, and I haven’t figured it out yet, but it’s percolating…