Friday, September 10, 2010

Brave New Schedule

It's 10:15, Friday morning, 10th of September. I've just finished a week of driving our turn on every conceivable carpool that exists. Yes. Our turn. All three of them.

I knew this autumn would be the start of a busy, busy school year and so, have formulated a very tightly-timed schedule for myself which included (with a great sense of hope, along with visions of Rocky in my head) exercise time. This is what the ideal schedule looks like:

5:50 am: Wake up, dress in exercise clothes

6:05 am: Leave the house, pick up the neighbor boys for seminary carpool (Rest assured these are not random neighborhood boys I am dragging to religious classes every morning, but some LDS kids up the street.)

6:20 am: Exercise, 30 minutes

6:55 am: Shower, dress

7:20 am: Make breakfast, help with lunches

7:45 am: Family prayer

7:48 am: Leave the house, pick up others on secondary school carpool route, hit the road

8: 20 am: Return home, help Kathryn finish getting ready for school

8:38 am: Leave the house, pick up K's friend on primary school carpool

8:50 am: Take K and friend to class

9:00 am: Arrive home. Pray, read, mediate

10:00 am: Take time to do some writing, then get to work on household things.

Ah, the bliss of peaceful organization and timely action.

But in the real world...this is how it goes...

5: 46 am: Wake up because the bathroom calls.

5: 47 am: Stumble bleary-eyed and disheveled back into bed for a last few minutes of warm cuddling with the sleeping man next to me. Yes, cuddling can be achieved with the slumbering.

6:00 am: Awake with a start, panicked that I haven't dressed. Dress in a too-tight set of exercise clothes because I can't be bothered to shop for others.

6:07 am: Put on my vivid lime green raincoat so the neighbor boys won't be startled by my appearance. Breathe in the diesel fumes of the dark blue mini van while I frantically wipe down the windows as the delicate descent of the morning dew has completely obliterated my vision.

6:12 am: Sit outside the above mentioned neighbor's house as the two boys make their sluggish way to the van.

6:18 am: Drop the kids off for seminary class that started at 6:15.

6:22 am: Arrive home only to realize that I've left my iPod upstairs and must retrieve it as the torture of exercise can only be endured via treasured tunes pounding in my ears.

6:26 am: Keep on my vivid lime green raincoat so the neighbors won't see the bulging outlines of my bulging body parts accentuated by the vivid pink of my too-tight outfit. Step over the debris in our back garden that is in the process of being put together but will never be finished because God doesn't seem to like us living without chaos. Unlock the door to the storehouse where our elliptical resides. Sit down on the weight bench and put on my trainers. (For our American readers, that's tennis shoes or some other term that I can't remember anymore.)

6:29 am: Realize our oldest son has been playing his drums the night before and spread them out too far for me to reach the plug to turn on said elliptical. Take some time to move the offending pieces while trying my best not to curse...but not succeeding. Loud clashes of symbols heard.

6:31 am: Start the blasted exercising, skillfully positioning the iPod over the time readout so I will cleverly fool myself into finishing without being aware I was sweating there for so long. Won't I be surprised!

6:37:22 am: Convinced I'm at least halfway there, pick up the skillfully positioned iPod and groan. Try my best not to curse, then allow myself an expletive that is completely legal. In England.

6:51 am: Finish, panting and sweating, because this is only the first week and I get to have two weeks of exercising only 20 minutes before I go up to 30. Because I made up that rule. Sit on the weight bench and take off the trainers. Too hot to put on the vivid lime green coat, I drape it around me, much like a victorious Olympian drapes his country's flag. Except that I don't look that cool, especially since I have these three claw clippies holding my hair away from my face in sticking-up bunches and a little tiny ponytail at the back. And I'm not an Olympian. Mmm. Luscious.

6:58 am: Unclothe. Climb into the shower. Stand there for too long. Finally remember that there is more to my life than surviving exercise.

7:19 am: Get out of the shower. Dress in the same outfit I wore yesterday because it's just that much quicker. Dry hair. Flick on some makeup.

7: 43 am: Dash downstairs and call for family prayer. FAST! Apologize to the girls for not making their breakfast. Feel a failure as I notice Kathryn is finishing a couple of cookies. Then again, she doesn't have an ounce of fat on her, so what am I worried about?

7:48 am: All finally arrive for family prayer.

7:51 am: Mad dash to the mini van to pick up neighbors for carpool.

7:54 am: Make loud mutterings as we wait...and wait...for them to come out.

8:18 am: Drop them off, cheerfully thanking them for flying Air Ambrose. Gun the engine and roar off, afraid I won't get home in time to get the youngest one to school by the bell.

8:33 am: Arrive home. Tell Kathryn to get her things but am met with a tantrum about not wanting to be told what to do. Resist urge to hurl something. Or someone.

8: 42 am: Pick up K's friend for third carpool run of the day.

8: 52 am: Arrive at school, listen to a complaint from the back seat that we haven't gotten there early enough because even though they have three minutes to get in the door, too many other people are already there, embarrassing Little Miss no end.

8:54 am: Attempt a hug and kiss but am blanked by embarrassed Little Miss as she rushes for the door.

8:57 am: Get in the car and rejoice that when I get home, there won't be anyone to make me feel guilty for watching an episode of The Closer before I start all the fun household duties that await me.

Ah. The refreshing invigoration of scrambling like a madwoman to get it all done. And not succeeding.

But hey! With a Master Plan like mine, I'm sure it'll run like clockwork next week. Right?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Long Time Coming

This is the first day in over a year (feels like 50) that I have the whole house and my whole self to myself for more than an hour. "I am ALONE!" I sang as I returned home from dropping off Kathryn at a friend's house. I am gloriously, unabashedly drinking in the time and space of aloneness. I feel a massive weight lifted off my shoulders and soul in reveling for a few precious hours in MY space. Being just me, doing whatever I want to do and knowing no one else is around to comment, verbally or non--knowing that I won't be interrupted by someone walking unexpectedly through the front door flinging their current needs at me.

I just finished dancing with complete abandon, singing at the top of my lungs to Dog Days are Over (Florence and the Machine) and Dakota (Stereophonics) and was astonished to find tears welling in my eyes. I am so far out of touch with music that I didn't even know the title of Dog Days until I found it on You Tube and cranked it up and played it over and over again. I feel rejuvenated, re-energized, more whole. I feel like I exist again, outside of my roles of wife and stepmother. In the simple act of feeling and moving, I am. I am Kari. I am me.

I realized that I'm not just out of touch with music, but that I'm out of touch with myself. I've read so much about wife-ing and mother-ing and all it entails and I heard women say that they have to keep some of themselves somewhere in the midst of all of this, and I didn't know what they meant. I thought, erroneously, that these roles were supposed to change me and define me. Instead, I am discovering that without taking the time to be me, I am losing me. I haven't written for eons. I don't read in a significant way anymore. My correspondence with my dearest friends has limped along and petered out. And I haven't danced alone in ages. These are some of the things that keep me grounded, keep me holding onto me.

This I must say: I am happy being a wife and parent and I am so happy to be where I am. I am also so incredibly happy to discover today the parts of me that I've forgotten--and that they are still there, still intact, still alive--probably the most vital and spirited parts of myself. I need them. I need me. I feel like I'm breathing differently and that I'm exhaling instead of holding it all in. I didn't understand that it's not selfish to make time to do these things--it's actually necessary. The dishes will wait. The closets will get organized another day. But I cannot be without the things that make me Me. And the question that will help me keep this frame of mind is simply this:

How long has it been since I danced?