June 7, 2001
Summer Hours


The Totem Pole Company's new summer hours went into effect this week.

Basically we'll be working a 9-9-9-9-4 schedule from now until September: chained to our desks from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday, then released on Fridays at noon.

Although this will be my third summer working for the TPC, this is the first year that they've attempted to juggle our summer hours around this way. As is usually the case whenever a big change is announced, there are people who are happy about the new schedule ... people who couldn't care less about the new schedule ... and people who feel compelled to make a big noisy stink about the new schedule.

I fall somewhere between groups #1 and #2, I guess. 

I'm not thrilled by the idea of spending ten interminable hours every day in a place I loathe, doing stuff I am not even remotely interested in for people I can barely tolerate most of the time.  It's like being in ninth grade again. Plus, this plays serious havoc with my journal-writing / bike-riding / hanging-out with-David-in-the-evenings schedule ...

... plus this means I'll have to start taking the fudking BUS home again on Fridays ...

... but ask me again tomorrow afternoon how I feel about the new summer hours, and I'll probably have a different answer for you entirely.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

In the meantime -- as I watch my available free time slowly shrivelling away to nothing -- I am forced to continue re-evaluating what is and isn't important to me. When you've only got a certain number of hours available every day to do the things you want to do/need to do  --  as opposed to the things you're paid to do  --  then it makes sense to pare your "Want To Do/Need To Do" list down to the absolute necessities.

Which is what I've been doing again today.

Here are the imperative, non-negotiable, Want To Do/Need To Do items on my list ... the things that I absolutely MUST find time for. I'm not including the obvious stuff, like meals or sex or Saturday afternoon naps. Those are givens. But these are the priorities that must remain priorities ... even if I have to kill somebody in order to make sure that happens:

  • Bike riding.
    Critical on a bunch of different levels: a fitness level, a personal motivation level,  a spending-time-with-David level. A minimum of three nights a week  --  Monday, Wednesday and Friday, for six miles or sixty minutes, whichever comes first  --  plus *Big Rides* on Saturdays and Sundays. (This Saturday morning we're shooting for my first twenty-miler.)

  • *FootNotes.*
    I don't care if I have to pay somebody else to come in here and write the fudking thing FOR me: *FootNotes* goes on.

  • Sleep.
    Besides the afore-mentioned Saturday afternoon nap,  it is absolutely critical that I maintain my regular 9:30 p.m. - 5 a.m. sleep schedule, this next month or so. I'm crabby when I don't get enough sleep. I look like I'm collapsing inward when I don't get enough sleep. I get sick more easily when I don't get enough sleep. I'm not an effective parent/SecraTerri/fiancee/journal-writer when I don't get enough sleep. Plus there are no groovy *Wedding Anxiety Dreams* when I don't get enough sleep, and right now, the *Wedding Anxiety Dreams* are pretty much the backbone of the journal.

  • Family Communication.
    Self-explanatory: otherwise I'm likely to end up with two maids-of-honor in halter dresses.

On the other hand, these are the things that I can probably manage to live without for the next little while  --  or at least significantly cut back on  --  just until life slows down and things morph back to normal:

  • Television.
    It's all re-runs and "Fear Factor" right now, anyway. One of the very few times in my life when I'm actually glad we don't have cable.

  • Ironing.
    When you live in a four hundred square foot apartment  --  and half of that square footage is given over to record collections and bicycles  --  ironing becomes a Very Big Deal. It necessitates moving all sorts of stuff around, just to make room for the ironing board ... it requires temporarily re-routing foot traffic ... it means stretching an electrical cord across the room at a dangerous and inconvenient angle ... etc. etc. etc. blah blah blah. Plus it wastes valuable *time and electricity molecules.*

    Plus I hate ironing.

    Pulling stuff out of the dryer immediately -- or hand-washing and drip-drying, thereby avoiding the laundry room and the ironing board altogether (or just going out and buying new clothes every two or three days) is definitely the way to go here for a while.

  • E-mail.
    This is the one that hurts. (And, if I'm not extremely careful and diplomatic here,  this is the one that's going to get me in trouble.) Please continue to send me fun, uplifting, supportive e-mail.  I'll read it almost as soon as it lands in my mailbox, probably ...  I'll enjoy it to pieces ...  I'll immediately forward it to David/to my mom/to the appropriate government agencies, whenever applicable ... and then I'll lovingly and reverently file it away in my absurdly-organized *To Be Answered* file, as soon as I've finished reading it and enjoying it and forwarding it.

    It's answering it that might be a little bit of a problem for a while.

  • Ego-surfing.
    How many times can I type my own name into a search engine, anyway?

  • People Magazine.
    *Junk-reading* is out. ("His & Hers Style Secrets of the Stars:"Brad prefers suits by Dior designer Hedi Slimane, while Friends star Aniston favors understated Prada and Calvin Klein").

  • Elaborate food preparation.
    If I can't eat it raw (apples, baby carrots, cereal) ... or if it isn't a no-brainer (baked potatoes; those little wooden Lean Cuisine "pizzas") ... OR if it isn't lovingly hand-crafted for me by the cheerful counterpersons at the Marina Village Subway Sandwich Shop ... then I'm going to have to pass on it for right now. 

  • Manicures.
    I have no fingernails these days anyway.

  • Spending time *on hold.*
    If they can't answer my question/solve my problem/provide my account information within the first twenty seconds of the conversation ... OR if they have to summon a "supervisor" to assist me ... OR if they expect me to listen to twenty-four minutes' worth of "I Shot The Sheriff" while I wait ... then I'll just have to send them an e-mail instead. (Except that I don't have time for e-mail, either! Shidt!)

  • Stressing.
    Forty-four days from now, I will be a married woman once again.

    Forty-four days from now, the wedding will be history, and David and I will be on our honeymoon, and all of the hoopla and folderol and headaches will be over with. (The CREDIT CARD BILLS, on the other hand, will have just begun. But that's another story for another day.)

    Forty-four days from now, I'm going to look back on all of this and laugh, I swear to god I will.

    So it just doesn't make sense to me to spend these next forty-four days stressing over buffet menus and bridal shoes and whether or not "Spruce Green" is the same thing as *FootNotes* Green (it's close enough, to my eye).

    Stressing is NOT a good look for me.

    Stressing is NOT a big bunch of fun.

    Plus if I'm stressing, that means I'm NOT experiencing all of the other groovy emotions I should be experiencing right now, like joy, and anticipation, and blind shrieking OhmygodwhatamIDOING? terror in the middle of the night ... as well as pure undiluted pleasure whenever I think about spending the next thirty or forty years partnered to my very best friend.

    So stressing  --  like television, and ironing, and lengthy e-mail replies, and ego-surfing, and junk-reading, and cooking, and fingernails  --  is off the Need To Do/Want To Do List. At least, for a while.

One of my fondest hopes, of course, is that someday my "Want To Do/Need To Do" list and my "Get PAID To Do" list overlap slightly more than they do right now.

But in the meantime ... I'm paring it down to absolute necessities.

one year ago: bees came upon me

throw a rock