At last - a three day weekend looms large. I am so excited about the prospect, I am simply beside myself. Every weekend for the last month, I've had something on the calendar playing havoc with my household "to do" list: a trip to Virginia (although I had a marvelous time), staying in bed sick, Mother's Day weekend. Then, Fate tried to throw me a curve ball; we got put on a trial docket for the day after Memorial Day, which meant working all weekend to prepare. I must have done something right at least once in my life, because the case was transferred to a different judge at the eleventh hour, and his calendar is full next week. Oh, joy. Oh, divine rapture. Hallelujah. But now, my mind is working at a feverish pitch trying to plan three full days of doing something substantive around the house. I had a similar feeling one day almost 25 years ago. The fact I remember it with such clarity may seem odd to you; but, I've always said that - for me at least - ordinary days are far more memorable than the "special" ones. Maybe that's because making special days special always fell to me (as it does to most wives and mothers) and I was left exhausted and relieved when the special day was over. But I digress. It was a summer day in 1985. My children were 5, 3 and 14 months. John and Charlie were sitting at the kitchen table; Kit was in her highchair next to them. It was lunchtime, and there was the usual clatter and clanking and chatter and squabbling. I puttered around the kitchen while they finished their meal, then gathered up their dishes and went to the sink to tidy things up. After a very short time, I became aware of a blessed silence and looked around to see that they had all fallen asleep: the boys with their heads on their arms at table; Kit sitting up, head on the headrest. It was the first time they had all been asleep at the same time during the day. What to do with this precious time? Should I paint my nails? Should I grab a book? Should I phone a friend? You see, I had no plan for this contingency. It never occurred to me I might have 15 minutes of complete and utter peace. I was not prepared. The moment passed, activity resumed, but I learned a valuable lesson.
So, here come three full days to "do something." I have a house that is too big and bosses me around, always throwing something at me that needs doing. I feel I need a strategy. I want to face Tuesday morning with the warm satisfaction that something substantive was accomplished. That I had not squandered the long weekend. I promised Shorty I'd take her fishing on Saturday morning - I warned her it would be early. If we leave at 6:00 a.m. we can be at the pier in 5 minutes and fish until 10:00 a.m. Four hours will just about do us in, anyway. (I'll sit and read Slaves of Solitude waiting for the fish to bite, thereby doing double duty, clever me.) So, I must develop a strategy from about 10:00 a.m. Saturday through Monday evening. Certainly, all the downstairs windows need to be squeegeed and the tops of the ceiling fans dusted. I want to re-organize the pantry and the spice cabinet and re-line the kitchen shelves. My double-flowered Brugmansia came in the mail last week, and I've got to get it into the ground...a good time to get the garden tidied up and put down the landscaping fabric I bought months ago which is still rolled up in the trunk of the car. I'll go to Home Depot to get the picket fence I want to install around the patio. If I get it on the way home Friday evening rather than Saturday, I can save "long weekend time." While there, I might as well get replacement tile for the laundry room/back bathroom. These are the only two rooms in the house where linoleum tile was installed and the dog has found a way to eat several sections. I'll make a mental note to get ceramic this time. Actually, if I go to Sears on Thursday evening to get the paint for the upstairs hall, I'll be in even better shape with time. So, Saturday: fishing, heavy cleaning, garden tending and re-organization. Sunday I can install the fence, or at least begin, and Monday I can paint the hallway. Monday evening, I'll put tuna steaks on the grill and make Doctordi's Shiitake Mushroom Sauce.
Then, come Tuesday, I might actually yearn for the sight of my office: bulging desk, incessant phones, relentless deadlines and oh, those lovely crises!