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A Day In The Life

A few minutes shy of 0600: Up, and down the hall to my office. It’s late September, so it’s still fairly dark. Not as dark as it will be when Daylight Savings Time ends, though. I have no empathy for people who enjoy mucking with the time of day twice annually. Pick a time and stick with it. This spring-forward-fall-back crap is just stupid. I have to start coming to grips with it well in advance nowadays or when it happens, it really frustrates me. But anyway. In my office, at first, I don’t turn on the light. I just make my way to my computer chair and shake the mouse so my monitor comes on. I’ll turn the actual light on later, once my eyes have gradually adjusted a bit more.

I do my first email pass — several accounts, just a nuking of spam and cursory check for anything life and death. Really, just for stuff that’s life and death. I only want to deal with big things before coffee, nothing small, you know? I read my horoscope, look at the weather forecast, and make the second email pass, in which I flag things for actual reading and followup once I’ve got the coffee. I check for blog comments, sometimes look at Ravelry.

Around 0630: If the manchild isn’t up, it’s time to wake him up. But he’s been good lately about getting himself up, good about taking a shower without nagging, good about making his own breakfast… and so while there’s still morning stuff to be figured out, it’s much less than it used to be. I start downloading transactions to balance accounts, household and business, and go to make coffee. During the seeming aeons that it takes to brew — really it’s 3 minutes — I start emptying the dishwasher, reloading it if need be. And here’s where a major personality flaw of mine comes into play. I can’t make coffee for myself first thing in the morning, because if I walk into the kitchen and the first thing I see is dishes in the sink, it ruins my day. It flips my crabby switch and I can’t turn it off all day. But I’ve learned that if it’s a little later in the day, after I’ve done something else, if it just isn’t the very first thing, then I’m okay. I may gripe for a few minutes, but then it’s over. I used to always do dishes before bed, one last pass just to be sure… but for various complicated reasons involving living with other humans, that hasn’t worked out for me in over a decade. And now, to be honest, I’m usually going to bed dead tired, asleep on my feet.

Around 0700: I talk to the kid through all of this, about his upcoming day and mine. Sometimes I rant about how someone spilled orange juice and didn’t wipe it up and now it’s sticky and gooey and more work to clean up. I think of that as an homage to my own parents pointing out the same stuff, or as inevitability. Sometimes I have toast for breakfast. But I always have my massive cup of strong coffee, adulterated only with heavy cream. It’s a vice I’m unwilling to even consider forsaking.

0730: The kid’s off to school. Me and my coffee finish the bookkeeping, invoicing and the like, and tackle some of the needs-handled-today email. In a perfect world, somewhere in the past 90 minutes is when I’d be getting blog posts done. It was, for a long time, and I need to refocus. And in my other perfect world, this is also when I head out and go to the gym to spend 30-40 minutes on the elliptical trainer. I do well with that up until a really busy time hits, and then I can’t make myself do it, because I need every minute to get work done.

About 0800: This is when the workday officially starts. It gets pushed to 0830 if I’ve hit the gym, or if I’m blogging or something. The first 2 hours, even email and blogging, don’t count. At 0800, that’s when I either start production, get cracking on a major project like an article or book, or tackle whatever big thing it is that needs handling. Today, it’s a production day, and I’m 15-20 minutes behind (but this is forgivable, because after all, I’m blogging). I have batts in progress in the studio and this is Wednesday. Wednesday is early release day for the city schools, and so the manchild’ll be home at 1530, which means stopping then at least to welcome him home, find out about his day, and commence with any necessary homework nagging. Plus, lunch is usually half an hour, shared with my husband in our kitchen… but today it’s a working lunch out with one of my retailers, so it’ll be longer. So my production time is short today — not more than 5 hours considering that after lunch, I’m making a midweek supermarket trip.

About 0830: On the way into the studio (it’s such a hike — it’s the bedroom next door to the one that serves as my office) I gather up dirty laundry and start a load. I put my hair up tight and wear close-fitting clothes, because I’m going to be working with a motorized carder all day. This means tooth-covered rotating drums. Nothing dangly. No way. I take the phone with me, and I play loud music. I have until 11:30 to grind out batts.

0900: The in-progress batts from last night are done. I weigh them, bag them, and move to the office to print labels and put them on the invoice. I doublecheck that the order I finished yesterday is all there, invoice is right, stickers are right, and so forth. That’s 6 big bags, and I haul ’em downstairs and see what I have laying around for a box, since I’m delivering them today at lunch instead of shipping. So far this morning, my music library has spit out some Al Green and some Steely Dan. It tried to spit out Ice Cube, but I clearly haven’t had enough coffee for that yet.

1030: Halfway done with what should be about a 24-batt batch. The third load of laundry is in. Musical high points have been June Carter Cash, Bill Monroe, The Spinners, Three Dog Night, Judas Priest, Bonnie Raitt, Muddy Waters, and ZZ Top. I take a quick email break.

1130: Time to break, clean up a little from the carding work, find a respectable t-shirt at the least, and get ready to head out for lunch with Susan from Ball and Skein in Germantown, Ohio. She’s my local dealer — Germantown’s about 45 minutes away — and we’re doing a batt handoff, plus we really need to see if we can’t firm up a date for me to do a workshop at her fabulous new shop space. It’s a little chilly today, proving fall is really here, whether anybody is ready or not. Lord knows I’m not. It’s 53 Fahrenheit (about 12C) and breezy and I’m coming to grips with the idea that sandal season may genuinely be over.

I’m about halfway through the last blending pass on this batch of batts, so after lunch, I’ll finish that up and then do the final finishing and sizing pass which makes the batts come out more or less even in size across the entire batch.

1430: Home again, home again. Checking email with intent to get that batch of batts done before the workday is totally over. This evening is also a wash for productivity since I have to go to a meeting at the kid’s school. Also, it’s time to move the laundry again.

1530: Kid’s home. The homework checking has been completed. I’m proceeding to try to squeeze out the remaining batt productivity I can before dinner. I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done today to speak of. I always feel like that on Wednesdays no matter what.

1700: End of the production day. My better half cooks dinner and I hang out in the kitchen with my spindle. Kid’s done with his homework.

1800: Everyone’s fed, the kitchen is tidied, and there’s 45 minutes till I have to be at a school meeting. Sounds like time to fold all that laundry. Mmmmmm.

1845: Off to that school meeting, visions of coming home to a beer dancing in my head. Well, the visions are dancing in my head; I’m not envisioning a beer dancing in my head, because that would just be weird.

2030: Home. That’s done. A beer and a little bit of spinning should round out the evening nicely. I think I’m going to refuse to look at the computer for the rest of the night. What a strange and unproductive day to have chosen to try to do this day in the life post. I’m going to have to try to do a more normal one sometime… supposing I ever figure out what that would be.

14 thoughts on “A Day In The Life

  1. Thanks for sharing this slice of your life Abby!

  2. I love it! Sometimes it’s easy to forget that our lives are so similar, we’re all racing to get as much done as possible. In some cases, it’s stuff we enjoy doing, and that’s pretty damn awesome. Will you be sharing pictures of your batts? I have heard tell of the magical Abby batts, apparently they’re pretty magical.

    Thanks for sharing your day, I applaud you for how much you get done on an “unproductive” day.

  3. Some days feel like we’re the hamster on the wheel- running around as fast as our legs will carry us through our busy day. Wow- a DH who cooks dinner? Lucky you- you trained him well.

  4. Well….if that’s not productive, I can’t imagine what a productive day must be like.

    My dh once pointed out that I don’t give myself credit for the things I get done when they aren’t the things I wanted to do. Things like laundry, cleaning a bathroom, etc….but the truth is they have to be done and the fact that they get done in addition to my creative stuff is an accomplishment.

    The other thing he pointed out (I must have really been grousing!!) is that none of my creative pursuits (spinning – incl. fiber prep, knitting, weaving) are things that can be done in a quick session. So I tend to only count when the project is completed or a significant milestone met.

    In other words: Give yourself credit for doing the accounting, marketing, housekeeping, and parenting…in addition to creating lovely batts, yarns, books, and teaching videos!!

  5. Just to screw things over royally, this year the change from daylight to std time will happen during SOAR. I wonder how many of us will miss our planes because of it.

  6. Your days sound like mine. And they’re almost exactly the same length, although I’m in a different time zone, so shifted by an hour or so. Without any official daylight-weirding-out adjustments as happen spring and fall, and except for interacting with the rest of the world I try to ignore them.

  7. I’m coming to grips with the idea that sandal season may genuinely be over.

    I always like to know that there are other people in the world who cling onto their sandals for as long as humanly possible each autumn.

  8. I am so glad you told us what music you were listening to because that’s the first question that popped into my head! I’ve been listening to Metallica – 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, on the elliptical. I bet Judas Priest would be good then too.

  9. Super entry, but I just got a drum carder (Strauch Petite) and saw you reference “…the final finishing and sizing pass which makes the batts come out more or less even in size across the entire batch. ”

    What’s that all about?

  10. Go and buy a Senseo Coffeemaker – it takes 40sec. to get the water to boil and 20sec. more to fill your mug with a single serving of REALLY fresh coffee (40sec. for a double, either in 2 cups or one large mug).
    And every cup is made fresh and delicious..
    It’s my lifesaver every morning – I can do nothing BEFORE coffee’s ready…(but there were some comments from friends who visited the US and told us about the very different taste of european and US coffee…*ggg*)

    And…what about “shaking the mouse so the monitor comes on” – don’t you shut down the ‘puter at night?
    Completely separated from the grid?

    I suppose Europeans are much more trained to save electric (and other) energy/fuel than US-citizens – here it’s even common to unplug every device after using them to avoid a stand-by-mode which consumes a lot of energy….
    (yes, we’re a bit different – no wonder at a gallon of gas for today about 4.50€ = 6.80$…here the main part of the gas price is 85% taxes…)

  11. And MY day is always better when YOUR day includes some blogging.

  12. holy crap….i’d like to be a fly on the wall sometime! I think you get more done on a unproductive day than I do in a month. WOW!

  13. The first moment i thought you were describing my mornings. That’s how I feel – every morning before breakfast.
    Have a nice day.

  14. I have to agree with other commenters on how productive your day sounds. I’m in awe at how early you can pull yourself out of bed, I am not a morning person. Which of course is compounded by staying up late to madly scramble about trying to get things done. Thank you for the lovely peek in to your life 🙂

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