Unplanning My Day

Nothing Happened

I’m taking the day off today for no reason.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have reasons.

There’s a list of errands I’d like to get done before Saturday.  I need to do a couple ten loads of laundry, write some e-mails, fills out some forms, meet a deadline or two.  And perimenopause—which is what this had better be, or I’m quitting the biological lifestyle for good—is making certain things suck in a truly sucky way that makes me want to build a statue to the creators of Midol, sit on the top of it, and keep the pigeons away with the sheer power of my unreasonable irritation with everything ever, and also Jane’s marshmallow gun, because pigeons are not only naturally immune to annoyed glares, they appear to thrive on them.

But what I really need a day off without expectations.

I don’t have any appointments today.  The children are at school.  The library patrons are at the library. My MIL has no appointments she needs to be driven to and my husband is teaching classes.  The cat, who has developed the nasty habit of howling in the bathrooms at 3am, has fallen silent.

Nobody needed me this morning.  I didn’t have anything I needed to do.

So I slept in a little, got up to take a shower in a pre-warmed bathroom, dressed in my ugliest Not Leaving The House separates, and bestowed hugs and lunchbags on the kids before my husband took them to school (the kids and the lunches, though I hope the hugs went, too).  I sat down with a mug of coffee and a slice of homemade rice bread and did the sudoku in the paper, something I never have the time or the pencil to do in the morning.  It took me a while without the help of the familiar electronic grid, but that was fine.

Just in case I might want to go out to lunch somewhere when my husband returns from his morning classes, I started a load of laundry. I read a little, which led me to edit a bit I’m doing for a new Round Robin project, which led me to write a letter—a real one, longhand, with an envelope and everything—to a friend.  I put the laundry in the dryer, brushed my hair, and then chose to brush my teeth over having another cup of coffee.

I turned on the computer, wished my SIL a happy birthday on Facebook, finalized my Halloween costume, and brainstormed the next couple of steps on two projects, without worrying about carrying out any of those plans, and ended up with several pages of notes.

I didn’t quite sign up for Nanowrimo, but I thought about it.

And now I’m here, writing a blog post that might be the closest thing to a Must Do I’ll have until the kids come home at four.

For someone who had no To Do List, I seem to be compiling a pretty good Have Done List.

Funny how that works . . .


Too Tired to Type



Tuesday Morning Questions

Overcaffeinated Owl Says WHOOOOOOO

  1. Is French press coffee is just pretentious cowboy coffee with a fancy strainer and no eggshells?
  2. Will anyone notice that I’m wearing dark brown woven slacks and black shoes?  Will they care?  Do I care that no one cares?
  3. When did waiting for other people to exit an elevator before entering it become an optional thing?  Forget common courtesy—it’s common sense, right?
  4. If you clip the feathers of wereduck’s wing, do his fingernails get shorter?
  5. How much is my book budget this fiscal?  How much?  Seriously?
  6. Why couldn’t Helen Mirren have been the next Doctor Who?
  7. Can I use the description “ventiest venti ever brewed” in a story without running afoul of Starbucks’ legal department?
  8. Why do I have three pencils behind my ear?  Why did I only notice this when I tried to add a fourth pencil?
  9. Why does the Admin photocopier always jam when I have a hundred copies to make and ten minutes to make ‘em?
  10. How expensive would were-proof silver handcuffs be?
  11. Where’s the &$*^# public restroom key?
  12. Is there any place nearby that I can get the venteist venti ever brewed?
  13. Did I see a sort of Mongolian death worm plot on CSI a couple years ago when a chef killed a woman with a baby octopus?  Would it seem derivative or like a fresh new twist on fugu poisoning?
  14. Since I had Janie’s leftover oatmeal for breakfast, I deserve something nutritionally bereft for lunch, right?
  15. Does this curl-enhancing mousse make me look like a poodle from the ‘eighties?  Since it takes ten minutes off my morning routine, keeps my bangs out of my eyes, and seems to be humidity proof, do I really care?
  16. How long until lunch?
  17. Why am I not disturbed by the concept of a “fresh new twist on fugu poisoning?”
  18. Does a list of questions count as a blog post?

So . . . How was Your Weekend?

Jane had a friend over Saturday night, which was sincerely fun—her guest is a great kid—but ended up being a platonic game of musical beds, in which Sunny fell asleep in our bed and her friend ended up falling asleep in Sunny’s bed, and instead of trying to put Sunny down in the sleeping bag without a) dropping her from a height that Child Services would deem iffy or b) playing tiddly winks with my vertebrae, I slept on the living couch—which had almost the same effect on my back as option b, but live and learn.

The next morning, after my husband left to teach his Sunday morning class, I made Pokemon Rabbit pancakes* for the remarkably bright and bushy-tailed kids and a staggering amount of coffee for the zombies adults and we all did an MST3K-like viewing of Toy Story 2 (with pillow fight) before Jane’s friend went home and I started cleaning up because my MIL, who had been away for the weekend, was due back that evening and I didn’t want to hear it.**

And then my husband returned and we went to a baseball game.

My friend Cha-Cha came, too, because she’d never seen a live baseball game before—I’m not certain how much of the game she saw, since the kids were there to “enhance” her experience, but a good time was had by all, including the man in front of us, who thought Janie’s explanation of baseball was funny as hell, which was a relief*** because it went on forever, until Cha Cha intervened.

” . . . There’s a fastball (duh), a curveball (which goes like this), and a spitball (which is against the rules and germy), and a slider, and a knuckleball, and—“

“What’s a knuckleball?” I asked, mostly so she’d take a breath.  “Is it the way you hold the ball or something else?”

“It’s like this,” Cha Cha said, grabbing Jane.  “Right?”

“That’s not a knuckleball!” hollered Jane, struggling.  “That’s a noogie!”


Sunny, who was so tired from her late night that she’d come through total exhaustion to the other side, had no interest in baseball but loved that the popcorn comes in plastic helmets.  I took her to the bouncy house playground for the last few innings, hoping to wear her out, but she did ten rounds on the Big Slide without making a noticeable dent in her energy level until we had to climb the stairs to get back to our seats.

Our team won the game, too, which was nice.

We went home, where my MIL and Watson were waiting with open arms and some new clothes for the kids, because my MIL’s favorite way of spending her vacation is to buy clothes for everyone else.  That isn’t a complaint, by the way, just an amused observation.

While Sunny and Jane did an impromptu fashion show, with music and runway, and my husband did the grocery shopping,*** I dragged myself to the bathroom mirror and realized that a) I’d had a bit more sun than I’d thought and b) it was unlikely that I was going to be awake enough to re-rework the chapter that I’d forced myself to stop messing with the previous evening because my sense of continuity was slipping and I couldn’t see to type through my yawns.

Which is why I’m sitting in front of my laptop today^^ with a layer of aloe on my bright red nose and cheekbones trying to reintegrate a very minor character whom I’d ruthlessly cut before I realized that she’s the one I should have kept instead of the two other minor characters, whose only reason for surviving was an inside joke that no one else would get because I’d cut their set-up.

And why this post was a bit later than usual.  Sorry.

So . . . how was your weekend?


*Because kids won’t eat Deformed Rabbit pancakes, that’s why.

**Except I heard it from my kids, who were upset they’d missed Sunday School and didn’t understand why I can’t provide instant teleportation on command.

***The poor man also had to hear Cha Cha and I discussing our favorite baseball movies (I’ve seen the end of The Natural ten times, but never the whole movie) and sports movies (Does Simply Ballroom count?), and my personal opinion (once Janie left to get drinks with my husband) that umpire pants might look shapeless, but are actually quite flattering (“Watch that one at home plate when he crouches down to—see?  Isn’t that nice?”).

^He volunteered because he needed the alone time and I let him because I needed to sit down.

^^I have the day off from the library for good behavior.  More or less.

Random Thursday Thoughts

Selected thoughts throughout a rare day off from work:*

1.  Panera is a great place to write—hot and cold running caffeine, orange scones, convenient wall sockets, free WiFi to help me avoid doing any writing at all with research—but holy cow it’s loud.  Mister, when you talk into your bluetooth thingie, I can hear your side of the conversation . .  . and I’m writing it down for later.

2.  Why is it that I’ve just spent an hour trying to figure out if maximum-security Federal prisons make visitors take full-body X-ray scans,** just so I can add one detail and five words to this scene?  Is that good craft or an OCD flare up?

3. Hey!  My favorite bookstore is sold out of Jeff Somers’ Terminal State.  I’m happy for him, but I’m halfway through Eternal Prison, and I want that book

4.  What gift should I get for a co-worker’s wedding shower?  I don’t know if she and her partner are already living together or if either of them cooks.  But if they don’t cook, they probably won’t have cool kitchen stuff . . . and if they do cook, they’ll like more cool kitchen stuff.  And this is why they invented gift receipts.  Sold.

5.  Lunch and movie break with my friend Grace!  Easy A or The Expendables?  Stanley Tucci’s twinkling wit or Sylvester Stallone’s tattooed torso?  No woman should have to make this decision.   Lucky thing Grace is practical:  earliest matinée it is.

6.  Lisa Kudrow should have played her character a little more brittle Baby Jane and a little less neurotic skipped record.  I’m just sayin’.

7.  Borders has sold out of Terminal State, too!  But at least I can score a pumpkin Cremekula and a wall socket.

8. I can’t help but sigh at the Independent Readers shelves.  Janie is such an independent reader that she won’t come near a book if she suspects I’ve noticed it exists.  I think I’ll get that Roald Dahl collection over there and tell her not to touch the box on pain of death.  It worked for my Calvin & Hobbes collections . . . and our wedding pictures.

9.  What color jumpsuits do inmates in maximum security Federal prisons wear, anyway?  Do they wear jumpsuits?   Could I possibly just put down an X to represent color and get on with this, please?***

10.  How can I get any writing done with George Steinbrenner glaring at me from his biography cover?  I’ll flip it over . . .

Whoa—Madden wrote this?  Oh, Bill Madden.  Never mind.

11.  Done!  And with just enough plenty of time to pick up Janie from her after school thing . . . if I don’t hit any lights, cops, or construction, and all the pedestrians stay off the sidewalk.  Oh, $#!%.

12.  Could I just once remember to take off my wedding ring before I make a batch of my famous chicken nuggets?  Ugh.

13.  Bathtime Rule Number One around here is No water outside the tub. After tonight, there is an addendum: This includes the ceiling above the tub. 

14.  Crap.  I was going to write a blog post today.


*Please note that not all thoughts were used and some were edited for content—because, for example, my husband doesn’t need to know the details of my mental debate over number 5.

**Shoes and bags get X-rayed, people don’t.

***Orange is fine.  Yes.  Apparently not.