Day Off

I wake up reluctantly, the loud tendrils of my alarm clock penetrating my brain like shards of glass. Wednesday. Wednesday? Aha! Today is the day that I get that essay out the door, all 2,000 words of it. It’s due at the end of the week, but I’ve got the day off work and I’m going to get my thoughts together and onto the screen.

Ideas are swirling in my head already. It’s going to be a good day, a productive one. I can feel it. I get dressed, see my kid off to school, and, coffee in hand, I head upstairs for my office.

But on the landing I stumble over a box of clothes That’s headed to Goodwill. I’ve passed that box a hundred times in the past week, and I can no longer stand its silent nagging. So I pick it up; I’ll put it right in the trunk of the car so that I can drop it off the next time I’m in the area.

If I’m already going to make the trip to Goodwill, I might as well make it worth my while. So I take this opportunity to run down to the basement level to sort my daughter’s clothes. An hour later, I’ve got an armful of too-small discards. I add them to the box and pop them in the car, and now I’m ready to tackle that essay. It’s only 9:30; I’ve got hours of work time ahead of me.

Unfortunately, while I was sorting and toting clothes my coffee got cold. I dump it down the sink and put on another pot. It’s time to get this thing started!

While It’s brewing, I put away the clean dishes from last night. I’m multitasking like a pro here, and I’m not taking any more time away from my writing. Coffee is done. I reach the door of my office and whip open my laptop.

There’s a piece of paper lying on top of the keyboard. I peer at it. Crap, the hydro bill’s due today. Well, That’s a priority. I pay it online, and then I pay the three other bills that are due tomorrow. Kill two birds, and all that?this makes me ahead of the game! I open my essay file and type in my title.

The phone rings. It’s my daughter’s school. Blah, blah, paperwork, blah blah supposed to send that yesterday. Okay, also a priority. I fill it out and put it downstairs where her schoolbag goes. I’ll pop it in there when she gets home today.

I check my watch. I lost a half hour, but That’s okay. I’ve paid bills and caught myself up on paperwork and sorting. Now I’m ready to roll!

Or maybe not. Where’s the stack of research materials I borrowed from the library? I must have left them in the car the other day. I dash downstairs out to the parking lot and locate them on the passenger seat. But what is that smell?

There’s a weird odour wafting from the back seat. I gingerly root around back there and discover a half-rotting sandwich shoved under the booster. God help me, that kid. I throw the sandwich in the dumpster and gather into my arms all the other stuff that definitely doesn’t belong in the car: two hoodies, an overdue library book, four pencils, two dolls, one shoe (where’s the other?), her ballet bag, and a bunch of wrappers.

I stick them in a laundry basket in the entryway of the house. These, at least, aren’t my problem.

Now It’s 11, and I realize I haven’t eaten breakfast. All this running around has made me hungry. I’ll have an early lunch and get to work. It should last me until mid-afternoon: a nice, solid chunk of work time. Of course, before I get started I need to run back out to the car to retrieve my research books, which I left there because my arms were too full of little girl paraphernalia.

11:30. I open the first book and type the info into a bibliography. Luckily I’ve done a bit of the research beforehand, so this should flow well. I write a killer opening paragraph, and launch into my first argument.

The phone rings. It’s my best friend. I forgot to return her call two days ago, so I guiltily pick up and explain why, yet again, I can’t talk. She’s understanding and listens while I complain about this stupid essay and the trouble It’s causing me. By the time I’m done whining, I feel a lot better. But now It’s nearly 12:30.

I write for a solid half hour. Then I get stuck and find myself on Facebook. Bad decision; I’m not going to let distractions get in the way of productivity today. I decide to get some fresh air. Maybe the mail’s come? It hasn’t. I fill my water bottle, wipe down the fridge, and head back upstairs. I still can’t focus. I collect the trash and bring it out; I’m being efficient here, since I’d have to do this tonight anyway.

1:45. I write the conclusion. That gives me some ideas, so I type a bit more. No, that doesn’t sound right. I retype it and then retype it again. I’m editing! That’s productive! But It’s 2:15, and I still have three pages to go. My daughter will be home at 3. I’m getting nervous. I’ve got 45 minutes to write three pages, which works out to 15 minutes a page. If a page is max 500 words, that means a hundred words every five minutes. I waste 15 minutes on advanced mathematical calculations. Now the pressure’s on. That makes me stuck. She’s going to be here in 30 minutes. 25. 20. I have to go to the bathroom.

Fifteen. I’m nervous. Why am I nervous? She’s not a baby; I can work while She’s home! Maybe I’ll make a snack for her now, so I’ll have a bit more uninterrupted writing time when she goes out to play.

Ten minutes. Where did the day go? I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, just not on this essay. I edit a bit. Five minutes. Brain flash! I start madly typing. Now I’m on a roll!

Ding dong! She’s home. ?Mommy can I . . . Mommy I need . . .? Argh. 600 words out of 2,000. So much for my essay writing day. Guess I’ll be burning the midnight oil . . .

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