Thursday, December 31, 2009

Personal time, what's that?

I woke up this morning wondering what the day would behold. It's kind of rainy and cold today, so it looks like another day inside with the kids. Christmas is over and the novelty of the new toys has passed. Monotony is just beginning to creep over the horizon once again as the Christmas school break begins to wind down. There are chores to do and errands to run.

Today, I made breakfast for everyone as usual. Then the kids watched a little TV after breakfast - they don't have the Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner show like we did, but they do have Curious George and they seem to like it. So, while I was cleaning up the kitchen, I heard the wonderful sound of children laughing and playing in the house as Curious George had come to an end. That is a great sound isn't it. For a parent, nothing else seems quite so sweet as kids playing and laughing. Luckily, my kids like each other and love to play together. So, after the kitchen was cleaned and the roast placed in the crock pot, I decided to take advantage of the peace and tranquility by checking our email. You know, take some time out of my "busy" day and just veg in front of the countless spam emails, advertisements, chain letters and bills sent to our electronic mailbox. I figured that would take about 20 minutes and then I'd be ready to face the day knowing I had taken some time just for me. Kind of like locking yourself in a mental vortex where nothing can disturb you. It's just you and the computer. No kids, no bills, no chores. It's a treasured place.

I don't know about your kids, but mine have this internal radar that goes off whenever the computer gets turned on. It never fails, once I push the Dell's "ON" button, everything comes crashing to a halt. The kids who were just in the back bedroom playing hot wheels and who knows what else, came running into the computer room with their eyes transfixed on the monitor, waiting for it to complete it's boot-up. Then come the questions: "Dad, can I play on the computer? Dad, can I read your blog? Dad, I didn't get a chance to play on the computer yesterday, and you told me I could today, so can I go to and play a game?" I answered their questions and then I realized something important. Something that will help me from a time management standpoint. What I learned is that my kids can only amuse themselves for a finite period of time before they come looking for me, their entertainment coordinator. After about 45 magical minutes of playing and laughing, I am looked to as an activity facilitator for the remainder of their day.

This magical morning time seems like an enchanted worm hole that has the potential to carry me away to the same place that Calgon took so many women in the 1980's. But as I have also learned, it can be pre-empted by the following...

1 - My turning on the computer (as I said earlier)
2 - My going to the bathroom
3 - My talking on the phone
4 - My reading a book

So basically, if I am doing any kind of chore around the house, I have all the uninterrupted time I want; so much for my "staycation". If I want to actually have some non-productive alone time, then I've discovered I need to do that during a meal or when my wife comes home. Perhaps I need to figure out a way to combine these things? Like read a book while loading the dishwasher, talk on the phone while running the vacuum, or go to the bathroom while... oh never mind, it will never work.

Lets see, when does school start up again? Ah yes, my calendar says on Jan. 6th, 2010. That's 7 days from today, not that anyone is counting.

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