Wednesday, December 2, 2009


When I try to remember the past, I tend to recall things like winning a kite at the local shoe store, not the mundane everyday. I probably should remember studying in high school because that was back when teachers hadn't yet discovered homework, but I don't.

I seem to have changed my schedule recently. Instead of doing "important" things first, my day begins like this. I play stable boy, gathering goat goop so I'm available if Karen wants help milking. I drink my twice daily tea concoction, which consists of one cup of microwaved water, one soup spoon of natural unfiltered apple cider vinegar (the kind with the "mother") and a little honey. This cocktail seems to have removed a few pounds of fat and reduced my bad cholesterol by 20 points. I run at least 4 miles, check the greenhouse (today I watered it), and transplant firewood. I enjoy juice and oatmeal and, if I feel sufficiently stinky or have an appointment outside the home, take a shower. Between 9:30 and 10:30 I scoot up to Arrowhead Lodge to practice piano and write. I could get up earlier, but "ah doan wanna." Since our son went off to college, we tend to stay up late, not having to wake up earlier to make sure he's sprung. Although he didn't need us to reinforce his alarm, I think we wanted him to believe we weren't lazy.

The rest of the day I'm pretty efficient, getting ready for concerts, meeting my writing deadlines, attending practice sessions, eating lunch and dinner, and relaxing in the hot tub. If I want time, I steal it from these activities, which reminds me of the acquaintance who insisted, "Indulge the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves." She and her husband loved to travel, so they did. When he died at an early age, she was grateful for memories. They had tried to make more days unusual.

While many of my abandoned colleagues rush all over the country filling other peoples' schedules, Karen and I mulch gardens, gather free-range eggs, and wait for home-made wine and cheese to age. In February, I no longer expect my boss to hand me a bonus check (I'm the boss). Instead, I get excited when the Asplundh power-line maintenance guys dump wood chips in our field.

I guess I could exclude my morning maintenance and sink into an armchair, sit quietly on the porch, or find some children to play with (of course I mean this in a good, wholesome way; I am not Humbert Humbert). But then, Virginia warns, my teeth might fall out, my arteries could clog, and ex-friends might make a point of sitting at least three rows away from me.

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