Saturday, October 3, 2009

Go-Slow Day, Take 1

I was talking to my good friend Rosie the other day, who, in the midst of preparing for a family trip to Singapore (the lucky bastard), is enjoying what she calls a “Go Slow Week”. Now, Rosie’s Australian, so when she told me this, I initially did one of my blank beats of confused silence in which I turn over a foreign phrase, trying to conjure a mental image to go with her words. Much like when she says ‘arvo’ or ‘cricket’…not that we discuss cricket much.

Turns out, “Go Slow Week” isn’t an Australian invention or even a byproduct of early springtime bliss (different hemisphere, different seasons, remember), but entirely her own idea. And since she’s a very busy person, and I’m a very busy person, and since I’m highly competitive and determined that she’s not going to beat me at anything (except, obviously, world travel), I decided to give “Go Slow Week” a try myself.

Thinking I’d better build up my tolerance for such a thing, I decided upon a “Go Slow Day” last Sunday. It was really all I could squeeze into the schedule. You understand.

I’ll break it down for you:

6:30 am: I’m awake, despite my best efforts to sleep in. The kids aren’t even up yet. I get coffee (trying to do so slowly) and get online to catch the latest news. The top headline is something about the upcoming MTV awards. (What? I never said CNN was my homepage.)

8:00 am: I make breakfast. And not just cold cereal either. I make muffins using the dozens of blackberries I managed to pick in the heat of early August. They’re very good. I remind myself (to remind myself next year) that it’s worth it.

9:00 am: We skip church.

10:30 am: We skip the late service of church. We all decide this Go Slow Day thing is pretty awesome.

11:18 am: I’m getting a jump on dinner, which is a good thing, since it’s a crock pot meal tonight. I’m following this recipe for baked potato soup on A Year of Slow Cooking, a site I know I’ve already pimped half a dozen times here, but seriously, it’s that great. Anyway, I’m sailing along, scanning the ingredient list, realizing that (hallalujah) I have everything I need.

It calls for five pounds of potatoes, which is fine by me, because I have a huge bag of potatoes. I look to see what size bag it is. 10 pounds. Great. But I know I’ve taken some potatoes out already, to go with the taco salad the other night.

Question: how many potatoes did I take out? And what poundage of the total bag do they represent?

More than half? Less?

How many pounds are currently in the bag?

THIS is why I don’t make dinner.

12:15 pm: I grab my iPod and my pillow and…ready for this? I lay (lie?) LIE outside in the hammock and close my eyes. This lasts about five minutes, then I decide I’m not comfortable at all and start to think that I need a glass of water and I get itchy with my back to the rough rope and I squirm enough that Toby climbs into the hammock with me and decides to make it a ‘rockin’ boat’. I turn up the volume in my ears, but his lips keeps moving silently, on and on and on, and I eventually succomb to the guilt inherent in ignoring him and listen. He tells me a story about ninjas in the desert who have horses and helicopters.

1:30 pm: I’m bored out of my mind.

1:45 pm: I do that thing where I stare around the house, trying to think of something to do. I settle on laundry. I dump a big load of the boys’ whites (oh who am I kidding? I don’t separate) into the washer.

2:00 pm: The boys go to Grandma’s house. They’re sick of being bored. I soldier on.

2:45 pm: Now that the house is quiet, I read back some poetry I’ve been working on, and decide it’s not so terrible. This rallies me from my recent apathy toward all things poetic, so I work for another hour. Then two hours. This is what happens when you’re writing. But after over two hours, I still can’t get it right, and it’s starting to stress me out, and I decide Go Slow Day = Stress Free Day, so I stop.

Which stresses me out more, so I finish.

6:00 pm: Kids show back up. My mom has fed them. Score.

7:00 pm: I decide Go Slow Day also = Go to Bed Early Day, so I implement this. Amid protests. I compromise with long story times. Toby picks Tonka: Working Hard with the Mighty Crane, which is mind-numbing on the surface, but actually has quite an interesting subplot revolving around the main character Lou and his buddy Dan. No, no, not that type of subplot! It’s much more complex than that. See, it turns out that Lou is the crane operator whereas his longtime friend Dan has been his assistant on the job site for years now. But then we get backstory: in high school, Lou was the star pitcher and Dan was the catcher (it’s all there on page 12). Continuing to page 16, we get a glimpse of their social life with an illustration of Lou scoring a strike at the bowling alley while Dan looks on. Brutal. Cue Wind Beneath my Wings. I wonder aloud how Dan must feel, still in Lou’s shadow. Toby and I both ponder that for a moment.

8:00 pm: Everyone is in bed. By the green glow of his Tyke Light (love those things), Calvin is reading Left Behind (For Kids), which makes both Charlie and I shudder. Correct me if I’m wrong, but nine times out of ten, Christian literature should not be called literature. I know of a few exceptions, so I hand him The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe instead and beg him to use the brain God gave him.

8:45 pm: I finally sit down on the couch, my laptop in one hand and a bowl of Slow Churned Chocolate Cherry Chip ice cream in the other.

9:00 pm: I’m mid-way through my Facebook updates when I suddenly realize I’ve forgotten all about the laundry. It’s lumped in a heavy ball at the base of the machine, and if I put it in the dryer now, the buttons on all the pairs of jeans will clang against the drum and wake up Toby.

THIS is why I don’t do laundry.

Oh, and by the way? If you try this at home, do yourselves a favor and don’t engage Johovah’s Witnesses in discussion, even on a Go-Slow Day. That lady must have come back four times before I was forced to break it off with her. Do…not…recommend.
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