In the last post, I gave myself a 3.6 out of 10 on the scale of work-life balance. Which, I say again, is pretty abysmal. I committed to developing an action plan so that my precious few non-work hours didn't slip away from me. Well, my friends, the time has come to commit to that action plan publicly, in front of you. This is mostly for my own self, to hold me accountable, but if anyone has suggestions, they would be appreciated in the comments!
Also, sorry about the lack of pictures, but this post is very serious. Also I only had a short amount of time to work on it.
1. Gardening. Just so you know, the lawn is no longer a foot tall. I mean, it's a good 8 inches again, but not a foot, and it's been raining all week. Kathy and I have decided a good way to handle this is that one day a week, when I can get out on time, I'll mow while she cooks dinner. Usually one of us cooks and the other bops around the kitchen chatting, so this is a small sacrifice of some family time together, but we make a point of sitting down as a family for dinner each night, so we will have to catch up then. Also, C has baseball games each Saturday morning, so when it's our weekend with the kids, I'll stay home while the rest of the crew goes to the baseball game, so I can do the other gardening -- weeding, mulching, planting, etc. I bought a flat of annuals for some fun color and we actually have an enormous amount of mulch left over from last year stashed in various places, so I am all ready for the implementation phase. Two hours every other weekend is not as much time as I would like in my garden, but it's a heck of a lot better than nothing.
And Kathy has promised to help me plant Stewart.
2. Cooking. I seriously want to make the muffins, people. This one is a little tougher. I think the key here will be one real trip to the grocery store a month, and muffin-making Sunday nights. That way the kids will have snacks for the upcoming weeks, and I'll scratch my baking itch. The weeknight dinners are still going to be chicken-on-grill, minute-rice-in-pot kind of affairs, but with homemade baked goods for snacks and the occasional fancy food on the weekends, it shouldn't be so bad, right?
3. Reading. This one doesn't need much help, since it got an 8 out of 10 but I would like to broaden my reading selection beyond what they feature on that front table at the Barnes & Noble across from my office. Maybe I should throw some good non-fiction in to shake things up. I am a fan of memoirs.
4. Working on my house. We are going to keep chugging along with the Fire Island fixer-upper (you may have noticed a to do list page was added to help keep organized), but with respect to the real house, I think we need to sit down and see whether there are any projects that need to take priority (there are) and figure out when to squeeze them in and/or hire someone to do them properly. The thing with house repair is that an ounce of prevention really is a pound of cure, so we need to make sure we stay on top of it. Projects that might make the list are getting the carpets cleaned (we had planned to do this ourselves, but...), having the sprinkler people come set them up to work properly so I don't spend my weeknights dragging a hose around to get all the places that remain mysteriously dry, and getting the gutters cleaned (yuck). You will be glad to know that we took our Christmas lights down in early April, scant days before the other house in our neighborhood that still had them up, thereby narrowly escaping being the last house. Also, the last house is rumored to be owned by a higher-up at a certain magazine touting organizational tips, which is a lovely bit of irony if you're me.
5. Exercising. The daytime and the weekends are key here. I just got back from a mid-day yoga class, and I really believe that if I can squeeze in one or two lunchtime workouts a week, plus something on the weekends, that will be sufficient. I've also been trying to just be slightly less lazy about things and counting it as exercise. For example, last weekend I carried a sleeping C about 5 blocks, rather than waking him and making him walk, and decided this was sufficient in terms of back and arm muscle exercises, since I was so sore I could barely move the next day (a bonus is that C finds it hilarious to be the cause of my pain and misery, in a way that would be annoying with anyone else but is cute when it's a six year old).
So, in summary -- two hours of gardening every other week plus weeknight lawn mowing; Sunday night muffins (I wish it was Monday morning muffins so it could be alliterative); broaden reading selection by introducing some non-fiction; delegate real-house tasks so that I feel more on top of it; squeeze in a workout or two during the weekdays but also take the stairs and carry a 50 lb. boy around whenever possible.