Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The Quiet (Lazy) Life

Someone I used to work with asked me the other day what I did with all my time. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t dived right into doing consultancy work, lecturing at local universities, etc. I don’t think he appreciated how angry I was when I left work. [Rant deleted]

So, what do I do with myself these days? Bill has a new job just now, the first 9-5 M-F he’s had since I’ve known him. That means the alarm goes off at 6:15 (and again at 6:30). I don’t really mind, as I’m often awake just before then now that the sun rises earlier. I do doze a bit though, until he brings me a cup of coffee before leaving at 6:45.

I should say now that were it possible I would just about live my whole life in bed. Propped up with lots of pillows and lots of coffee (and sometimes toast or an oatmeal smoothie) I can happily while away hours reading a book, some magazines, playing or writing on my laptop or writing in my notebook (mostly
lists). Now that I can practically do that all the time, it does seem less of a luxury. Since I have to get up for more coffee and to feed myself, I’m usually up sooner than I was at weekends in the past. There’s no really set pattern. Some days I’m opening the kitchen curtains at 7:30, others not until 10:00.

I’ve semi-adopted the
Flylady approach. I get dressed, usually in jeans, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a wool sweater and trainers/sneakers. [I finally worked out why Flylady insists on lace-up shoes: they’re harder to kick off and slump down onto a couch with a book]. I dress warmly as the heat comes on just long enough for Bill to get up and out and I leave turning it back on for as long as possible. I make the bed [for probably the longest number of consecutive days in my entire life] and tidy the bedroom, then the bathroom and then the kitchen. If I haven’t already had breakfast, I generally do that before the bathroom and the bedroom [Is this fascinating stuff, or what?] I usually sometimes do a load of laundry each morning; make sure we have either bread (we make our own) or muffins for Bill’s breakfast and figure out what we will have for dinner that evening.

I have a list of deadlines that I’m working on. Right now the next ones are to be ready for Bill’s birthday, have the house decent for his sister’s arrival from Australia and have my back garden plan completed, all roughly due about the same time. After that is getting US taxes filed. Before this there were things like renewing car insurance and my passport. I tackle the deadlines when the morning chores are done. If the deadlines are well on their way, I might spend the morning majority of the day reading blogs. Blogs are the best time-waster since Freecell and are completely addictive; I crave the next post from my favourite blogs like I used to crave cigarettes.

Sometime between 11 and 1 I get hungry for lunch. On a good day, I will go down and make a pot of veggie soup, chopping some of whatever is on hand plus a tin of tomatoes and a sprinkling of some kind of spices. On a bad day, ‘lunch’ is more a series of trips to the kitchen lured by cheese and crackers, leftover sausages or a guilty rustling up of fried potatoes and onions.

After lunch I sometimes do the Flylady un-cluttering routine for either the prescribed 15 minutes or longer if I get carried away, which is surprisingly easy. I may sit down and write about an idea I had for this blog or write a nice long email to a friend. If the weather looks good or I have a touch of cabin fever I might walk to the library. If it’s not a running club day and I am sufficiently recovered can actually walk again, I might go for a brief jog around the park or on the beach to top up my
quota for the week (so far so good).

I try not to go food shopping too often, as we have been working on consuming the vast stores of food we already own. Now that we’ve come through the Millennium, had no earthquakes or tornadoes locally and we are out of pandemic flu season, my survivalist instinct is ebbing slightly and one can almost see the back of some of my cupboards. Bill and I don’t always agree about the dates on packaging, but that’s less of an issue now that I’m the chief cook. I figure what he doesn’t know (probably) won’t hurt him.

However, if there are good deals in the ‘sales’ flyers or we are getting low on something important like hot chocolate or marmalade, I will go shopping. I usually walk to one of two stores, each being about a two mile round trip, and take my backpack. If it’s time for a big shop, about once every 4-5 weeks, then I’ll take my car and stock up at several locations.

I do what Bill calls 'cookery' when I'm in the mood. In our house this means new kinds of foods that generally create lots of washing up but which hopefully are worth it. So far these have included things like blackberry pie, blackberry and apple crisp, carrot cake, cabbage rolls, homemade tortillas, spicy shark steaks, salmon puff and a broccoli and Stilton puff (all bar the last were declared successes).

On a running club night, dinner is either a peanut butter sandwich or a couple of muffins and some milk; refuelling soon after running aids recovery and I like something in my tummy before going to the pub where the food is over-priced and mostly disgusting. [This has turned out to be largely about food! May explain why I'm not losing weight...] Those nights we usually get home about 9 and I’m pretty much ready for bed. I’ll have a cup of warm milk and read for a while before turning out the lights.

Other nights we’ll have dinner around 7, wash dishes together and then go watch one of a series of videos we’ve collected. My taste and Bill’s are pretty much opposite (my favourite movie would be something like Braveheart; his is probably American Werewolf in London) but we’ve discovered we both like science fantasy (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Van Helsing) and pre-war detectives (Mrs Bradley, Peter Wimsey, Albert Campion) with the odd other film here and there, ie Cold Comfort Farm.

Before we got into videos we usually sat in the front room by the fire and read or I might do some needlework. I think we should do a bit more of that rather than keep buying new videos at the current rate. I’d also like to go for a walk after dinner like we used to; we don't take near enough advantage of living in a pretty area. I'm sure we'll do more of that as daylight lengthens.

Other interests I've spent from some to a great deal of time with include sewing and crafts, genealogy research (for both historical and living family members), crochet, reading and a little bit of gardening.

This is only Bill’s second week in the new job, so we’ve not yet reaped the benefits for our weekend social life. My weekends are of course much the same as my week days except that I spend less time on the Internet as Bill likes to play Spider on this computer.

A lazy lifestyle? You bet. Solitary? That, too. Quiet? Absolutely. This is me-time and I make no apologies. I may become more sociable, more involved in future, I may pick up some sort of income generating work, I may become more industrious around the house and garden.

Or I may not.

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