Saturday, August 8, 2015

Time Suckers

Not only do I waste time gardening.  I also waste time arranging cut flowers from my garden.

At some point during our annual visits with Tim’s ambitious brother Mike in California, he asks me about expanding my business.  This year he brought up the success of the Heath tile company in Sausalito.  Apparently the couple who bought Heath has turned it into a 14-million-dollar, nationwide company.  One of my ambitions for this summer was to change the side on which I part my hair.  I’m trying to floss more, and I also would like to read to my youngest child more.  Neither of those goals has been met, but the part part has been accomplished.

Screw expansion.  I’m not the 3rd world country I used to be in terms of ceramic output.  First of all, I can’t hire anyone because I spend most of my home life asking people if they’ve accomplished tasks.  The answer is usually “no,” so I nag, threaten and cajole.  If I have to do some menial tasks to avoid asking someone else to do it, so be it.  I can’t devote more time to work because all I want to do is garden.  I need to get a bumper sticker that says, “I’d rather be weeding!”  I'll put it right below the one that says, "I'd rather be potting!"  It sounds like I smoke a lot of marijuana.  Another garden-related time suck: Steel has started to write notes to the flower fairies, Dahlia, Pansy and I can’t remember the third.  We had tears over the weekend because those fairy bitches hadn’t responded in THREE DAYS! 

 I know it's probably beginner's luck, but doesn't that look AMAZING?!  My neighbors are actually starting to refer to me as "The Gardner" or "The Zinnia Lady."  I've also gotten some dismissive, "You know that they are all annuals, don't you?" comments.  I think I've got a line on some perennials for next year, so those nay sayers will have to kiss my Bee Balmed ass.

Then there’s my weird sense of thrift and sustainability.  How long do I spend going through bags of hand me downs looking for the next pile of clothes for each of my kids? It’s a challenging cost/benefit analysis when they complain about what I bring home from the loft at my studio and a new outfit at Target costs $10.  Kids’ clothes are so cheap it’s terrifying. Were they all sewn by little Jack Peters, Steels and Tobys in Bangladesh?  Speaking of Target, another way I waste time is looking at towels.  A few years ago I had the brilliant idea to buy white towels.  White towels would make our filthy home feel like a spa!  And they'd have the added benefit of ensuring that I would always have enough to do a full white load.  Tim's tube socks and the cloth napkins never filled it up.  To avoid a wasteful partial load, Tim would throw it all in with the colors and turn everything grey. Despite our having a separate laundry basket labeled by Steel in Sharpie (Wights) not one, but all 8 of our "new" white towels look like someone used them to wipe their ass with it and then hung it back on the rack.  I've never wanted a "nanny cam" before, but I'd love a towel cam.  It's so humiliating to give them to guests, but one cannot take a new towel purchase lightly.  There are amazon reviews to consult, mountains of terry at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond to fondle, and maybe Ikea has amazing towels.
A rare trip to buy new clothes at Target...

Last year my new prescription sunglasses were stolen from my car the first night we were at our new house.  Have I replaced them?  No.  Going to the eye doctor is an out-of-the-question time suck, and I get a free pair of glasses every 2 years, so I might as well wait.  See how much time and money I save?  The other day after a harrowing car ride, I spent a good hour googling “fractalized vision” and assuming I had a brain tumor.  2013’s prescription sunglasses are in a swim bag somewhere.  The 2011 ones live in the car.  My research revealed that wearing glasses with an improper prescription can create weird geometric divisions in vision.  OK maybe a trip to the optometrist would have been a better use of my time.

My most Sisyphusian time sucker is the battle against wasting anything.  I justify it by claiming that I’m green.  I roll my eyes at Tim when he, once again, forgets to bring bags to the grocery store.  I seethe when he opens a new bag of salty snacks without finishing the stale, wretched ones lurking behind the cereal.  Bear in mind, my husband is actually trying to change the way buildings are built in this country.  Buildings create 75% of our greenhouse gasses.  There are optional tax incentives written into the briefs for subsidized housing dollars.  The subsidized housing market is so competitive that developers almost always go for the incentives, so the incentives essentially become unwritten policy.  Tim is trying and succeeding in getting 37 states to give points for 0-energy, passive house subsidized housing projects, so he deserves a fresh bag of pretzels.

Meanwhile, the girls went to a birthday party in March.  One of the games involved picking peanuts up off of the lawn.  The bags of peanuts were weighed, and the owner of the heaviest bag was given the first choice of the dollar store prizes on the prize table.  Toby was apoplectic because the Frozen pencil case went to a girl who picked up more peanuts.  I spent the car ride home bellowing about how it’s all crap that’s going to break and she shouldn’t be crying about cheap toys.  Both Toby's and Steel's bags of peanuts ended up in a bowl on the counter because I couldn’t throw them away.  No one in our family eats peanuts.  When I got sick of the bowl on the counter, I ignored Toby’s pleas to be read to and instead spent an hour shelling peanuts to turn them into weird, natural peanut butter.  No one ate that either.  Then I baked them into peanut butter cookies.  I tried to slip in some whole-wheat flour because I don't want to waste it even though no one likes that either.  The cookies got re-branded as “breakfast bars” and ended their lives in the stomach of Brittney’s less-than-discerning boyfriend at MIT.  I’m saving the world one peanut at a time.

I should at least be making a ton of pottery this summer because my kids are in camp for 6 weeks.  The camp day is 2 hours longer than their school day.  They go to subsidized inner city day camp.  It’s really cheap and great, but there are a lot of fancy camps out there.  I’ve started lying.  Steel is doing an AMAZING week of cairn-making camp.  It was her special treat because she did an overnight camp for a week in the Hamptons at Currency Manipulation Camp.  JP is doing a week of tattoo camp followed by a really interesting hedge fund management camp.  Toby is going to do a 6-week SAT preparedness camp, so we’re having a GREAT SUMMER!
Tattoo camp...

Maybe Toby should be preparing for the LSAT.  She said to me out of the blue the other day, “Mommy, what do you love most in the world?”  I got a little misty and told her that I love her, her siblings and Tim.  She then said, “How would you feel if you couldn’t have us?  If you had to watch us be with someone else?”  I was sort of horrified.  “Toby!  That would make me so sad!  Why would you say something like that?”  Triumphant she replied, “Mommy, that’s how we feel about MOVIES!”  She set me up to get all maudlin, and then she went in for the kill; she's 5!

She’s been really funny lately.  She told us that there’s no gravity in her head.  “There are chairs flying all over the place!”  She does have a chair fetish, so I’m not surprised.  I’m going to be sad when her legs can touch the floor when she’s on a chair.  Seeing her little legs parallel to the floor when she’s on the toilet almost mitigates the fact that she always chooses to have a really long poop when we’re at a restaurant and my food has just arrived.  She likes to make whimsical conversation while I ask every 2-3 minutes, “Are you finished yet?”  At North 3rd she asked, “Mom, have you ever wanted to touch poop?”  I replied, “I’m sure most people probably do, just not enough to actually do it.”  She then said, “Freud says that playing with clay is actually an acceptable way to avoid the desire to touch your feces.”  I told her to hurry up and that we are more of a Jungian family anyway.  Back at the table,  I asked her if she was going to finish her potatoes and she said, “No, my mouth is bored with those potatoes.”  I wish my mouth would get bored with the heaping spoonfuls of Nutella I’ve been sneaking. 

(You know I'm kidding about Toby's knowledge of psychoanalysis, right?  I'm sure there are people out there who would reduce my life's work to a desire to play with feces, though.)

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