You see, I am connected. I need to be. I have a way of getting carried away with whatever I am doing and forgetting the rest of the world around me.
So, to compensate for this tendency, I use Google calendar to map out my life. It emails me events at 5 a.m. daily, pings me about them with 20 minutes to go and, then, hits me up again when I have five minutes left. It practically grabs me by the throat and shakes me.
Without it, I am lost.
With it, I leap from meeting to work, to scouts, guitar lessons, theater practice and baseball in a single bound – well, two or three beeps. I dance in a nervous frenzy around my schedule, my world, remembering when the boys need to be ready for pictures, what day I need to bake cupcakes for a fundraiser and when I need to take the boys in for a tooth cleaning.
Hooray for the calendar.
But a bigger hooray for something else – something I almost never see on that obscenely early morning email – those three words – the ones that I saw this morning:
Nothing. Scheduled. Today.
Let me say that again. It just sounds so good.
Nothing. Scheduled. Today.
A free day. That means I can run a few miles, fix the cracks in the ceiling, finish trimming the shrubbery, wallpaper the wall leading down to the basement.
That means I can try that silly kit to whiten my teeth, dance a little dance, write a chapter of that novel I never get to writing, play another game with my kids.
I can go to the beach, hunt morels, take pictures in the woods, train my boys to be better at doing chores.
But wait. It lied. My fault. I never filled in everything.
Guitar lessons. Baseball. An unplanned cold that is somewhat stealing my voice and begging me for sleep.
Still, this morning, facing the luxury of unscheduled hours, I tried hanging the wallpaper. It’s a small wall. An easy enough job.
But first I had to replace the dead light bulb so I could see down that dark hall. I screwed in an energy-efficient replacement, a new CFL.
Smiling, feeling competent, I soaked the paper, straddled the ladder. Lined things up. Started to trim, and hit my head on that brand-new bulb. Yeah, I cracked it in two on my thick head.
Oh, Lord, let the mercury rain down upon me.
The directions for cleaning up a broken CFL are enough to make you never want to purchase one of these darned things again. Yeah, LEDs are where it is at.
Not knowing what else to do, I went outside and hosed my hair; then, dripping all over the place, I made Steve Google broken CFL directions.
Evacuate the room for 15 minutes. Put on disposable gloves. Use two pieces of cardboard to sweep up the glass. Put it all in a Ziploc. Use tape to get any remaining pieces. Put tape in the Ziploc.
Yeah, so I’m using duct tape and rubber gloves, and I’m cussing up a storm as the tape sticks to one finger, then the next then, the palm, then the Ziploc. I pull out another piece, with more of the same, only it finally takes the entire finger off one glove.
Yeah, and that’s about the time I put my hand down and poke myself clean through with a nice, sharp piece of mercury-laced glass.
Thank goodness we’d sent the kids upstairs so they wouldn’t breathe in the stuff. The words that came out of my mouth may have been more potent than the mercury.
Me showered, my clothes in the laundry, the floor scrubbed and one lonely piece of wallpaper on the wall, hanging rather imperfectly — my cold finally got the better of me. It was about all I could do to curl up on my bed and nap.
So I did. Until the calendar buzzed, and I began hopping, back to guitar lessons and baseball and dinner somewhere in there.
That strand of wallpaper? It will probably have to stay lonely all week. After all, everything starts over again tomorrow.