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Tuesday, January 21, 2003  

Time Management

Trash is out of town for a couple of days. I could play out the bachelor-for-a-weekend stereotype so that when she comes home on Thursday night she’ll scarcely be able to push open the front door against the weight of empty beer bottles, cigar ashes, and spent frozen dinner trays piled waist-deep throughout the house, but I prefer to avoid making her regret coming home.

So I’m planning to do a few things around the house. I’ll clean the kitchen, obviously, and finish the laundry, and vacuum the living room. As well as any other general straightening up that needs doing. Then I’ll take down the outdoor Christmas lights, get my car’s oil changed (and I might as well detail it, and Trash’s car, while I’m at it), and do some other things I’ve been meaning to get around to. Like finally painting over that mauve nightmare in the basement. And replacing some light fixtures so we can see what color clothes we’re putting on in the late predawn hours. And maybe building some permanent shelves in the basement. That should leave me enough time for more relaxing pursuits like finally burning the fir tree that got evicted from our living room into the backyard two weeks ago, and trying to get Grand Theft Auto 3 to run on my PC in such a way that it doesn’t play like a semi-interactive slideshow. Also, I was thinking I’d get a haircut, compose an epic poem in Esperanto, and learn Tae-Bo. But that’s only if I get bored.

I always make these lists of things I plan to do whenever Trash is going to be gone. When she gets home, they always look ridiculously long and ambitious, and I feel like a slacker looking at all the uncrossed items. Eventually I learned that the lists are more gratifying when you can cross out a lot of items, so Trash now gets home to find bold, dark slashes of ink through tasks like “shave left side of face,” “go upstairs,” and “eat,” which are designed to distract her from the still-clearly-readable goals like “repave driveway” and “build bathroom in basement.”

I don’t know why I always think I’m going to be able to get more done with her out of the house. It certainly isn’t because she slows me down in the pursuit of my modest domestic ambitions. It’s not like I usually spend my evenings and weekends loudly protesting, “No! I must insulate the attic!” while she clings to my legs, or dragging her dead weight across the garage floor as she begs me to put up the drywall some other time.

Actually, that’s not true; I do know why. Just because time goes slower for me when she’s not around, that doesn’t mean that the rest of the universe follows the same rule. So I end up feeling like I’ve been alone for weeks, when in fact two days have passed and I still haven’t finished installing the new kitchen floor. It gets me coming and going.

Especially when she’s going.

* * *

Tuesday night television is becoming a logistical nightmare. Buffy, Gilmore Girls, and American Idol are all on at the same time.

Don’t think for one second that I don’t know exactly how gay that last paragraph makes me sound. At least I watch 24 at 8:00 instead of Smallville.

* * *

There’s something to be said for sharing a birthday with your spouse, but I’d say it’s vastly preferable to have the same birthday as your boss. Like I do. Especially when your boss is in a director-level position. Then the entire department bends over backward to give her a good birthday and you (well, the hypothetical “you,” by which I mean the literal “I”) get the spillover. Today, the managers decorated our respective workspaces with a Survivor theme—shell necklaces, fake flame torches, giant mylar balloons shaped like immunity idols, and a birthday cake with plastic bugs scattered on top. It’s kind of funny, especially when you consider the existential implications of birthdays and survival and how you can’t have one without the other. My coworkers are even deeper than I thought.

The tribe has spoken. And it has said, “Happy Birthday.”

posted by M. Giant 3:35 PM 0 comments


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