Friday, May 22, 2009

A Day in the Life of the Unemployed

Before going to bed the night before, this is how the Unemployed Woman (UW) maps out the following day:

6:00 a.m.: wake up and lie around in bed until 6:15 (UW is not one who can leap out of bed, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed)
6:15 - 6:30 a.m.: brush teeth, put on workout clothes, etc.
6:15 - 6:45 a.m.: do newly-discovered, miraculous exercises (thank you Pete Egoscue and Pain Free!) that are keeping crippling back pain at bay in a way weeks of physical therapy never did
6:45 - 7:00 a.m.: make coffee and breakfast
7:00 - 7:15 a.m.: eat breakfast
7:15 - 8:30 a.m.: drink coffee and write
8:30 - 9:15 a.m.: morning walk with neighbors
9:15 - 9:30 a.m.: shower and dress
9:30 - 11:00 a.m.: write
11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: tidy downstairs, wash throw rugs from dining room, and make something healthy for lunch
12:30 - 1:00 p.m.: eat lunch with husband, the minister
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.: write
2:00 - 4:00 p.m.: read book meant to be an inspiration for writing efforts
4:00 - 6:00 p.m.: work on going through boxes, weeding, and organizing junk in attic (this month's household organization project)
6:00 - 6:30 p.m.: evening walk while listening to audiobook
6:30 - 7:00 p.m.: make dinner
7:00 - 7:30 p.m.: relax with husband before dinner
7:30 - 8:00 p.m.: eat dinner
8:00 - 10:00 p.m.: read
10:00 p.m.: head upstairs for pre-bed ablutions
10:15 - 10:45 p.m.: read in bed
10:45 p.m.: lights out

Here's what really happens:

4:15 a.m.: wakes up. Lies around in bed trying to get back to sleep. Cannot sleep, cannot turn off annoying brain.
4:50 a.m.: decides "F it," and gets up
4:45 - 5:00 a.m.: brushes teeth, etc.
5:00 - 5:30 a.m.: does exercise routine for back
5:30 - 6:00 a.m.: makes breakfast. Milk for oatmeal boils over while UW searches for coffee scoop husband has hidden in dishwasher. UW cleans up the mess, considers having cold cereal, reconsiders, and starts the process of making oatmeal all over again with salvaged bit of scorched milk.
6:00 - 6:10 a.m.: almost finished with breakfast when
6:10 - 6:20 a.m.: husband calls out from bedroom that cat has thrown up. Can she bring up some paper towels? She and husband spend five minutes disagreeing about best way to clean up cat puke.
6:20 - 6:40 a.m.: scarfs down rest of cold oatmeal and re-heats mug of coffee
6:40 - 7:45 a.m.: decides just quickly to check email. Discovers email from Oneworld Classics, a very cool publisher, offering her a free book, asking for her opinions, and introducing her to its blog. (Isn't Bloggerel a cool name for a blog?) Checks out the catalog, reads blog posts from the blog, tries to decide which book to get. Still hasn't decided by the time she logs off.
7:45 - 8:30 a.m.: writes
8:30 - 9:15 a.m.: morning walk with neighbors
9:15 - 10:00 a.m.: no idea what happened to this 45 minutes
10:00 - 10:30 a.m.: husband unexpectedly returns home and needs help finding some important papers
10:30 - 11:00 a.m.: Screw the writing, which has not been going well. Takes up throw rugs and puts them in washer. Starts process of tidying downstairs. Gets distracted by rearranging books in order to make room for bag of books friends in CT graciously gave her while she was visiting. Discovers husband's old copy of Gibran's The Prophet. For some reason, pulls it from the shelf and skims through it to discover one of husband's friends from high school apparently received it as a gift from another friend who has inscribed it with a quote from the book about friendship. This obviously meant so much to that friend that she decided to pass it on to UW's husband. The quote and the illustrations both get UW wondering if people were as facile in 1923, when the book was published, as they are today.
11:00 - 11:30 a.m.: UW's mother calls
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: hangs throw rugs out to dry and races around to try to finish tidying up the downstairs
12:30 - 1:00 p.m.: screw the healthy lunch. Throws leftover pizza on a plate and heats it in the microwave.
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.: sits down to write. Lack of sleep catches up with her. Has to take a nap.
2:00 - 3:00 p.m.: wastes an hour reading The Prophet only to discover (especially after checking out reviews on that, yes, people must have been as facile in 1923 as they are today (including Rodin, if the back cover copy is to be believed, and he really compared Gibran to William Blake. In fairness to old Auguste, he died before this was published, so maybe he was talking about something else, or confusing Gibran with someone else. Or maybe he said something like, "Gibran would like to think he's another Blake, just because he writes poetry and draws, but I laugh in the face of such an absurd notion." I mean, that would be a comparison, right?).
3:00 - 3;30 p.m.: ponders how the 1920s were so similar to the 1960s, and maybe that's why this silly little book had its renaissance with the hippies. Thinks about writing a blog post on this. Decides she doesn't know enough to do so. Meanwhile, decides not to work on the attic today after all. Her palate needs cleansing after such tripe.
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.: cleanses palate with Jeffrey Lent. If anyone can inspire an aspiring writer to want to write, it's Jeffrey Lent (although he can also lead to despair over one's own doubtful writing abilities)
5:00 - 6:00 p.m.: logs onto bloglines and reads those favorite blogs that have new posts, which also helps cleanse palate and is good inspiration for writing
6:00 - 6:30 p.m.: husband wants help coming up with the sermon title for this week's sermon
6:30 - 7:10 p.m.: husband announces he has to attend a trustee meeting, so the evening is shot. Takes her evening walk, gently accompanied by Louisa May Alcott's Eight Cousins and brings rugs in from the clothesline
7:10 - 8:00 p.m.: more online time
8:00 - 8:30 p.m.: makes dinner
8:30 - 9:00 p.m.: eats dinner
9:00 - 10:00 p.m.: discusses trustee meeting (apparently there is a sink hole in the back yard behind the manse. Good thing UW didn't disappear while drying the throw rugs) and other church-related issues
10:00 - 10:15 p.m.: pre-bedtime ablutions
10:15 - 10:45 p.m.: reads Heidi, because she read somewhere that reading children's books before going to bed is supposed to help a person sleep, and she has been reading a chapter of Heidi a night for ages now (not sure how well it's helping sleep, but the book has been as good as she remembered it being as a child)
10:45 p.m.: lights out. Thinks "I hope tomorrow will be a more productive day." *

* It was. Four hours of un-blocked writing (and plenty of pages to prove it) and an hour and a half in the attic (only the most discerning eye would be able to tell she's made a dent. Sigh!).


litlove said...

Oh I am so glad to find someone else's days just slip through their fingers! So many of mine right now contain grand plans for getting some writing done, and the usual mundane rubbish intervenes!

Watson Woodworth said...

I think "Bloggerel" is an excellent name.
I don't know if good blogging makes for good writing but I like this Day-in-the-live VS Day-in-the-life thing.

Rebecca H. said...

Unemployed certainly does not mean unoccupied, does it? I'm glad you recovered from that day to get some good writing done the next. I can very easily lose my days too -- don't know how it happens!

Anonymous said...

My days never go to plan either. Friday was supposed to be all about research. Instead, it was an explosion of infuriating emails.
I don't know how you writerly types every manage it!

Anne Camille said...

Plan vs Actual? I'll take actual anytime. Sounds much more interesting.

One might wonder if your 11 - 11:30 activity caused the hurridness of 11:30 - 12?

Rodin was a jerk, so he might have liked Gibran's writing. As for his sculpture, well, so what if he was a jerk, his sculpture amazing (except for the disturbingly large feet). I'm visiting the Musee Rodin tomorrow or Wed so I'll verify this again. :)

Stefanie said...

Oh this was wonderful. Such a comfort to know someone else's well-planned days doesn't quite work out. Mine rarely ever seem to go to plan. Did you decide what book to choose? I got that email too and decided on a Maguerite Duras book. It was difficult to choose!

Emily Barton said...

Litlove, that mundane rubbish just LOVES to intervene, doesn't it?

Nigel, glad you enjoyed it.

Dorr, no, it most definitely does not mean unoccupied, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who loses days.

Cam, oh yes, ever since I saw the movie Camille Claudel, I've decided Rodin was a jerk, but you're right, his work (and everyone who did it for him) is marvelous. Hope you enjoy the museum.

Stef, I was tempted by Duras but finally settled on The Black Spider (which is being published next week, so I may have to wait a little while).

Bob said...

Emily, That was a riot. The microcosm of your “planned” day is a metaphor of all our days, unpredictable and much left to the vagaries of chance, cat vomit and all!

Emily Barton said...

MFS, I remember many a day when "research" was on the agenda and instead "putting out fires" became the major activity.

Bob, yes, much left to the vagaries of chance (at least for mice and men).

knitseashore said...

Sorry I am late to this post, but I think you've pretty much nailed it. Esp. the nap part. I hated naps as a child, but I'm sure hoping the next job -- whatever it is -- has an afternoon nap time with mat and juice afterwards. :)

Oh, and the best way to clean cat messes is Resolve foam carpet cleaner and a wet washcloth. You don't have to ask me how I know that. :) :)