Monday, March 15, 2010

Week Eleven: The Early Bird

UPDATE: The fucking ice cream was in the FREEZER. I almost keeled over and died when, as I was digging around in the bottom basket for frozen rosemary, AJ leaned over, glanced in, and said, "I do believe I've found it." It was in the back of one of the slide-out baskets, sort of wrapped under a ziploc bag of frozen sage. Holy mary. Do you know how many times I looked in that damned freezer? How did I miss it fifteen times over?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!

Drive Safely week kind of ended with a whimper. I didn't do much driving at all on Saturday, which is out of the ordinary since weekends tend to be packed with errands. You want to know what my biggest issue with avoiding driving distractions was? The radio. Obviously it's not against the law to change radio statinos as you drive but it is a distraction, so I just resolved to leave it where it was until I was stopped. This was tough because I am a frequent station-switcher -- I can't stand to listen to music I don't like, but I also like the unpredictability of what gets played. And, I listen to NPR a lot but last week was pledge and as much as I like Gabriel Spitzer and Ira Glass, I get mightily sick of the pleas and finger-wagging, so there was a higher proportion of music radio in the mix than in non-pledge times. The point of all this is, while leaving the radio dial where it was occasionally resulted in a pleasant surprise (I hadn't heard "Still of the Night" in a long time, and that right there is babymaking music) for the most part it just meant I had to squirm through some shitty Steve Miller song or another (and let's face it, they're all shitty) until the next red light. There were times I was praying for a red light or a stop sign with no one behind me so I could be put out of my aural agony. I will say that it came in handy to be so virtuous, since AJ was doing quite a bit of time in the driver's seat over the past few days and it reminded me to set a good example when he was on the passenger side.

Sunday morning I drove to Andersonville to pick up a gossip bench from a Craigslister -- with the time change and the early hour, the roads were largely empty. I have to be honest and report that there was little residual effect from the week prior -- as soon as I was able I hightailed it up Irving Park at a solid 15 miles over the speed limit and was less than conscientious about the three-second rule at stop signs. But, I did think about how normally I would consider using that time on the road to call someone and chat -- that to me, time in transit is "dead" time that could be used quite nicely keeping in touch with people, and keeping in touch with people is something I'm not so good at. Instead, though, I enjoyed the quiet time alone...and paid attention to what was in front of me.

Speaking of quiet time alone, yesterday's early awakening marked the beginning of week eleven: wake up an hour early. Given my near-constant state of panic about finding time to do this, that, and the other, as well as my tendency to lateness, it seems pretty obvious that one solution is simply to wake up earlier. Bingo: more time to groom in the morning, more time to fix and consume breakfast, more time to exercise, more time to get out of the house and to work on time. More time to myself. The only problem with this lovely, elegant solution: I hate waking up. Considering my lifetime of experience (and hopefully, continued experience) waking up, I am very bad at it, especially when it's for a nebulous benefit. Yes, I could wake up, do yoga, eat breakfast, get all pretty and not feel harried...but I could also sleep more, and just not do yoga or eat breakfast or pretty up. And sleep is a convincing little whore. Yesterday's early morning was a little bit easier because I was getting a very tangible reward -- a vintage gossip chair to repaint and reupholster, which I have wanted for quite some time. And it was a Sunday, which meant I could take a nap to catch up in the afternoon and thus not have to go to bed early. If I want a decently clean house, unfortunately, going to bed before 10 pm is just not an option. Basically, I'm just looking to cram an extra hour in the day somehow in the hopes that it'll force efficiency elsewhere. Totally sound principle, I promise you.

This morning...I did get up early, but "early" is subjective. I normally set my alarm for 7:30, and then flop over in protest and half-sleep until 7:50, then throw on makeup and jump into clothes and fetch Hannah for her part of the routine at around 8. She eats and watches Curious George, and then gets dressed and ready to go. But there's a lot of creep inherent in this -- if I'm five minutes over on my end, it often winds up being ten minutes spillover because I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off and forgetting things, and then we're not leaving the house until 8:45 to make a 25-minute trip, and then I'm ten minutes late to work. I regularly squander the small cushion of time I should have built into the routine by just not getting out of bed. Anyway, so last night I set my alarm for 6:30 and went to bed -- but since I was up picking up the house or running out to get cash for AJ or whatever until past midnight, I didn't get to bed until about 12:30, and probably didn't fall asleep for at least another half-hour. By 6:30 I was really just getting into a good sleep groove, and my ass was not getting up. It just wasn't happening. I didn't wake up for enough time to rationalize staying in bed -- I just cracked open my eyes, slapped off the alarm, and went back to sleep. I did actually get out of bed at 7:30 this morning, though, so it was "early" in that it was "not late" -- which did help the morning run more smoothly, for what it's worth. That works -- right? Right? Yeah, I know. I'm not giving myself a mulligan here, but I wish I could. Maybe I need to enlist backup on this. Peter gets up an hour before I do...maybe I need a nag.


  1. Did you listen to Steve Miller when you were younger? I did in high school. Actually I listened to one album quite a bit back then, but these days I can hardly tolerate sitting through a single song.

    As for waking up early, I got a timer to put on one of those lights for people with SAD. It's totally awesome to wake up to light instead of an alarm. Well, it's still waking up so it's not really awesome at all, but it sucks way less.

  2. Really? You're just doing this for a week and you haven't found the solution yet?


    Just don't go to bed at all and grab a quick nap during a 'break' at work. It's how I got through residency!

    And everybody wonders at how doctors are such friendly people. . .

  3. Vince -- not really, no, but my loathing of his music did come later in life. The timer idea, though...that might be a keeper. How long have you had it? Was it expensive?

  4. Jason: I'm sleeping right now!