Off the clock this weekend

The 2-year-old continues to be a handful, and to wake up too early. I also had a rather ugly showdown with the 10-year-old about bedtime on Friday night. However, there were a number of moments of near, or genuine relaxation/fun this weekend. Among them:

The impromptu pool party. The boys had a half day Friday to end the school year. My 7-year-old was playing in the neighbor's sprinkler in the afternoon, and then burst in the door to ask if everyone (like half a dozen kids) could come in our pool. I said I couldn't watch that many kids on my own, so he tracked down a neighbor dad who could come help out. The weather was pretty decent, and the littler kids agreed to wear life jackets, so it was relatively relaxing to sit there and be able to show kids how to get to our bathroom without worrying about the others still in the pool (because there was a second adult!). And it was also good to get the kids a few hours away from the screens.

Reading on the porch. When the 2-year-old was napping, or when he went with my husband to Costco, I read outside. I finished Willa Cather's One of Ours, and started and finished Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. The latter had a surprising amount of familiarity of dates and geography for me. She talks of sitting with her daughter by the koi pond in the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitative Medicine. I used to take my boys there all the time (they have an all-abilities playground there and it was 3 blocks from our apartment). She writes of celebrating her birthday in December of 2003 in the middle of a giant snowstorm. We share a birthday, and I remember that snowstorm well. In other book news, I started, but then abandoned The Little French Bistro. I had read The Little Paris Bookshop, but I couldn't get into this one. (I will write a post about abandoned books later this week).

The blogger dinner. I had dinner with two blogger friends (one anonymous, one not) and their husbands at Talula's in downtown Philly. This was a lot of fun. I felt like I knew them well, and knew what they'd been up to, from reading their blogs all these years, so we could get right to talking without all that initial detective work one has to do in less familiar situations. Plus the food was great. When we parked the car at 7:30 the garage attendant told us we had to be out by 11. I assumed that wouldn't be an issue, but I had my husband set his alarm for 10:30 all the same. Then I didn't even really think about the time until 10:30. Talk about being off the clock!

The weekend work day. Since I'm covering for my husband for an upcoming Saturday, he decided to cover this Sunday, and take all four kids to Dutch Wonderland (so he didn't exactly get Father's Day off...). That meant that from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., I was at the house, solo. I spent the first four hours working on the epilogue/last chapter to Off the Clock. It's coming along. I wrote about 2500 words. It wasn't particularly easy, and it needs a lot of work, but I was so absorbed in it that I would lose track of time. I would look at the clock at some point and an hour had passed. Then I looked again and two hours had passed. I think I had only looked at the clock because I was hungry! I love being so into my work that I don't notice time passing. All about a state of flow.

Solo pool time. It rained on and off Sunday, but around 4:00 the sky cleared up. I had run my daily 5k on the treadmill, so I pumped off part of the pool cover, and went in to cool off. I just wandered around, feeling the pleasant water and staring up at the trees, the blue sky, and the clouds moving along. I read for about half an hour in the pool, finished my book, and then just relaxed. I got out after another 20 minutes but I really had no idea how long it had been. Another off the clock moment!

A walk with the toddler. I really should do this more often. He enjoys walks and he's strapped in to his stroller so he can't go anywhere. This makes the experience much more relaxing than playing in our backyard (where he gets into all sorts of trouble). I took him out from 6:30-7 on Sunday, basically to fill the time until bedtime, and it was nice.

Dinner on the porch. My husband bought lobster tails at Costco, so we had those for dinner after the 2-year-old went to bed on Sunday. We decided to eat outside on our back porch. The sun was setting and a breeze made the temperature quite pleasant. In addition to the lobster (with garlic butter) we had a tomato salad, broccoli, and mushrooms. I have been eating well!

Photo: According to Talula's menu, this recipe for lobster rolls is from Martha Washington. I didn't know she was near somewhere with a lot of lobster, but maybe! 

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15 Responses to Off the clock this weekend


  1. Lily says:

    How was the ‘heartbreak’ factor in The Year of Magical Thinking? I’ve wanted to read it for a long time, but having lost some close friends in the past few years, even the description sounds a little raw. Same with ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ and ‘The Last Lecture’. Perhaps I need to schedule a quiet weekend with some tissues and just cry it out.

    • @Lily- I didn’t find the heartbreak factor too profound, but I haven’t had any recent losses (at least unanticipated ones) so I’m not sure how my mindset would be if I had. That said, it felt like an almost detached portrait of grief, examined — showing how she reacted to memory and new situations and such. It was a lot better written than Option B, but while I teared up a bit during Option B I never did during the Year of Magical Thinking.

      • Lily says:

        Thanks for the reply! Maybe I’ll add Option B to the ‘weekend with tissues’ list.

  2. Jennie says:

    I may catch flack for this, but it is what it is. My youngest sounds like yours. He had (and still doesn’t) no semblance of self preservation. A couple of seconds of inattentive and he would be in mortal peril. I can’t tell you how many times he got away from me and seemed to dart straight to danger. He was exhausting. I was spoiled with my older children. He ask never slept and seemed to have energy for days.
    Long story short: we got a leash. It was a little monkey backpack with a tail. I held the tail. We would go on long walks in the afternoon and he could run and jump and climb within reason. We walked until he was wore out. I got some nasty looks and more than a few ugly comments, but it worked for us. He started sleeping better as a result. Which I counted as a win!

    • Ana says:

      We totally had that exact leash. At the airport, he figured out a way to wriggle out of it and disappeared into a crowd (one of the many many times I’ve lost that kid)

      • Ana says:

        I think the leash gave me a false sense of security, actually, I was holding it when he ran around and then, boom he was gone.

        • @Ana- he’s like Houdini. Wriggling out of the chains!

        • Jennie says:

          Mine broke free one time. At Dealy Plaza in Houston. If you have ever been you know you are 3 steps from a major road. I caught him just as he stepped off the sidewalk. A car was squeaking tires and blowing its horn. I nearly had a a heart attack. We relegated him to the stroller on those type outings from then on. He got to be “free” on the leash on our afternoon walks where there are no speeding cars. I just knew one of us was headed for a straight jacket and I really wasn’t sure who it was going to be. He’s 9 now. A little better, but you still have to keep eyes on him. He recently climbed a tree and attempted to jump from the tree into our pool. He was caught before he actually jumped.

          • Jennie says:

            Dallas-I don’t know why I said Houston. It was part of the same trip I guess.

    • @Jennie- no flak from me. You do you! And kids are just different. I’m only judgmental of parents who think they did something awesome because they happened to get a particularly easy or compliant first child (some discover, upon the second child, that it was just luck of the draw).

      • Jennie says:

        I was definitely spoiled by my first 2. I’ve run into turbulence with my oldest now that he’s 14, but my youngest broke the mold. I thought I was a parenting genius and then came Luke. I ate a lot of words.

    • Cbs says:

      It’s funny but those leash backpacks are totally normal here in the UK. It would be rare to meet a toddler parent who didn’t have one.

  3. Those lobster rolls look amazing! Enjoying lobster rolls is usually something I reserve for our summer trips up to Maine. Unfortunately, we decided to skip the trip this year because of the practicalities of bringing along newborn twins 🙁

    It’s wonderful how many enjoyable activities you were able to fit into your weekend. I’m trying to get out a little more, but it’s so much easier to take care of the twins at home.

    • @Harmony – infants are always hard. And two of them even more so! A friend with baby twins referred to them as her “house cats” once. They’d take their older kids places and leave the twins with a sitter — it was just easier on everyone!

  4. beth benson says:

    Both of my boys are crazy, high energy with no sense of self preservation. My oldest left summer camp in an ambulance last year for a broken arm (requiring surgery) because he jumped off the top of a play structure to avoid getting tagged! As far as I know- there is no other kind of child.

    Laura- I do hope your youngest starts sleeping later. Mine are 5 and 7 and get up at 6AM no matter what 7 days a week. But they can hang out by themselves for a little bit (before they are trying to do something that will result in serious injury). And 6AM is much better than 5AM (or earlier).

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