DITL: Some days are better than others

I always enjoy seeing day-in-the-life posts on other people’s blogs, so I thought I’d share one of mine again. Monday was by no means a “typical” day, but there aren’t any typical days. Some days I am more productive than others. Monday had some serious flaws in it, like attempting to get to New York and not making it, though I managed to do a few fun things despite that disaster. 

6:10 – I woke up before my alarm.

6:10-7 – Went downstairs to work — crunching 2 time logs. These were beasts, as they were done in Word, not Excel. At some point in there I heard my 6-year-old get up and turn on Henry Hugglemonster. I decided he didn’t need my help on that front.

7-7:15 – shower, dress

7:15-8 – breakfast with kids, light picking up. The house is kind of a cluttered wreck at the moment. We seem to be getting lots of papers about end-of-year stuff.

8-8:10 – transition with nanny

8:10 – 9:15  work on speech I’m giving Friday. Group has slightly different demographic than normal so I need to retool the usual speech.

9:15 –  9:20  (email, websurfing break, Nicole & Maggie, Modern Mrs. Darcy, etc.)

9:20-9:30 – email expert for piece on “The Fine Art of Small Talk” (I need more ideas too! Got any strategies for making smart small talk?)

9:30 – 10:30 – Buy train tix to go to NYC in the evening to lead the YNYC Board meeting, little knowing how jinxed a trip this will be. I also print finance forms, email from the choir’s lawyer, etc.

10:30-10:40 – respond to reporter’s email that I realized I’d forgotten.

10:40 – 11 – random other stuff – an invoice to get paid by a magazine (which I then forget to put in the mail), email about joining 85 Broads, etc.

11- noon – tallying another beast of a time log, email

12 – 12:30 – eat lunch with 2/3 kids

12:30 – 1 – crunch another log, attempt 2 more, but too messy

1-1:15 – send emails to time log laggards

1:15-1:30 dither. Decide to run

1:30-2:10 – trail run! There’s a nice trail just a few minutes from my door. Lovely break.

2:10-2:30 primp for evening’s meeting

2:30 – 4:00 – crunch another log, follow up with another, plus another

4-4:30 – get ready to go, say goodbye to kids, drive to 30th street station

4:30- 5:30 – make a series of strategic errors with Amtrak. Train is delayed, but sign claims only 5 minutes. So I don’t buy ticket for another train, but once we board, the delay stretches on. Eventually, at 5:30 as they are switching the engine and say the process is going to take another 20 minutes, I get off. I can be 20 minutes late for a meeting that’s 90 minutes, but 50+ minutes isn’t worth it.

5:30 – 6 – get car and drive home.

6- 6:30 – say hello to surprised children and babysitter who has come for the evening. Chat for 5 minutes, then tell them to pretend I am not there. Work.

6:30-7:50 – Lead YNYC Board meeting by phone from home office.

7:50- 8 – phone call with Amtrak in which I learn I cannot get a refund despite canceling before the second leg of my trip. I know they are a monopoly and don’t care if I am a satisfied customer, but let it be said: I am not.

8- 8:15 – post already written blog

8:15 – 8:30 – eat snack

8:30-9:15 – send sitter home, put kids to bed.

9:15- come downstairs to find husband has come home. Express displeasure to him that he chose to come home after the kids went to bed, not before. Also displeasure that he is taking a phone call from my office. Grab laptop in a huff and storm into living room.

9:15-10 – start to work. Husband comes out and suggests we make/have dinner. He cooks scallops, which we eat on salad (for him) and quinoa (for me).

10 – 10:30 try to work, husband suggests we watch TV – DVR’d Daily Show. Watch the show. Realize — as NY Times review of new John Oliver HBO show mentioned too — that the making-fun-of-Fox-News schtick is just getting old. Yes, some of the shows are dumb and partisan. We get it.

10:30-10:40 – Realize I am not making any progress on the work I have been attempting to do since 9:15. Get into bed, go to sleep until 6:17 the next a.m.

In other news: As shown above, I generally get enough sleep — 7.5 hours/night is what I need. I just make it a priority. I you have strategies for making sure you get enough sleep, I’d love to hear them! I write about this topic a lot.

15 thoughts on “DITL: Some days are better than others

  1. Re small talk, I’ve noticed this is very culture dependent. Whether you ask people questions (as in LA), and if so how probing the questions can be, or if you volunteer things (as in the South or Midwest), and again what topics are ok. As a Midwesterner, I am “fascinated” by the weather and feel oddly comforted talking about it. In LA I found many of the standard small talk topics jarring (weight, the cost of things, though I actually enjoy $ discussions, I’m not used to that being not taboo). I never did figure out New England small talk.

    1. @NicoleandMaggie – I thought asking questions (not too personal, but general questions) was OK most places, because most people like to talk about themselves. Though that could just be reading Dale Carnegie that makes me feel that way. But yes, money is OK in NYC. Jobs are OK in NYC, DC — OK for men many other places, though dicey with women. I have heard there are southern areas where people casually ask what church you belong to and it’s not meant to be rude at all. I think New England may be weather-centric too, just like the Midwest.

      1. I had thought that too, but it really is more true some places than others. Normal LA is dreadfully rude most of the rest of the country. If you listen carefully to conversations different places inthe USyoull notice that some places you volunteer info about yourself to let the other person choose whether or not to reciprocate, so you arent being invasive.
        Even “safe” topics like kids (or work in some company) etc can be painful and too invasive. Not that that stops people from asking your fertility plans. I like the weather. We’ve been having lovely weather, but I’m worried about the coming storms. I miss basements.

        1. “I miss basements.” I never had one, growing up in a coastal swampy area. The only people who had basements also had serious mold and flooding risks. My grandmother had a basement, in western NY state, and it was fascinating.
          …. This would be a fun small talk conversation. 🙂 Kinda works with Louisa’s rec below, to have a positive/neutral declarative statement as a starting point.

      2. p.s. Where I live in the South, both Religion and Politics are absolutely Verboten (at least between “town” and “gown”). I think people are less likely to get shot that way.

    1. @Sarah – good question! When I analyze a time log, I’m adding up hours in certain categories: sleep, work, housework/errands, exercise, reading, TV. I see if the person ever works from home, or if she does something personal during “work” hours or something “work” during personal hours (i.e. is it a flexible schedule?) I record some demographic info — married or not, ages of kids. I’m also making note of anything interesting or unusual (e.g. someone wakes up at 5 to exercise — that would be worth noting as a strategy).

  2. I look for something positive to say about either the environment we’re sharing (“The sushi rolls are great! Have you tried them?”) or about the process of getting to the event (“I listened to a very funny interview on my way here”) A declarative sentence about something that’s potentially common ground seems to work. Note, positive! Otherwise you can get into a back-and-forth ain’t-it-awful session about commutes, traffic, Amtrak, etc.

    1. @Louisa – I like the idea of leading with a positive declaration. I may put that in! Then, as N&M says, the person can choose to volunteer what he/she wishes.

  3. Living in Wisconsin, I feel like every casual conversation I’ve had recently has been about the weather – either the extremely cold winter or the chilly, rainy spring.

    One helpful conversation starter I’ve heard is to ask people, “What keeps you busy during the day?” which can be answered any way from working for XXX to homeschooling my kids to looking for jobs to enjoying my retirement.

    As far as disastrous day in the life records go, I started one a few weeks ago that was going to record how wonderfully productive I was working and caring for a toddler during my first trimester and ended with me recording vomiting in the car, having to clean up said vomit, being incapacitated for the rest of the evening while my wonderful husband kept everything together, and eating a tiny handful of jelly beans for dinner at 8pm. Not exactly the model day I was going for!

  4. @Laura, I had to laugh at the whole thing about your husband using your office for a phone call. Now that we have separate offices, I am always PEEVED that hubby chooses to drop random items he can’t find a home for in my craft room, or “borrow” some tool and not bring it back. And his reason is always “well, you have all this extra space in here”. Grrr.

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