Day 3 — Evening post (September 2023 Time Tracking Challenge)

Happy Wednesday! I hope the time tracking is going well.

Today was a reasonably typical day, albeit with some variations. Last night I got home from swim team a bit before 8, and B left (she stayed late as my husband was gone). I let the 3-year-old watch a video while I worked on my puzzle, though it was less relaxing than hoped for as he had requests approximately every 2 minutes.

At 8:30 I took him up for story, milk, and the usual bedtime routine. This time he went down just fine, which meant he was asleep before 9. Hallelujah.

I made sure the other kids were in their rooms for the designated 9 p.m. no screen time zone. I had not entirely prepared for this leisure time, so I did some more foam rolling and looking at Whole30 recipes (at least they’re dairy free…) and then got my act together to go downstairs and do my puzzle for another 15-20 minutes. At 9:50 I went upstairs to make my rounds of saying good night to everyone. The 8-year-old was already asleep. The 16-year-old was still working on homework so I just told him to turn out his own light (I figure if he doesn’t have his phone it’s OK — he won’t stay up all night).

I started reading Ken Jennings’ “100 Places to See After You Die” and learned about several different versions of the afterlife. I was asleep by 10:45 p.m. and then up briefly around 1:30 a.m., and then up with my 6:20 alarm.

Why 6:20 and not 6:30 as usual? Because I was the only adult home, the morning rhythm had to shift. I needed to leave approximately 10-15 minutes earlier to bring the 16-year-old to school (he was able to use the time for breakfast and studying). This was to be sure I was home before the middle schoolers needed to leave (so the little kids wouldn’t be left alone — they wouldn’t leave them of course, but then I’d have to get the middle schoolers to school when they missed the bus). However, the 3-year-old got up while I was in the shower (6:25), leading to various texts from my 16-year-old wondering when I was going to come get him, since I guess the 3-year-old found him as the next best option. I wound up taking the 3-year-old with me on the high school run.

I was home plenty in time — one of those things of traffic. If you leave at 7:05 you won’t be home until 7:35. If you leave at 6:52 you’re home at 7:10. Anyway, I had some coffee and various apple slices and energy bites for breakfast. Then I got the middle schoolers to the bus stop, got the little guys breakfast, and let them play on their Kindle and Switch while I did my puzzle until B got here.

I was working at 8:15. I answered some emails, organized the day, and did my “rituals” (2 lines in the sonnet plus Jane Austen). I finished Sanditon yesterday and just started The Watsons. At my pace of reading a few pages a day I will have finished everything Austen wrote within the week. Not just the six major novels, but also her juvenalia, Lady Susan, and the unfinished novels too. This year-long project is ending in September!

I did those various things until shortly after 9 when our house manager came for the day — I needed to talk with her (10-15 min) about her schedule changes coming up and some projects. Then it was back to work until 11:00, at which point I went for a 45-minute run in the neighborhood.

This was fine as runs go, nothing particularly spectacular, but probably good to do, as I hadn’t run since Saturday. The weather is getting better for it — in the 70s most days. And it will be even cooler next week. I came back and changed clothes, and did more work from noon to 1 p.m. (A bit of large family organization research — hard to know if this will ever be productive, but so it goes with these things.)

At this point I made my lunch (curried chicken salad again!) and did my puzzle while I ate until 1:30. Then I did more work (getting ahead on some stuff as I’m traveling next week) until 3:00. At this point our home manager was gone so the plumbers who were there became my responsibility, and I talked to one for a bit, then went for a quick walk around the yard.

At 3:30 it was back to my desk and going straight until 5:30 (with a very brief popping out to say hello to various children). I took a few minutes to write this post as the evening promised to be full. I created a to-do list for all of us. I’m not sure this bit of organization was entirely appreciated, but we had to deal with the trash + recycling, instrument practice, picking up so the house can be cleaned, baths + showers, etc.

B left 5:30. I spent 15 minutes collecting trash, checked that the alto sax teacher had arrived, then sort of worked on the puzzle while dealing with the plumbers. They finally left at 6:15! At that point I called the older three kids to make dinner. We do breakfast for dinner on Wednesdays, and one kid made pancakes, another eggs, another bacon. I watched and assisted as needed, which was great (well, and I cut up fruit). We ate from 6:40 to 7.

I mostly did the dishes, then helped the 16-year-old practice his songs for voice lessons (and the Star Spangled banner for an audition). At that point, 7:30, I went to check on the garbage situation and discovered that my two older boys had both only brought down one can apiece, meaning that I needed to do 3 trips down with recycling and the garbage. I sent some angry texts when no one responded to my questions about it.

After coming back in and turning out the lights in the basement I played with the 3-year-old for just a few minutes up in the playroom. He tried on the Anna dress from Frozen. Then I brought him down for stories (Where the Wild Things Are, The Curious Garden, and Dragons Love Tacos) and he went down by 8:45. Sweet!

Now I am posting this! Here’s my log in table form.

7:30  wait A, home, kids
8:00  work, H/puzzle
8:30  H, up, story, feed/down
9:00  kids, foam roll, read recipes
9:30  log/work, puzzle, kids to bed
10:00 stretch, read in bed
10:30  ready bed, sleep

1:30 bathroom/sleep

6:20  up, J, shower
6:30  H is up, ready, drive J (w/H)
7:00  home, kids, S+R in car
7:30  home, A+H, puzzle
8:00  puzzle (B), work
8:30  work/rituals, work
9:00  work, talk w/G re work
9:30  work
10:00  work
10:30  work
11:00  run
11:30  run (3.5), change, treadmill calls
12:00 work (large family research)
12:30  work (large family research)
1:00   make, eat lunch/puzzle
1:30   work
2:00   work (BB)
2:30   work (BB)
3:00   talk plumber, walk outside
3:30  work (edit)
4:00  work (practice BB)
4:30  work
5:00 work
5:30  collect trash, sax, puzzle
6:00  puzzle/plumbers, kids cook
6:30  kids cook, eat dinner w/kids
7:00  clean up, voice w/J
7:30  take rest of trash out
8:00  hangout H, H story
8:30  H feed/down, log/work/post

7 thoughts on “Day 3 — Evening post (September 2023 Time Tracking Challenge)

  1. Are you comfortable explaining your House Manager? What is this role? How did you find the person for the position? I’m intrigued.

  2. I would also love to hear more about the house manager, and how her duties differ from your nanny’s. Do they overlap at all? Super interesting!

  3. Major flashback to singing the star spangled banner for a capella group audition in college (which sort of felt like a sorority rush). I got into the one I wanted and was soooo happy. It’s a great audition song! And fun memory I hadn’t unearthed for a while.

    1. @SHU – yep! That was for the select ensemble at his school, though — he needs another piece to audition for the student-run a cappella group, so now we’re working on that…

  4. Remembering your book (maybe off the clock?) about how people with more time-abundant perspectives noted that they were doing things with other people, I tried adding that into my log. I like how you write about how when you look back at your logs you remember things. Mine are on paper, so I tend to only look back at them when I need to know how long X work thing takes, but I like the idea of something that will spring a memory, so I’m also noting the location (eg, for walks) and other details (we also had pancakes for dinner last night). Maybe that will help me to remember and make time feel like it was richer.

    1. @Laura C – little details are helpful, and it does give it more of a journaling function. Sometimes those little details are enough to conjure up the memory later, in a way that just saying “work” does not. Sometimes if I write down who I was talking to I will remember the conversation itself, for instance!

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