This gentle tune has been floating in my head now for weeks, probably for all sorts of reasons.
I start to do something and then discover, days or even weeks later, that I haven’t finished or completed it. I start to call friends and get interrupted, only to realize that I didn’t, and in fact haven’t talked to them in weeks.
I understood why this went on during Dad’s last months, and in the months immediately following his death. But now? Now when I think I’ve awakened from some kind of protective hibernation?
The last post is an example of this: I actually wrote and posted it last month, except for some reason it didn’t appear. I kept thinking I needed to log on and take care of the problem, but something always happened. Today, though, as February is almost over, I actually did it. One click and it’s posted. Finally.
Some projects take my time — simultaneously I manage to play with my jewelry and crafts at times, sometimes with friends, but most often alone. I manage this while the major project goes on around me: kitchen renovations.
My kitchen was one of those projects that started 3 years ago and died a painful death. I stopped because I ran out of money and time. I was still teaching. I was commuting more. Then I was retired and living mostly in Egan with Dad. It just remained an ugly eyesore in a house that screamed at me that it was being neglected.
It’s taken me months to locate someone (a) who could handle that and the porch project that must also get done and (b) who could be trusted. Finally, after I forget how many phone calls and attempts to find someone, after the “I’ll call you back with an estimate” disappeared ones, I have found a gem. Thanks, Sarah, for the recommendation!
That progress simply brightens everything — not just the house, but me as well. I am moving on. I am working on MY house. The kitchen and the porch must be finished before I leave in late April for nearly 3 months in Greece. The other “fix me” calls will be answered, probably in order, but not until I return in July.
As Fred works, I sit at the dining room table (amidst cups and saucers and mail) and read. Or play Words with Friends, or Scramble, or Word Warp. Sometimes I look at catalogs. Sometimes I look online for paint colors or sheet vinyl patterns or explore the merits of quartz vs. granite. I spend a lot of time thinking and making lists, too.
I don’t have papers to grade or classes to prepare for, so all of those old deadlines are retired (along with me).
At other times, friends come over and visit.
Some days, the time slips by and there’s minimally visible progress in the kitchen, though a lot of prep work has gone into it. Hours have passed and I have read newspapers and parts of books and surfed the net. Then after Fred leaves I quickly run an errand or two.
At night I watch some television and/or read, dogs and cats curled with me on the bed. I forget that I can use the telephone — a hangover from months with Dad, when talking on the phone could disturb him, when I slept as I could.
So for just over a month now, time has slipped away even more. Peacefully, even enjoyably. Yet it slips away nonetheless.
And here it is, only hours away from March 1, and in taking stock of myself and my life I hear Judy Collins in my head wondering about the time.
I can tick off some things on my to-do list. Taxes? Started, but waiting for more documents. Clearing the house? Only a bit. Yesterday I managed to clear out the living room, sorting into three rooms. Today? I’ve sent some vital emails for insurance and taxes. I’ve started clearing the office (which will take days, but if I work a little bit every day . . . .).
Each day I rise (eventually) and immediately make the bed. Somehow that’s necessary. I may hang around the house in sweats and a t-shirt, but if I want to crawl back into bed (and sometimes I do), I have to make an effort for that. When Fred texts that he’s coming over to work, I corral the pets in the back and close the door. Of course, then I hear them scratching and barking and purring for release. Occasionally, too, Homer the Greek Goddess (from the island of Spetses) actually gets the door open and frees her companions. She’s a street-smart Greek cat and knows how to manage. I return the escapees to the back of the house once more and secure the door, preventing further escapes. When the mail drops through the door slot, I get it and go through it, sorting some to keep, some to toss.
So my days go.
Yet in the past six weeks or so, I’ve done road trips, too — gone to see Willie Nelson with friends and spent a night at the beach house, gone to see Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen with my sister and spent a couple of nights at the beach, gone to Baton Rouge, gone to Crowley for business, to Egan and Lafayette for family and friends. My cousin and her husband have come to the area casinos and we’ve had good visits. I’ve done some visiting here, but not what I need/want to do. And tomorrow I’ll head to the farm in East Texas for a family weekend of laughter, food, and work.
March is slipping in and as February slips away, I put away Mardi Gras finery and begin to sort through closets and clothes. Spring cleaning and sorting has begun. Yet the weather hasn’t yet warmed up permanently, so I need flip-flops and sandals and shoes, sweatpants and shorts, t-shirts and sweaters. A “cold” front has come in (far from snow, but “cold” for us here on the Gulf Coast). I’m enjoying it, truly, because all too soon the heat will begin to rise. And rise. And rise. Along with the humidity.
Next week, I’ll tackle the back room of the house, sorting boxes of stuff (I have no idea what’s in some boxes) for keeping, for storing, for giving away, for junking. That will be a marathon job, and I really look forward to it. It’s the only way I can imagine tackling it, frankly.
Business done, business to do. Mardi Gras over. St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans to come in a couple of weeks. Planning a 3-week library series for the first three Tuesdays in April.
And the suitcase(s) for Greece will come out soon and begin to fill.
It’s 1:15 p.m on a Thursday and I haven’t been out of the house today. I probably will, later, but I’m still figuring out time management. And realizing that all time is precious, that time that slips away isn’t necessarily wasted. That some things I’ve let slip need attending to — friends and time with them, not to be lost.
Who knows where the time goes?
I’m just glad I have time. And enjoy every minute of it.
Maybe I’ll call some friends to meet me for coffee today.