My to-do list is consuming my soul.

The sun was streaming in the window this morning warming the room and physically warming the surface of the desk as I sat down to check some emails and type a bit. The glow of this space belies the frost on the grass outside and the -2 C temperature. With a warm cup of coffee scenting the room as Colin quietly cooed, chewed a breakfast cookie and played blocks, I drifted off to a fuzzy place when my internal monologue picked up a megaphone and shattered the stillness, nearly spilling my coffee in the present world:

CRIPES SAKES MAN! GET TO IT! YOU’VE GOT 2,347 THINGS TO DO ON THE LIST! GO! GO! GOOOOOOOO! WINTER IS COMING AND IF YOU DON’T GET EVERYTHING DONE, SURELY WE’LL ALL DIE!

Well, we wouldn’t all die, but we might be a bit cold to say the least.

Sometime, a few months ago, when I decided to take leave, I thought for some reason, God knows why, that while I was off, I’d have time to get a bunch of stuff done that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. In truth, I think I’m actually getting LESS done than when I was working. I haven’t quite figured out the mechanics of WHY this is true, but it seems to be the case none-the-less.

The irony is that I’ve now penned two blog entries in two days time – something I haven’t done in months or years I think, and I’m dangerously close to setting some sort of precedent. I think it must be due in some part to my reconnection with Coffee (yes, CAPITAL ‘C’, oh, the master deserves his respect) something I had put aside since Olivia’s birth, but rediscovered yesterday.

So the to-do list looms. There’s all the seasonal stuff that must be done. Winterize the pool and put the summer toys and lawn furniture away. Store 4 cords of wood and make sure the snow blower is tuned up (did I just say that?). Clean and seal the windows and clean out the baseboard heaters – that’s #1 on the list today as they kicked in last night and the whole house now smells like burnt dog hair.

There’s the everyday, the housecleaning, laundry, kid feeding-cuddling-playing-extrication from hazardous situations. The paperwork and bills (I have to sort out immigration papers for me and two of the little ones). The explanation of scientific phenomena like ‘why won’t water go uphill’, ‘why do we need a bathroom fan’ and ‘what’s pork?’.

Somewhere in there as well, I’ve got to refinish a basement including insulation, drywall, suspended ceiling and electrical revamp. I’ve got a bunch of house stuff to do – the little stuff – like fix the jiggly doorknob, the slow draining bathroom sink, and refinish a dresser for the kids room so we can actually keep all their clothes somewhere other than stacked in neat piles in the corner.

Personally, I told myself in the off time, I’d try and enrich myself as well – improve my French, bone up on my Dreamweaver and CSS skills to broaden my freelance appeal. Read a bunch of books. Practice the guitar.

The reality is that each weekday I’ve got about an hour and a half when Colin sleeps to do stuff I can’t do when he’s up (which is about 80% of the above). When his head hit the pillow, my first thought is:

JESUS HE’S OUT MAN! GET YOURSELF A NAP POST HASTE!

After that internal momentary struggle, 9 times out of 10, reason wins out and it becomes, ‘what can I do in this time that needs doing’. The depressing thing is the mental review of the ‘what needs doing list’ takes 15 minutes alone.

The weekends I have a bit more time, but there’s more kids around and more fires to put out. Plus the addition of several ‘assistant-though-questionably-skilled labourers’ on the job can either slow things down or speed things up, it’s always a crapshoot.

I guess all I’m really trying to say is I miss riding my bike. I realize it’s an entirely selfish pursuit, but in ways it helps one stay sane. I know that in the long run, when all the little minions are older and don’t even want to be seen in public with me, I’ll have all kinds of time to do such things – though Lyn will occupy a lot of that dragging me to knitting conventions and flower shows – as long as they’re situated in close proximity to some choice singletrack – I’m down.

I told myself above all on leave I’d ride the bike as much as possible, but I’m realizing that this is not an altogether realistic proposition. I’ll keep trying to fit in in here and there though – it is after all – a part of who I am, but I can understand that there’s not always time.

I mean think what I could have done in the time that I sat and wrote this? I could have painted the kids, given the dresser a bath, paid some dinner and swept and vaccumed the water heater. DAMN! Now I feel like a slacker!

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1 Comment

  1. Hey! You’ve made a lot of progress – in an earlier blog you said there were FOUR thousand something items on the list!! You will get more time soon – everyone just has to adjust to the new dynamic. Of course by then it may be snowing… Must try to prioritize the list both in terms of importance and in terms of time involved.
    And, the real reason you took this time off was to do exactly what you are doing – helping to keep things going while Lyn and Olivia recover from the whole birth ordeal. I think it is wonderful that you have the opportunity to be so involved with the kids – not many Fathers have that.
    Hope you still get a chance to ride the bike now and then – it is important too, just as important as finishing the basement.
    Love to all! And keep the pictures coming.

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