Friday, 20 June 2008

Everything takes a long time

Today is an endurance test, and really, I am not up to it.

The problem starts because I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. I already gave up the English Heritage workshop, although I later kick my own shins when I realise, as things turned out, we could have fitted it in.

You see, even though I am overloaded and overwhelmed with places to get to, people to see, home education to do, laundry to wash, I still beat myself up because I think I could have done more. I could have been better organised, I could have planned better. I could have fitted more into the day. I wasted valuable seconds of the day being disorganised.

This is all ridiculous, and I've told it myself often. I know with kids I can create any plan I like and then, when I think everything is in place for the military-timed operation to GO! GO! GO! I am stymied. All is lost. Today Tiger will only wear white socks. White socks? White? I hadn't thought of that. I planned for pink! I didn't plan for white! Next time, cover all bases and plan: pink in the house and white in the car!

Seriously, getting ready to 'pop' to the library in the city centre can take two hours. The library is a ten minute drive away. We have done that. Two hours! And then of course we are so late we have to have lunch before we go, so make that three hours. And possibly four.

Of course I know what would be logical and sensible. It would be to stop planning anything, expect less, shrug my shoulders, utter all of that whatever and shit happens stuff, because, quite frankly, this is a better option than a nervous breakdown on a layby on the A6, which is something else in our busy schedule I have to make time for today.

We are driving to a birthday party, which is our first engagement of the day. Of course we are late setting off. And I nearly caused a traffic accident about Northampton. And I have been driving round Wellingborough for nigh on an hour looking for a turning to a place name. I have beat myself about the ears in a layby, rung Dig, rung the woman who's expecting us, looked at the map, driven round Wellingborough again, and stared red-eyed out of the window in despair at the car crash on the A6 thinking ten minutes earlier, that could have been me.

When I do find our destination I am kicking myself all over again for my deep ineptitude. The place name has been sitting by a roadside staring at me all along and I may even have driven past it twice. Worse, it is writ in large fluorescent letters on a sign so huge that it would dwarf our house by comparison. I do not know why I am so bad at this, finding my way without my saviour sat nav, which is sitting at home, as powerless as me. I just am. I have serious navigation problems. I would think 'north is somewhere over there' and drive happily to oblivion if the road would take me. In fact I am sure I have driven north while complaining about the sun setting directly in my eyes. It is that bad.

Well we do arrive at our destination - a birthday party - three hours late. This has a consequent wreckage all of its own and it is not just in the chocolate, crisps and cake. We are so late in arriving, really we should turn round immediately and drive straight home again if we are to be in time for Squirrel's ballet lesson.

At the sight of the swimming pool and cake, Squirrel quietly decides to miss her ballet lesson this week, which is a very brave decision I tell her, but I seethe all the same. Because if I knew she would give up ballet today in advance, then I could have fitted in the English Heritage workshop after all.

There you go, I'm doing it again.

With pressure on Shark to get out the pool and be quick about it, we arrive home from the party just in time to make the narrowboat trip that several people have spent several days organising for us. I simply cannot explain this event. We became bizarrely tangled up in some local architectural celebration in which a highlight was to sit on a narrowboat. It so far has involved several phone calls and three changes of narrowboat times.

But we, fresh faced, panting and gasping from a birthday party in Wellingborough, arrive there on time. The narrowboat doesn't, because it is running two hours late. We get sent home with a bottle of fizzy white in lieu, and told that the organisers are sorry, because they could have fitted us in, if they had known just how long these things take.

Do not worry, I say to the lady who apologetically hands over the fizz. Because if there's one person who is destined to everyday repeat the lesson of how late things can run, and how long everything can take, it's me.


sharon said...

Methinks you are trying to fit too too much into your days. Slow down, take time to smell the roses (and please do not stress about whether you have pruned them yet), breathe woman! I'm sure you can't possibly need to fill every single waking moment with frantic activity. Think of your blood pressure and have a day off - preferably not spent doing housework. There are no prizes in Motherhood or HE for driving yourself, exhausted, into the ground.

Kelly Jene said...

I have to agree with Sharon, slow down! It seems like it would be hard to enjoy any part of life if you're constantly running here and there and trying to fit everything in. Have you thought of limiting your activities to one a day or 3 a week? You deserve to breathe!

(I love the art the girls did in the previous post!)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have just 'discovered' your blog and am loving reading it very much.

Minnie said...

Sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. Pity we have to sleep.

Anyway, I don't know where you get your energy from. I agree with Sharon and Kelly Jene. Slow down and remember to breathe:o)) xx