The magic of time

Time is a funny thing. When you never get very much of it to yourself, you start to crave it, and not just a little. Then – miracle of miracles! – for reasons completely outside your control you find yourself alone, at home, for a full day.

(The part about reasons being out of your control is actually very important, because as you know, if you’ve ever been a mom, you’re supposed to feel guilty about every single moment you get to spend away from your offsprung.)

Here’s what happened. Husband unit came back from a trip at the end of about six weeks of me keeping the kids under my care while he finished his documentary. We were looking at a weekend of him being at the cottage alone between Friday afternoon and dinnertime Sunday night while I took the kids back to the city to really (really, this time for real) finish that film. But fate – or as I like to call him, George – intervened.

See, George has a cottage on an island not far from ours, and he likes to bring a whole whack of people for music shows. He’s got a pretty well equipped stage with lights and whatnot and his music fests are always very successful parties.

I’m not into this at all, personally. I go to my island to relax and be quiet in the woods (with indoor plumbing and highish-speed internet, mind), and there’s nothing more I like than September at the lake because the temperature is still nice enough but the summertime crowds – and their stupid tubes and seadoos – are gone. Plus I’m almost pathologically solitary. It’s not that I hate people so much as I dislike their company after a while. Which is usually short. Unless we have a crazy habit in common; I like hanging with my karate peeps longer than I like hanging with normal people – “normal” here being a word used to describe those bipeds that don’t particularly enjoy clobbering one another on the head for fun. Normal is way overrated.

Toujours est-il que.

My kids have tragically failed to inherit my quiet, solitary habits and are hugely into parties. So when fate (aka George) mentioned that this weekend was his annual Jazz Fest, the kids all wanted to go. Including Eldest, who technically has to be in town Sunday morning for our competitive karate team’s mandatory training.

I explained to her that mandatory meant “having to go train unless there’s a really good reason to miss, and that wanting to hang out at a jazz fest isn’t exactly a great reason to miss mandatory training especially this close to the Worlds Championships”, and for some reason she got very upset. See, her dad had somehow led her to believe that taking a week off would probably be OK. It wasn’t – at least not with me. Worlds, where we are both competing as part of Team Canada, are in early November and I for one need all the training I can get. But, I eventually said, if you want to ask our coach if you have permission to skip this one, telling him why and everything, then you can do as he says.

She jumped on her computer and fired off an email to him. And lo, he said yes. (He’s way nicer than me.)

So, see? Now I was looking at spending the weekend at home by myself – training Friday night and Sunday morning – and it wasn’t even because I’d asked to. A guilt-free, free weekend.

Yay! I got myself down to the city in time to run a few errands before evening training Friday, went home and basked in the glory of my empty house. Empty except for the cat, who was suddenly very affectionate and thought that waking me up randomly throughout the night for a cuddle was exactly what I wanted, too.

Who cares! In the morning I let her go outside and I had PEACE! QUIET!

And most importantly – TIME!

I made plans for that Saturday alone at home, which almost included burning my phone so nobody would ring me. Reasonably ambitious plans to finish a whole bunch of chores around the house, read, write, and watch a film (without anybody interrupting – yes!!!)

As I got up, a touch later than I’d meant because of my incessantly loving kitty, and the hot flashes that kept me awake in the early morning that was too early to get up, I stretched and contemplated with glorious contentment the day stretching out ahead of me. It looked like a deserted beach at sunrise – endless and magnificent.

By lunch time, suddenly time started to contract some. Looking at my list, and looking at the clock, now I had to plan if I were going to succeed in getting everything done while not driving myself insane with the pace of my ambitions. Shut down Facebook, quick!

Ah, that helped. I worked on my living room reno, did some outdoors staining on that immense play structure (it’s always so much bigger when you look at it from the point of view of your paint brush), mowed the lawn, read, prepped and froze meals for the week, read some more, wrote, listened to podcasts, gardened, cleaned one bathroom, did laundry, loved the cat and cleaned the kitchen floor.

By dinner time, I was done with my chores and was enjoying a fantastic beer while typing this. Now the evening was stretching out before me, with enough time to enjoy my movie.

Today, time stretched, contracted and stretched again for me. Thanks, time, for that successful day.

Lights on a lake

Sky on fire