Time-savers? As if these really work

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

Time is such a funny thing. Sometimes it seems you have plenty of it and it can weigh heavy on your shoulders, and yet as soon as you turn around there is a shortage of it.

One morning this week, I was headed to work, listening to my radio and drinking my coffee, and I was right on time. As I came down a residential street, the car in front of me came to stop, as did I waiting for the garbage truck in front of us. They were picking up a rather large pile of trash, and because of the cars parked on the road we could not go around him. I sipped my coffee, listened to the radio and waited. Shortly the car in front of me honked their horn impatiently. I have no idea what they thought that would accomplish as it is not the garbage man’s fault someone put out a large pile of trash, nor is it his fault people park along the road. It is however his job to pick it all up in a timely fashion. I guess the person in front of me was having a different moment of time perception because I was perfectly content to drink my coffee sitting still without sloshing around.

Maybe that is because my mornings are busy from the time I get up until the time I leave for work. I get ready and prepare lunches for two kids while getting their breakfast ready. The load of laundry I washed the night before has to go in the dryer by a certain time so it can be folded and hung up before I leave, and I make sure the dishwasher was run the night before. (It’s Emily’s job to empty it when she gets home from school.) Then there’s the extra things &045; signing school papers, reminding them to feed the dog and cats and take out the garbage.

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But I had hope for this craziness the other day when I saw this month’s issue of O magazine held articles about how to have more time. One article was devoted to more time in the morning.

What a joke; the only one that made sense was setting the coffee pot the night before &045; which by the way at my house is considered to be a part of cleaning the kitchen in the evening and a medical necessity because mama in the morning without coffee is not a pretty sight or pleasant event. The others just cracked me up. Most of them were suggestions for things to take care of the night before that would mean cutting into what little bit of down time I have late at night when the last one goes to bed and I’m catching up with my life.

One was that you should keep a to-go cup ready to carry your coffee with you. Well guess what. I do that; it doesn’t save a bit of time. Maybe that’s because I forget to bring them in until they are all dirty in my car and I have to wash five or six at a time.

Another one was to review the next day’s schedules &045; yours and your children’s &045; so you can sleep better. Now, we do keep a scheduling calendar on the refrigerator. It is filled with play practice, golf practice, pageant nights, softball practice &045; and that’s the kids’ schedules. Look at that the night before? Are you kidding? How can I sleep knowing that all of that is looming in the next day? I will just swallow that bad news in the morning with a cup of coffee in my hand. My other favorite was if you linger too long when you read the newspaper or take a shower, set a timer. Now listen up folks, step away from this madness. No one should take a shower with a timer set; that cannot be good for your mental health.

So I guess I don’t have the answer to this time problem, and I guess we all see it differently. One thing I do know is that there’s no point in wishing for more of it, because we only fill it up with more stuff to do.

E-mail Christina at christina.