Day before yesterday, Friday, I didn’t go into the office at all. It was one of the many Fridays I was promised, when I accepted my job, that I could spend out of the office and for which I agreed to a substantial decrease in pay. It was one of the very few Fridays I have actually gotten to take since I started my job a year ago.
The recent holidays were many things for me, but restful was not one of them. Last week, my lack of sleep reached a level where I knew something had to be done, and I went and slept each night by myself in our guest room– a room where my mother and at least three of our closest friends– overworked New Yorkers all, say they get the best sleep ever. The good bed, the alone-ness, the break in routine, something broke my ongoing insomnia and I got enough sleep that I caught up and felt simply tired. So Friday, not being at work, I was ready for a nap almost as soon as I got up.
But I showered, took my daughter to school and then went to a doctor appointment to discuss a nerve problem in my left foot which has gotten to a point where it is painful to get out of bed shoeless and painful to walk in most shoes and really does cramp my style– pretty dramatically. I may end up having surgery. Honestly, although I typically view surgery as a very, very last resort– on Friday the idea of surgery didn’t faze me and struck me mostly as something that though inconvenient, was not a terrible idea because I think I would be lying down during the surgery and for sometime afterward– a thought which held some appeal for me.
Tired or not, I was so happy to have my day and to have my mind to myself. I thought I would accomplish a combination of mindful and mindless. I planned to write and finish at least two blog posts, and sort and clear off all the paper on the dining room table and clean up about 150 emails. But the latter two ideas were just unappealing and with respect to blogging I am out of practice. I sat at the computer and tried different things but I just couldn’t finish a blog post– I have at least a dozen in draft.
I also couldn’t make it through all the papers on the dining room table– so I cleaned out the freezer instead. Then I went to buy something we needed that is only carried at Whole Foods. Parked in front of the store in a major hipster neighborhood, I opened the center well in my car to get some quarters for the meter and decided the center well had to be cleaned out right then and there.
What I found was a combination of the predictable change, and gum but also another micro look into this march we are on, from earlier childhood to adolescence. Here is a partial list — with photo of some of the objects below.
1. So many pens I hardly knew what to do with them. This has nothing to do with having a daughter who is 11- it has to do with my major fear of being trapped somewhere with a good idea and nothing to write with or on. I also found my beloved and ubiquitous stack of clean, unused index cards, kept in many places for the same reason as stated above. I saved a bunch of the pens in the car and then because I don’t easily discard things, I went into Whole Foods walked up to and just left a fistful of pens on the Customer Service desk, slipping away into the crush of organic food shoppers.
2. A glass pebble, the kind found in the bottom of flower arrangements or aquariums. Evidence of my daughter’s penchant for finding odd things that she, like me, cannot throw away??
3. A plastic cover for a baby bottle. This does not date back to her own days of baby bottles for nutrition, but relates to her life since age two or three when she fell in love with baby dolls and real life accoutrements for babies. If you’re with us there is always a real baby bottle with nipple or a pacifier (something we never believed in nor used for her) close by. For some reason these objects, on practically every surface in the house and in the car, annoy me more than– well more than the weird junk I accumulate myself.
4. A black plastic bat ring. Need I say more?
5. Two used up Starbucks cards, because my daughter used to like nothing better than a pretend credit/ debit card.
6. Two mix CDs that my daughter burned with her favorite pop songs. Note that I don’t know how to burn CD’s but she does and has known since she was a single digit age. (Not pictured, still in the car.)
7. A huge fistful of broken pencils— from a time (which I suddenly notice is passed) when the only way we could get my daughter to do math homework was in the car– these were chewed pencils, stubs of pencils, broken pencils and eraser-less pencils. I threw them all out at Whole Foods and those pictured below are fakes; semi-messed-up pencils more of which I easily found at home.
8. My daughter’s first locker combination written on an index card because she was having a lot of trouble remembering it, so I wrote it out and put it in the car to put in my wallet so I’d have it if she forgot it and couldn’t get into her locker at camp. Apparently she never needed my help and the combo never made it into my wallet.
9. An ongoing list of every fire engine, listed by number and name of the firehouse that we used to keep as we saw them in our travels around the city. The fire station that houses engine #21 is just up the block from us, we talk to the firemen there pretty often and we know our engine, so we got interested in others. This is an important in-city activity which we will resume having found the list. (To be returned to the car.)
10. Three bouncy balls. (From the collection.)
11. A hairclip of a variety no longer in favor.