Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Day in the Life. . .

Clock says 7:45 PM. . . yikes, where did the time go???

I know, I know. . . those who really want to achieve big KNOW where their time goes. . . they invest it. They can squeeze an hour out of ten minutes. Yet sometimes here ten minutes takes an hour. And me? I've decided not to panic about time, just to be more mindful of what I am doing. . . and how I am doing.

So here's inventory what this immigrant housewife squeezed out of the ripe, luscious hours today in San Nicolas, Buenos Aires, Argentina--and all before dinner:
  1. Fixed breakfast (from scratch of course, omelet, left over homemade cornbread, sausage, cocoa)
  2. Made list of errands for town (8 km and 20 minutes away, weaving through Evel Knievel wannabes!).
  3. Called coach for great half hour session for planning WAY AHEAD for holiday visitors (repairs, rentals, decorations, etc) since the plumber always says "I'll be there tomorrow."
  4. Got dressed, slapped nailpolish on my totally blackened nail (slammed in iron security door, all houses have them) and 9 other pink ones.
  5. Picked up lamp at repair shop. Cheerfully accepted five minutes of praise from shopkeeper electrician for it being such a solid and beautiful brass bedside lamp, "like they don't make anymore," and five more while he wrapped it, and ten more while Roberto pried from him a list of electricians who make home visits.
  6. Resolved major bank issue by phone. Phew.
  7. Picked up two packages from US at post office (after only 5 minute wait in line after 2 month wait for transport from N to S America!).
  8. Wandered through two new downtown stores, checking out hot water heaters and light fixtures. (More on the San Nicolas Renaissance and the Chainstore Threat later.) No point looking in the tiny clothing boutiques--it's almost all size 2 with bare tummy!
  9. Visited dry cleaning shop praying I could pick up the silk blouse and jacket (top half of my wedding suit) that forgot to pick up. (They will hunt for it, but shop changed owners, and rule is to give "abandoned" stuff away!!!) (Update: it was in the back of my own closet, phew!)
  10. Waited for R as he resolved legal issue. I didn't even want to know the details!
  11. Dared to go into major supermarket to shop. Found the veggies and milk and stuff in 20 minutes. Waited 15 minutes for cashier. Gave ride home to neighbor who was waiting with me--one of many women my age or older who do not drive.
  12. Started the pork chop & rice lunch; R unloaded the groceries from car and made a great tossed salad (sadly missing from Argentine diet despite having all the ingredients locally grown!).
  13. Surfed for recipes and started making tonight's totally homemade tuna casserole and starting the dough for oatmeal bread. I thought R deserved to know what a tuna casserole was--a sort of cultural lesson. Not likely to make it again for a year.
  14. Washed the dishes by hand, kneaded bread, left it to rise. Stored leftover rice to use in soup tomorrow.
  15. For better or worse, lacking Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup here, I hovered over the white sauce after lunch to finish the casserole; stored it in fridge.
  16. Made a cup of tea and found two homemade chocolate chip cookies to go with it. Made with my hand imported Nestles chips of course.
  17. Read homework chapters for Small Business in book that arrived in mail today (after only 3 weeks of waiting).
  18. Read and answered a couple emails. Printed one for Small Biz class.
  19. Called in to Small Biz class (one hour).
  20. Remembered dough just in time; formed one large loaf, one small loaf (with cinnamon and amaretto-soaked raisins), and 12 rolls. Enough for several days! Can't buy raisin bread or dinner rolls here, just refined flour baguettes and such. (Soon will try to make English muffins.)
  21. Added crushed cornflakes to the tuna casserole and popped it in oven. Looked at it and laughed out loud. Why in the world did I fix this?!
  22. And started writing this blog, lol!

Some days, like today, multi-tasking actually energizes me, and I can zip through the heavy cooking and cleaning tasks (not chores!) while reading, taking client calls, etc. Yet other days I just want to do one thing at a time. So then its leftovers and nutrition-free bakery bread, repairs and repairmen forgotten along with this blog!

Today I am pleased to have completed several town errands and cooked up a storm (though admittedly more fat than usual). Tomorrow will be a more focused day, with more writing and coaching, so it feels good to have some of these "administrative" [1] and culinary tasks well done today!

This routine of alternating activities actually appears in my household and professional calendar which I have developed over the last couple of months. I like the way it gives a predictable but syncopated rhythm to my days! Ta dum dum ta dum. . .

May it ever be so.


[1] for this handy term I thank my son Eric, who used it to refer to his need for timeout during our last visit to get shopping, laundry, etc., and other tasks done. Love to see that kind of self-discipline in a 20-something!

[2] image is my photo of my homemade Cointreau-soaked raisin bread...hey, if you're gonna do it, do it right! (Thanks, James Beard!)

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