It’s 3:52 on a Sunday afternoon, my favorite relaxation time before another hectic week begins, because we all know Monday really starts on Sunday evening with baths and organizing school stuff and early bedtimes. This Monday’s a holiday of sorts (Columbus Day, which Austin has renamed Indigenous People’s Day), but we all have things to do.
I have coffee steeping in the French press and a couple of hours to kill. I am pointedly ignoring the clean laundry that needs to be folded, the towels that need to be moved to the dryer, and the dishwasher that could be unloaded and reloaded. I’ve been going all day. That crap can wait.
On Sunday afternoons, I look forward to some alone time with my coffee and a good book. Our house is not large, and it often feels like there’s nowhere for me – the only one who seems to appreciate any sort of solitude – to go. In any room I can hear kids playing video games, watching TV, jumping on the trampoline. Whatever they are doing, it’s always loud. Sometimes I go into my room and close the door. I’ve been known to sit outside or even take over one of their beds just to get a place of my own.
Now my coffee’s on the nightstand, my laptop and book are next to me on the bed. The sounds of a battle, mixed with the upbeat video game music, mixed with the intermittent wails and cries of my children as they figure out the game don’t so much float into the room as they blast through the open door. I could close it, but I always waver between isolating myself for quiet time and wanting to immerse myself in their chaos.
I crawl under my covers and think about what I want to do first. Read my book? That ill put me on the fast track to the nap I need. The fall allergy symptoms themselves haven’t hit me that hard yet, but the damn exhaustion keeps me in a perpetual fog. Should I put a dent in the 834 articles I have saved on Facebook? Too overwhelming. I wonder what the save-to-read ratio is. Surely Zuckerberg has that data. Oh! I should catch up on my bullet journal! I’m on month two, and I’m still working on the habit, and I’ll be damned if this is just another thing I abandon.
Now moving my feet around the sheets, I remember they are filthy from working out barefoot in the garage earlier. Running shoes aren’t great for doing squats, so I opt for bare feet, all the while being highly aware that no matter how careful I am, one slip of a weight plate or a dumbbell and my toes are goners. I wonder if it’d be one of those injuries where you don’t really register the feeling, then I remember that time I dropped the iPad, and the corner of it landed perfectly on my toe, and I almost vomited from the pain. So a weight plate would probably be worthy of a full on passing out. Anyway, I need to clean my feet.
I’ve been typing and writing and pondering the cost of a tiny house to put in the backyard and serve as my sanctuary. There is wailing and crying and exclaiming coming from the living room and the video games. It sounds lie exactly zero fun. I lean back into my pillows and listen as my husband guides them through the new game. The man is a goddamned saint. They ask me if I want to come watch them play, and I feel bad saying not right now. I only have a few more minutes left.