Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Self-Imposed Isolation with 336 Hours

It was the perfect time to get everything done. My wife and three kids were headed south to spend two weeks with her sister. I’m not going to get emotional about how much I missed them. I was going to be strong, and self-sufficient like a special ops team; seal team six! Actually no, they work in teams and have really cool gadgets. I’m thinking this is going to be a mixture of Henry Thoreau and Tim from Home Improvement. I’m going to use the time to knock out my “honey do list,” fix the studio and give our castle some curb appeal. Then find time to actually paint and further my career. Little did I know, 336 hours isn’t a lot of time and by the end of the second week I can answer my own thoughts out loud.

My first call to action was to make a list of everything I needed to get done. I love to check things off, so this was going to be very satisfying. All those motivational self-help books were about to pay off. Second thing; read more motivational books. That is where I should have stopped but I started getting creative and thought Dwell magazine might be showing up for a photo shoot later this summer. My list consisted of two brick patios, replace sink faucet, install those cool European café lights stung across the yard, get Apple TV, repaint guest bed room, and replace window trim. Then there were all the other tasks like: cooking, cleaning, and eating.

I was determined to become an efficient machine, leaving plenty of time for thought and reflection. I was so deep in thought I decided to accomplish the mundane tasks so I could concentrate on the bigger projects. I loaded the dishwasher; filled it with soap, shut the door to let technology take over. Hours later, as I took care of smaller tasks, I came back to empty the time saving dishwashing device and put the dishes away. With three dishes left, I noticed the soap untouched by water; I had forgotten to push the “on button.” Now my task consisted simply of thought. I had to find all the dirty dishes that I put back. After this mistake, I decided I needed to be more efficient. Where could I save more of my 336 hours and use them more wisely for the important projects? Actually washing dishes between meals seemed to be a good place to find time. Why should I wash silverware when I was going to use it in a couple of hours again? After posting my newfound wisdom on Facebook, I found out through many comments it wasn’t a good idea because of this thing called bacteria.

The hours passed by as I worked like a dog…more like a beaver. My two weeks were up and the family was five hours away from arriving. I looked around to see what I had accomplished. I had a new faucet, dug two moats around the house where paths are supposed to lay, tracked the remaining dirt through the house and crossed off me making a list. With the last three hours of my 336 hours, I had to make it look like I had not given up hope on our castle. I cleaned; I scrubbed, and painted the trim and walls. The family pulls into the driveway as I grabbed ice cubes from the freezer for my cocktail and realized I had forgotten to empty the freezer…I had concluded bacteria can’t grow in the freezer, and therefore it would be a great place to put the plates and silverware that I was just going to use in a few hours for my next meal. 

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