Friday, February 25, 2011

Military precision

I am facing a weekend that quite frankly, terrifies me.

On Saturday, I have about half-a-day's work to catch up on. At 8:00 am, I am running a 4-mile race with Will and a group of colleagues (in a tornado, the weather advisory tells me). At 11:00 am, Ted has karate. At 3:15 pm, both boys have swimming. At 7:00 pm, I will be in bed.

On Sunday, Mr. Berman has to go to work. At 7:30 am, I am racing up 66 flights of the Rockefeller Center with a group of colleagues to raise money for MS. At 12:00 pm, both boys have to complete PhD-level science projects that are complex and draining (at least for me). At 7:00 pm, we are meeting out-of-town friends for dinner.

Somewhere along the way, I have to fit in groceries and laundry. God forbid I find time to breathe.

To get through it, I need to pause, and rewind 8 years.

To a time when I had a 6-month old. A 2-year old starting preschool. A new job. And serious sleep-deprivation.

Of course, the preschool was not in our neighborhood. That would have been too easy. It was a subway ride and a half-mile walk away. I had also sworn off strollers. (Hate them, particularly double ones, they make kids lazy, no kid should be in them once they turn 2.)

So the walk took a while. Then back to the subway, and onto work.

This is when we developed military precision as a family. We had to. I taped a list of tasks to the refrigerator, which had to be accomplished before we left the house in the morning. It ran to about 30 lines. Here is a sampling:

5:32 Feed baby
5:58 Find somewhat clean clothes in bottom of laundry hamper
6:07 Shower
6:21 Get dressed
6:32 Get kids dressed
6:43 Make sure husband is dressed
6:52 Brush teeth (all)
7:01 Make beds
7:15 Feed baby again
7:29 Change diaper
7:34 Feed toddler
7:39 Feed cat
7:40 Feed self
7:40:30 Clear table
7:43 Brush hair (all)
7:47 Argue toddler into coat
7:51 Get toddler out of coat for potty
8:03 Argue toddler back into coat
8:11 Pack cheerios for preschool voyage...

The list went on.

But it saved my life. Without it, there was a real danger I would turn up at work wearing nothing but my knickers on my head.

So now, I fast-forward back to the present. And I realize I've come a long way.

I do not need a list on the refrigerator. I am no longer sleep-deprived. I am not in danger of wearing my knickers as headgear.

So this weekend starts to look manageable. As long as I break it down into minute-by-minute parcels of time, we'll be OK.

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