Anything, I can do

Like most women, I can do just about anything. However, like most women, my super powers too often are used to care for everything else before I do anything for me.
I am first born, and I am a list maker. I make lists for the morning and for weekend chores I want to finish. I have a pad of paper on my desk at work just for lists of things I want to do that have nothing to do with work.
I invariably, at any given time, have a list sitting on the front passenger seat of my car.
I am methodical, organized, and multi-tasked. Yes, I can begin by washing the dishes, leave the room to get another dish towel, and while I’m gone for two minutes finish folding the laundry, vacuum the bedroom floors, and clean the bathroom.
Curbing this itemized lifestyle was one of my goals when I took holidays a week ago. So, I added it to my list. Heaven forbid, I just might forget to do it.
My intention was paramount. I’d planned my days off around one thing—being alone for at least three weekdays. Kids would be in school and I’d have two days with Pete when he was off and three days at home all by myself.
Just me and my list.
I wanted so much to stand out in the driveway that Monday morning in my pajamas and Phyllis Diller “bed head” and wave a hearty good-bye to my girls as they got on the school bus. Instead, I ran back inside and spent a lot of time inspecting the new bedroom with Pete.
By day two-and-a-half, not much on my chore list was scratched off—at least not stuff like washing the floor, painting the headboard, or insulating the windows.
But in between flipping through Architectural Digest, drinking green tea, watching Oprah (and good things that happen when Pete’s around), I did manage to bake chocolate chip cookies and was all smiles when the kids got off the bus and came through the door.
They couldn’t help but roll their eyes at me, standing there with my arms wide open calling out, “Welcome home, children!”
They wouldn’t admit it, but I think they secretly were pleased to see me. Or was that smile for the smell of fresh baked goodies wafting from the kitchen?
However, it was a joyous, slow motion, take-it-all-in moment when everybody left for work and school Wednesday morning and the door closed to the outside world and left me on the inside—all alone.
It was the first time in six months that I had had an entire day to myself in my own home.
I locked the doors and turned off the phone. Shania Twain’s “I’m Havin’ a Party” was playing on the stereo. I turned it way up and polished the floor with my socks.
When the song was done, I shut off the music and bathed in a no-tech world for the rest of the day.
I had great conversations with myself, fixed all the problems of the world, broke the universal law of “Happy Hour” and had a drink before noon, washed the floor, painted my headboard, and insulated the windows.
Okay, so I just can’t get away from that list. But the day, and the two that followed, flowed along like smooth, chocolate syrup. I appreciated every moment alone.
And when family flocked back in at the end of the day eager to see what was for supper, I wasn’t crabby or rushed or over-worked, and yes, I’d cooked good hot food, ready for 5 p.m. instead of the working family hour of 7-7:30.
But perhaps the very best part of my holiday was when I ventured out of my cocoon on Friday afternoon and went shopping for new clothes. It wasn’t on my list, but well overdue. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I spent three hours shopping just for me.
I even stepped outside the box and put on a little fashion show for Pete and the girls. You should have seen me strut back and forth through those curtains in the bedroom wearing (for the first time) below-the-waist stone-washed jeans, bright-coloured sweaters, and other fashions of the day.
My daughter said, “Now you look like a modern mom.” It was one of the best compliments I’d had in years from my kid.
And for all of you out there looking for a sequel to “Fresco Mama,” well, you’ll just have to guess what that fashion show did for Pete.

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