Friday, February 20, 2009

Ms. Multi-Task

Is multi-tasking not the preferred method by which type A people govern their micro-universe? If there is another more proficient means, share. For me, multi-tasking is the key to success...and survival. While I might be a tad more on the energetic side, I still think much can be accomplished in a day.

Perfect example. My mom called one weekend morning and asked what I was doing:

Teaching Munchkin the Pledge of Allegiance while
Making handmade valentine's cards with Munchkin and
Whipping up a Latte for Johnny Mac then
Reading New York Times online while
Watching Munchkin play with his Bob the Builder set before
Going to Monkey Joes at 10 am
Dropping Munchkin off at home to
Go to the gym
Do errands and later
Making handmade ravioli for dinner with friends.

90% of my girlfriends will read this list and confirm, yes, this is a typical weekend morning. Some might think I was slacking off a bit even. And we are not even at the stage of baseball practice, basketball games, field trips, big birthday parties, and boy scouts.

My husbands list for this same morning:

Wake up
Want to go back to sleep
Do go back to sleep
Wake up a little later
Mmmmm, someone made latte
Get up, brush teeth
Kiss family good morning
Drink Latte
Watch SportsCenter
Drink more Latte
Light nap on couch while watching SportsCenter

My husband is an achiever, but let's just say bounding out of bed, with voltage, well, that is not one of his gifts. I love morning and view it as a perfect portal to the day. My husband would buy insurance to assure two activities were never on his morning calendar: Absence of coffee and conversation. I actually reject caffeine. Those who know me know this is wise choice. I took a midol once and the microgram of caffeine it contains wired me for hours. Not pretty, but boy did I get a lot done.

Roughly a year ago, JohnnyMac and I had an interesting, even dangerous conversation. We were tasked with identifying the one thing we each do that irritates the other. I know, I know. Everyone reading this pulls back there face and eeeeks at the knowledge this talk isnt the best way to start OR end the day. However, we proceeded. Listen, you know you are on dangerously thin ice here...the trick is to not wear your stilettos and stomp too hard. I went first (to show how gentle this could be.) I said that the last one up makes the bed unless its him and then its a bit of a craps shoot. Since we already know morning is my gig, I think we know who is the last one up. However, I also know that since I am the one who actually wants the bed made, if it is not made, I make it. See how simple? Cup full of compromise.

Now his turn. He said in the morning when I am getting ready, I leave all of the drawers open wherever I have been, as well as the closet light, and the armoire doors, and any drawer of my jewelry armoire I have dipped into in the process. I actually smiled. Because this was in no way accurate. I felt like he got confused and forgot that I am extremely tidy and have barely gotten over the agida of him squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom. I asked him if he was sure, knowing he could not possibly be right. He laughed and said it goes on. Daily.

Hmmmm. I asked him to point it out to me the next time he saw it as a means of helping me identify this issue and resolve it. I have to admit I probably smirked (on the inside only) knowing it would be weeks if not months before I got that tiny prod. Well, it was the NEXT morning. Curses! I realized while I may shut each and every door and drawer before finally leaving the room, its the interim he meant. Mind you, at the time we had a munckin, chock full of curiousity and smiles, walking and wobbling around. Any open drawer might as well have been a trip to paradise. This was JohnnyMac's point. Open drawers + busy baby = constant clean up. The point was made. The relevance? JohnnyMac asserted the only reason drawer/door tornado occurred each day is because I was doing too many things every morning. He asked why not simply get up, get in shower, dry hair, apply products, dress, leave. Hmmmm. I never thought about such a simple routine.

My "get ready" ritual has always been easy. Now that I have the super T3 tourmaline hairdryer, I can literally be ready in less than 30 minutes. Always. Why not work in a note to a friend, answer some emails, read a few pages of my magazine, make tea, download some songs into my iPod, and flip through some recipes for later that night since I have saved oh so much time on my Personal Prep. And yes, I do enjoy each one.

One July 4th holiday week, while visiting my hometown, we decided to have a cookout. We sent invites and then popped up to the San Juan Islands for a few days. On Thursday, my mom asked what time people were coming over. On Sunday. I told her 4 p.m. and she said, oh, we needed to be home first thing in the morning Sunday. I gave her a puzzled look. I said we could be home at noon and be fine. She was nervous. I could tell. A quick trip to the grocery on the way home Sunday and believe me, I was on the phone, putting things in the oven, draping tables, and making salsa. Simultaneously and without a second thought. She was fending off heart palpitations as she watched the clock. I sent her outside with a cocktail. And because my version is Smooth and Easy, and not all Helter Skelter, I will endorse it ten times over. And I know dozens of people operating in a quite similar fashion. Multi-tasking: KEY TO LIFE. Its easy to me, and maybe just a touch befuddling to my mate. Some people dont want that many things to do in a short amount of time, and further, they dont get the superfly sense of accomplishment from having a full list of things checked off at the end of the day. Admittedly, I do. Its like an Awards Show just with me. Listen, we have a family friend who kept her child/spouse on permanent fixed schedule so even I have my limits. My protocol applies only to me. I set no expectations for anyone else in our house. Sometimes it takes our munckin 25 minutes to eat his cereal because he changes his mind, multiple times, about the spoon and bowl combo, or whether he eats the cheerios first and then drinks the milk out of the bowl or vice versa. Hey little man, you take your time. You have the rest of your life to be in a rush.

Too much free time? Who gets this? I have never said "I have nothing to do" just as a wee one, I am certain I never said, "Mom, I'm bored." There is always something to do. I will multi-task while brushing teeth. Commercials during episodes of Lost? Perfect time to hop up and finish that last little thing. And dont think I havent winded it back. Oh, I have. A friend once told me I was a "hard charger". As long as by "hard charger" you mean more like "Badass" and less like "White Rhino" I will see that compliment and raise you one.

I am a work in progress, aren't we all? I am learning more and more the priceless value of a minute to oneself, patience but if it is "stop and smell the roses", I do it and check it off the list. and I would love our son to have the Zen balance between Daddy's version of morning and Mommy's version of morning. I am sure such a thing exists.

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