Just what ARE your priorities?

Let’s imagine, hypothetically, that you were given two weeks. Two weeks when the kids would be in their appropriate child care locations. Two weeks during which time you would not be refinishing the baby’s room (as my husband would like to mention). Just, well, two weeks for whatever it is you decide is important.

Now, resting and relaxing (or chillaxin’, depending on your vernacular) is definitely on this list. But what else? What projects are you going to undertake? What “this needs 4 dedicated hours without children” tasks, so long delayed because you never get 4 dedicated hours without children, are going to make your list?

Worst of all, which ones aren’t? Because let’s be honest — if it isn’t important enough to make your 2 weeks list, what is it important enough for? Will it ever get done? Aren’t you pretty much admitting it’s a low priority? You might as well drop it from your mental memory if it doesn’t get done in this two weeks.

Well, it just so happens that this is the circumstance in which I find myself. I have two weeks (minus next Thursday, which is bespoken). I have a list of ten items of “work”. They are:

  • Do the taxes. (Duh, rather do them now then on a caffeinated Saturday in March.)
  • Rebalance our retirement portfolio. I’m porting my 401k and I need to know how to allocate it. Decisions decisions! Pretty much all I’ve concluded so far is that 31 is too young for bonds, and maybe when I’m 40 I’ll feel differently.
  • Write a budget. I suspect I won’t do this one, because I will reason that I don’t have my new check stub so I won’t know. The real reason is because I don’t think I’ll want to know the answer. The 20 or so months until Grey starts Kindergarten will not be our best.
  • Get recycling stickers from the town Dump. I’ve been meaning to do this for, oh, 2+ years now.
  • Clean out all the for-charity clothes. At some point I’m going to have to figure out what to do with all the baby clothes that Thane’s outgrown, too, but not this week.
  • Apply for a Home Equity Line of Credit. I did this yesterday, but the Magic 8 Ball said that we don’t have enough equity. I’d like the HELOC in place so that when our roof needs replacing, which was 5 or so years 2 years ago, I can just tap the line of credit. With the loss in value, though, our best shot will probably be to apply as late as possible. I hadn’t realized this would require refinancing our second mortgage, although that makes sense and I’m in no way opposed to refinancing the darn thing.
  • Clean the carpet in the entryway
  • Order and organize my pictures. (This is a little amorphous… but it’s been several months since I ordered prints and my originals are on two computers. What I’d REALLY like is a portable hard drive just for my pics.)
  • Update Thane’s baby book. This one is fun. I have first haircut pics. Probably makes sense to do this after I order pics. Hm.
  • Buy catfood and bring in a fecal sample. My life is full of glamor. This is just one of those chores that’s out of the way.

    Then there’s the goofing off. In broad strokes that looks like:

  • Fable (computer game)
  • Torchlight (Ditto)
  • Superbowl tomorrow
  • The Olympics (yay!)
  • Wild Hunt
  • ??????
  • Dinner guests I always plan on inviting but never get around to

    Finally, there are the Things That Need To Be Done. You know, the laundry, the dishes, buying diapers at Target (which seems to happen every 3 days or so) pick up the boys from daycare, exercising, do the regular bills (now with extra excitement from paycheck variety) cook dinner, reconstruct the house after the Thanepocalypse (how can someone so small make such a mess?)

    Then there are the maybes. Like bleaching our bedspread or cleaning out the tupperware cupboard or tackling the detritus on the hutch.

    When you look at it that way, suddenly 2 weeks doesn’t seem like that much. But I’ve decided something. First, to treat the fortnight as the gift that it is. Just because it’s likely to be rich and full doesn’t mean that it’s not wonderful. I could get all defensive about how it’s not so much time and it’s interrupted with daycare dropoffs etc so as to make sure other people don’t “count” the two weeks as a period of pure leisure. But I don’t think that’s honest, productive or fair. It is a great gift. Second, I want to prioritize the goofing. That might sound weird, but I almost always make time to do the things that need to be done. I am much less good about actually sinking back into the couch with a good novel.

    Finally, I want to make this a time of joy for my family. I want to take some of my extra energy and play better with my sons, and be a bit more patient. I want my husband to revel in two weeks of what it would be like if my energies were devoted to being a housewife with daycare. I’d like to spoil him a little. And I’d like to emerge from my hiatus energized, enthused, confident and ready to face new challenges.

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    Brenda currently lives in Stoneham MA, but grew up in Mineral WA. She is surrounded by men, with two sons, one husband and two boy cats. She plays trumpet at church, cans farmshare produce and works in software.

    3 thoughts on “Just what ARE your priorities?”

    1. This reminds me that I need to wash our comforter – thanks for the reminder!

      I hope you manage to accomplish what you’d like to, as well as find time to refuel and relax!


    2. Hmm, one can get a HELOC even with a second mortgage in place, if one has enough equity?? I was worried about that.

      (I assume this two weeks is without work, since for me otherwise it wouldn’t be much different than usual. And I guess we’d do some of the stuff we did with our most recent vacation – thorough cleaning, repainted the bathroom/shower wall where it was peeling, caught up on sleep, defeated most of the clutter, and did a lot of ignoring the stress that was about to descend on us once the break was over.)


    3. The two weeks are vapor-ware. I am one of those lazy people, teachers, who have three months off a year. Three months. (Actually, it is two month — but even so …. ) I start each one hopefully, with a list. I have NO idea where they go. The back room remains uncleaned, the retirements remains unbalanced (this a a joke that will be recognized by those who know me well), the pictures, well the pictures approach landslide proportion!

      Enjoy — it is a gift! Celebrate the things you get done and relax about the things you don’t get done!


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