November 13, 2004

A Saturday plan.

It's nice to have a Saturday. The carpenters who have been yanking out and replacing pieces of the exterior wall to my house are off, and I can sit at my dining room table this long morning, idly reading the New York Times, intermittently blogging or reading email, and inking in the crossword puzzle, without feeling the cold air pouring through gaping window frames and without having to hear the carpenters' radio. They keep it tuned to a Wisconsin Public Radio station, even during the fund drive parts, but most of the time it's classical music that I hear along with their hammering and sawing.

It's a clear, bright day today. I haven't left the house yet. I'm just getting to the end of my NYT-and-blogging session, which has stretched out as it always does on Saturday. I do have two pressing household tasks to accomplish today.

First, I've got to rake the leaves in my front yard out into a pile by the street. I only rake the front yard. I've been relying on a self-serving theory of mulching for the backyard for the last decade or so. My backyard is ruled by a 200 year-old oak tree named Agatha, and in her domain, lawn is banished. There is only ground cover and whatever else she deigns to preserve. But the front yard leaves must make it to the street before the first snow falls, and today, with the temperature at 30, has chosen itself as the day when the task must be done.

Second, I need to put the new blinds up on the five six-foot windows in my bedroom that look out on Agatha's domain. These blinds have been lying on my bedroom floor for several weeks. The paint-splattered step ladder is right there by the first window, and the power drill is in the spot on the desk where I put it shortly after the blinds arrived. I keep thinking I'm about to put the blinds up, and all these things in my room are there night after night, mocking me. It's a wonder I can sleep at all.

And I've also got a non-household task to accomplish. I have forty law school admissions files to read. I'm thinking if I just start one thing, then, when I need a break, switch to one of the other things, I can generate energy and endurance out of the three distinctly different things that need to be done. I'm also hoping that blogging about this plan will create some crisp commitment to the three-task plan. I'm envisioning an update here later saying that it has all been done and an excellent night's sleep, after a hard day of mental and physical labor, in a newly darkened room with a clear floor.

UPDATE: No, this isn't the update I was envisioning. Scroll up for the description of my level of progress on the three tasks. This is an update to include an email:
I had no idea that carpenters in Madison were so educated. I would have thought they would be listening to classic rock, or sports radio. How very frou frou of them. Your life sounds so... so... I don't know. Like a wine commerical sort of. A leisurely Saturday reading the NY Times, sipping Celestial Seasonings or riesling, and trying to decide whether to get the Corvette or the Range Rover while the carpenters (who have all graduated Harvard and are slumming) carefully add a new wall and deck and wine cellar. In only a matter of moments, the educated and single man next door will look out his window and see you looking out yours watching him make Berilla pasta. I'm only too sure he will next ring your doorbell and you, carpenters and hunky neighbor will sit down to pasta with shaved truffle sauce, and discuss methods to reduce your massive 10,000 property bill (which must mean you live in a $7 million dollar home....though, math is not my strong point either).

I don't think it's math so much as Madison politics that this guy lacks knowledge of. Let's just say the property tax rate is about 14 times what he thinks it is and see if you can calculate the assessed value of my house. And if I am really so rich, why am I driving a five year old New Beetle, hanging my own blinds, and raking my own leaves. But as for the tea, it was Twinings Lady Grey!

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