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April 22, 2005: A little free time

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A few months ago my company notified us that as of April we would be starting a new work schedule. Basically we work 8 1/2 hours Monday through Thursday, 8 hours on Friday, and then get every fourth Friday off. It's not technically a free day because we do end up working the hours over the course of the four week cycle, but considering the minimal impact to the regular working day, and the fact that this means we all now have an extra 13 three-day weekends a year to look forward to, this is pretty cool.

Today was my first flex day off, and I decided to try to make the most of it. So this morning, I got up at my usual time, met my mom at Curves, then came back home in time to meet with the gardener and talk about things like replacing the mostly dead pine tree with the grapefruit tree we bought weeks ago (which is, amazingly, still alive because I have been actually remembering to water it), propping up a few of the other trees because the wind we get in our area is brutal to baby trees that have no external support, and getting a quote on the reading nook area in the back yard. We realized that last year we really didn't do much in to move the back yard forward at all, with the exception of adding another flat of blue star thyme creepers to the rock path around the raised flower bed. And I know Richard especially wants to get a little sitting area out there (plus I want to get the plants in so they can start growing and filling out that bare corner), so we figured we might as well at least get an idea of how much it will cost.

Yesterday before I left work I convinced several of my coworkers to help me load up my car with a dozen or so boxes of old reports from the archiving project I've been working on for the past year or so - they've been cluttering up the wall by the door and I wanted to get rid of them. The reason they've been there so long, however, is because we didn't want to just throw them all away - it would feel wrong to dump all that perfectly recyclable paper into the land fill. So after meeting with the gardener I hopped into the car and headed off to the recycling center. I ran into my dad just pulling out of the parking lot, so he turned right around and helped me drag heavy boxes out of the car and dump piles and piles of office paper into the bins. Then we sat in the parking lot outside in our respective Prius's (Prii?) and discussed plans to meet later for lunch.

Back home I tackled laundry, the mound of dishes in the sink, and the various piles of random books and mail and yarn that have been accumulating all over the downstairs, and then it was off to meet my dad for lunch. We were going to go to the little place downtown that sells meat pies and haggis (no I really am not kidding) but they were closed so instead we decided to go to one of our town's tiny little greasy spoon diners. It's a fun place just for the experience. They keep a toaster on the table so you can toast your own bread and regulars just go behind the counter and get their own drink refills. The waitress will invariably call at least one person at the table 'hon', and the menu lists pretty much every food that a true greasy spoon diner is required to have.

I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and oh, it was so good. It's been so long since I've had one of those! My dad and I had fun just sitting and chatting and nibbling sandwiches and fries.

The rest of the day was spent on a myriad of other little errands, including baking two dozen chocolate cupcakes for the kids to decorate on Sunday morning at church. It was actually kind of fun making cupcakes - I haven't done that in a very long time either. And in the midst of all the errands and running around and getting useful things done, I did sneak in a short nap and also some knitting because after all, it *was* a day off, and surely that deserves at least some snoozing with sleepy cuddly cats and some time with yarn and needles. And I didn't end up getting everything done I wanted to, but I got most of my list crossed off, and that's what counts.

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