Extraordinary Ordinary Days

Yesterday we awoke to a plain old March Saturday, sunny but cool, rain expected overnight. The newspaper featured all the same depressing news and then some. There were no holidays or travel to prepare for, nor workday overflow to catch up on. We had no set plans nor imperatives. And this, this is amazing.

It still feels miraculous to have free Saturday morning, pretty much every Saturday, after 20+ years as a primary care physician. I know I keep marveling at this whole “weekends off” concept, but I don’t think I’ll ever stop swooning with gratitude over it. So what did we do with our wild and precious morning? We decided to get ourselves out of bed and out into nature by 9 a.m. No rush. Want some more coffee?… Sure! None of us had the bandwidth to figure out somewhere different and exciting to go hiking, so we did the same family hike we’ve done a million times before.

But you know what? Choosing the red dot trail up to the Blue Hills Observatory meant no anxiety about locating some new place and figuring out where to park, no time wasted missing turns on the GPS, and no stressing about whether they’d have decent (or any) bathrooms. It was a sunny and reasonably warm-ish spring morning, perfect for forest-bathing. The brief but steep climb was just enough activity for everyone, even Obi the dog. The city view was stunning. It feels good to be out here, huh guys?… Yeah, it does actually. Sometimes, the same-old same-old is the best.

We rewarded ourselves with mango smoothies and avocado toasts. Then, and this was so great– We cleaned house. Like, moving all the appliances off the kitchen counters so we could really wipe them down, disinfecting the toilets with bleach spray, and vacuuming the stairs-level cleaning. The kids strip their beds, make their beds, and tidy their space. We’re serious. What’s funny is that we had had a cleaning service for as long as we’ve had kids. When I was working clinical, there was no way I could manage any housecleaning. Frankly, I looked down on such a waste-of-my-time activity. But, then I got this new job, and now I’m home, like, all the time.

The few times I was working at home and the cleaners came over, I felt like I had to hide from them. It was so weird to have these very nice ladies changing our sheets, scrubbing our toilets, and loading our dishwasher, when I was right there. I felt like a lazy bum. It was embarrassing. I would try to time it so I could take the dog for a walk and just not be around, but then I’d come home and have to apologize for walking across the kitchen floor while they were mopping, or trip over the vacuum cord, or apologize for using the bathroom when they weren’t quite done with that one yet… In the end, it just felt so unnecessary, and also so awkward. Between Hubs and me and the kids, we should be able to handle this. And, it would save us a considerable amount of money.

That’s how we sold the idea to our kids– the money saved by not having cleaning people can go into our vacation fund. Now, most Saturdays, at least a few hours are devoted to deep cleaning. And it’s true, I found that I like cleaning. Sometimes, I’ll put on a Masterclass (LOVE my Masterclass subscription, which will be a future post, when I’ve completed enough courses to provide a comprehensive review) or an audiobook or music, and the scrubbing/ sweeping/mopping flies by. Today, I didn’t listen to anything, because I had some intellectual work to do, some work assignments that needed thinking through. I kept a pad and paper handy and when some revelation occurred to me, I wiped my hands and jotted down some notes. How about that multi-tasking?

Afterwards– Wow, it feels great to have a clean house!.. It even smells good. Well, better, anyways.— I decided to run to the local pharmacy and grocery store. Maybe I’ll pick something up for dinner, hon… Perfect, thanks! I wandered through our overpriced little gourmet market. Seafood maybe? Crab cakes! Came home, did some writing during a Just Ride on the Peloton (the Spin Desk was a crux purchase, BTW. That’s a personal-not-official endorsement), took a long hot shower and cooked a nice family meal. This followed by family movie night and a decent bedtime.

Maybe this is all boring as hell to read about, but when it’s my turn to say Grace: I’m thankful for being home more, for having weekends off, and being able to spend all this time with my family– and pets, of course. I’m just really thankful for this extraordinarily ordinary life.

2 thoughts on “Extraordinary Ordinary Days”

  • Awesome! This is time you’ll never regret having with the kids and it will not hurt them to learn how to clean. Many years ago I switched practices after 6 years of being in the office every other Saturday morning. Children both were small at the time and it was such a relief to be able to do things with them. But I was still rounding at the hospital (and on call every 3rd night) so we kept the cleaning lady. Now that I’m retired she’s still with me every two weeks. She needs the money and I don’t like cleaning every week.. She’s in her 70s and I’m almost 70 so I guess we’ll be helping each other up the stairs in a couple more years.

    • I love this! Yes maybe someday we’ll bring back the cleaning people. For now, It’s good life skills for the kids!

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