I’m on a business trip for a few days. Nothing fancy, just a hop on Amtrak to Baltimore for a couple of days.
I love business trips. Although I’ve been traveling for work a little for 20+ years, it’s still thrilling somehow. I feel like Peggy from Mad Men with her smug satisfaction, even if it means staying at a budget hotel, drinking low-quality whiskey.
Or, in my case, a fruit, veggie and hummus plate from Amtrak…
Business trips cure my craving for alone time. Something about a hotel room, all to myself, a flight without a companion, even a meal alone feels great. I get time with coworkers during the day, or I interact with lots of strangers at a conference, but any time after that is MINE. At home there’s always something that needs doing, or my husband wants to chat, or the TV is blaring… Always something demands my time.
Most importantly, I get lonely after a few days, or I wish I was home again. And then I am – feeling refreshed.
My reluctant garden finally turned out some produce. Behold! The $5, 15-hour cucumber!
Are you saying to yourself, “This looks like every other cucumber I ever saw?” Well, yes. But this is a magic cucumber. It’s magic because I put some seeds in some dirt and out it grew.
Now, are you saying to yourself, “Um… Duh… Isn’t that how all cucumbers grow?”
Again you are right. It wasn’t magic. It was horticulture.
I estimate this cucumber cost me $5. I bought a packet of seeds. I also bought some mulch. So those are my raw materials. We don’t count wear and tear on other things, such as gloves and tools. We won’t count the soil in my raised beds, since that’s been in place for a while. We also won’t count the cost of water. What do I look like, an accountant? Let’s just say $5 and call it square, OK?
I estimate it took 15 hours of labor to grow this cucumber. The “stick seed in the dirt” bit takes 10 seconds. But you know what takes hours? Weeding, watering, shoveling, tilling, screening the soil, making compost and digging it in. Also peeking at the cucumber vine to see if it’s coughed up anything yet.
So that’s my fabulous cucumber. I’m going to eat it with some hummus. I may get another one next week.
Yesterday was a marathon spring cleaning adventure. Five hours I spent washing and vacuuming and dusting and decluttering. And I’m not done yet.
Is there a more thankless task than housework?
I decided to budget my time. I set the oven for a five-hour self-clean cycle and gave myself five hours to do what I could.
The oven racks needed a good wash. How the hell do these things get so greasy? And why can’t I leave them in the oven in self-clean mode?
We rotated the carpets and vacuumed, moving all the furniture out to do it properly. Aha! That’s where all the dead bugs went!
I filled two vacuum cleaner bags with lovely assortments of dust, spider webs, fireplace soot, carpet fuzz, dog hair, crispy needles from the long-gone Christmas tree, and whatnot.
Another job for the distaff side done and dusted, literally.