Casa de Crazy, before breakfast. Subject has been awake for thirty minutes.
*What do you do all day?*
Nothing. Well, I guess you can't...hold on...the washer stopped, I need to start another load...
5 minutes passes.
So, where were we?
*Discussing what you do...*
Yeah! So it's not really true that...oh, nuts, wait a sec...
Fifteen minutes pass as the subject collects garbage bags from around the house, goes outside and rolls the rubbish bin to the street.
Okay, sorry, what was I saying?
Oh, right. I guess you can't say I do no...hold on again, the baby's hungry.
Fifteen minutes pass as the subject prepares and serves fruit, cheese, and crackers to the toddler.
Sorry about that...I think she's in a growth spurt. As I was say...um...hang on again...
Another twenty minutes pass as the subject scoops food off of the floor, changes the toddler's nappy, washes her face, and engages her in some play before washing the high chair tray.
Okay, so as I was saying, you can't really call it nothing, because...uh, hang on, the washer stopped again.
Ten minutes pass as the subject removes laundry from the dryer, puts another load in and starts the washer again.
Whew, sorry - seems like the laundry is endless around here. I don't know how so much clothing and so many towels can get dirty in a day! So...wait...uh...dang, sorry...
Twenty more minute pass as the subject changes the toddler again, empties the dishwasher, and hand washes the dishes in the sink.
*Why hand wash?*
I'm out of detergent, haven't had the time or the budget to go get more. Sometimes I think they get cleaner this way, anyway!
*Back to the original question, you were telling me about "nothing"...*
Of course! So...sorry...
Another fifteen minutes pass as the subject makes toast for the nine-year-old boy who has just risen, then carries his bedding downstairs to wash. Forty-five minutes more elapse as she sets him to a history lesson - she home schools him.
Anyway...whew...do you mind if I get a drink of water? I forgot to, this morning. That's what comes of doing nothing all day, you know...
The subject goes to the kitchen to get some water, but is stopped by the boy who asks if he has any clean cups despite the fact that he is standing in front of the cupboard and the dishwasher, both easily within his reach. Subject hands him a cup, puts away a few dry dishes, washes up after the boy's toast breakfast, makes some more toast for the ever-hungry toddler, and returns to the couch without having gotten any water. Thirty minutes have elapsed.
Right, so it's not really fair to say I don't do anything all day, I mean sometimes I...excuse me again...
The dryer has stopped, and the subject goes downstairs and once again shifts loads around, this time bring a basket of clean laundry up with her. She sits and begins folding. Ten minutes elapsed.
Sometimes I do get...baby girl, stop helping Mama fold...something...baby girl, please don't, that's not really helpful...every once in a while, anyway...baby girl, c'mon now, if you grab everything I fold and wave it around like you've captured the flag, it isn't actually "helping" Mama get this done! Grr...excuse me, please...
The subject removes herself and the clean laundry to another room where she folds it and puts it away, all while the toddler stands in the blocked doorway and whines for attention. Twenty minutes go by.
Can I offer you something to eat? Drink?
No, thank you, I'm fine. Could we return to the question of "nothing"?
Sure, sure. I think I was saying that "nothing" would be an unfair...oh, hang on...
The subject prepares a snack for the toddler, who is becoming cranky. When the child finishes her food, the subject rocks the toddler in her arms until the child is asleep. This takes half an hour.
Whew, sometimes she put up a fight and it takes forever to get her to sleep. Boy, talk about grumpy! So as I was saying...oh, pardon me...
The nine year old wants to know where his shoes are. The subject helps him find them, still cradling the toddler in her arms. She then looks around for her cup of water, only to realize she never got one. She juggles the sleeping toddler and a cup, realizes she can't reach the faucet, puts the cup on the counter and sits back down. Thirty minutes elapsed.
*Are you feeling alright? You look a little peaked...*
Oh, sure, fine. I'm pretty sure I had something to eat this morning...or was that yesterday? Anyway, I got five hours of sleep last night, so I'm good to go. Are you sure I can't get you anything?
*No, thank you. Can I get you some water, since your hands are full?*
Oh, no thanks, I'll get some when she wakes up. So, about "nothing", I...oh, hang on...
The toddler has awakened and wants a drink, and something to eat, and to be held while she enjoys her snack. The subject changes the toddler once more, places her amidst a pile of toys to play, and steps into the kitchen to finally get her water. She takes a sip, swears softly under her breath, and fetches a broom - the floor is crunchy. Forty minutes elapse as she sweeps, chases the toddler away from her sweep pile, moves toys, sweeps more, and eventually manages to use the dustpan to get the worst of the mess into the trash. She sits down with a sigh.
I guess it depends on how you define "nothing", really. I mean, an anyone truly say...
The toddler thrusts an empty cup at the subject, demanding another drink. The nine year old wants to know where a particular toy is. The subject refills the toddler's cup and tries to help the boy find his toy in his bedroom, which seems to have a carpet of nothing but toys, stuffed animals, and clothing. She admonishes him to get his clothing into the hamper and if he kept his room tided up he wouldn't have trouble finding his toys, and didn't he have that particular toy in the garage yesterday, anyway? He runs to the garage without cleaning anything up, and she returns to her seat where the toddler clambers onto her and demands attention. Thirty minutes have elapsed.
I'm sorry, but will you excuse me? I need to...umm...
The subject retires to the restroom for a few minutes. The toddler whines at the blocked door.
Whew, that's better! I never went when I got up...oh, wait, sorry, TMI! Anyway, I do sometimes manage...excuse me...
Things continue in this fashion into the evening. For the sake of brevity, we will now skip to the end of the interview. The telephone has rung and been answered a number of times. Several puddles of cat vomit have been cleaned up. Nappies have been changed. Snacks have been prepared, eaten, and cleaned up. Lost items have been searched for, some have been found. Laundry and dishes have continued to be done throughout the day. The toddler is sleeping fitfully, occasionally waking and crying until the subject rocks her back to sleep. Dinner has been cooked, and haphazardly eaten. Toys are scattered throughout the house, despite the subject having continually picked them up throughout the day. The floor is once more crunchy, despite several sweepings. The nine year old is in his room, playing before bed. The subject is sitting on the couch, eyes drooping. She yawns.
Wow...so what were we talking about?
*You were explaining what you do all day.*
Right, right! So I don't think you can say I don't do anything. I mean...even just sitting here all day, my heart beats and my body processes things, so I don't think "nothing" is a fair assessment. And anyway, sometimes I go get the mail - that counts as something, right? Nah, okay, I guess maybe I really do nothing all day - I'm lucky that way.
Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!
"...besides love, independence of thought is the greatest gift an adult can give a child." - Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One
For old quotes, look here.
For old quotes, look here.