I think my colleagues are sometimes incredulous that I have lived in Mystery State for almost 5 months now and still have seen nothing of its natural environment.I haven’t been to the Mountains or the Water. I haven’t even been to State Just to the South, despite it being a mere 30 minutes away.
I’d love to go to Mountains, and I’d love to go to Water. I’d love to get out of metropolitan Mystery City for once. My hiking boots still have Northwest mud on them, for crying out loud. Not getting to know the land around me is affecting me personally (I’m having a hard time realizing that this where I am really living, potentially permanently) and professionally (where should I take my students on field trips?). But it’s been too hard to give over our weekends, the one time we get as a family, to spending time in the car. Minnow’s too young to see the fun in car trips, and once we get to our destination we have to kid-wrangle in an unfamiliar environment. It’s stressful, and as a result we’ve limited ourselves to very local excursions.
Travel during the week has proven impractical. I’d be limited to day trips and have to kid wrangle on my own or deal with pumping (on a hiking trail?). Next semester my teaching schedule won’t allow any weekday trips. I’ve got an overnight trip to a research site planned next week, with Minnow in tow. I’m going with two female, but childless colleagues. We’ll see how it goes.
But, our weekends at home have developed a nice rhythm of their own-one that is full to the gills and doesn’t allow much time for travel.
7:15 – Minnow wakes up, lounge in bed for a few minutes, then attend to morning chores (diaper change, feed dog, etc.)
8:00 – Breakfast. Now that Minnow is entirely self-feeding, meals are a big, long production.
8:45 – Playtime while Mommy and Daddy read the newspaper and Minnow tries to sit on whatever section Mommy is reading (much like a cat)
9:30 – Diaper change and get ready for a nap. While Minnow naps, I shower/do housework/do work-work. Fish does the same or watches TV.
11:15 – Wake up from nap.
11:30 – Walk the dog around the neighborhood. Chat with neighbors. Look at falling leaves.
12:00 – Lunch (and a diaper change)
12:45 – Often an errand (you have to buy groceries at some point).
1:30 – Playtime while groceries are unloaded, laundry is started, etc.
2:15 – Fussiness resulting in eventual nap. I work. Fish does yard work/naps/watches football.
3:45 – Wake up. Diaper change. Small snack.
4:30 – Playtime. Fish and I debate dinner. Laundry is shuffled. I may do a bit more work during this time.
5:30 – Dinner prep. Fish cooks, while Minnow and I do other chores (Minnow loves to “help) or play.
6:00 – Dinner.
7:00 – Bathtime. Bedtime routine.
8:00 – Lights out. Minnow and I fall asleep in the rocking chair.
8:30 – I wake up, put her down in the crib, and do more laundry shuffling/dishes/work or spend time with Fish.
So when exactly in this packed day am I supposed to be taking in the sights of Mystery State? I guess I’ll have to explain to my colleagues that I’ll get to know Mystery State when Minnow is a bit older. For now, my family needs the relaxation of weekends at home.