I’ve been thinking a lot about how to incorporate stoicism (see One…One…One…) more into my day-to-day life since the funeral. Yesterday was a particularly challenging day, so I decided to take notes first on my initial reaction to the day, then how I chose to respond to my initial reactions from a stoic perspective. Today I am going to share Narrative One, which was my initial inner monologue.
Day in the Life: Narrative One
3:30 AM: I can’t sleep, and I’m not relaxed from my “weekend.” What weekend? I cleaned and cooked like a mad woman to prepare for a dinner we hosted for friends and their daughter on Saturday night, then cleaned again when they left. Darcy has been sick for a week and my son is now also sick so they were both in bed (although Darcy rallied when the guests arrived to attend the dinner). I pushed through to marinate and bake chicken, make a salad and cauliflower rice, prepare hors d’oeuvres and get ice cream. A massive sinus headache descended that luckily lifted when dinner began. Sunday morning I worked for five hours straight to get ahead of three work deadlines. There’s something wrong with my Google drive – it overwrote a file my colleague created!! She was so mad, and I felt terrible. Then after I dragged myself to the gym, I came home to do as much prep ahead of time for the family Passover dinner Darcy signed us up to host tonight. We’re hosting 15 people, including three children under five (my nieces, and yes to answer your question, my sister-in-law is very fertile). I wanted to host Break the Fast, the fun one where everyone eats and runs, but no. After more cleaning (Darcy did some cooking for the meal, and left a huge mess because he had to go back to bed), setting up temporary tables, getting out all the dishes, silverware, bowls, etc (why so many dishes for this holiday – two sets of glasses for each person, really!!) and the haggadahs, it was close to midnight. I’m worried just thinking about all the things I need to do both for work and for the dinner.
6:00 AM: I dropped in and out of sleep since 3:30, but now I have to wake up. I forgot to mention that the twins are off for spring break this week. I quickly look at the news and feel depressed. I’m working from home, and have three big conference calls. I also owe two presentations and another important document by 2 PM. They have to be perfect because they are going to the top of the food chain. Stressful! I get my coffee and settle down to business until I have to make the twins’ breakfast. I’m working in the master closet so I can close the door for quiet.
7:00 AM – 2 PM: Crunch time. With the back-to-back meetings and the deadlines, I don’t even have time to go to the bathroom or eat. My babysitter comes at 11:00 AM to pick up the twins and take them to lunch and a movie. It’s embarrassing but I let them use screens until then as I don’t know what else to do. I feel guilty about this. I scramble to triple check the multiple presentations and documents that need to be shipped are perfect, and represent exactly what we need to represent.
2:00 PM: I log off, and begin final meal preparations. I clean the downstairs again (how does it get so messy so fast??), roast the shank bone and eggs, set up drinks and appetizer stations, start preparing the salt water, parsley, and nag the twins to take baths and dress nicely. Then we have to run to the store to pick up more matzoh, grape juice, horseradish root, and sparkling water, because those weren’t on my list and they should have been. I spend too much because I go to the local expensive store, something I rarely do since we’re on a strict budget. I’m starting to feel resentful that I am doing so much while Darcy is at work. Why did he want us to host this holiday?
4:00 PM: My in-laws arrive. They bring some of the food in various states of completion which we begin to unpack. We then start to heat up and prepare: salad, matzoh ball soup, noodle kugal, appetizers, dessert. I run up to take a quick shower. Darcy finally arrives.
5:00 PM: Guests arrive. I serve wine, appetizers and chat. My sister-in-law brings another dessert and the charosset. I begin dishing out all the passover plates, while clearing the drinks and appetizer plates. The little ones run around the house in a loop screaming while the twins try to herd them like cats to activities they might enjoy. My headache from Saturday has returned.
5:45 PM: We sit down to the dinner. Darcy has prepared a thoughtful but short service, which the three little ones under five scream over. The twins perform the Four Questions which we had all been agonizing over and preparing for (it’s long, and it’s in Hebrew). There is an argument resulting in the recommendation that Darcy end the service early, and there are some hurt feelings.
6:15 PM: The service is over, my mother-in-law and I clear the passover plates and set up the buffet. People start dishing out their meals.
6:45 PM: I haven’t even sat down yet to eat my meal. I’m starving. I shovel in some food as fast as I can.
7:00 PM: My mother-in-law, sister-in-law, daughter and I begin to clear the plates for dinner and I begin washing them. This will be a two dishwasher load evening, something I actively avoid because I don’t want to waste water. I put the dessert out and the dessert plates and forks. People dig in. The men in the family play basketball. It’s feeling a bit patriarchal to me, and I’m not a fan of that.
7:30 PM: Most people are done with dessert and I start to bus those dishes. I offer coffee and tea, and luckily no one accepts. I think everyone can tell I don’t feel like making any. The twins get in some stupid fight about nothing. I send them to their rooms.
7:45 PM: People start to clear out and say their goodbyes. One of the little ones makes a break for the gate and we all chase her before she reaches the street. Age 3 is such a challenge. I let the twins out of their rooms after they apologize to each other.
8:00 PM: All the guests are gone, and I begin to pick up the house. It looks like a bomb went off, and there are literally over 60 dishes and pieces of silverware that need to be washed, much of it needs to be done by hand. Matzoh is in pieces all over the floor. One of the little ones had an accident and the bathroom is a mess. Darcy feels tired and sick (he likely has a sinus infection) and heads to bed. I feel irked that I’m left to deal with all of this.
10:00 PM: Cleanup completed. The house does not look remotely perfect, but my back feels like crap and I’m worried it might go out. I retreat upstairs and put on a heating pad. I’m so fried I don’t feel like reading my book, so instead I just zone out on my phone, something I’m trying to avoid doing. I feel guilty for using my phone at bedtime, because I know it’s bad for my sleep. The twins are impossible to get to bed. They keep talking, and they are wound up from the dessert. I keep yelling at them to whisper because my back hurts and I don’t want to walk over to their rooms.
11:30 PM: I finally fall asleep.
PART TWO: Narrative Two, to be continued….