I foolishly believed that when I retired, I would be in charge of my own schedule. Though I didn't go so far as to expect quiet, contemplative days on a regular basis - if at all - I did think that the person who wielded the pencil had control of what got written on the calendar.
The pencil should have been my first clue. Not a Sharpie or even a pen, but a pencil. With an eraser.
Last week at this time, I had one thing on my calendar for today - go to the gym with my friend. It was a big thing, too - a "keeping my New Year's resolution" activity that exuded virtue and promises kept from the moment I wrote it down.
That should have been my second clue. Anything that comes to the calendar with that much baggage should also travel with red flags.
Next, came the phone call from the insurance company. The adjuster couldn't get out to look at my car until Wednesday, January 23. Did I prefer morning or afternoon?
Afternoon, of course. I was going to the gym in the morning. And I was going to the gym. I'd written it down, after all.
So far, so good. Insurance adjuster - sometime between 12 and 4. Got it.
Then came the reminder that there was no school on Monday, so the writing club I volunteer to help with would meet on Wednesday this week, not Tuesday. At 3:00.
An hour before the insurance adjuster's window closed.
Okay, still not huge. The odds were in my favor, and a simple email to my colleague for the writing club would give a heads up in case one was necessary.
So last night, as I was reviewing my calendar and planning my day today, I penciled in a review of a short article for the afternoon (while I was waiting for the insurance adjuster). I knew that I wouldn't be able to concentrate on book revisions while I waited for not one, but two appointments to materialize, and a review/edit of a piece would withstand the interruptions and lack of sustained concentration that would send the revisions veering crazily off-track, while keeping my writing projects moving forward.
That, apparently, was the tipping point.
Not two hours after I added that little flourish to my schedule, my daughter walked into the living room describing symptoms that necessitated a doctor's appointment. The office was, of course, closed for the evening. Which meant scheduling an appointment....
It is now late afternoon. My daughter has been seen. My car has been seen. I made it to the gym. The writing club, the only casualty of the day (so far) has been added to next week's calendar - mercifully on Thursday - where it has a place of honor to make up for today's crazy schedule. A stop at the drugstore and a much-needed haircut (for the child who is feeling better, thank goodness) have been added to the schedule, where the short article/revisions are still on hold, unslotted for now.
It's a good thing the pencil is my tool of choice.