Monday, December 10, 2012

Rabbit Trails, Leisure and Wasting Time

Mindy Starns Clark calls them "rabbit trails".  You get an idea and you want to act on it right away. Your attention to the task at hand wanes.

Here are some of my distractions or rabbit trails:
  • E-mail--I am great at keeping up with e-mail and Facebook; today I did not playing my puzzles on Facebook during the day. There was someone else here to monitor me. She cleaned and I took care of paper clutter.
  • Thinking I can make five Christmas gifts and neglect my other responsibilities. Acting like I can do it all.
  • Phone calls. However, I do not answer 800 calls--we can see on our TV screen or on the actual phone who or what number is calling. My husband told me to pick up the house phone today and I did answer an 800 call. When I asked what was the cost of the "free" alarm system each month, the line went dead.
Now I did have to make one call today--to the garbage people. Why hadn't they picked up the clippings in the front yard on Saturday? I was not sure of the phone number and Sprint couldn't give me a good line for garbage pick up. So I Googled to find a good phone number. All I could do what e-mail which I did early today. I reminded them of what their web site said in my e-mail.
"Residents receive two garbage pickups, one recycling pickup, and one yard waste pickup per week. These occur on either Monday / Thursday, Tuesday / Friday, or Wednesday / Saturday. Find Your Hauler based on your address or folio number."
I have five black bags by the curb that were not picked up on Saturday. Please advise.
I got this reply:

An email with the information you have provided has been sent for review. Thank you for taking the time to communicate with your Hillsborough County.
Then they e-mailed me back with a no reply e-mail with my request. Hours later and no one has called or e-mailed. Maybe this is why they do not have a phone number that Sprint can identify or a phone number on the Internet site.

More phone calls. Hubby wanted to know why the gas guzzler isn't in the garage.

The garage door opener doesn't work, I replied. It is stuck closed.

With typical Alzheimer's impatience he tells me to get someone out here. Look them up in the phone book, he said. Now I didn't want to explain why we do not have phone books now. They are so bulky and I think Google works just fine. Bulky phone books are just out of here with my current reorganization. I did have luck here. I booked someone to come out here on Friday to fix the automatic garage door opener.

The first Valentines Day after we were married we had moved into this house and hubby had gotten me an automatic garage door opener and let me park one of our two cars in the garage with the luxury of using that garage door opener. I have loved it. My students teased me about such a non-romantic gift. But it has been a great gift. Now hubby's personal shopper (me) buys my gifts.

Hubby and I now have different opinions of wasted time. I can have several tasks going all at once around the house. I need discipline to finish each one but sometimes I will only be happy if I can multitask. Maybe I have adult ADHD. I need to relax more.

Hubby has an unrealistic view of time due to his Alzheimer's. He can't judge how long ago something happened and doesn't care what will happen tomorrow. He is content with the now. I need to be also. Someone once told me:

Wherever you are, be all there.

Does everything have to be finished on a certain time table? Of course not.  I have learned from hubby that the lawn doesn't have to be mowed a particular day. He will get around to it when he gets around to it. I thought that The House That Cleans Itself should be done in a half year and realized that it will take much longer than six months. As long as it is a priority, it will happen.

Yes, priorities. Have them. Have an Organized Heart, as Staci Eastin writes in one of my favorite books reviewed here. Having good times with my husband before his Alzheimer's gets worse is important. It is not a rabbit trail. It is part of having an organized heart.

And there is indeed virtue in wasting time. Carl Trueman writes here:
One of the amazing things about modern American culture is surely the pathological fear of wasting time. . . . Indeed, we have surely lost the virtue that is laziness. As Kierkegaard once said, 'Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good' -- a truly amazing theological insight. Some may think that that maybe going a bit far, but compared to the idea that the essence of humanity is busy-ness, it is much to be preferred.
Psalm. 127:1, 2 says Unless the LORD builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. . . . It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late a night. . . for God gives rest to his loved ones.


  1. Hubby went to bed before I had given him his evening pills. So I came in to bring him his pills and to pray because it was an "even" day yesterday (12/10). Then when I actually got in bed he said it was my time to pray. So I did again, thanking the LORD for all that was accomplished yesterday and so many other blessings. Quality time with my husband and the LORD is not a rabbit trail.

  2. I have to remember that time with my kids is never a rabbit trail, either. Thanks, Carol. :)

  3. I am glad to hear I'm not the only person who finds phone books to be a waste.

  4. I love to snatch little moments of time without a task, or pretty much without a task! Today at Steve's bedside I had time to read "Radical" by Dave Platt, about making Jesus your one and only priority. It was a tad hard to concentrate with the patient in Bed B watching obnoxious talk shows on a very loud tv!