On the coast of Maine under the menacing cloud of a looming deadline
Sometimes life not only catches up with you but it feels like it runs ahead and leaves you choking on a dust cloud. So what’s a writer to do when the deadlines loom and hungry children clamor for not only food but clean laundry and entertainment. Finding myself in the perfect storm that is a September 1 deadline and summer vacation for my kids I have been forced to use my creativity on more than the blank page. Here are a few of my favorite coping strategies for those days when there just isn’t enough me to go around:
1. Slow Cooker– Before the end of breakfast I decide what to throw into the hardest working appliance in my home. This unsung hero has shown up and saved dinner more times than I can fathom. If you have some kind of meat, a frozen vegetable and any kind of sauce item you can’t seem to use up in your refrigerator or pantry, you’ve got dinner. Just dump, dump and stir. Turn the pot on low and ignore it for eight to ten hours. If you’re like me, you’ll forget you set it up in the first place and be overwhelmed that someone else was nice enough to make dinner. If you are really feeling motivated or if you think your family won’t love the main dish surprise them with popovers. Eggs, milk, salt and flour. You’ve got those on hand right? Don’t be dissuaded if you don’t have a popover pan. Just use a muffin tin instead. Better yet, use a mini muffin tin. It cooks faster and no one needs so many extra carbs!
2. Binaural beats– Load up your preferred listening device with something like these little wonders. Nothing pulls my shoulders down from around my ears like a half hour of auditory massage. I feel relaxed and in the zone and like all is right with the universe. Not bad for something legal and calorie free.
3.Move to the beach-Sure it seems extreme,but hear me out. When you consider how much time you’ll save on laundry alone it might just be worth it. After all, no one expects clean underwear if they will be sporting swim trunks all day. And the beach functions as a double dip. Not only can you skimp on laundry, all your entertainment needs are fulfilled in one convenient sandy package. Just don’t forget the sun block.
4. Declutter– Does your stuff own you as much as you own it? Taking care of things you don’t actually care about is a trial and a tribulation not to be wished on the meanest literary reviewer. If you suspect this may be happening to you, visit this lady.
5. Lower your standards– Sure, being parent of the year or employee of the month both have a certain appeal but consider the darker side of life carefully. Think of the naughty pleasure of throwing a dress shirt in the dryer for a few minutes with a damp towel instead of pressing it once in a while. How about popcorn for dinner now and again? If you serve it with an apple it’s got to be more nutritious than a fast food meal.
So how do you cope with the unexpected business that crops up in your lives?