Thursday, February 24, 2005

I took out the cow and chickens. But I miss them.

I love that old Jewish folktale about the poor farmer whose house is too small. He, his wife, his kids, and his mother-in-law, are all crowded into a tiny cottage, and the noise and chaos are driving him nuts.

So he goes to the Rabbi for advice, and the Rabbi surprises him by asking, "do you have any cows?" "Um...yes," says the guy, and the Rabbi says, "Take the cow into the house to live with you."

Of course it's even worse after that, what with the cow wandering around and mooing and pooping and all. So a couple days later he goes back to the Rabbi, who tells him to bring his goat into the house too. Next day? Same thing, but bring in the chickens.

Finally, with the goat eating everything in sight and kicking things over and the chickens squawking and pecking and laying eggs and the cow, who's still there, the man can't take it one more moment. He returns to the Rabbi, terrified at what advice he'll get this time, and is amazed to be told, "Take all the animals out of the house."

So he does. And the next day he returns once more, fervently thanking the Rabbi. "With just my family in the house, there's so much room! It's so quiet! Life is an absolute pleasure!"

I've never had enough time, you know? Then I had a kid, and had even less time. Then we got wireless, I discovered blogs, and there went any semblance of free time I'd ever thought I had.

So last night, for the first time in a loooooong time, I had no Internet access. And here's what I did:
  • Picked up Mermaid Girl from preschool.
  • Made dinner. (Easy dinner, a couple of Trader Joe's things mixed together.)
  • Supervised MG's bath. (Admittedly, though, this was really easy since for the first time ever she washed her very own hair! Can I hear a Hallelujah!)
  • Ate dinner with Renaissance Woman and saw her off to her singing rehearsal.
  • Hand-washed MG's ballet socks. (She has only the one pair, and they're required for her class, and almost impossible to find anywhere, these little pink ankle socks made out of some very specific thin synthetic material. So I just let her wear them for class and then take them off right after and put them away till the next week. But even so...well, it turns out that although MG doesn't yet have body odor she does have foot odor. Yuck.)
  • Washed the bathroom sink, while I was at it.
  • Made banana bread! (It didn't take nearly as long as I feared, and MG was ecstatic at the novelty of Nighttime Baking.)
  • Harried MG through her bedtime routine.
  • Folded laundry while talking with a friend on the phone.
  • Washed dishes while talking with RW, who'd come home from her rehearsal by then.
  • Got clothes and lunch ready for the morning.
  • Read a few chapters of a book I've been wanting to get to.
  • Got to sleep before midnight.
For contrast, here's what my evenings usually look like of late:
  • Pick up the girl from preschool.
  • Make dinner.
  • Eat dinner.
  • Harry MG through bedtime routine, if it's my turn.
  • Wash a couple of token dishes.
  • Fall into the Internet until much too late.
  • Collapse.
Methinks this break from home computer use might not be such a bad thing, no? So few distractions! Such a relaxed yet productive evening! Who knew there was so much time in the world?

And yet...when I have Internet access, it's so hard to keep from reading, and reading, and reading, and commenting, and's not even the writing that takes so long, it's Keeping Up with the Blogosphere. I love it! It's like my dream party, full of kindred spirits and stuff to read. And yet I obviously can't continue at this rate.

How about you? How do you keep blog-reading/writing from taking over your life? Or do you feel like it has? And if so, how do you handle that? (Feel free to leave an anonymous comment if you don't want to be traced by your name or usual pseudonym.)


Blogger PPB said...

First of all, I love the story. I had never heard it before.
Second, yes, yes, yes!!
Blogging is eating up my spare time and even my unspare time, but I've met so many cool people. How to choose!!! Maybe I need a weekly blogging Sabbath to clean up around here.
fun post.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Third Street said...

I limit my blog reading to about 10 blogs - you, your mom, sleeping bunnies, udge wink, oswegatchie, Laments of the Unfinished, Unenchanted Rant and One Good Bumblebee. I really don't have time to do a lot of blog reading. Writing the two blogs takes up quite a bit of time too. I usually leave my computer at my office so that I don't get too distracted by it during the evening hours. I really do need to create boundaries.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

People... do things... besides blogging?

8:50 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

I'm incredibly impressed and jealous that you get any of those things done at all.

I don't keep up on my favorite blogs at all well anymore. I'm still way behind on everything, what with the way this year has been going for me. Yours is the first one I check, even though I rarely comment. As for the "do they take over your life" question, I do notice that the more work I have to do (i.e. hours I have to spend in front of the computer), the more blogs I read. Sort of a bad equation when it comes to productivity, though...

12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the big deal? Just leave the family and the cows and the goat and the chicken, move to a new country where you don't know anyone, can't read or write the language, stop working, and blog all day (and night) long. You might feel an eentsy weentsy bit irresponsible if you didn't wait ANOTHER 20 YEARS or so to try that. But then, wooohooo.

3:26 AM  
Blogger Udge said...

My blogtime peaked at about 2.5 hours a day (!) and has been declining by itself since then. There is just simply too much stuff Out There, and most of it is not worth reading (or at least, not worth regularly checking up on). Since I work at home most of the time, I can blog in installments during the day, but I too am trying to switch the machines off earlier in the evening.

4:57 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

Turn off the computer. Or better yet, unplug the computer so when that compulsive "turn that thing on" voice starts nagging, it's harder.

Also unplugging the net cable works for those of us who don't have wireless.

5:52 AM  
Blogger ordinary girl said...

LOL - this is a great post! since you ask - i blog at work - shhh... unfortunately, my job is very busy one day, dead the next, so when i'm not busy, i blog. the problem - i get so sucked in that i start to dread it when the work comes in! i'm becoming so LAZY! LOL

ps - found your blog through catawampus and will definitely be back.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

I tell that Jewish folk tale all the time. I think you're the first person I've ever I've met who knew it too!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

I put the computer in a rather inaccessible place, turn it off, and use a newsfeed for my blog links. Even then, I still spend too much time. But doing those things helped. Of course, it is too late, as my one year old knows how to work the mouse, and watches the screen as she moves it and then pounds the keyboard, looking for something to have changed up there. I truly am a bad mother.

8:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm reading this right now with the laptop askew on my lap so I can occasionally make eye contact with my baby. For whom I waited for, let's see now, has it been six years?


5:06 PM  

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