I love you, I want you, I need you, I can’t find you (Week 23: Work and Rest)

My Twitter feed informs me that a new study from some psychology department at some famous university has found that having one lazy day a week lowers your risk your heart attack, stroke, depression, death etc etc.

(I’m not sure how one lows one’s risk of death… after all, we all die. Eventually. It’s sort of a given, and the people who don’t accept that piss away their entire lives unhappy.)

“Keep the Sabbath day holy.” Right?

That’s the whole point of Wayne Mueller’s quite lovely book Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives, parts of which I’ve read intermittently over the past very busy year (two?), during which I feel I’ve been keeping nothing particularly holy…

This Sunday, though, I collapse.

My body experiences an exhaustion so intense it feels almost like pleasure—in the morning, I stretch out on the sofa in the kitchen, I do my morning writing prone, I’m not sure I have the energy to get a cup of coffee… but it feels so good.

Ender wakes up. Cuddles. Breakfast.

We are out of clean dish towels, too, so when I go downstairs to let the dog out to pee, I pop a load of filthy kitchen laundry into the wash. First need to take Sean’s clean laundry out of the dryer—in the process discover a pile of laundered bedsheets. Decide to change the sheets on our bed, cause they’re getting kinda gamey.

Back upstairs. I’m up, so… I pour myself a second cup of coffee.

The doorbell rings. A friend for Ender.

I let him in and follow him upstairs. Sit down again, fingers on keyboard—just a few small tasks to get down on paper in draft form before…

It’s Sunday, day of rest, I have an event planning meeting ten to noon, right—shower, clothes—Ender wants second breakfast, just cereal baby, Mommy’s gotta go.

My event planning meeting takes place in the basement community room of a Coop grocery story. We’re planning When Words Collide, a genre reader-writer con. We’re kind of amazing—we’re sold out. And the festival doesn’t happen until mid-August… but we’re in such good shape for it, we cancel the July meeting.

I multi-task at the meeting—sending out the action-emails decisions at the meeting propel me towards, because I know that when I get home, I will stretch out on the sofa in the kitchen and want to do NOTHING.

But first—I have a lunch appointment. I need to break someone’s heart, tell them I don’t want to be their friend or lover. I could say nothing, do nothing… let the connection wither, peter out, disappear.

But I like things to be clear.

It’s not awful, but it’s not fun either.

Home, home, I want to go home and rest.

But first—I’m by the Co-op. What do we need? Eggs, bread, bananas. Any fruit or veg on sale? The peppers are very cheap… but I’m too tired to sort through them and find the ripe-yet-not-rotten ones.


Flora’s up, Cinder’s gaming, Ender’s hungry.

I make him a ham sandwich. Flora claims to have eaten. Good.

Laundry into dryer. Towels into washer. Are there dirty towels in the bathroom? I go up—yes. Also, the toilet is kinda gross. Where’s the Vim?


Couch. Stretch. Yes. No. Wait. Not yet. Supper. What the fuck am I going to feed everyone for supper?

Frozen chicken thighs, black beans, garlic, potatoes going a little soft. Oven. Done. Good.

Sean comes home in time to open the oven for me. Asks me about my day, my lunch.

Makes me a better one.

I finally make it back to the sofa… eat my papadums and hummus in a prone position. Yes.

I was thinking I’d go into Inglewood and put up posters today, but it’s raining, and… I don’t want to get off the couch.

Cinder stomps around upstairs. Angry. Video game, biology? I don’t know; I don’t want to know; I don’t want to go up—I want to lay on the couch and DO NOTHING.

But maybe I’ll walk with Cinder to meet his math tutor. Just to move this lazy body a bit. Wake up.

Sean drives him instead. I stay on the couch. The bottle of Alberta Dark Horse Whiskey he got me for my birthday is almost empty—I blame the math, by the way, have I told you? High school math has driven me to drink.

Still. There’s enough for a half-shot. I pour it. Handful of cashews.

“Mom! I’m hungry!”

“Cheese tortilla?”

No. He wants a ham sandwich. Good thing I bought that bread.

Sean comes back and asks me if I want to go for a walk in the wind. I don’t, not really, but I should. I stumble downstairs—the dog follows me, thrilled.

A short walk.

We talk about Inglewood. Posters?

But when we get home, he irons and I go have a bath with P.G. Wodehouse.

Sofa. Sean’s still ironing. I’m flat on my back in the world of Jeeves.

Texts from people wanting things.

I close my eyes. Tomorrow. I’ll take care of those things, tomorrow.

Cinder comes back—needs help with biology now. But that’s Sean’s baby so I stay on the sofa.

Flora now does her laundry, transfers the clean kitchen laundry to the top of the dryer and the bath towels into the dryer. Good. I try to remember if, when I stripped our bed this morning—did I remake it? Or did I just strip it?

I could go downstairs and check, but, stairs.

I do the dishes instead. Realize that sometime while I wasn’t paying attention—perhaps while I was in the bath—everyone ate supper. It looks like the potatoes-chicken thighs-black beans thing turned out really good.

But I don’t want meat. I want bananas and chocolate chips.

I mix them with granola and coconut milk, also some walnuts, and that is my supper.

Sofa. Jeeves and Wooster. Also, Twitter.

But I’m too tired to be funny or interactive.

Ender on my lap, stretched out. Sean at my feet. The dog.

We’re talking about scary geopolitical shit and history and what the world will look like for our children, and we don’t know—I want to disappear back into P.G. Wodehouse.

Biology’s done, Cinder’s gaming. Flora’s out of sorts, she’s not sure why. Hugs.

“Bedtime?” I ask Ender. He’s not sure. But agrees.

Sean does too. Goodnight kisses all around; Ender and I go up to bed, Sean goes down.

Bedtime reading is Moomin. I love Tove Jansson.

It takes the boy a long time to fall asleep. I listen to old sad music from a sad friend as he tosses and turns.

He doesn’t fall asleep until 9:44. I come downstairs. Flora’s kneeling in front of the fridge.

“I’m hungry, but I don’t want to eat more chicken,” she says.

I offer to make her a cheese tortilla before I go to bed—she folds into my arms in a gesture of gratitude.


I stretch out on the sofa for a few more minutes.

A day of doing nothing, when you have children and responsibilities, looks like this.




The year started with a Monday; so does every week (Week 1: Transitions and Intentions)

Easier than you think, harder than I expected: a week in eleven stanzas (Week 2: Goodness and Selfishness)

A moody story (Week 3: Ebb and Flow)

Do it full out (Week 4: Passions and Outcomes)

The Buddha was a psychopath and other heresies (Week 5: No Cohesion)

A good week (Week 6: Execute, Regroup)

Killing it (Week 7: Exhaustion and Adrenaline)

Tired, petty, tired, unimportant (Week 8: Disappointment and Perseverance)

Professionals do it like this: [insert key scene here] (Week 9: Battle, Fatigue, Reward)

Reading Nabokov, crying, whining, regrouping (Week 10: Tears and Dreams)

Shake the Disease (Week 11: Sickness and Health… well, mostly sickness)

Cremation, not embalming, but I think I might live after all (Week 12: Angst and Gratitude)

Let’s pretend it all does have meaning (Week 13: Convalescence and Rebirth)

The cage is will, the lock is discipline (Week 14: Up and Down)

My negotiated self thinks you don’t exist–wanna make something of it? (Week 15: Priorities and Opportunity)

An introvert’s submission + radical prioritization in action, also pouting (Week 16: Ruthless and Weepy)

It’s about a radical, sustainable rhythm (Week 17: Sprinting and Napping)

It was a pickle juice waterfall but no bread was really harmed in the process (Week 18: Happy and Sad)

You probably shouldn’t call your teacher bad names, but sometimes, your mother must (Week 19: Excitement and Exhaustion)

Tell me I’m beautiful and feed me cherries (Week 20: Excitement and Exhaustion II)

A very short post about miracles, censorship, change: Week 21 (Transitions and Celebrations)

Time flies, and so does butter (Week 22: Remembering and forgetting)


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30 thoughts on “I love you, I want you, I need you, I can’t find you (Week 23: Work and Rest)

  1. Pingback: You don’t understand—you can’t treat my father’s daughter this way (Week 24: Fathers and Daughters) | Nothing By The Book

  2. Pingback: The summer was… SULTRY (Week 25: Gratitude And Collapse) | Nothing By The Book

  3. Pingback: It’s like rest but not really (Week 26: Meandering And Reflection) | Nothing By The Book

  4. Pingback: It’s the wrong question (Week 27: Success and Failure) | Nothing By The Book

  5. Pingback: On not meditating but meditating anyway, and a cameo from John Keats (Week 28: Busy and Resting) | Nothing By The Book

  6. Pingback: Hot, cold, self-indulgent as fuck (Week 29: Fire and Ice) | Nothing By The Book

  7. Pingback: In which our heroine hides under a table (Week 30: Tears and Chocolate) | Nothing By The Book

  8. Pingback: Deadlines and little lies make the world go round (Week 31: Honesty and Compassion) | Nothing By The Book

  9. Pingback: That’s not the way the pope would put it, but… (Week 32: Purpose and Miracles) | Nothing By The Book

  10. Pingback: And before you know it, it’s over (Week 33: Fast and Slow) | Nothing By The Book

  11. Pingback: Ragazzo da Napoli zajechał Mirafiori (Week 34: Nostalgia and Belonging) | Nothing By The Book

  12. Pingback: Depression is a narcissistic disease, fentanyl is dangerous, and knowledge is power, sort of (Week 35: Introspection and Awareness) | Nothing By The Book

  13. Pingback: I’m not gonna tell you (Week 36: Smoke and Mirrors) | Nothing By The Book

  14. Pingback: Slightly irritable and yet kinda happy (Week 37: Self-Improvement and Self-Indulgence) | Nothing By The Book

  15. Pingback: It’s not procrastination, it’s process (Week 38: Back and Forth) | Nothing By The Book

  16. Pingback: Pavlov’s experiments, 21st century style (Week 39: Connectivity and Solitude) | Nothing By The Book

  17. Pingback: The last thing I remember… (Week 40: Truth and um, Not Really) | Nothing By The Book

  18. Pingback: All of life’s a (larval) stage (Week 41: Stagnation and Transformation) | Nothing By The Book

  19. Pingback: Damn you, Robert Frost (Week 42: Angst and more Angst) | Nothing By The Book

  20. Pingback: Speaking of conflict avoidance… (Week 43: Fight of Flight) | Nothing By The Book

  21. Pingback: Halloween, Samhain, All Saints Day, Day of The Dead, Candy (Week 44: Neither Here Nor There) | Nothing By The Book

  22. Pingback: Again with the silver-tongued Persians, and other stories (Week 45: Silence and language) | Nothing By The Book

  23. Pingback: War, Famine, Pestilence, Mornings (Week 46: Mornings and the Apocalypse) | Nothing By The Book

  24. Pingback: Time flies but the Christmas tree is up (Week 47: Status quo and Change) | Nothing By The Book

  25. Pingback: I didn’t kill anyone–it just smells like it (Week 48: Guilt & Poison) | Nothing By The Book

  26. Pingback: You have a bad memory, while I want to rest on a flower (Week 49: Mothers and Caterpillars) | Nothing By The Book

  27. Pingback: Atheism, Spirituality, Boundaries, Slytherins (Week 50: This and That) | Nothing By The Book

  28. Pingback: When everyone’s a special snowflake… (Week 51: Normal and Narcissistic) | Nothing By The Book

  29. Pingback: The year will end on a Monday (Week 52: Guilt and Gratitude) | Nothing By The Book

  30. Pingback: 52 Weeks Project (2018 Blog Post Index) | Nothing By The Book

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