Inquiring Minds Ask – What Does Betty Do All Day? By Bob Lowry
A reader asked how my wife, Betty, spends her days. What does she do with her time and energies? Besides the life we share, what are her passions and interests? To give you a quick glimpse at the answer, I asked her to write a summary of her schedule for this post, but she was too busy to do so. I guess that answers part of the question.
Betty is a woman of projects. If she listed everything she would like to accomplish, I imagine there would be a few hundred things on that to-do list. Of those, maybe a dozen or so of the most important will be completed some time this year. Unlike me, she is never at a loss for something to do; her biggest problem is having too many things demanding her attention.
A suggestion might be to cut back, focus on what you really love. But, in her case, that would be the wrong approach because she loves it all. Even though she gets a bit ragged and stressed at times, she will be the first to tell you those feelings are worse if she isn’t up against some sort of deadline.
Betty is rather atypical in some of her interests. Recently, our son-in-law’s parents give Betty several wood-working power tools. Suddenly, part of our garage is filled with a router, a miter saw, and a large table saw. For her birthday, I gave her a new sander. No, I am not kidding; she asked for it. The tools hanging in the garage are mostly hers, or at least she is more likely to use them than I. She loves to hammer, build, paint, and make something out of scraps. Creating faux stained glass, using broken plates for mosaics, sponge-finishing a wall….it is all part of her repertoire.
A typical day? There isn’t one. Most days she wakes up around 5:00 AM, her mind going full tilt with ideas and solutions to problems left from the day before. Very politely, she either slips quietly out of bed to head for her office, or lays still until a more decent time, say 6:15, before asking if I am awake yet.
She starts with a quick breakfast, followed by some time playing with our dog (or dogs if our daughter’s puppy is with us) and training them to not bark at everything in the world (!). A shower, a simple clothing choice of jeans, a t-shirt and sweater, and her day officially begins.
The next several hours are spent in a variety of ways. It could be at the computer, researching something for a project for church or photoshopping an idea. She will check in with Facebook friends and e-mails. If some supplies are needed she looks for on-line coupons and then could be gone for hours at Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabrics, or Michaels. Occasionally she has a meeting with someone about something she is helping build or design.
Lunchtime will be spent with me in one of two ways. We may be outside on the back porch, relaxing in the warm air, while reviewing our morning or reading. Several days a week we gather in front of the television for the next lesson in whatever Great Courses class we are studying.
After lunch, we take the dog (s) to the park for some exercise and lots of fresh air. Then, she is back at it, with projects, computer research, or running errands, until dinner time. Once or twice a week, she will run out of steam by late afternoon. That’s the time for a small snack, glass of wine, and some reading before we both go inside to prepare, eat, and clean up dinner together.
In the evening, Betty will usually watch a few favorite TV shows with me. Sometimes, we go see a play or listen to music. Maybe an hour or so before bedtime she heads back to a project or planning session.
Of course, she (and I) are always on call for grandparents duty: baby-sitting, driving or picking up someone, preparing dinner for the crew, or just giving our daughter a place to crash and have someone else play with the kiddos.
Betty’s schedule is full, actually overfull, but that is what makes her tick. Shopping for clothes and meeting friends for lunch are not part of her normal day. Chatting on the phone for hours at a time is not something she does.
But, give her a pile of lumber and a power tool, or a bucket of paint, express a need, and she will be all over it. Tell her the bathroom needs some re-tiling and it is as good as done. Have something to be designed, freshened, or built at church and she is your gal. Be a friend, or even just a friend of a friend with a problem and she will be the first in line to help.
In short, she is very different from me. She is unique in a very good way. I suspect that is why we have been together for almost 40 years.
By Bob Lowry