I was talking to a friend about my year off, my sabbatical as I think of it and he asked would I be travelling. Not really. Doing a degree? Nope. Writing my novel? Again no. “What are you going to do then?” he asked. “A bit more around the house,” I said. “My husband does a lot of the domestic stuff because he’s around the house more; I’ll learn how to use the washing machine,” I said. “So you’re taking a year off to do more washing,” he said. I think I need to find less snarky friends.
Here are my thoughts on what I will be doing. Almost as an aide memoire to myself. If I get none of these things done, then so be it.
On matters domestic:
More organising, sorting handymen, getting things done around the house that have been put off because we just haven’t had time: sorting the shed; the utility room; getting the house painted; re-doing the floors; taking the children to appointments; more (though not all!) domestic admin including making arrangements for powers of attorney now that the Assisted Decision Making Capacity Act is finally being commenced (so worthy, you cry – we promised to do it when we were making our wills but were waiting for the Act, this is our chance); more gardening; finally getting the brass lacquered, the furniture repaired and the clocks fixed. I will go for those blood tests the GP is so keen on (not because Iâ€™m ill but because she wants to do a general check up – good idea, I suppose).
Recently when I was giving Daniel an emergency last minute lift to GAA practice because I had forgotten that he had training and come home late to make dinner and therefore he hadn’t time to cycle, I said, “When I take my break from working I will remember when all your training nights. I will be on top of all the detail.” “Mum,” he said, “are you sure you want to spend all your break acting like a glorified secretary?” Good point. I will need to watch out for that. Maybe I won’t know when he has training after all.
I’ll keep up the school parents’ council and the church but I might have time to volunteer a bit more for the tasks being doled out rather than cravenly shirking them. I have not spent all this time learning Ukrainian on Duolingo to have it be completely useless although judging by my recent encounter in the lane with our new 9 year old Ukrainian neighbour who until 2 months ago spoke no English, it might be. Maybe I should learn basic Russian as well.
More time with the boys; a chance to meet them after school; pick them up if it’s raining; hear about how their days are going; help them if they can face it. More days out with my husband. More weekends away with him. Finally learning to cook or to slightly enjoy cooking. Maybe more bread making? Maybe not. More trips to England to visit herself (though her suggestion that I might drive over to England, pick up all her stuff and then drive home alone again while she goes to the end of term ball and on to London found little favour with me when put forward and was subsequently revised).
Helping to sort out my parents house; seeing my elderly aunt; travelling with my sister (she has mentioned Iceland, I said no initially but now I think, why not?); bringing the boys to Cork a bit more; maybe just spend some time thinking about my parents and writing a bit about my mother’s life ( I wrote about my father for his funeral and I want to do something similar for my mother).
I think I might try this sea swimming thing – my friend from Clontarf goes every day, is this crazy? June seems like a good time to start that. Gretchen Ruben visits the Met every day. In a small way I might do that myself, go into the National Gallery most days, finally cash in my membership gift card. I’ll possibly rejoin the tennis club. I will continue to lunch. If you are willing to go at odd hours and take your chances you can get really good meals from the TUD catering college (I think it’s now the BA in Culinary Arts). I’m keen to test it out.
I mean it all feels amazingly exciting and delightful. I am so lucky to be able to do this. I think it’s the absence of stress as well. Christmas and summer holidays will be better when there are no calls from work and when the weeks leading up to the break are not absolutely frantically busy.
Yesterday was my last day at work until October 2023. Oh yes. And though I was broken by the run up to it, I am pretty pleased now.
Let the good times roll.