Last summer, when the 8 year old came home with stories of playing Just Dance at Steve & Kate's, he and I joked, dance enthusiast that I am, that we should perform a duet together at this year's variety show at his school (at least one performance last year featured a mother-daughter duo). We promptly purchased the game and started playing, perfecting our moves and narrowing the field of potential routines. As the deadline to commit to try-outs loomed earlier this calendar year, despite some hesitation on my son's part, we decided to go for it, signing up to perform the first 90 seconds (routines had to be 2 minutes or less) of the Just Dance 2016 choreography to Animals by Martin Garrix.

The variety show was at the end of an extremely busy week at work and it's been a wacky couple of weeks since. I came down with a nasty cold that still lingers, both kids had a 24-hour stomach bug last week (on different days), and I got a bacterial infection under my fingernail. WTF. Art for a future has been on hiatus, indefinitely. I'm either legitimately crazy-busy, as they say, the ADD-tending brand of flakey, or a combination of the two that is lethal to one's art aspirations. In support of the "crazy-busy" theory, here's how a typical weekday goes: I wake up at 5:30 am to do a 20-30 minute workout in my living room. This is more about daily stress relief than it is about my physique or general health. Obviously. Around 6:15 I hop in the shower. I attempt to get myself as ready for the day as possible before the kids wake up, which is, on average, around 6:30 am. Neal, meanwhile, makes breakfast. Occasionally, but only on school days, we have to wake the 8 year old a little after 7 to allow enough time to get ready and out the door by 8. The 4 year old is usually the first to wake up but always the last to finish breakfast. She requires extensive prodding, occasional puppetry, and the promise of digital technology to get dressed, brush her teeth and hair, and put on her shoes. At the moment, Neal handles schlepping the kids to their two different schools while I head straight to work. So, yeah, I feel "crazy-busy" by 8 am every day even with a personal chef and morning chauffeur for my kids.

Work is incredibly busy lately. I realized recently that my "day job" has morphed into a career. How the hell did that happen? If I don't have an errand to run, which I often do, I try to take a 30-45 minute walk at lunch to counteract the extra pounds my body seems intent on storing in my backside and belly since taking on this mostly stationary gig a little over two years ago. On any days that don't involve afternoon meetings in San Francisco I'm pretty firm about leaving between 4:30 and 4:45. I pick up the kids and arrive home a little after 5. Neal cooks, I clean. By the time we do those two things, we have about 30 minutes, if we're lucky, before the most tedious, drawn-out bedtime routine in the history of humanity begins. The 4 year old's bedtime is technically 7:30, but I'm lucky if she's in bed by 8. It takes approximately 60-90 minutes to get her in the bath, out of the bath, teeth brushed, pajamas on, books read, encore presentations of various things like saying goodnight to other members of the family and going to the bathroom, and in bed for "snuggles and sleepy song". Reverse engineer from 7:30(ish) and there's your evening.

There is something about snuggling with her in her bed, in the dark, that zaps whatever little bit of energy I may have had left after a busy day of work. I literally feel like I could fall asleep every night around 8 pm. But I rally, throw in the laundry, fold the load from the last night, if it's not done already, and then make three lunches for the following day (one for myself plus one for each kid). Friday nights are my favorite not because anything exciting ever happens but because I don't have to make lunches. Woo!

In the meantime, Neal is getting the 8 year old ready for bed. We have had this same routine since kid #2 was a baby. On the one hand, they get some one-on-one time together and his bedtime is slightly later as a perk of being first-born. On the other hand, do you think it would be okay if I had the 8 year old put the 4 year old to bed while I enjoy a cocktail on the back patio??

Like the 4 year old, the 8 year old has a technical bedtime of 8 pm which translates to an actual bedtime of 8:15-8:30. By then, I've usually finished my evening "chores" referenced above but not always. I do enjoy getting 7 1/2 to 8 hours of sleep so ideally I'm headed to bed to read a little by about 9:30 pm. That leaves me an hour, max, between the time my work/family day is done and when I should really be getting to sleep. And keep in mind, I was kinda ready for sleep at 8. Those last 30-60 minutes of the day aren't exactly my brain's finest. And in that hour, I have an ongoing to do list that includes the following:
  • at last count 7 ongoing art projects/ideas
  • various website updates which are all a total time-suck
  • 6-7 grants, fellowships, and residencies to consider applying to
  • 3 design/Etsy-related ideas to execute
  • writing (I'm trying to write a screenplay - no, really - and I have 3 blogs to maintain)
  • 2-3 crafty projects (remember the tardigrades?!)
  • an endless list of projects around the house, not to mention weekly cleaning, and 3-4 DIY/spring cleaning projects
  • robust planning/to do lists for seasonal/holiday crap between October and April
  • kids' stuff including, but not limited to: birthdays, homework, longer-term projects, volunteering, behavioral goals, general shopping, etc.
  • other planning around extended family, travel, etc.
That's a lot to cram into an hour, at best, each day, right? If I had my druthers, I'd have all day to tackle those bullet points. But I don't. So, as counter as it is to how I like to work, creative generalist that I am, I should probably focus on just one extra thing that's not work or kids. I try instead to chip away a little at all categories over the course of the week and it's just a disaster. What I decide to focus on is still a little bit up in the air but the thing that motivates me most is the thing I'm least qualified to do: write a screenplay. Why a screenplay, you might ask? Well, I've been interested in narrative/storytelling for a long time, and I've found that that's a tall order for a painting, for example. I came up with a work-around that sounds a little something like this: "I'm interested in creating a setting for the possibility of narrative" which I think is what led me to interactive projects and social practice, the idea being the viewer/participant would provide much of that narrative aspect. And I'm still interested in doing that, but I also have a very specific story to tell. Like Moonlight, it will be "both sweeping and specific", I promise. And rather than write it out prose-like, I'm interested in telling this story primarily through images, visual person that I am. There's also something very appealing about the structure of a screenplay, providing the skeleton for a story without fully fleshing it out. As far as my inexperience goes, well, I've watched a shit-ton of movies. So there.