Friday, February 24, 2012

Living the Artist Life

So a very sweet and funny friend asked me the other day, "What do you do exactly? I know you are really busy, but what do you do?"  

I thought that might be a fun thing to write about here.

We start our day with family "prayers"  on our bed.  Last year, we used Shane Claiborne's Book of Common Prayer for Ordinary Radicals. This year, we read a Proverb a day, pray for needs that we are thinking of at that time and recite the Lord's Prayer together.  We found that having the kids pile into bed with us played to our strengths and weaknesses...namely Vin is strong at being a morning person and the rest of us are weak at getting up in the morning.

Having Robb working at home now is wonderful because we eat breakfast together.  Not the sit down feasts of my childhood, but at least it's usually something warm and we are together.

Three days a week, we try to go to the gym together.  The gym is across the street from Mattie's school, so we drop the kids off and head there.  That is really working for me. Since I don't really kick into gear mentally until much later in the morning, it gives me a chance to use the time without any mental resistance to being there. 

Back from the gym, it helps to shower, get dressed (no pajamas!)  and go work in the office across the table from Robb.  I catch up on email, check up on people on Facebook, think about blogging, write lists, organize, and pack orders for shipping.  I launch listings on Etsy at hourly intervals. Sometimes I am efficient and finish this kind of work quickly.  Sometimes I don't. But I don't feel guilty for spending time on Facebook and Twitter for a couple of reasons:  1. I don't really have co-workers, so a little socializing isn't a bad thing. 2. Facebook is a great way to keep a light tab on family and church folks.  I don't always respond, but I like to have a sense of what kind of week people are having, needs that they have and ways they might need some encouragement.  

I also absorb as much sunlight as I can from the front window to help boost Vitamin D and seratonin...while I consume a great deal of coffee. This window of time from about 8:45 to 11 is the most productive time of my days and I am a little bit protective of it. Without this time, I end up wasting a lot of time the rest of the day because I'm not really grounded or mentally prepared to handle whatever comes up.

One day a week, I meet with a friend for coffee. Usually that is a day that I go from that coffee meeting to thrift stores and the flea markets to re-fill and rearrange them.  I completely lack the ability to just go out for one thing.  If I am going out, I try to do everything I can do while I am out.  Sometimes I go out twice in a week.  The flea markets do better when you clean them up after busy weekends and re-stock them just before the weekend starts. I don't always have time for two days out, but the flea markets are pretty flexible. You get out of them what you put in.

One week of the month, I focus on getting things cleaned up, photographed, and listed on Etsy. It takes a whole day to get pictures done and another day or two to get the listings prepared.  That means at least one day of the month, I am sitting at the computer for a solid 12 hours or so cranking out more than 30 listings.  That just works better for me and keeps the mess of having a lot of stuff out more limited.

One week of the month, I am trying to focus on making things.  Sometimes that is mosaics, but sometimes, it is fixing up things for the flea market.  Nothing makes me happier than a sunny day out in the garage tinkering like an old man, re-wiring lamps, spray painting, and otherwise puttering. 

Two days a month, I work at Heartwood Gallery from 11 to 2:30 in the afternoon.  I split a one day gig into two half days, which is much better for our family since otherwise I would be out until after 6 p.m.  While I am there, I am very focused on making sure the displays are seasonally appropriate and nicely arranged. 

At least one day of the month, I sit and look around and think, "I've got to stop buying vintage stuff and be a normal person. I've got to stop buying stuff that needs to be fixed up. I don't have time for this!  People must think I'm crazy.  This isn't creativity! It's mental illness! Why can't I get a real job like regular people and do the same thing every day."  Sometimes, I do that twice in a month. Sometimes more. This is usually the same time that Robb asks for a haircut.

I do laundry one day a week. I wash it, but Robb usually folds it and makes sure it gets put away. The family works together to keep the house picked up throughout the week and on Saturdays, we try to get the whole house clean for Sunday, so our Sabbath is restful.  I grocery shop big-time once a month and make quick stops the rest of the month.  This isn't terribly efficient, but with a beef in the freezer and some frozen stuff put away during garden season, it works. Robb is great at picking up and being consistent. I am better at tackling occasional projects like cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the oven and scrubbing the shower.

Afternoons?  I have no idea what happens to afternoons.  They are just gone. Especially at 3:30 p.m. when the kids get home.  I really should just give up then and start making supper, but instead, after the kids have their snack, tell us about their day, and finish their homework, I get all productive, putting off cooking and usually get something amazing done then like cleaning, gardening,  or tackling a major project. I will say this...there are things I will never do in a million years on a weekday afternoon:  read a book, watch a movie, or take a nap. There is always something that needs to be handled and I don't let myself relax until after supper and any other duties are finished. 

I try to make evening a relaxing time, with most of the hard things done for the day. We usually watch some tv with the kids and do quiet, family stuff together before they go to bed. By that time, I usually have a clear picture in my head of what the next day looks like and how I plan to spend it.  My days are flexible, but I'm not.  I am protective of the beginning of the days and the beginning of weeks.  Afternoons and Fridays are probably shot anyway, so that's the best time to hit me up with requests. 

So that is a little snapshot of what my days look like.  Like a big game of whack-a-mole, basically.  I'm do other people spend their days? 



LOVE the "big game of Whack-A-Mole" image! That is SO my life! I also love puttering in the garage like an old man and will enjoy thinking of it that way! Our lives are very similar in a lot of ways! Mind if I try to write my own "day in the life of" (since you asked)?

Ness said...

YES! DO IT! I love hearing about how other people juggle it all!

natalie said...

:) now that's what i call an excellent day. i usually have those "why do i buy old crap all of the time" at least once a week. i get it.

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