February 29, 2016

Inquiring Minds Ask - What Does Betty Do All Day?




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.


Betty's idea of dress up..off to solve a problem





29 comments:

  1. Made me tired just reading about her daily routines. Think I'll go take a nap.

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    1. She's your sister...are you surprised?

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  2. You have an interesting relationship my friend. From my conversations with Betty I quickly realized that she is special but I didn't realize just how much. So she is the one that empties the "Honey Do" jar while you fill it. But I guess you being gone so often in the early years it was kind of necessary.

    Those of us who were fortunate enough to find our special mate are truly blessed. In about a month Yvonne and I will celebrate our 30th year together at Disney World. Yeah, I finally got her to agree to take that one off my bucket list.

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    1. Saw this morning that Disney will be going to Demand-Based ticketing at the parks. I believe that means during the prime season they will have a "slight" increase to individual tickets of $10 or so, while during the off-season they will have a "massive" decrease of $1 or so a ticket.

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    2. RJ, Yes, our relationship doesn't perfectly fit the "normal" definition. But, it works just fine for us. Maybe that is the take-away from this post: do what works, not what is "expected." Have fun at Disney. After a rough winter in your part of the country, you deserve a little warmth.

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    3. ChuckY, yeah I read that also but found it is for the one day goers not for those staying at the park. Actually I go a pretty good discount from the peak season rates.

      Bob, Yeah I don't want anyone to call me "normal". That indicates I am not rocking the boat enough. As to the winter, ours was pretty mild; we never got a plowable snow in the driveway. All the bad stuff was in Ohio and east.

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  3. Except that I get up at nine, and u rarely do the actual cooling, it sounds like we often have similar days. Too many projects and not enough time...

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    1. Betty has made a few quilts and has more ideas for new ones. You and she could share experiences.

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    2. Make sure she know that wed is senior day at Joanne, with 20 percent off, lol.

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  5. She has put together a great schedule, Bob. I have similar days, starting with working out first thing (or it might not be done), and jumping on the computer and checking news and messages (sometimes this turns out to be almost the whole day - my bad), followed by various chores. Now that Spring might be right around the corner, I hope to make the chores part more and more of the day.

    You guys continue to have a very nice life. Glad for both of you. And no matter what some people in the world say, you earned it!

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    1. Thanks, Chuck. We paid our dues, but also figured out what is important in life and how to maximize it. Betty's contribution to all this is way off the scale. She is a rather remarkable woman.

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  6. She sounds wonderful, but then, reading between the lines, we already knew she was wonderful. But, Bob, you shouldn't be so selfish ... could you possibly send Betty over to our house for a few days?

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    1. Only when it warms up and you get us some Broadway tickets.

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  7. It's nice to have a glimpse at your "better half's" days-- thank to Betty for letting you write about it for us. I share Betty's enthusiasm for life.Boredom is never ever an issue, usually I have at least 10 "life list" projects in action, in line for action, or in my thoughts for future action!! LOL!! It took Ken and I two full years to get the hang of retirement, and, as you know, a couple of moves!! At first I felt I had to keep working part time but I am all over that.Now, my avocations,such as astrology, music, docenting at the Desert Botanical Garden, and planning our travels, fill my days. I love to read and Ken and I have a library date every two weeks.During the week, much like you and Betty, we do some online classes, share a TV show or a movie here and there, we meditate together each morning, and ride our bikes now that we live back in the GOOD climate again. We still enjoy the mountains and have our place up there, but we go back and forth at our leisure now.. it just wasn't a good full time gig for us.I wish I were as handy as Betty--luckily,Ken loves to fix stuff . You two surely are role models for a nice retirement and I continue to think about how you two have solved some of the retirement issues that come up--thanks for sharing!

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    1. Before things get too toasty here in the desert we should arrange to meet for lunch at Agritopia or San Tan Village. I'd love to meet Ken and get caught up on your retirement journey. Betty is tied up full time all March helping two churches and putting on our granddaughter's birthday party at our home. But, April looks good....for now!

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    2. Yes! April works for us as well, we'll make a date!! love Agritopia/Joe's.

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  8. I've been MIA myself but what a great post to re-join you with! I'll go back & read some others as I get time.

    Loved Betty's schedule!! I'm also overbusy, although with not quite as many "honey-do" projects, as I'm not as handy. My days tend to fill with volunteering to work with church, my cohousing community, currently helping granddaughters move into their own apartment (not quite sure how they got that old!)and regular old life stuff.

    My daughter & I also recently took a relatively last minute (planned & taken in six weeks) trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, to see the Northern Lights. It was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience; I'm so glad we went.

    It was great to meet you a few years ago when you & Betty came through our area of the country. I can so see Betty working on all those projects. You deserve each other and as a friend told me a couple of months ago (actually when I was worrying about something unimportant, as many worrisome things are) --- "We've all done the stressful things; now we deserve to do the easy, happy things." You and Betty are my "poster children" for that--handling life's adventures (good and bad) with grace.

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    1. So very nice of you...thanks Pam.

      I want to see the Northern Lights at some point. We are taking an Alaskan Cruise in late May which is not the time to see such things, but I can dream.

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    2. Years ago on a flight from Anchorage to Vancouver, a flight attendant woke me and said look out the window and you will see the northern lights. What a nice surprise. You will love Alaska.

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    3. The lights are absolutely awe-inspiring, an unforgettable reminder of the perfection of our universe; I was SO glad we went! It is, however, COLD. Think of your winters growing up in the East & take clothing to suit;warm boots, heavy pants & gloves. Also for Betty, it's a whole different photography skill. She can do it, but it requires a different setting & prior knowledge (that was the one thing we didn't prepare for.)

      pam

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    4. Not sure how we will pack and or carry heavy clothes on the plane to Seattle in May. Sounds like an extta suitcase will be needed!

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  9. And, on top of all that, she is adorable! We share the creativity interests, but you won't get me near power tools. That's Dave's business, because I'd cut a finger off, most likely.
    Go Betty!!
    b

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    1. I manage to cut or bruise myself in the unlikeliest ways. So, most of the stuff that is plugged in and then cuts, is her territory.

      I certainly agree she is a cutie.

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  10. Really fun to learn more about Betty! Good mates are truly a blessing in life. The two of you might have different interests and abilities, but one thing you have in common is your commitment to helping others. God bless you both for that!

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    1. We are so opposite except where it counts. I am very blessed.

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  11. Betty sounds awesome! Love her can do spirit, and that she doesn't slow down at all! And besides, she looks spunky!

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    1. Spunky is a great word...so is feisty and perky!!!!

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