I’ve changed my mind on that heavy post I mentioned before. It isn’t completed, and I’m not ready to put it up yet.
Instead, something happened to me last night which I’m worried is less an isolated culmination of circumstances, and more of an indication of things to come. I’m also concerned with what sort of toll it will take on my already barely-there parenting skills.
It is a scientific fact that when the weather is coldest, more houses will try to burn down. Since 2005, of all the major structure fires that I’ve been to, I can think of only one that was in the shimmering heat of summer, and only another one that happened in nice, moderate weather. The rest have been in the most miserably cold conditions possible. Numerous factors contribute to this, chimney fires, faulty heating systems, bad wiring, unattended heaters, and so on. Well, it happened again last night. We were called out to a mutual aid house fire on the ski slope. As soon as the tones dropped, I put down everything and ran out the door to help. I spent a few hours on scene, did what needed to be done, and came home.
…..to two text messages from the coordinator of the ambulance I drive for. She was essentially asking me where I was since we had had a call to a neighboring town, and no driver showed up. Turns out, I was on call last night without ever realizing it, paying especially small attention to anything at all when the scanner goes off for a fire.
Looking back at the day, I spent the first half of the day at a follow-up interview for what I’m hoping will be my new job, then motored an hour like a bat out of hell to get to my current tech job and spent the second half of the day there. I left there at about 4, made a quick run to the grocery store, and went home. As soon as I got there, I spent the next few hours in the delicate balancing act of trying to be a parent and not falling asleep on the couch. Dinner time, bath time for the baby, bed time routine. As bedtime was winding down, the scanner went off and I spent a few hours on scene with the fire department. Never once did I look at the calendar to see that I was on call.
The point is, I’m overreaching. I’m trying to balance three current jobs, a hunt for a new one, volunteering, and family. I’m genuinely worried that the next ball I drop won’t be an ambulance call, or a missed fire- but something at home. I don’t want to miss a chance to do something with the boys or my wife that could be meaningful or educational, but at the same time, I don’t know where to trim the fat of the schedule so to speak.
My Google calendar is often reminiscent of a Jackson Pollock painting, the hard copy of the calendar on the wall next to my place at the dinner table is covered in brightly colored sharpie, and the majority of the things in the family master schedule that my wife keeps- are mine.
I know I’m not alone when it comes to a hectic, overloaded schedule. There have been news reports, studies, and numerous other publications I’m sure about this sort of thing. I’ve heard all kinds of inane prattle about ‘time management’ and the like, but the truth of the matter is, I just don’t know how or where to start.
Maybe I’ll get better at handling it all as time goes on, because I’m still a relative newbie to the insanity, but I’m honestly worried that I’m going to turn out like Leslie Knope in the Parks and Recreation episode where she’s overextending herself and forgets to invite Gerry to his own surprise birthday party. I feel as though it is really only a matter of time before I drop the ball on something important, and my relationship with my family takes a shot to the pills because of it.
Maybe I’m reading into a single instance a bit too deeply, but last night was the first time that I heeled up and said “Maybe I’m in over my head.”
I think I really, really might be.