Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Saturday, November 5, 2022



Ugh…it’s Monday morning, and I have a whole list of things to do this week. There’s no way I will ever get them done; I know this already, but I have them listed out on my planner, nonetheless. Call nursing homes for Mom, check on that missing commission from June, run a financial report for my travel business, follow up with two group cruises, and write up a quote for four new leads. There are dozens of other to-dos on the list, but I can’t think about that right now. I need to get through my morning routine. I haven’t even had my coffee yet, and I feel overwhelmed.

Rolling out of bed, I take my blood sugar (I’m diabetic), and then I head to the restroom and the digital scale.  I hate weighing myself because it’s just a number, but it’s also an ever-present symbol of how body-conscious our society has become. My Noom app insists that I must do it, though, so I play along and weigh myself. Then it’s off to the kitchen for my medicine, breakfast, and that morning necessity…coffee.

As I pass through the living room, I notice the two laundry baskets in front of the couch. I sigh as I realize I don’t have time to fold them today – there’s simply too much on my plate. I would love to take an hour or two of sitting on the couch, folding laundry, and binge-watching one of my favorite TV shows, but I can’t. I give the laundry one last, longing look, wave my hand at it, and watch as the socks begin to pair up and the towels fold themselves into neat little stacks. I wish I could just do things by hand myself; I wonder how life without magic would be. Would I feel less rushed? Would I have more time to do the things I love to do?

In the kitchen, I pour myself a cup of coffee. Mark made it hours ago, so it’s already getting cold, but I can warm it up in the microwave. I set it for 1:15…the exact amount of time to heat it. I could just start another pot, but somehow, Mark’s coffee always tastes better than mine, and that extra step would just add one more task to my already over-scheduled day. I’m still thinking about all the things I need to do, but I shake my head to clear the unwanted thoughts. This is not the time to review the day. This is my morning routine, and I need to stay in the present. 

I dispense my morning pills onto a napkin and neatly fold it so they don’t fall out. I’m trying to decide what I want for breakfast, but I’m not really hungry. It’s a conundrum I face every morning. My medication has to be taken with food, or it will make me sick, but the mere thought of food makes me nauseous.  I settle on an Oh Yeah One Bar, gather my coffee and pills, and head to my studio to tackle the last segment of my morning routine – my tarot cards and journaling.

As I shuffle my tarot deck, I think about what I want the cards to tell me today. What do I need to know? What do I need to think about? What do I need to do? When I’ve shuffled sufficiently, I stack the cards in a neat pile and cut them. I don’t think too hard about where to cut them. I’m not going for the middle; I just pick up a section of the cards where it feels like they should part. The division happens naturally. As I lift a handful of cards, some fall back to the stack. When I have a solid block of cards in my hand, I flip them over to reveal my card of the day. The card the deck chose for me today is the Eight of Swords, representing self-imposed barriers and being trapped or restricted, perhaps by my own convictions. I sigh as I put away my cards. 

I spend the rest of my morning on emails and phone calls, mostly to clients and potential clients. There’s always so much work to be done contacting and following up with leads. It’s my least favorite part of the job. I just hate the tedious work of trying to get people to answer a question or make a decision. Sometimes, it’s like pulling teeth, as my grandmother used to say. The clients will call and say they are ready to book their next great vacation, so I hustle and bustle to get a good quote sent out in a timely manner, and then it’s crickets…no answer…for days, sometimes weeks. I’ll follow up a few times, and sometimes the client will apologize for not getting back to me and they’ll promise to look it over as soon as possible. Sometimes, they say they already booked with someone else, which always irritates me because it’s rude to be working with two agents at the same time. I’ve often busted my butt trying to jump through hoops to get them what they wanted. The least they could do was let me know they had someone else working on it, too. Sometimes, though, they don’t bother to answer back at all. Once in a great while, a client will answer back and be ready to book, or maybe they’ll have a change or a question. Now that’s something I can work with!

When lunchtime rolls around, I am still at my desk, but now I’m setting up some social media posts and emails to see if I can drum up a few more leads. I think longingly about popping out to grab a bite at the Taco Bueno down the street, or maybe a salad from Chick-fil-A, but no, I need to finish this cruise promotion for my mailing list, and then I need to fix a few broken links on my website. Why magic doesn’t work on this stuff, I will never understand, but it must be done, and I’m the only one to do it. I turn to face the kitchen, heave a big sigh, and wave my hand indifferently, turning back to my work. Within minutes, a pastrami sandwich appears at my desk along with a pile of Fritos. I pause to take a bite of the sandwich. It tastes good, but I would have enjoyed it so much more if I could have taken the time to sit at the table, or even out on the porch. 

I finish the website edits quickly, and the sandwich, too. Now it’s time to track down those missing commissions that never got paid. While I’m on the phone, I casually wave my hand at the stack of paperwork that has piled up on my desk. It sorts itself by priority and settles into a neat stack to one side. I leave yet another message for the nursing home ombudsman. No one ever returns calls anymore. I wonder how I’m ever going to get anywhere finding a new nursing home for Mom. Her money is about to run out, and the private pay facility she’s at won’t take Medicaid. Why can’t magic fix that?

As I hang up the phone, I realize the grocery order has arrived. With another flick of my wrist, the groceries sort themselves into the pantry and fridge. The refrigerator is a bit crowded, so I take a moment to concentrate on it before leisurely waving my arm in that direction. A few leftovers turn out into the trash can and the empty dishes find their way to the sink. Satisfied that all is well, I turn back to my computer and start to work on data entry for my two cruise groups. I also run a quick financial report, use magic to enter the weekend’s receipts into my Quicken register, and sit down to a one-hour Zoom webinar from one of my suppliers. By the time I’m done, it’s almost time for dinner.

Mark has whipped up some delicious Thai food. He looks tired even though the dinner preparation probably only took him a few minutes from the first wave of his hand. I guess he’s had a busy day, too. We eat and talk about our day. He has a music edit to do for one of his clients tonight. I’ll be working on the Modern Musings blog and podcast. I might even get a little quilting or scrapbooking in. The dishes wash themselves and he takes our dog, Sophie, for a walk while I wipe the cabinets with another flick of my wrist.

I motion to my computer to start editing our next podcast while I write my blog. Occasionally, I pause to listen in, but it’s very self-sufficient once I get it going. I’d like to be able to listen in…I’m sure there are lots of laughs and silly bloopers that get edited out, but that would take hours, and I still must write this week’s blog, edit Amber and Christen’s offerings, as well as upload all the links. Luckily the links blog post writes itself based on the podcast edits. All I have to do is post it.

By the time the podcast is edited, I’m done writing the blog, but I still have to proofread Amber’s blog. Christen’s can wait a day or two since it won’t post until Saturday. I was hoping to do some quilting or scrapbooking, but I’m running out of time. I need to finish that t-shirt quilt I started for Christen. I decide to let the sewing machine do it for me, so I can finish the proofreading and go to bed. Maybe just a few blocks. Maybe I can do some myself tomorrow. I close my eyes, frown, and flick a finger toward the sewing machine. It hums to life as a stack of t-shirt blocks feed themselves through in a neat column. I return to the computer to proofread Amber’s blog. It’s short but very good, and I work through it quickly. Sending her a quick note to let her know it’s done, I flick another lazy finger towards the sewing machine, and it finishes the row of quilt blocks, stacking them on top of the others in the basket nearby.

It’s finally time for bed, and I make myself a little snack to take with my pills before I turn in. Reclining in my reading chair, I think about my day. I feel like all I did was work, and for all that magic did for me, it didn’t really save me any time or give me more free time to do the things I wanted to do. I feel like I’m working harder than I ever did before, and I wonder…if I stopped using magic, what would happen? Wouldn’t my life be so much better? I’m still trying to imagine that as I head to bed and fall asleep. Yes, better, I think. I could daydream while I sort laundry, laugh along with the podcasts while I edit them, and watch a movie while I sort and file papers. That would be wonderful. Maybe someday there will be no more magic. Someday….

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