Sunday, October 26, 2008

Losing Found Time

Sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to realize that you’ve totally missed the point of a new discovery.

I realize this as I play with my favorite birthday gift to myself – my vacuuming robot. Yes, I was drinking wine again while watching one of the television shopping networks. But this time I was actually sober enough to notice something useful. And when my new little friend appeared on my porch today, I realized that life would never be the same.

This incredible little toy looks like a stack of paper plates and runs around the house and vacuums while I do other things. The point of this is so that I don’t have to waste time on silly things like cleaning floors, and instead I can work on books, client projects, family matters, and even paying household bills on time.

Now this all sounds quite grownup, doesn’t it? And yet, here I sit on a Saturday morning, watching Hazel (I’m trying that name on for size) vacuum my living room. My husband comes in.

“A real timesaver, huh?”

“Absolutely!” I agree with relish. I’d agree with a hot dog too, but it’s a little early in the day for that.

“So, what are you going to do now?”

Oh, I just thought I’d keep Hazel company.”

He is plussed. (I’ve always thought that if people can be nonplussed, they should be able to be plussed too.) “You do know that it’s not alive, right?”

“Of course. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need company.”

“Of course.” Yeah, I know he’s humoring me, but what do I care? I’ve got a robot vacuuming my house.

“So, you’re not going to do anything else with this ‘found’ time?”

“I was thinking about having a Bloody Mary.”

“That’s all you’re going to do with this free time?”

I nod. “You’re right. That’s just silly of me. I think I’ll also have a Mimosa.”

He shakes his head and retreats to the back of the house.

No, I don’t really drink that much, but it’s a great way to scare off a spouse who looks like he has a great idea of something you could do with your spare time. If God had wanted me to clean that kitchen, he wouldn’t have made old bread turn into penicillin.

Besides, right now I’m thinking of other uses for the robot. It’s diverting my cats’ attention away from forcing their way onto my lap while I try to type, so I’m thinking about attaching a tail to Hazel and see if I can get them to chase it around with dusting cloths on their feet. That could double the use of the cleaning time.

For Halloween, I think Hazel is going to be a bat. The ears and wings will be so cute and she can carry the candy bowl on her back so I don’t even have to stand up when kids come to the door.
And, the coup de grĂ¢ce (or is it Coupe DeVille?) is that I can sit and watch Hazel and try to think of even more uses for her so I can avoid using my ‘found’ time to address work, family, and bill-paying.

Now, if I can just teach her that I prefer two olives in my martini.


This is the countdown week to National Novel Writing Month.

On Saturday, November 1, you can join over 100,000 people in 80 countries as they attempt to slam out 50,000 words in 30 days. That's not so bad. It's less than 2,000 words per day. And they don't even have to be good words. Heck, you've read my columns, you know that most of my words aren't good words...

Think about it!

Check it out at and visit me in the Louisiana: Elsewhere region!

I've already changed my novel's plot three times. No idea what it will be by Saturday. But that's what makes this so much fun.