A day in the life

Out of bed at 6:32 a.m. The bathroom’s vacant, I shave. Retrieve the newspaper from the front porch. Pour a bowl of cereal. Eat cereal while skimming the paper. Stop eating cereal to give Phoebe her bottle. Finish eating now soggy cereal.

Turn on Sportscenter. Watch the top stories. Put Phoebe to play in her saucer. Brush teeth. Get in the shower. Put on some pants and a T-shirt. Put in contacts. Check on Phoebe. She’s smelly, change her diaper. Sit her on the bed while I finish dressing.

Take Phoebe to kitchen. Strap her in hi-chair. Give her rattle. Make her rice cereal. Feed her rice cereal. While keeping an eye on Sportscenter. Phoebe finishes cereal.

Take Phoebe to her room. Take off her pajamas. Put on fresh clothes as she twists and turns and struggles to reach the stuffed letters on her wall. She says “Ba … Ba … Ba.” I sing “Barbara Ann” to her. Finish dressing Phoebe and move her to living room. Set her on floor. Put on her shoes. Put on her coat. Set her in car seat and strap her in. Put on my own shoes. Put on coat. Grab Phoebe’s lunch bag from the refrigerator, put it in toy/clothes/diaper bag for daycare. Fill mug with water. Make sure I have cell phone and iPod. Grab my bag, Phoebe’s bag and mug. Tell Phoebe I’ll be back for her and go to garage. Dang, it’s cold outside. Push button to raise garage door, but bottom of door is frozen to ground and I fear bracket is going to snap as I watch it bend to lift door, yet for some reason I keep pushing button until finally the door breaks free on my fourth try. Put bags in car. Start car. Go back inside to get Phoebe. She’s crying and I realize I hadn’t given her a pacifier. Make sure house is secure and carry her to car. Place her in car. I get in car, turn on radio and drive to daycare.

Cautiously navigate the icy roads. Arrive at daycare. Carry Phoebe inside. Take her out of car seat, say good-byes and hand her off. Back out to car and begin driving to office. I hold my breath as I approach a stoplight at one of the city’s busiest intersections and begin sliding, but my car comes to a stop just in time. I begin driving forward again when the light turns green. Past the intersection the car that had been behind me swerves into oncoming traffic. “You are not passing me,” I say. The car passes me illegally. “You idiot.” I continue toward the office. A few blocks later I approach another slippery intersection as the car that had passed me illegally swerves into my lane and nearly hits me. I shake my head in disgust. When the light turns green, I proceed and watch in my rear view mirror as the car that passed me illegally and then nearly hit me makes an illegal right turn. I arrive at my office. Park the car. Carefully walk inside without slipping on ice.

Arrive at desk. Greet editor who’s back from vacation, which he tells me was awful. Turn on computer. Check personal e-mail. Check office e-mail. Submit requests for police reports. Check Facebook. Scan national newspapers and read top stories of the day. Resume work on story about rock band playing concert this weekend. E-mail Kates with message that I plan to work late tonight and she should let the baby-sitter take care take of Phoebe while Kates rehearses with children‘s choir. Take phone call from man whose girlfriend stabbed him last week with scissors and is upset that I published his name in story. I remind him he also was arrested for his involvement in the fight and explain to him it’s a matter of public record and policy. Venture back into freezing outdoors. Go to fire station to check fire calls. Go to police station to check police and sheriff’s calls and uncover most amusing report of the day: A 60-something man who was arrested at Mass yesterday for shouting profanity and shoving ushers.

Drive home for lunch. Heat up leftover chilli. Resume watching DVR recording of ESPN’s “The Greatest Game Ever Played.” Enjoy about 30 minutes of relaxation. Grab Mountain Dew, thinking it will put me at ease and help me through afternoon. Leave house and drive back to office.

Make scheduled phone call to member of rock band. He doesn’t answer. I leave message and request for him to call me. Begin transcribing notes from police reports. Write follow-up story about investigation into death of a jail inmate. Rock band member calls me about two and a half hours after our scheduled interview time. But my focus is on other things, interview goes horribly. Resume work on story about death investigation. Kates calls from choir rehearsal, wonders where I am. She didn’t get my earlier e-mail outlining my plans. Frustrated, we both hang up phones. I finish my story about death investigation. I’m mentally drained and have lost remaining focus to work on other stories. Leave office.

Cautiously walk to car without slipping on ice. The air is still freezing. Thankfully car starts. Cautiously drive home. Arrive at house. See Kates isn’t home yet. Park car. Go inside. I’m so exhausted/frustrated/ overwhelmed/anxious I want to cry. Take off coat, drop bags in kitchen. Change out of work clothes into sweats. Begin unloading dishwasher. Kates arrives with Phoebe, whose sleeping soundly in her car seat. I help Kates through the door and take Phoebe as Kates puts away her things. I adoringly watch Phoebe continue sleeping.

Kates and I briefly talk about the day. I resume unloading dishwasher. Kates wakes up Phoebe. We giggle as she grunts, stretches and reorients herself to the surroundings. I begin washing dirty pans and baby bottles. Kates begins feeding Phoebe. I put some Norah Jones on the iPod. I finish washing pans and bottles. Kates finishes feeding Phoebe. I help Kates get Phoebe ready for bed. I read Phoebe a story as Kates starts making supper. I put Phoebe to bed. I work on paying some bills. Phoebe refuses to go to sleep, we decide to keep her up and let her play on the living room floor in hopes that she’ll tire herself out. Kates and I sit down to begin eating supper: grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. My brother calls to discuss Christmas plans. I get back to eating my supper as we watch a DVR recording of the Nightly News. Kates puts Phoebe to bed, for good.

I clean up the kitchen. At 8:52 p.m. we begin watching DVR recordings of “Big Bang Theory,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Two and a Half Men.” Get some much-desired laughter. Kates grades school papers. I check e-mail and news alerts.

We watch 10 o ‘clock news. Get ready for bed. Begin watching Letterman. 10:52 p.m. and we’re going to bed.

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