Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Time Mismanagement for Moms

Running a boutique ad agency, I get a lot of urgent requests. Many of our clients have a larger "agency of record," but turn to us for smaller jobs or projects that are a little bit quirky (like building a tradeshow booth that looks like the Mad Men set and then finding actors to staff it). Or, they turn to us when their timeframe is too tight for a more cumbersome agency to handle. It's all about time, and we somehow get it done.

Just like parenting a teenager.

Time is even more valuable than money. As in any transaction, this currency flows one of two ways. It's a "give vs. get" thing. For example, this past weekend, my daughter competed in the USEA Regional Championships. (Waitaminute, you don't know what the USEA Regional Championships are? Don't feel bad. I wouldn't either.)

Anyway, the event was in Genesee Valley, New York, a lovely area outside of Rochester — and a mere 8 hours from our house. We had to meet the horse (he was traveling separately) at 1:00 pm Friday. My husband couldn't take the day off and I'm my own boss, so ... chauffeur for the weekend? C'est moi. Comme toujours. (Audible sigh.)

Then again, what's an 8-hour drive, leaving at 4:30 am, when you have a chance to make your daughter happy? I'll tell you. It's a ...


The roads were empty all the way to Boston and we got on the Mass Turnpike in short order. The Mass Turnpike is Interstate Route 90. Geneseo, NY is also on Interstate Route 90. So, logic might suggest that the best way to get there would be to stay on Interstate Route 90, yes? 

Noooooooooooooo. That would be way too easy.

For whatever reason, the gods of the GPS system told us to get off 90 and get on 87 for about 15 miles, then get back on 90. At the exit to 87, there was construction and confusion (their construction, my confusion). I misread a sign and got on 87 going the wrong way. Next exit 23 miles. Between traffic, getting gas and a bathroom break, I was back where I started in about an hour.

Quick question: What's worse than an 8-hour drive, leaving at 4:30 in the morning? An 8-hour drive, leaving at 4:30 in the morning with an unexpected (and wholly unnecessary) 1-hour detour. Shoot. Me. Now.

But, we made it. In fact, we pulled in right ahead of my daughter's teammate and right behind our horse's trailer. And, chances are, I had only aged about 6 or 7 years in the process.

The entire journey (minus the scenic wrong-way roundtrip on Route 87) was repeated in reverse Sunday night. After loading the trailer and our sedan (and cleaning out our temporary stall), we left New York at about 4:00 pm, and with only one rest stop, pulled in just after midnight. It had been a very exciting and successful journey. My daughter came in 4th place overall (in a tough class of qualifying competitors) and also received a special Champion Connemara award for top score in her breed.

But, did the math really add up?

We were on the road 16+ hours. (I won't even include to and from the motel or the various trips to sub shops and a tractor supply store — don't ask.) My daughter was in the dressage ring 5 minutes. She was on the cross-country course 4 minutes, 40 seconds. She was in the stadium for jumping 2 minutes. Total time judged on horse (other than warm-ups and pleasure riding): 11 minutes 40 seconds.

Hmmmmm ...

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I give my daughter a lot of stuff. But, the most valuable thing I have to give her is time. And I know she appreciated it.

She stayed awake the whole drive home, just to keep me company.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of my new book Lovin' the Alien at www.lovinthealien.com. 

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