I love spending the weekend with my boy. I do. He’s sweet and funny and not especially demanding, as 17-month-olds go. And at the end of it, I feel like I’ve just run the Ironman. My wife and I are, as a couple, not compromisers—we probably are trying to hold ourselves to a standard that’s not maintainable for much longer, what with the no-TV rule and all—and we arrive at the end of Friday’s workday already beat. At the end of chasing him around without a pause for the two subsequent days, we are both ready for the boneyard. Until we get to the Sunday-night edition of the Zone.
What is the Zone, you ask? This is my private term for a little window of time that occurs after he goes to sleep but before my wife and I lose the ability to do anything but slump in our chairs. It’s about an hour long—maybe 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. or so. It’s the only after-work time, or weekend-evening time, when she and I can get anything done, whether that something is writing for work, researching for the book, or writing blog posts. It’s also our easy hour of sociability, and sometimes dessert, and occasionally dealing with some household administrative something-or-other, like bills or tidying up. Sometimes I catch a second wind, and find a second Zone, around 11:30. But that’s a time for solo work—my wife is an early-to-bed person. (A lot of Dadwagon posts, including this one, are written during that second Zone.) But I can’t count on Zone 2, because my eyes slam shut a lot earlier than they used to. The early-evening Zone is the only one that’s reliable time. Once the Zone is past, I may be awake, but I am not functional: Half-awake absorption of the History Channel is about all I can handle. Television, in fact, is the enemy of the Zone. It is far too easy to miss this little slice of productivity if you get caught up in, say, Keith Olbermann.
Anyone else got a better way of getting things done? I’m all ears (as well as half-closed eyes).