It’s 12:32 a.m., though the kitchen clock reads 12:38 a.m. I’m afraid to fix that clock because I am so used to it running five minutes fast. I have no idea why it started to rush ahead. We’re in no hurry here. Well, I’m in no hurry.

At this time of night, the house is finally quiet. The teenagers may be murmuring in their room, but I can’t hear them. My husband snores are just a distant rumble. The two littlest people in our family have been sleeping for hours.

I wish I didn’t have to go to bed. I could accomplish so much in these dark hours, if only my body didn’t require rest. Here is my list of things that will not get accomplished tonight because I have to sleep:

1) The kitchen cupboard containing the plastic-ware, including Rubbermaid containers and far too many empty Cool-Whip containers, will remain a jumble. And I will be annoyed next time I cannot find a lid to match a plastic box.

2) The dishes in the sink will remain unwashed. I am soaking the Crock-Pot and just didn’t have time to tend to it before I started work at 8 p.m.

3) The laundry will remain dirty and stinky. I am going out of town for the weekend and need to get it all washed before I go. Tomorrow. It will just have to wait until then.

4) The Mark Helprin novel I am reading will not be finished. But finally I’ve read more than half of it. I’m on the downhill slide. I started reading this book at the pool during the summer. Ridiculous.

And that’s just for starters. I cannot even list all the mini-projects and household chores that haunt me. I am shoring up the sandcastle of my household while the tide of . . . what? children? life? . . . well, the tide wrecks my progress.

I need twenty-four extra hours, a parenthetical break in life so I can tidy up before we go rushing headlong into tomorrow.

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