The book of questions, Volume 22

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Friday is The Book of Questions Day around these parts.

Today’s question comes from the aptly titled book “The Book of Questions” by Gregory Stock, Ph.D.

And here it is, Question 188.

Do you establish routines in your life? For example, do you usually sleep in the same place in your bed? eat meals at the same time? regularly return to the same vacation spot?

Um, book of questions haven’t you been paying attention to me? Yes. Yes to all of it. I am a creature of habit. As Austin Powers would say, “Yeah, baby!”


Yes, I live by routines. I thrive on routines. I need routines, I really do.

I have actually had the thought — thanks to the crime shows I watch and the murder mysteries I incessantly read — that I would be a good target, based on my penchant for routine.

Again, I read a lot books, always mysteries or thrillers in which someone is stalked and someone always, always dies. So I have a lot of unrealistic scenarios banging around inside my head. When I take the trash out — feckin’ A, it’s Trash Day — be right back.

(If you’re so inclined, feel free to hum “Southern Nights” by Glenn Campbell while I’m gone. Thanks Heather for reminding me about that song and prompting me to pay 89 cents for the mp3 download. It’s on repeat right now.)

Back now with wet hair. It’s snowing like a mofo and we’re under a Winter Storm Warning until 4 pm this afternoon. Snow’s suppose to fall at a rate of one to two inches per hour with a possible overall accumulation of six to ten inches. There’s probably three inches out there already and naturally school is canceled. Yee-haw.

Winter you are effing with my routine today.

So back to the original thought. When I take the trash out on Friday, drop the kids off to school, workout at the YMCA — these things all happen at the same day each time. Close to clockwork. And I’ve had two alternating thoughts about that.

The first is that I am so predictable that the faceless person out there, who for some unknown reason has a grudge against me and wants to see my head on a platter, would be able to take me down at any given time. You know, during my routines.

The second thought that bounces around inside my head is the possible Private Detective’s report to Mr. C. This is if we had enough disposable income for Mr. C to hire a private eye to track my movements. I think this is close to what the report might look like.

7:45 am Subject loads kids in car, drives them to school.

8:05 am Subject drives home and appears to scream privately inside car at oldest daughter — who was lippy all the way to school and continued to bitch and moan the entire time about getting her socks wet since she chose not to wear boots and then insisted it was Subject’s fault that her socks were wet — now that the car is devoid of children.

10:00 am Subject goes to Public Library returns three books, emerges with four new books.

10:25 am Goes to YMCA.

2:45 pm Subject loads youngest child in van. Sits inside car. Opens door, removes child and enters house. Subject leaves the front door open while the storm door is closed and changes dirty diaper on the floor in front of the door. Slams front door shut, carries youngest child as she runs through snow to put child in car.

(Black and white, 8×10 glossy photo of my teeth clenched and brows furrowed as I say, “GRRRR” appears in file.)

3:00 pm Subject drives over speed limit to pick up older children. She screeches to a stop in front of the school to an empty parking lot. As she throws the car in park, the children emerge from the building accompanied by a teacher. Subject apologizes profusely and drives off.

3:15 pm Subject arrives home and herds children, who run away in three different directions, into the house.

Subject is not seen again until the next day at 7:45 am.

So I guess if you want to gun me down just wait for school to start. Or walk into the front door when I’m frantically changing Emily’s diaper and late to picking the kids up from school.

Except for today since school is canceled.

I suppose you’ll just have to wait to kill me until early January when school resumes after Christmas break. Better luck next time.

Right. I guess I got so wrapped into my own routine and the thought of 17 days of three children non-stop, 24/7 that I forgot to ask about your routine.

Do you have one? Do you like them or are you spontaneous free-spirit? Do tell.

24 VIPs have spoken

  • Michelle says:

    I definitely have routines. That has actually been the tough part about being off work for the last 5 months. Things have been sort of loosey goosey for me which does throw me off some. It has also completely thrown me mentally off kilter that I have been unable to run for 2 months. While training for the marathon my running schedule was etched in stone and such a huge part of my week. I am looking forward to getting back to work (January 5th!! Yay!!) and getting back to running (no idea. boo!). Have a great weekend. A little snow would be fun. But not a week before Christmas when there is so much to do!

    It would be extremely difficult, I think, to suddenly have a solid routine thrown to the wind. I’ve fallen off the Y schedule as well due to colds, flus, strep throat, etc. I’ve been able to side step all of that, but I can’t take the kids to the Child Watch and I’m too tired to go when Mr. C gets home. Lame, I know.

    And the snow was sort of fun. Until I got stuck two doors from our house for a good five minutes rocking from reverse to drive, reverse to drive, etc. trying to propel myself out of it, so I could get the amoxicillin home. I finally made it though. Damn rear wheel drive. Grr.

  • Buf says:


    I have some routines. My most important and ingrained on is probably my morning routine (I use the term morning loosely, it’s basically my getting up and ready routine). If I get interrupted in the process of showering, taking meds, getting dressed, loading pockets, etc then there is a good chance I will forget something. It’s usually either my meds or loading my pockets (wallet, cash, etc) that gets missed, I tend not to forget to get dressed…lol. Other than that routine and going to work/school I pretty much play the rest by ear. I have no set schedule for shopping, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, etc which probably explains why I have so much trouble in those areas. :D

    Have a good weekend. Enjoy the snow, take the kids sledding if you have good hill nearby. Don’t forget the wonder bread bags. ;P

    Man, I know exactly what you mean regarding the morning routine and interruptions. I think that’s part of the reason I always forget my morning Levoxyl. It’s always taken as an after thought, instead of first thing.

    Isn’t that funny about the hills? My neighbor just told me about a good hill around here and I was surprised I never thought of it. We have a decent hill in our backyard and that’s worked well for a good long while. But I have to admit, the idea of hurtling down *myself* sounded like a good time. And I will have to start collecting bags — got two, need eight.

  • Cate Subrosa says:

    I used to think I was quite a routine-driven person, but I’m not a patch on Baddie. That man is in the gym directly after work every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after work without fail. Then he comes up, cleans up the kitchen, makes his sandwiches for the next day and showers – no deviation from the plan. He has porridge for breakfast and tuna sweetcorn sandwiches for lunch every day. I wouldn’t call myself spontaneous, but I need a bit of variety in my life, you know?

    It sounds like Baddie and I could be friends, Cate. Although like you, I might need to change it up a bit. I’d alternate the tuna for peanut butter or turkey with tomatoes. Otherwise, his schedule sounds pretty :)

  • Natural says:

    sometimes if i go too far to the left on my routines, i cry like a baby. i get really cranky. i drive the same exact way to work and the same way back home 99% of the time. sometimes i don’t even know how i got to work because it’s so routine, i just look up and it’s time to get out of the car. no thinking required.

    school was canceled today and it’s not snowing like a mofo, but it sure as had better.

    oh and if you want a GREAT book, please check out The Murder Game by Beverly Barton. It’s so awesome…murder/thriller book that you like.

    i like the left side of the bed, although sometimes i don’t get to sleep on the left, i’m most comfortable there.

    so yeah, i have routines. i think i need them. i probably freak out a bit when something interrupts that routine as well…like looking in my book thinking: this was not apart of the plan. waaaaahhhhhh.

    i’m very predictable.

    Thanks for the book tip, Natural. I placed a hold at my local library and am looking forward to meeting Nic and Griff. (p.s. Internet have I told you how much I love you, lately?)

    I know what you mean about a last minute change in plans. I think I’ve made it clear that I don’t tolerate change very well.

  • bluesleepy says:

    I loved the description of your day!! And I can just picture that B&W of you with your teeth clenched after having to change a dirty diaper when you’re already late! I know that feeling well. I was just about to load the kids into the van for Grace’s swim lessons, and we were already a tiny bit late, since I was dithering around on the computer again, but when I picked ME up I realized I needed to change her diaper. She’d had a blow-out. Arrrggghh! So it wasn’t just a matter of changing her; I had to rinse out her clothes too.

    I thought I was a creature of habit, and I find comfort in the thought that I do have habits. But I guess my day is a lot less structured than I thought. On Mondays and Wednesdays Grace has swim lessons, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays she has school, so on those days I have a fairly set routine. We also tend to eat dinner around 6pm every night, and generally we spend the evenings in front of the tv. Wow. We’re boring. But it works for us!

    Man, the blow-out is the absolute worst when it comes to the diaper changing hierarchy, isn’t it? I also think it’s hard to institute a solid routine with infants and babies, you know? When Katie was a baby I always said, “We are on Katie-time.” And, man that was the truth.

  • Frank says:

    I have such a boring routine that just thinking about it puts me to sleep (I am on 2nd pot (not cup) of java)).

    I have to ask why your daughter didn’t wear bread bags on her feet to keep them dry.

    As for the P.I. – maybe you could bribe him to spice up the report – such as Subject went to Dunkin Doughnuts, flirted with coffee boy, ate 3 creme puffs, then went to Y.

    Just a thought.

    As with most girls, she’s in that fashion over function stage. And while I would have heartily endorsed the bread bags, she probably wouldn’t have worn them with her regular shoes. But I can just see her with them on, rubber bands on her calves to hold them up, and then her black school shoes. Now there’s a fashion statement!

    Mr. C would know immediately that the report was false:

    1. too cheap to pay for donuts,

    2. too freaked out and insecure to flirt

    3. too obsessed with counting calorie to eat creme puffs

    But it’s still a fun idea!

  • Mrs. S says:

    Ok obviously my answer is yes I have routines. I am a crazy planner that rarely does anything spontaneous. Poor Mr. S, he is the spontaneous king!

    And I predict that it will only get worse once the babies are born. If you don’t think I will print a schedule and post it on the fridge and take it to my grandma’s when she watches them and give it to my in laws when they watch them, etc etc then you are sadly mistaken CG! But I know that you aren’t mistaken because I know that you are a fan of schedules and likely think this is a good idea. Right?

    (laughs knowingly) Yes, I printed a schedule of Katie’s diapers — wet/dirty? When/how often? A schedule of how much she nursed, which side and for how long. Then, when I took her in for well visits, I color coded the text on my sheet of questions — green for feeding issues, red for diaper issues, orange for behavioral/sleep issues and black for miscellaneous questions.

    I wish I were kidding about that, but it’s the absolute truth.

    Now with the second kid I had the list of diapers and feeding but it was hand written and didn’t last past the first couple of months. The third kid got no list at all. No paper, no pencil, no nothing.

  • Heidi L. says:

    My routine varies depending on the semester, the break, if I have a job or not, etc. Which, in some ways, is refreshing, because I never have the same schedule twice (although I have never had class on Friday after my first semester).

    My morning routine stays the same, but the amount of time I put into it depends on what time I need to be in class. Then I do homework until my boyfriend gets off his grown up person 9-5 job, and we get dinner, and then we act like we’re 80 and go to bed at 10:30, haha. It’s fairly loose, mostly because my mom made me an incessant planner, and he doesn’t plan anything.

    Funny, now that you mention it Heidi, my schedule was quite loose in college, compared to my standards today. (gasps) I guess that means I’ve become more, how shall I say, rigid/uptight/anxious as I’ve aged.

  • Alicia says:

    You all have it slightly easy(er) over on that side of the state. We’ve already gotten 8 1/2″ and 3″ more are expected. And the warning isn’t up until 7pm for us. Thanks Lake Michigan for once again making us your betch.

    Anyway, I think my brain would like it if I had more of a routine. I think it prefers to work that way. I, however, am slightly lazy. I am a little obsessive in the little things which, I believe, some doctors call OCD. ;o) Kidding.

    You know Alicia I seriously was thinking about that yesterday as I watched the woman across the street work her snow blower. She finished so quickly she did half sidewalks around her and part of the street (!) in front of her house. Most people on this street do *not* have a blower because it’s just not necessary, except once or twice a winter every other year or so.

    However, my in-laws live in the Traverse City area and *everyone* has a snow blower because of the lake effect. It’s almost a heart attack waiting to happen up there if you attempt to go by shovel alone. Thus, I am thankful we live on this side of the state where winter is sort of dwindling down each year.

    And there’s nothing wrong with working the details, said the fellow OCD-er earnestly.

  • Angelika says:

    Not only do I sleep in the same spot, I don’t even roll over. Freaky. I’ve always been that way, though.

    I am not comfortable with change. Which is why Wal-mart ticks me off always moving crap to different aisles.

    I know what you mean about the store changing things up. Over here it’s Costco and they are truly driving me insane.

    They are actively building onto the site so the parking is goofed up and the diapers are near the bakery one week, by the pharmacy the next week, next to the coffee the next week, on and on … It truly drives me batty. Pick a freakin’ spot and let it stand for at least a month or two!

  • Les says:

    I CRAVE routine. But my not-so-far-in-the-future-now plans include breaking right out of all of them. I hope to have that coffee visit with you sometime in March, Shetbag, so get ready!

    (heart begins to race with joy) Seriously? Oh I’m excited! Christmas 2009 is going to come early for me :)

    Now I have to decide which low tops to wear for our first meeting! Cause I do want to impress you betch. And I just remembered your a skinny shetbag, too. Now I have to step up the cardio routine so I don’t look like a barn standing next to you.

  • Some days I just can’t wrap my wrinkled little brain around routines. I’m so bad that when I get out of the shower, I have to consciously think about what to do next. I might be seen running back from the bedroom with an undershirt around my neck to apply deodorant.

    Any routines I do have are at a macro level. I wake up. If my wife seems to need to sleep late, I’ll feed the cat, which caused me to wake up in the first place. Otherwise I’ll go to the bathroom. I’ll take my morning-empty-tummy-pills. I’ll empty the dishwasher. I’ll have breakfast and help fix my daughter’s breakfast. I’ll brush my teeth, shower. Go to work.

    I work out on Monday nights and Friday nights. I have choir rehearsal on Wednesday nights.

    So basically, I submit to routines that are imposed on me (daughter’s school schedule, work, other obligations). But left to my own devices, I’d be doing something differently everyday. I guess I’m missing the genes for Autonomy.

    You sound like a chameleon SPG, it would be nice if I could just adapt like you did. It would simplify things for me. But my Autonomy gene is one of the most dominant ones I have.

  • Elle says:

    I have and like my routines, but I do tend to enjoy the occasional spontaneous outburst, as to break the monotony.

    I actually shivered at the thought of an occasional spontaneous outburst, Elle.

  • Faith says:

    Hmm let me think…nope no routine outside of sleeping on the same side of the bed whether there’s a warm body beside me or not. I must must must sleep on the right side of the bed , I have no reasons for it but it’s just something that has to happen or I can’t sleep from worrying.

    For my job (travel a lot) I am constantly on the move so there is no way to even think up a workable routine but it sounds nice that you can outline your day like that blow by blow.

    In some ways I am jealous.

    I could never handle a job that required a lot of travel. Way too unpredictable. But it sounds like it works for you. Man, the thought of new cities, new driving routines, new hotels, that makes my stomach clench just considering it.

  • Jeanette says:

    As I am a non-green-card spouse of an overseas student, my routines structure my week. I volunteer at my children’s schools on set days, have exercise classes at set times and babysit on a certain day.

    Left to my own devices I would get up when I awoke – and never at the same time, eat when my stomach said it was time, and fritter away hours reading mystery novels, watching “what not to wear” reading blogs, and playing ‘scramble’ on facebook.

    I aim to eat at a certain time for the sake of my kids, who (like my husband) need routine in order to function- at all.

    Me? I keep structure so everyone else copes, but given time and money and opportunity, I like to decide spur of the moment to go for coffee, take long walks or go sledding should I feel like it.

    Your own devices schedule sound like fun :)

  • pantrypuff says:

    Hmmm. I’m going to have to go with yes and no on this one.

    Yes, I definitely have to sleep on the same side of the bed. I generally eat the same foods and eat around the same times.

    But I never know what my day is going to be like because of my job. I would say I am spontaneous in a very unspontaneous way, meaning I change my plans a lot, then cancel them and sit on my ass.

    I love this: “I am spontaneous in a very unspontaneous way, meaning I change my plans a lot, then cancel them and sit on my ass.”

    Now that’s my kind of spontaneity, the kind that evolves into me sitting on my ass.

  • Les says:

    LOL! I’ll have to do the same so that I don’t look like a tooth-pick. And which black leather Peter-Pan Get-Aways do I wear?! Damn, I hadn’t thought of that…

    I have to say I’m most intrigued by your Peter-Pan Get-Aways as I have never heard that phrase before. It must be a Canadian thing, betch.

    Update: Just got back from Google. That’s what those are called?!

  • Soonerchick says:

    I used to have a routine before I had kids. Then my first baby was born and blew it all to hell. I’ve adapted into the “as long as everyone’s healthy and at school on time, we’re good” mindset.

    I do have certain things that I do every day like feeding the kids, getting them baths, feeding the animals, and checking email, but that’s pretty much it. Some days the mail sits in the mailbox until the next morning when it occurs to me that I can’t remember if I’ve checked it or not.

    I guess routine is not my personal OCD for now. But don’t worry, I have plenty of others…like scrubbing every surface with Clorox wipes and magic erasers to ensure both a non-marked-up AND disinfected house. Yeah, I know. It’s like shoveling snow in a snowstorm. :)

    You know Soonerchick, I was thinking ‘Damn, you’re one mellow chick.’ And then you made me feel normal when you said, “But don’t worry, I have plenty of others (OCD rituals)…” I knew you were one of my peeps!

  • Les says:

    That’s the style, yeah. Ankle boots – most of mine are laced but also have a zipper on the side so I don’t have to remember how to tie them up…

    The google pic I found had suede ones with a flap that folds down… now I want THOSE. :-D

    You know, betch, just when I think I really know you, you throw me a curve ball. You keep it interesting and I like that.

  • boxx says:

    I like having my routines (especially in the classroom) it makes me feel safe and secure. However, I do not like being told what I must do. I like to have flexibility, it makes me feel as tho I have some control over my choices.

    I have to agree, routines offer a nice amount of structure and I’ve heard they make children feel secure in that they help to eliminate the unknown. But they also make me feel secure as well. Maybe I’m really a child at heart :)

  • I personally am loosey-goosey but I think it’s great to be a routine-oriented person. My fifteen year old has always been a routine-type and it continues to be a source of amusement to me.

    I gave you some link-love on my latest post: “Six Helpful Entrecard Dropping Tips”. I listed you as one of my favorite blogs.

    Thank you for the love, Laura! And I really did enjoy the Entrecard tips, well done!

    I wish I had an equal balance of spontaneity and structure. Just another growth area, I suppose.

  • Les says:

    What – did you think I went BAREFOOT?!

    Hey, I don’t know what goes on up there in Canukia what with the snow shoeing and the bagging of bear cubs. Don’t they say, What happens in Canukia stays in Canukia? Oh yeah. That’s Las Vegas.

  • Wendy says:

    We’ll try this a second time as well (I didn’t just think I posted it – I wrote it all out and hadn’t hit publish, when my ES jumped on the computer and exited from my screen! GRRR!).

    You have just put me back on the therapy couch and I have had an AHA moment! This is one of my significant weaknesses. I am not schedule-oriented, yet, I function much better when a schedule is imposed upon me. Perhaps I could catch up with my life (and my house) if I were to adopt a reasonable schedule in 2009. Hubby was just mentioning this, since I brought up the idea of home-schooling MS for Kindergarten (he doesn’t believe I could manage it – not because I couldn’t teach – I actually worked in two kindergarten classrooms one year – but because he doesn’t think I could manage a schedule for myself and MS!).

    Speaking of catching up with my life – OH MY GOODNESS, I just figured out who Cate Subrosa is (only because she mentioned Baddie in the lounge here). Sorry Cate, I haven’t been to your blog in a while (still trying to catch up with blogging, too). Hope you are well.

    CG – also wanted to add that I popped a little something in the mail for you today. Hope you have a great Christmas (enjoy that snow – I think we might be frigid but without the serenity of white).

    Nooooo! I do wonder how that would work out for you Wendy. I’m sure you’ve heard of the concept of finding one area in the house, like a corner in the kitchen that collects a bunch of stuff, and working for just 20 minutes on organizing it. You set a timer and when it beeps you’re done. You go back to what you would normally do.

    Then you do that each day and slowly work throughout the house without feeling so overwhelmed. And of course now that the children are home 24/7 from school vacation this is a totally easy thing to accomplish. Not!

    Isn’t that hard to adjust to her as Cate now? I really want to call her GS. But I am trying to adapt to the change :)

    I’m very excited now, Wendy, at the thought of fun mail arriving! Yaeh and thanks!

  • Heather says:

    I think we’re in sync. I was just looking at your blog on technorati and just saw that you wrote about Southern Nights here, and then you just commented on my blog!

    I’m truly happy that I could bring the bliss that is Glen Campbell back into the forefront of your memory for you ;)

    Hi Heather! That’s so funny that we were on at the same time, it must be our Michigan Twin Powers. And it is bliss, I don’t know why it’s working so well but it is, thanks again!

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