So, we have two calendars in our kitchen. One is for day to day activities – dinner plans, checkups for Levi, that sort of thing. The other is primarily used for pottery – glazing and firing schedules, show deadlines, travel dates, etc. As Chris is getting accustomed to at-home-studio production, we’ve found it helpful to plan out on paper his schedule. Not only does it help keep Chris on track, it helps keep me sane on the days/weeks that he is super swamped because I know it won’t be like this forever – it’s just a deadline that needs to be met.
Usually, he plans backwards. He takes the date things need to be finished by and plans backwards from there, giving himself plenty of leeway in between so that he’s not rushed when it comes time to glaze and fire the pots. The plan looks so nice at the beginning, but inevitably the plans always get pushed back by one day here, another day there, so that he’s cramming to the last day for firings, hardly giving himself enough time to clean, price, and pack the pots. The relaxing time we’ve envisioned of sitting in the living room pricing and packing pots over a pint of beer has yet to come to pass and instead, we stuck wondering – where did the time go?
It’s a question that gets asked all too often. Why, even when we use our best efforts to plan, do we still find ourselves rushed at the end? Why do “other things” always seem to come up and how to we deal with them?
Well, this time, since I was a major part of the problem, I feel like I actually have a decent answer. I thought about it a great deal about this weekend, and while I didn’t get a chance to post until tonight, here’s what I came up with:
Chris turned 30 this year and, being the oh-so-thoughtful wife that I am, I brilliantly planned several surprises for him. Okay, so I was really only halfway thoughtful – I didn’t even consider all the work he had to do – and while he was surprised by each thing I had planned, I can’t really say it was all that brilliant. The two surprise parties were fun, and to top it off, Chris’ parents came in for the weekend, as well! I’d been planning most of this since the Christmas break and it made for an excellent weekend!…just not a super productive one.
Chris had a great time, though, and dutifully rescheduled his calendar having a couple of pretty late nights planned. But then life happens. Nights he had scheduled for pottery were overtaken by a friend in need of help, or a son who missed his daddy. As I’m writing this, Chris’ brother and family drove in from Houston and we wouldn’t have traded the time we’ve spent with them this weekend for anything.
Sometimes it’s hard to determine priorities and not to stress about production. But we remember that while yes, we work, and yes, there is a time to hunker down and make things and stay busy when you may or may not feel like it, life is more than work, even pottery…
Pottery is a part of our lives, no doubt. It’s a huge part of our lives that we love. But it’s a part of our life, not our whole life. There is a time for pottery, but there is also a time to be a friend, a sibling, a spouse, a parent and if we forget that, if we forget about the people who have impacted our lives and made us who we are, why would we expect to find joy in the future, even if that future is in something we love?
So, as Chris finishes helping his brother make cajons, he still has wadding to make, pots to spray and a kiln to load. And we’re already a day or two behind schedule. But there’s not a rushed vibe in the air. There’s enjoyment. There’s family. There’s camaraderie and time spent relishing the beautiful day outside. There’s laughter and food and drink with family. There’s life going on. And we wouldn’t trade any of it for all the production time in the world.