After three solid weeks of going nonstop, suddenly I find myself home alone. Chelsea’s out (it’s Friday), Kaylee’s at a middle school dance, and Nick and Bobby are at Spiderman 3. A perfectly quiet moment.

Wednesday illustrated how forcibly time defines my life. I’m living to the minute these days; a few minutes late in the morning snowballs into an avalanche of disaster by mid-afternoon.

Oh dear, Chelsea’s home. I mean, that’s a good thing, but that’s it for this, then.

Perhaps not; she’s gone upstairs to make a phone call. I’ve put some ravioli and tea on for her, so here I am, back for a brief brain purge.

Time. I sometimes quote Tom Robbins: “Time is a meadow, not a highway.” That is nowhere near my own personal reality, though; time is not only a highway, but a toll road – and I’m scrambling for change.

Wednesday. The kids and I have to leave the house by 7:35 a.m. if I’m going to make the 8 a.m. HealthSport class that helps my back. If I’m not in the gym by 7:55 a.m., the volume of women exceeds the amount of equipment and space, making squeezing in late impractical. (I’m sure the good-looking young men who teach the class account for some of the draw, but it’s a core strengthening workout that’s exactly what my back needs.)

But on Wednesday we leave slightly too late – by the time I pull out of the Arcata High parking lot, the clock reads 8:02. OK, I think, I’ll squeeze in a quick surf. I’ll just go to Power Poles, jump in, paddle around for 45 minutes, zip back home, clean up and fly down to Ferndale.

8:12 a.m., back home. I load up quickly and scoot back out. At some point I considered throwing all my stuff in the car so I wouldn’t have to come back, but shrugged it off, sure I’d have enough time since I’d only be two miles away at Power Poles.

8:14 a.m. Power Poles is micro. Really micro. Like, unsurfably micro.

I drive to Bay Street. Same situation. I drive on.

8:25 a.m. I trot up the stairs so I can look out from the bunker at Bunker’s. My heart lurches. Head-high and glassy. A low-tide, so the paddle out won’t be a marathon. But… 8:25? I don’t have 4WD; by the time I suit up, jog out and hit the water… I calculate… 8:40. Since I have to go home – I’ve brought nothing I’ll need for the day with me – I’ll need to get out of the water with 30 minutes to spare, which means by 8:55. That leaves me 15 minutes to surf.

I’m actually tempted and waste another two minutes debating before giving up.

So, home for my stuff and back on the road by 9:15. I’m hungry and vitamin depleted and know I’ll need something to get through the day. Technically, I have an extra 10 minutes – I mean, that’s planning to arrive at the last possible second – and stopping at Eureka Natural shouldn’t take more than five. So I do. And I’m quick. But then, catastrophe arrives in the form of a declined debit transaction. Ouch. I step out of line to figure out how much I have in what form, then have to get back in line to solve the problem. After ditching one item and scraping some change from my purse, I manage to buy a green juice and a burrito. All good.

Except I’ve used up all 10 of my minutes. I drive much too fast, glance bitterly at the smoke rising straight up from the stacks across the bay and careen down the Fernbridge/Ferndale exit ramp – right smack into a line of cars. Not into into them, but behind them. This is highly unusual. The reason? CalTrans is doing something that requires closing one lane. I’m now sitting, waiting, seething. The minutes pass. Finally the pilot car leads us on. I would’ve driven 80 at this point, desperate to reach the station by 10 a.m., but of course I’m stuck behind a truck hauling a desk and some shelves at 40 mph. I hit the studio at 9:59 a.m., stressed out and pissed off – I don’t have room in my life for delays! And I don’t want to be that kind of person!

The show trucks along steadily until – in the midst of 4 on the Floor because when else would these problems occur but during the lunch specials? – the new Rubberneckers’ song drops out of the UDS and flings me headlong into dead air. Ouch. Things spiral for a few moments; I pull them back together best I can.

The day continues on in this manner to a low point of Nick missing baseball practice because I’m so late getting him from Arcata to Eureka. Now I’m a bad mother, too.

Things spiral; I pull them back together best I can. – Now that is the story of my life.

It’s a good life (yadda yadda) but I need some breathing room. I’ve been hyperventilating all week.