The fine art of “slugging”

I think we’ve invented our own term for one of the things we do best, Rob and I. We sometimes say we’re slugs, when we have a lazy day around the house. Somehow that mutated to “slugging,” although I think we may be the only two people using that term to mean what we mean.

The fine art of slugging…and lest you think I exaggerate in calling it an art, let me assure you that it does rise to that level of perfection…is not really about being lazy, or having a day of non-productivity. In fact, almost the opposite is true. But it is the kind of productivity that matters. A slug day is NOT about getting home chores done, or running errands all afternoon. No, slugging requires mental effort, not too much physical output.

A good day of slugging can begin early or late. We’re early risers, morning people at heart, so we’re typically out of bed before 6:00. Coffee for me, tea for Rob, and market watching, email, news, reading. But no loud noises are allowed to disturb the quiet of this hour.

After a bit (the best measurement of time) one of us is hungry. Breakfast signals a break to talk, share, catch up. If we’re at home, we sit in front of the windows in the sun porch, watch the traffic on the water. Sometimes we make a plan for the day at this point. It can be weather dependent, or there may be an errand that has to be fitted into the day. But our best slug days are lengthy stretches of “a little of this, a little of that.” Usually one of us has something we’re researching online. One of us fiddles with plans for lunch or dinner so we know what to expect in terms of timing, or if we have to include a market outing before evening.

And always, after the early morning quiet, we have music going.

Sometimes we plan things we don’t do. We think we’ll get moving and go do a workout. Go for a picnic, or a walk around the lake. Or we think we’ll start an afternoon project. And sometimes we do. But not always. That’s the beauty of a slug day. If you’re doing something that holds your interest, or having one of those rambling conversations that wraps around one thing and leads to another, and another…it’s ok that the afternoon plans don’t materialize. Part of the charm is the flexibility we allow ourselves.

The key is that you have to be in sync to do this. You can’t be on two different clocks. If one of you is on whirlwind time, and the other on island time, you’re not going to have a day of slugging. You’re not going to wonder, late afternoon, where the day went. And you have to know that spending a day like this together is guilt-free. This is just as important as painting the bathroom or doing the laundry or bathing the dog. Actually, it’s more important, because not only is it a mental change of pace, but doing it together is the thing that makes it special. I can never do this successfully without Rob. Inevitably I let myself get busy with the ought-to, have-to, need-to lists. Slugging together means spending the hours together, sharing a bit here and there, pausing to exchange a glance, a smile, a thought.

The best slugging is really unplanned time. Like many of the good things in life, it just sort of happens. About the only thing you can do to set the stage is to clear your calendars so that you don’t have obligations that interfere. After that, it’s just one of those things. Sometimes it happens, sometimes not. But when it does, you have a day of magic, out of nothing at all. Just time together, a little music, simple food, reading, talking, laughing.

Slugging…I highly recommend it for your mental health, your love life, for feeling satisfied with life. It’s relaxing, but more than that, it’s fulfilling. And the nice thing is, doesn’t cost a penny, doesn’t take special equipment, doesn’t take more than your time and your heart.

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Monday, but Friday’s coming!

Yes, it’s Monday. Not a bad one at that, although it’s another cool and rainy day here in SE Alaska. I’m hoping August brings some consistent summer days, because July hasn’t come through with sun or warmth.

But don’t get me started on the weather!

As my grandmother would say, I’m wishing my life away this week, mentally hurrying the days on toward Friday. And though Friday is the beginning of the weekend, it’s not the weekend I’m waiting for. This Friday I’ll head to Phoenix to reconnect with Rob, who’s been out and about visiting family in California, and is spending this week with our son in Ft Campbell, Kentucky. Next week we’ll be in Sedona, AZ, soaking up some sun, doing a little hiking and eating, and enjoying vacation mode together.

And a bonus: we get to see little Riley, have a “Riley sighting” on our way to Sedona, and another short visit on our return trip. isn’t it lucky for us that she lives in the very state we’re visiting?! Stephanie gives me updates on her “firsts:” today she tried a French fry, and watched a few minutes of “The Lion King.” She is saying a word or two, and has a favorite stuffed animal now. She brings a book to be read, and likes toys that make animal sounds. I saw her at her first birthday in April. Now, three months later, I think she’s rapidly becoming a little girl and leaving her real baby days behind.

This is the joy of summer, anticipating luxurious days of leisure and relaxing, and time to connect, and reconnect; to move slowly, to drink it all in.

Whether you’re looking forward to a long awaited destination vacation or are planning a laid-back week with kids or grand-kids, I hope you’ll tune out work and worry and invest in the moment. Invest in the people, and the joy of days without pressure, without rush; with the fun of serendipity.

I’m looking forward to long talks and good dinners with Rob; lazy mornings and quiet nights; hiking in amazing red-rock canyons; to dividing my time between my reading list on my Kindle, and the little books on Riley’s shelf. We’re going to the park, going out for a Riley picnic, and looking for a little girl “happy” that will light up the face of a 15-month-old.

I’ll be the one with the big smile. I’m connecting on Friday. It’s going to be a good week!