Tell ya what, kids, there’s nothing like periodically reaching your boiling point to gain a better appreciation of the calm times in life. Here’s the scene: Friday afternoon at a local testing center. I’ve been taking a series of professional licensure tests (seven total) so I need to cram my head full of stuff and go to a building filled with computer labs and security cameras so I can sit in a cubicle for 4 hours and regurgitate all the information to the satisfaction of a national testing board. In all the tip books and study guides, the final note is, “On the day of the test, relax, give yourself plenty of time to get to the center, and avoid additional stress.” I gave myself extra time to get to the center, triple-checked the date and test time, parked in the right spot, took a deep breath, and walked up to the check-in desk and opened my wallet.
No driver’s license.
To take these tests, you have to present a photo ID. The worrywart half of my brain said to me that very morning, “Take your passport. Just in case.” To which my practical half replied, “Shut up, you! You didn’t need it last time!”
It took me 40 minutes to race home, grab my ID, and haul ay-ess-ess back. I arrive 2 minutes before the grace period for check-in was up. Wonderful, wonderful start to the 4-hour test!
Now, I think I can sometimes utilize what the kids these days call “common sense”. So what did I do to relax over the weekend? I tackled the mold remediation problem in our bedroom and bathroom. For much of the weekend I was on my hands and knees, wearing a facemask, and scraping mildewed lead paint out of cabinet. By Sunday afternoon it was all removed, bleach soaked, and the holes patched up with new plaster.
But wait! The real de-stressing came on Sunday night, when Baby Harbat was in bed, my wife was off to the bookstore, and I had the quiet house alone to myself. I poured a pint of Blue Moon and set about making bread and starters for Bread Week. Oddly, standing in the kitchen and mixing up dough is incredibly soothing. Or maybe I was dehydrated and the wheat beer was kicking in strong. Either way, I’ve found that my hobby really can be stress relieving.
Wednesday night when I’ve baked a houseful of breads and rolls and am utterly exhausted, I’d like someone to read this blog post back to me then laugh in my face. Stress-relieving! Getta loada this guy!