slice of life · writing

An Hour Off

What would you do if you had an hour to yourself?

I casually asked Isabelle if she’d like to go to the Tree House Attachment-1 (4)this afternoon while I picked up a few items at Giant. I didn’t think I’d be long, but I wanted to offer her the option.

She jumped at the idea!

“But I only have a few things to pick up,” I told her.

“Tee Hauss!” she declared with delight!

And then I thought about our jam-packed day.  Maybe I could bring the iPad with me to Giant and do some work while she played in the Tree House.  Yes, that’s what I’ll do.

Before we left the house this morning, I packed the iPad and keyboard.  I could do the grocery shopping in under 15 minutes. That would mean I could have 1 hour and 15 minutes to myself! (The Tree House staff will watch your child while you’re in the store for up to 90 minutes.)

Everything was going according to plan ’til I saw a sign tacked to the Tree House window that declared they were on break and would be back soon.

I tried to understand what a break was to Isabelle.

She just wanted to go inside.  In fact, she stood on a bench so she could peek inside.  “Markers! Pencils! Kitchen!” she declared as she looked around.

Five minutes passed. No one arrived at the Tree House.

Ten minutes passed.  Still no one.

I was about to trigger a toddler tantrum by loading Isabelle into a shopping cart and doing the grocery shopping with her until I had a brilliant idea.

“C’mon. Let’s go to customer service and see when the Tree House staff will be back.”

She walked alongside me down the corridor. I asked and found out, “Oh, they’re short-staffed today. I’ll page someone, but I don’t know if anyone is going to be there.”

“The sign said they were on a break and they’d be back soon. I just want to find out what soon is.”

“I’ll page them,” the lady said.

And she did.

And thankfully, there was a person who was working there.  She was on-break. By the time we walked down the corridor she had returned. Within a minute Isabelle was inside, playing with the toys.

Five minutes later I had an iced tea in-hand and was headed for a seat to work on my writing.

As luck would have it, the wifi wasn’t working in the store!

Argh!  I tried to connect three times.  All three times were unsuccessful.

I gave up and eventually opened Evernote and began working on something I had already been working on. Not my exact plan, but it would have to do. I did get some work done. I’m not complaining. After all, I received an unexpected break after a hectic morning.

What would you do if you unexpectedly had an hour to yourself?

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Check out the other slice of life stories at

9 thoughts on “An Hour Off

  1. I always think that I can do so much in an hour, but truthfully it takes me an hour to get organized enough to use my hour productively. 🙂 I would love to have an hour to get a sewing project started AND finished. And I would like someone to lock me in my closet for at least 20 minutes so I could get that organized.

  2. I always love reading your posts about your adventures with Isabelle because you capture her voice so well. In this post, I could picture her trying to figure out what was going on with the Treehouse. So cute! Glad you didn’t have to trigger a toddler tantrum!

  3. Ahh, our when our plans go haywire! Yes you had the same frustration I did today. Your slice reminds me of when I would spend my daughter’s two hour swim practices working. WiFi was the main reason I loved Starbucks. Reliable.

  4. An hour. It makes me think of the hours I have dawdled away. . . with 3 kids if I get an hour sometimes I just sit, read, write. Sometimes I feel it should be more productive dishes, laundry, vacuume. Bleh. I enjoyed reading about your adventure, hearing your daughters voice, WiFi not working! Really?? Yet you made lemonade from lemons!

  5. ABAB: Always bring a book. I’d read! I DO read when I have little breaks like you were granted with some sort of divine wonderful-ness! Reading something always lets me dive into something, someplace, somewhere ELSE, other than thinking about the things and places and wheres that go along with me and my usual days. Reading relaxes me and brings me back to a good spot, and you can do it anywhere.

  6. I tend to fritter away those spare moments… I really need a better plan! As my boys have gotten older, it’s been easier to sneak some time in for myself. I know all too soon they’ll be off on their own and the empty quiet house will taunt me.

  7. It is always good to have a plan B, C, and D in case Plan A doesn’t work. Glad to hear you still got something done that you wanted.

    I admit that being retired I sometimes tend to take an hour when I feel like it. Usually I spend the time reading of working on a hobby.

  8. How cool that you can do grocery shopping and have Isabelle engaged in fun. We don’t have stores like that in my world. Glad you were able to get something done, even though it wasn’t your original plan. Right now, most of my hours are free, I’m enjoying them immensely. Of course it’s been a long time coming to get to this point. You will too.

  9. Glad that it worked out for you even if it wasn’t exactly what you had planned for the hour. And as someone mentioned, you really did capture your daughter’s voice in this slice.

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