Thursday, May 11, 2006

Time is Money

Mike and I aren’t exactly rolling in dough. True, I have a good job, but Mike is a full time law school student. Going from two incomes and free rent and utilities to one paycheck and a mortgage was quite an unpleasant shock. Then, to top it off, I had to go and take up the expensive hobby of gardening. All those bags of poop aren’t cheap! So, how do I support my habit? Credit cards! Ha, just kidding. I’m more financially responsible than that. I make my gardening money by teaching aerobics and acting.

Teaching fitness classes is well integrated into my schedule. I teach three one hour classes a week. As an actress, working rehearsals and performances into my schedule is a bit rougher. The two weeks before a show opens are usually pretty brutal.

In an effort to become better at auditioning (the singing portion always freaks me out), I’ve been auditioning for every single show put on by Cincinnati Landmark Productions in 2006. Through one of my connections, I also tried out for a brand new musical being produced as a part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. To my surprise and delight, I was cast in The Gospel According to Tammy Faye. The play is a hoot, the cash is great, but the rehearsal schedule is brutal. I’m in rehearsals almost every single day in May. The time commitment, on top of my existing work schedule, leaves me no time to garden! I found myself in quite a quandary. I need to earn the money to buy garden supplies, but I also need time to attend to my hundreds of seedlings and the additional plants I’ve purchased. The only solution seemed to be vacation.

As a part of my benefits package at my regular job, I have flex points to “spend” on my choice of benefits. This year, I bought an extra five days of vacation so that I could attend Hamilton County’s Master Gardener class. (The classes are held over ten Thursdays, 9 – 5, in the fall.) With the extra days purchased, I had just enough vacation to attend the classes and take a few days off throughout the year as needed. I did not have enough to take a May “gardening vacation.” I found myself with another choice: garden now or learn about gardening later.

The Master Gardener class will have to wait. I chose to take my extra vacation days this month. I’m taking half days off during the week and I LOVE IT. I no longer feel the frantic need to plug everything into the ground as quickly as possible. For a while, the urgency to get my spring planting done was sapping the joy from gardening. Now, I’ve slowed down enough to enjoy it again. It’s raining today, but I’ll still be out there this afternoon, digging holes and amending soil. I think I could work half days, every day!

I’ve reached a balance with my time and feel satisfied with my choice. So, how will I spend my Tammy Faye paycheck? Eight scoops of mulch and a cedar arbor. Hallelujah!


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