But What Do You DO All Day?

People often express their curiosity about island living and ask me, “But what do you DO all day?” (In fact, this is the question I get asked the most, after “How did you end up on an island?” and “Do you work?”) I understand why the question comes to mind. For the askers, their island experiences have either been the stuff of daydreams or vacations: sleeping in, reading all day, going to the beach for hours, taking naps. Delightful as that is, it does not seem like real life to them.

And, in fact, it’s not. I joke with friends and family about being “island busy.” Most days, I am on the go from 6:30am until the evening. I do enjoy playtime on weekends: going out on the boat, reading a book, taking Angel for a swim, snorkeling. But weekdays are as busy as always. Granted, it’s not the stress of my prior office life, but it is by no means slow or dull. Also, things just TAKE longer on the island! Certainly laundry is a slower process without a supersize washer and with no dryer other than Mother Nature. Going to the store takes a while, too. Thankfully, it’s not because of long drives and bad traffic and crowded stores. Rather, it’s because I stop the golf cart as I drive along to talk to friends and neighbors passing by, then chat with the store owners and any other shoppers – all of them either friends and neighbors or friendly visitors.

So what do I do all day that keeps me island busy? I run the household for myself, my beau and dog Angel. I cook 2-3 meals almost every day. I hand-wash dishes after every meal. I clean house. I wash, hang and fold clothes. I walk and bathe dogs and check for ticks. I blog. I use email and social media to stay connected with friends and family and Better Lifers. I help my beau with the office end of his business. I am stepping into the world of freelance writing and spend time on that. I pay my bills and handle finances online. I work on home improvement projects, large and small. I fill the golf cart with gas. I deal with the usual hassles of health insurance, taxes, doctors, etc.

Want an example of A Day In The Island Life of Dawn? Here’s how my day went yesterday:

6:15am– Beau had already let the dog out as I slowly awake. No alarm, just daylight and the sounds of Beau and Angel moving about. I get up, make the bed, throw on sweatable day clothes, tie my hair up and brush my teeth. Heading into the living room, I join Angel in wishing Beau a great morning as he leaves for work. Opening up a multitude of windows, I give thanks for the sunshine (but wish for more breeze). Feed the dog, start coffee, put away dishes that dried overnight, sort laundry, check email, read the morning’s Daily Word over coffee. Wish I could work on blog and blog-related social media, but just no time for that today. Sorry Better Lifers!

7:30am – Initiate email business that will continue throughout the day: travel logistics with multiple friends for upcoming trip to the States, travel logistics with other friends for their visit to the island, doctor’s offices for medical records and follow-up appointments, island airlines for various flight availability, suppliers for Beau’s business order, shipper for personal and Beau’s business deliveries, mother to say g’morning and about home improvements, planning emails for children’s summer program, etc.  Angel takes her first of many naps.

Zzzzzzzzz.

8:00am– Cook up egg sandwiches, pour more coffee and Beau stops back home for breakfast. Talk with him about a few business items and play with the dog, then Angel and I wish him well as he’s off again. Start a load of laundry, thaw chicken for dinner, continue email business, sort mail, organize a pile of paperwork into folders, spray down with bug spray then go outside to hang laundry on the line to dry while Angel explores the yard.

9:00am – Hop in my golf cart and cruise to the airport to meet an arriving plane carrying a friend passing through to a boat for a week-long diving excursion. Visit and help them get luggage to the dock. Stop at a neighbor’s house to help her with a project. Drive over to the ridge to drop something off at another neighbor’s home.

10:00am– Home to happy dog. Notice that I haven’t walked Angel yet or done our daily tick check, but decide that has to wait. Continue on with email errands. Start in on phone errands: Stateside doctor offices, Nassau property tax office, etc.

11:00am – Begin fixing lunch of grilled tuna melts, fresh veggies and dip, and sliced strawberries. Oh, and, by the way, the tuna was freshly caught by my beau on Saturday, then turned into tuna salad on Sunday and finished off with grilled tuna melts on Monday. Yum!

12:00pm – Start another load of laundry just as Beau arrives home for lunch. Eat and talk a little business. Angel, up to her usual antics, provides a laugh-filled break time for us both.

12:30pm – Clean up lunch, wash dishes, more email errands and follow-up from lunchtime business discussion. Dice vegetables and grill chicken as prep for dinner (a chopped salad with grilled chicken). Pull in dry laundry from line, hang up next round of wet laundry, fold and put away clean clothes. Notice my guitar and think in passing that I really need to play that one of these days.

1:30pm – I really can’t emphasize how long it takes to follow up on all the email errands and logistics! Doing more of that. Another nap for Angel. Update some planning documents for the summer youth program. Look in dismay at my “to do” list, realizing that, despite the work, many items remain in process – grrrrr – and I can’t quite cross them off yet!

2:30pm – Start to draft this list of what I’m up to today for a blog post. Notice that my sunny sky is darkening. Hmmm. Walk outside to check for squall lines, while Angel races around chasing lizards. Feel laundry and pull in anything that is dry. Can’t bring in damp clothes – I’m not running A/C yet and in this humidity clothes won’t dry inside! Thank new Twitter followers and check Facebook.  Occurs to me that, now that my day is turning into a blog post, I should take pictures!

Darkening Sky

3:00pm – Still drafting blog, alternating with responding to incoming emails. Now some friends are writing, so it’s fun to catch up with them in the midst of the logistics. Chop up the cooled-off chicken for the salad. Angel taking yet another nap. Fold laundry. Listen to thunder grumble in the distance. Thinking of my family. Read a funny note from Mom. Email brother to say howdy. Send silent well wishes to my traveling Dad.

Central work station, with grilled chicken waiting to be chopped.

3:30pm Count down hours until my end-of-day shower – particularly hot and sweaty today, not even summer yet! Print various emails and tickets and file everything away in travel/medical/Beau files. Start grocery list – stores will restock on Wednesday when freight boat arrives. Try to call Nassau again to follow up on property taxes, but phone line is down.  Sky is looking ominous.  Decide to squeeze in a dog walk before rain lets loose.

Stopping at a favorite beach area along the way.

4:30pm – Beau finished work and calls to say he’s hanging out with the guys cleaning their catch of the day if I want to come down. I stay put to finish up:  emails with my mother about a Memorial Day project she’s working on, wrap up supplier orders, email about sponsorship of a summer event, respond to a Facebook blog inquiry and send a document to a doctor’s office.

5:30pm – Finally, a shower! Feed the dog, Beau stops by to shower and pick me up in the truck since it’s raining. Off to a local bar for drinks with friends and to snag some lobster chowder to bring home to accompany our dinner salad that evening.

Day is done! Another good day of island busy.

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