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A Day in the Life of Michelle Hale

5AM Awake to NPR and aroma of coffee.

5:05AM Officer Hale kisses me goodbye before starting his 12-hour shift.

5:15AM Pray for patience as I get up. Update podcasts I’ll listen to later while driving.

5:15-5:45AM Contacts, makeup, hair, teeth.

5:45AM Wake Maddie and debate the outfit of the day. Remind her about swimming lessons and ballet class this afternoon. Threaten that she’ll miss both if she doesn’t get up.

5:50AM Wake Katie, cuddle and remark about how big she’s getting. “Where’d my baby go?” I ask. “Wite he-uh,” she replies, right on cue.

6:15AM The girls watch Blues Clues while I fix two blonde heads of hair. I plead with each to sit still. Lord, where’s that patience I asked for?

6:40AM Get dressed, watch a few minutes of Fox News and update my Facebook status.

7:15AM Start drive across Ponder to daycare.

7:17-7:21AM Get held up by a train.

7:25AM Sign girls in, check out what they’re eating for breakfast, get/give goodbye hugs and kisses.

7:30AM Drop off defensive driving paperwork for speeding ticket dismissal. Being a cop’s wife doesn’t necessarily get you off the hook.

7:50AM Back home, I make cereal and tea. I’m telecommuting because of my dentist appointment later. I log on to PC and notice Internet is unreliable. Going to be a frustrating day.

8:10AM Boss calls to check in, asks about my weekend and updates me on a few ongoing issues. I tell her I need to write my assigned UNT homepage feature today to send for source review before source leaves town (code for “don’t bother me too much if you want me to make my deadline!”)

8:40AM Look for the e-mail source sent last week with responses to my interview questions.

9:25AM Remember that I need to defrost a roast so that I can put it in the slow cooker in a couple of hours.

9:30AM Finally settle in to start writing …

11:30AM Take a break; put roast and veggies in crockpot. Throw in a load of laundry.

11:45AM Sit back down and write some more …

1:10PM IM my boss to tell her I’m taking a lunch break. I go to the kitchen and scrounge for leftovers that might make a decent lunch. Bryan calls while on his lunch break and we chat while we eat. He reminds me to get gas before I drive very far.

1:40PM Realize there’s less than an hour before I need to start the 30-minute drive to my 3pm dentist appointment, and now I need time to get gas.

2:15PM Wrap up article and send to source to review. Whew! 15 minutes to spare … IM boss to let her know I met the deadline and story is en route to source.

2:37PM Grab Maddie’s dance bag and, after filling up, head west.

3:10-4:50PM Watch Fox News on the ceiling while a nice lady inflicts pain and gently reminds me that daily flossing would reduce my “discomfort” at cleaning time. I’ll start the new habit – again – as soon as the gum swelling goes down. After paying, drive back to Ponder.

4:50PM Arrive at daycare, help Maddie change into dance clothes, sign girls out and drive to Denton for ballet. On the way, hear how great swimming lessons were.

5:25PM Get Maddie to class just before it starts, then Katie and I walk across the street to buy afternoon treats – Dr Pepper Cherry, two bottles of bug juice (yeah, that’s really what it’s called!) and a bag of popcorn.

5:45PM Try to persuade Katie to save some popcorn for her sister. She says she wants to eat it all. Diplomacy is lost on a 2-year-old. Next, Katie wants Maddie’s bug juice instead of her own. I waste no time with diplomacy and repeat, “Mommy said no.” She rolls on the floor in a classic toddler temper tantrum. Other ballet moms sympathetically glance my way.

6:30PM Class is over. Enough popcorn is left to share on ride home. I wonder if either girl will eat supper.

6:50PM Disembark car, carry in snack bag, ballet bag, swim bag, Maddie’s back pack, Katie’s “lovies” and my purse. I need a pack mule.

7PM Officer Hale has supper on the table and we sit down to eat. I’m surprised that both girls eat most of their meal with minimal complaints. Swimming, ballet and whining must work up an appetite.

7:30PM Bathing and bedtime routine begins. No real battles for a change. How refreshing!

8:30PM Spoke too soon. Katie wants me to put her in bed, though it’s Daddy’s turn. Cries of “Mommy’s turn!” last 10 minutes until he finally gets her interested in a photo album and she quiets down.

8:45PM Read Maddie a story, say prayers together and promise I’ll check on her in 20 minutes.

9PM Sit down to catch up on online news while Bryan snores behind me.

9:30PM Remember promise to Maddie and feel guilty for losing track of time. Thankfully, she’s sleeping and isn’t aware that I broke my promise.

10:15PM Realize it’s 15 minutes past my bedtime. Turn off PC, quickly take a shower and head to bed. Say quick prayer of thanks before I drift off … ZZZzzz …