Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Clock Obsession: This One's For You, Hon

See, I have this problem.

Rather, I don't see it as a problem. The whole thing makes sense to me in my own little crazy wonderland. But five other people in this house have to live with it. The kids just have to suck it up; they're the kids, so they just have to deal with it. But it's a little harder to do that when you're an adult.

Like, oh, a husband.

Here's the thing: My poor man never knows what time it really is.

I don't recall exactly which recent event prompted the comment (I think it had something to do with setting my alarm earlier to reflect a different time for my snooze but not adjusting the actual clock time). It was something crazy and illogical but made perfect sense to me in a bizarro world kind of way when it was late and I was tired.

In a fit of laughter, he called out, "blog post!"

He was spot on; if he had a personal blog (which he doesn't), it would have made great fodder with which to mock me (which I know he wouldn't have).

So, hon, I'm going to mock myself here on your behalf. Because really, such great material can't be passed up, even if it is me making fun of myself.

The problem: I like to set clocks ahead. That doesn't make me too different from a lot of people, but apparently, I've taken it beyond a hobby and turned it into an Olympic sport.

With the exception of my husband's personal ones, nearly every clock in the house is set ahead by a different amount of minutes.

Contrary to what it might seem, it's not a bunch of random craziness. I do have a system. (I can already hear the men laughing. Shush. I do, too, have a system.)

The stove clock is set ahead by two minutes. I do that because when I'm leaving the house, I know that's the time it'll actually be by the time I get my shoes on, grab my purse, get in the car, and pull out of the garage. See? It makes perfect sense.

The clock on the mantel is set ahead by ten minutes. This is more for the kids' sake so they see it and think they're late for school and get moving faster. But it helps me, too. It takes them about ten minutes to finish brushing teeth, getting on shoes and finish zipping up backpacks, and for me to then gather the family for morning prayer and finalize all the little things. So if we're at the final "prep" stage when the mantel clock says it's really time to leave, I know we're right on time.

(Totally logical. Told you. Is, too! Okay, maybe it's a tiny bit weird . . .)

My nightstand clock is eleven (twelve?) minutes ahead. It tells me roughly what time it'll be if I hit the snooze once in the morning, crawl out of bed, and then stumble downstairs to wake up the kids . . . that way they wake up right at seven, but I've been up two minutes before that. (See? I'm such a genius . . . Or a nut case. Whichever.)

Setting my own clock ahead by twelve minutes also helps me know what time it'll be when I actually fall asleep, because pulling up the covers doesn't count as sleep, and I really do need over 8 hours to function. So seeing the clock ahead actually helps me get enough sleep; it encourages me to get into bed earlier.

My extra twelve minutes also help me get ready faster in the morning. If I need to make it on time to an appointment, I should be walking out the door when the clock says I should be there.

(Dang. The longer this goes, the nuttier I sound, even to myself.)

Then there's the minivan clock. It's set four minutes ahead. That's about perfect for letting me know when I'll be arriving at the school to pick the kids up or for other minor trips.

See? It all makes sense. (Shut up. Does too. Fine. I might be slightly off my rocker . . .)

I have two clocks running on exact times. One is above the pantry. It's a giant, decorative clock hanging so high up it takes a 9-foot ladder (and a death-wish) to reach. So half the year it's the right time, and the other half it's off by an entire hour, because I'm not about to risk breaking my neck to change it when daylight savings ends.

The other clock that's on time is the little one in the bathroom next to my sink. It's an atomic clock, so I can't set it ahead. I have to live with the insanity of the correct time on that one.

Darn it.

My downfall is the school clocks. The elementary school and the junior high school clocks aren't in sync with each other. One is supposed to have its five-minute bell at 7:55 and the other is theoretically at 8:10. But even adjusting for my clock resetting, one is really at 7:56 and the other is at 8:08.

What the heck?!

I recently ranted and raved about this disparity to my husband. My time-keeping system requires that other clocks work around the proper, exact times. Having the schools not run on the correct time seriously messes with my mojo. One is a minute late and the other is two minutes early?

Sheesh, people! Get your act together!

My husband looked over with a chuckle. With a smile, he said, "Welcome to a small piece of my world."



Kristina P. said...

The problem I have with setting our clocks ahead is that I always know exactly how many minutes ahead it is, so it really doesn't help at all.

An Ordinary Mom said...

My daughter's school clock is also off and it drives me bonkers.

I am impressed that you are able to keep all the clocks straight :) !!

Julie P said...

This was, and you are, hilarious.

Jillybean said...

Just one more reason why I like you.

The clock in my car is always set about 4 minutes fast. (or at least it was until somebody changed it and didn't inform me, causing me to wonder why I was suddenly late to everything)
My alarm clock is set at least 5-7 minutes fast. When my alarm rings in the morning, I'm usually tired enough that I forget that it's set fast and I might nit hit the snooze button an extra time.
I recently noticed that the clock in our bathroom is set 5 minutes ahead (I did not do this) and earlier this week I noticed that one of our kids has their alarm clock set ahead also. Perhaps my ways are rubbing off on my family?

As far as I'm concerned, you are perfectly normal.

Besides, how boring would life be if all the clocks were the same?

Jillybean said...

Make that "I might NOT hit my snooze button one more time"

Please excuse any typos in my comments. Apparently my iPod's spell check arrogantly thinks that it knows what I want to type more than I do. (I'm not sure how many times I signed my name to an email before I noticed that the iPod was changing "Jill" to "Kill")

Lara Neves said...

That is quite the system you've got going there!

I can't do that. If I do, I just know that I have extra time, and still end up being late.

Although your system makes a tiny bit of sense.

NorahS said...

Your system makes perfect sense to me. I may use your ideas to perfect my own system!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I must be crazy too. My husband is always complaining that all the clocks are set to different times. But I refuse to let him change them. It would be too weird if all the clocks said the same thing.

Melanie Jacobson said...

The only clocks I set ahead are my alarm (7-ish minutes) and my car (2 minutes) and it works out perfectly. So I don't think you're crazy at all.

Erin said...

This does kind of make sense. And it's still really funny!

Shanda said...

This could have been written by me. Almost exactly! I'm not sure how it all got started, but the only clocks that show real time are my cell phone and the DVR box. All the other clocks, including my watch, are set at different intervals ahead (van at school time, watch is 5 min fast, alarm clock is about 12 min ahead, bathroom is 10 min fast, kitchen is 3 minutes ahead). We crack me up :)!

Happy Mom said...

I completely LOVE this!!! I don't do this with clocks, but I happen to have my own, shall we say, idiosyncrasies (sp?), and it's comforting to know that others are wacky too (and that their husbands have to live with it!).

My favorite part? That you're one clock is off by an hour for half of the year!! That is me to a tee!! (but not my husband, he'd change it no matter how high up it was!)

My next fav? That in order for your system to work, every other clock needs to be accurate!!!

Thanks for the chuckle!

Teri said...

Hilarious! I set my clock in my bedroom fast about 7 minutes, the amount of time the snooze gives me. My husband doesn't understand it either. He would rather not have me hitting snooze, but then again, we have our own alarm clocks so he can't do much about it! Thanks for the smile today!

Don said...

I've had to put up with this kind of thing before. Fortunately, in this day of cell phones, we've been able to gradually migrate all of the clocks to T-Mobile standard time. Hopefully they can stay that way.

Carolyn V. said...

I set my front room clock ahead. That way I can get all the kids out the door before we are running super late! =)

Jenny P. said...

Okay. You made me laugh with this one. My nightstand clock is set seven minutes fast. And I leave it that way on purpose.

We had dinner with some friends the other night, and the clock on their stove, and the clock on their microwave, right beside each other, were ten minutes off. All night I wondered which clock was actually right, and whether or not they had it that way on purpose.

Cynthia said...

That's funny! I tend to be late so I set the clocks ahead too. Of course, when I know it's 5 minutes ahead I just account for it and I'm still late. Since it doesn't REALLY work you'd think I'd change it. I don't. Guess we're 'clock weird' around here too.

Oh- and we don't have a clock or alarm clock in the Master Bedroom because it makes my hubs anxious if he wakes up in the night or, worse, can't get to sleep. I usually wake up on time (good internal clock) but if not, my daughter's alarm goes off and saves us all.

Sherrie said...

LOL :) Too funny! Do Whatever works. But it's definately something to blog about :)

Rebecca Blevins said...

Hahahahaha! My husband does that with our bedroom clock. It never works for me because I automatically adjust to the correct time when I see the wrong time.

But I am always with a watch on my wrist or I am completely lost. The only time I get right is when it's around four o'clock, because that's when all heck breaks loose in our house. I call it the 'witching hour'.

Luisa Perkins said...

You're so funny!

wendy said...

I collect clocks and somehow none of them are actually on the exact same time. When daylight saving time comes, it is a PAIN to change them all.
I always se the clock by my bed 10 min. earlier, it was the only way to give myself time to wake up in the morning when I was working. BUT, now that I am not-----time for me now is of no consequence.
Sorry I haven't been to your blog in awhile, but now that I am settled, I should be visiting you more often.
missed ya

Rachel Sue said...

That's hilarious. I didn't do it on purpose, but all the clocks in my house are different, and I know by how much each one is. . .

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I just love how logical your system is! I set mine ahead as well, but without much of a plan in mind. Drives my husband batty!

Anonymous said...

I totally see the merit in your clock system. My issue is that I'm terrible with math so if I set my clocks ahead, I have to do math to figure out what time it really is. =P

InkMom said...

I have tried this, and my compulsion for precision forces me to do the math every single time I look at the clock. Which wastes time I don't have to waste.


Idiosyncrasies should just be called exactly what they are: CRAZY.

LisAway said...

See how smart you are? Most people just have all their clocks telling approximately the same time and think, "Okay, it's ten-to-eight! We'd better zip our backpacks and throw on our shoes because in ten minutes we should be at school!" instead of, "Oh! It says it's time to be at school, which means we actually have ten minutes to get to school, so we'd better get going!" Really, it takes a lot of smarts to have all of those backward thinking and calculating moments every day! :)

I actually used to do this, too. It's the very same principle, just knowing at what time you should be doing what, but for some reason it's comforting to see a later time still knowing that you're okay for a few more minutes.

Julie Wright said...

LOL! Just when I thought I knew you.

Cranberryfries said...

I do this EXACT same thing. In order from the most off to the closest it goes like this: nightstand, bathroom, living room, minivan, microwave. I so totally get this. If I can remember (ha, lets see if i can) I'm gonna link to this in a few days!

Jenna said...

I laugh, but only because I do the same thing. In fact, in my first marriage, my husband and I kept our bedroom clock 30 minutes ahead! I totally get it. Makes perfect sense!


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