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Column: She's finally got some spare time

I popped the cork on a bottle of champagne around midnight last Friday morning. The Beau and I settled down on the couch. He told me to do the toast.

I toasted The Renters, a young couple who moved into my townhouse later that same day.

I'm pretty sure I deserved that champagne. It's been a long, crazy six weeks for me. Moving to St. Paul was the easy part. Getting my townhouse ready for renters, finding the funds to pay for it all and pulling out 55 hours a week of work has been a challenge, to be sure.

But that all ended last Thursday. Thanks to The Renters, I was able to leave my part-time job, and for what is possibly the first time in a decade, I'll only have to work 40 hours a week.

I spent Monday's drive down to Farmington trying to figure out what to do after work. Go home and make supper? Pull up the rest of those Hostas? Or do I go for a walk? Maybe start going to the gym again? Or should I get a pedicure? What about that haircut I'm in desperate need of?

Oh, but I've got American Legion Auxiliary stuff to take care of. Maybe I should do some of that? Or, but maybe it's time to unpack the boxes for the bookshelves. Before I leave I should stop at Pelliccis and see if I can find that piece we need for the washing machine...

The possibilities are endless.

Who knew?

Then I started to think about the rest of the week. Wednesday, I can leave Farmington early and stop at the Wescott Library on my way home, maybe kill two birds with one stone and get my Looking Back information then jump onto I-35E to get home. That's right on my way. Or, wait. I really need to get that pedicure because it's going to be 80 degrees (finally!) on Wednesday so I should do the pedi Tuesday then stop and get a cute pair of sandals - just because it's been a long six weeks and I deserve both.

When my sister has her baby in the next couple of weeks, I'll be able to go to the hospital after work to see them. I won't have to wait until a night when I'm not working to do that. If one of my friends calls and wants to go out for dinner on a weeknight, we can.

That's one thing about this new commute of mine, too - I have a lot of time to think about the things I need to take care of. Turns out, I also have time to make phone calls. I can schedule appointments. I can do a lot with 40 minutes.

Even better - it's 40 minutes going against traffic. When I'm on my way to Farmington, I drive past miles of headlights going the opposite direction. I almost felt guilty one day last week, when I heard an accident on 35E had backed up traffic from Shepard Road all the way to Pilot Knob Road. Almost. Instead, I marveled at the misfortune of those drivers, took to Farmington.

I think back to the column that I wrote around New Years Eve. I didn't make resolutions this year, but made a few "pledges" to myself instead. Things like finally kicking the smoking habit (which I accomplished in January, by the way), clearing out the clutter in my home (still working on, but made a huge dent on this through the whole moving process) and working to shed the 12 pounds (well, honestly, now more like 15) I accumulated last year.

Most of my "pledges" involved creating more time for myself. Spending time with my family and friends, working on my home and my relationship. Relaxing and just taking care of myself.

So now that the dust has settled, I'm adjusting to this new life. Co-habitation. One job. A landlord. And in a roundabout way, I couldn't have done it without The Renters. Of course I had to toast to them.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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