My Wall Clock

wall-clock-800pxMy wife started the oven before leaving for her quilting class.

“What’s cooking?” I asked.

“Tatter-tot hot dish,” she replied.

Winter is definitely the season for comfort food.

“When do I take it out?”

“5:30,” she said.

“Uh, which 5:30?”

In most houses that would be an odd question but not in ours.

At our place, 5:30 first arrives above the kitchen sink where the wall clock runs fifteen minutes fast.

Time then drifts into the bedroom where the alarm reports it five minutes later.  It wanders around for a while before making its way downstairs to visit the cuckoo clock which may or may not be working and lastly, it appears as big green digits on the micro-wave.

Even at the micro-wave, 5:30 arrives nine minutes early.

We set our clocks ahead because we are always running behind and we are always behind because whenever we are preparing to go somewhere, little things spring up to block our path.

Have the cats been fed?

Was a curling iron left on?

Are there lights burning in the basement?

Where are the car keys?

Is it trash day?

These are all petty things – but they grow in intensity as we move closer to the door and eventually these little urgencies surpass the importance of whatever is looming in our future.

So we resort to self-deception by setting our clocks ahead.

It never works though – since we know the clocks run fast, we fritter away our cushion of time.

You might ask, wouldn’t it be better to be honest with ourselves?

Not really. I am leery of this to thine own self be true business.

So much of our lives are based on healthy delusion.  People actually believe that Ford trucks are built strong, detergents are both new and improved, and what Garrison Keillor says is true, our women are strong, our men are good looking, and our children are above average.

We need delusion to survive.  Without it, a rational person would never get out of bed. There is a word for this self-deception, it is called optimism and an optimist is someone who knows how to lie convincingly to themselves.

It is why I can point to the kitchen clock and shout, “We are already late.  We have to leave NOW!!

It may be a lie but it is a good and useful lie.  Still it does nothing to address the problem of the hot dish.

“Which clock should I use?” I asked.

“I set the timer on the oven but I have to warn you about something.”


“It will begin beeping fifteen minutes early because I know how hard it is for you to get up and walk across the house.”

Author: Almost Iowa

69 thoughts on “My Wall Clock”

  1. I love this! I think I live by several different sets of time.
    Livestock time: I don’t even bother to bring a watch to the barn anymore. I’ll be done when I’m done. And not a minute sooner.
    Sales person time: “Of course I have time. I am completely at your disposal.”
    Gym time: Forty minutes is basically the same thing as forty-five minutes (also known as treadmill time).
    And finally, married to a military brat time: If you’re not a half an hour early, you’re late. (By this standard, and many others, I am ALWAYS late.)

  2. “An optimist is someone who knows how to lie convincingly to themselves” — Classic! But it does beg the question, is a pessimist just bad at lying to themselves?

    1. I know, I know… after typing the third paragraph I had to step away from my keyboard, least I drool on it. Winter is the time for comfort food – especially during blizzards.

  3. We soooo do this. We used to have everything 10 minutes fast…except, we know it’s 10 minutes early so we dilly-dally knowing full-well we have those 10 minutes… except now – what’s the point. Then we spring ahead 1 hour or fall back 1 hour, and someone sets a clock here and there “real time” and I might think that’s the one 10 minutes early… and now I’M LATE. (crap.)

    So, we finally said- don’t do that anymore. That crazy nonsense just confuses the kids and they already have teachers yelling at them about time management.

    So I feel ya, on this one! I totally understood before I even read the rest of the post.

  4. It IS annoying how our internal clocks work. I wake up between 5-5:30 365 days a year unless I’m sick. Last night I forgot to set my alarm, but there I was, ready to greet the new day at 5:00am. The difference is that on the weekends I’m wide awake. Work days I’m awake but crave more sleep. On the weekends I can’t fall asleep no matter what. Power outage? No problem here. So far, no power outages reported on my inner clock.
    I’m assuming the casserole was cooked to perfection?
    And I totally understand with the last minute craziness of having to leave that second but worrying and forgetting. I’m always in fear that ill look the door behind me with my keys inside. It’s never happened but it MIGHT happen.

    1. My wife is obsessed about “leaving things on” and while I admit it always thrifty, responsible and wise to turn appliances off, it is not worth turning the car around for. 🙂

      1. You lose this one. I’m totally on your wife’s side. I’ve turned around more than once or twice when I’ve been 20 minutes away to make sure the coffee is off. And I’m pretty sure it turns off automatically at some point. But you never know…….

  5. The kitchen clock, next to our garage door, runs fast. I’m always happiest once it’s reached a happy state of four or five minutes ahead. But my husband values accuracy above promptness so he always insists I set it back. I’ve been tempted to go around changing all the other clocks to match it, but he’d check them with his phone. If only there was an app for making cell-phones lie about the time.

    1. “If only there was an app for making cell-phones lie about the time.”

      Now there is a trillion dollar idea. Promise to buy me a small country if you hit it big.

  6. I hate clocks…or watches. I have a thousand watches and wear none of them..haven’t a clue what time it is unless someone tells me…..I wish the hubby were that way but he is German with a Capital G…..all clocks, watches, sundials, etc MUST be the same. if not, he rants (in German which I do not understand even after 50 years of knowing him) until all of time is exact once again. I used to go change each clock by a minute or so when angry with him just to make him crazy. i don’t remember why I even started replaying….oh yea. Like the blog. LOL

    1. I am german with a small g – but my wife thinks it’s a capital G by the way I act sometimes. I used to live in a neighborhood where people got down on their hands and knees to scrub their sidewalks.

  7. My husband sets all of the clocks so I blame him when we are too early or too late. If I want to know the “true” time, I check my computer or the cell.

    1. I blame my wife too (no surprise for anyone who reads my blog) because she is the one who sets the clocks – but blaming doesn’t do a lot of good. I am like you though, I consult my cell phone.

  8. mm… I like all my clocks set to EXACTLY the same time. It’s upsetting to me when I see the clock next to my side of the bed showing a different time than the one next to Jim’s side of the bed. And if they are both different from what shows in the kitchen (which is within view of the bedroom), that sends me on a mission to correct them all! 🙂

    1. You sound like me when I am channeling my inner-German. (My secret is that I consult my cell phone for the time. It swears fidelity to a world clock in Greenwich England.)

  9. Former in-laws had a clock set 15 min fast to do the same as your clocks. Based upon my scientific observations, it didn’t work for them. Plus, it made their daughter unconscious to being on time. I’m thankful I don’t deal with that any more.

    1. When we were kids, we walked to school. Well, not walked. We always left at the last instant and cut through yards, hopped over fences and dove under hedges to get to school within seconds of the bell. We were never late. Our goal was to get our timing down to milliseconds.

      When I got married I had to adjust that fine sense to timing to hours rather than thousandths of a second.

    1. That is the wonderful thing about caring for animals though, they can see right through our vanities and self-deception. In that sense, they are good for the soul.

      1. Don’t you think dogs are doing exactly what we are, when they go and and get their leashes, and come to us “hopefully”, and then sigh when we indicate “not yet”, and sit by the front door exactly 15 minutes before they know it’s time to go for their walks? They know it’s not yet time, and they know that we know, but setting their clock ahead makes them feel better, too. (And there’s always the chance of a miraculous slippage of human memory, or time. : )

        1. Yup, chore time for you is snack time for them. I hear the cattle over the hill lowing at just about the same time every day. In the spring we are going to get chicken. I can’t wait for the rooster to crow.

    1. Gosh, what is the recipe? It’s such a Midwestern winter staple, we don’t even think about what goes into it.

      I found the recipe we use here


      1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
      1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
      1 pound 80-percent lean ground beef
      Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
      2 cups frozen cut green beans, thawed (8 ounces)
      1 3/4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed (8 ounces)
      Two 10-ounce cans cream of mushroom soup
      1 pound frozen shredded potato nuggets

    1. I suspect you are right. I asked my wife to read it and she said I left something out of my list of things that stop us at the door. I always go back to wash my glasses.

  10. Given that I’m the one who used to leave clocks twelve hours off after the time change, I don’t find anything particularly odd about any of this. Mental time recalibration’s pretty familiar. On the other hand, I have a grandmother clock that resets itself, since I’ve never been able to calibrate the pendulum perfectly. Right now, it gains about ten minutes a week, and every time I wind it, I have to reset it.

    The solution, of course, is to live without a schedule that requires showing up at a particular time. I’ve not been able to figure out how to deal with movies, dinner invitations, and dental appointments in that world, but I’m working on it.

    1. Since I retired, the only schedule that I am forced to adhere to is that which is dictated by Scooter’s bladder. A dog has got to go when a dog has got to go. But then there is always making it to church on time, a deadline I leave to my wife to handle.

  11. I sometimes get up at 4:45 to exercise before going to work. I hate the thought of getting up before 5:00 so the clock on my nightstand is set 30 minutes fast. I know what time it is, but it feels better getting up at 5:15.

    1. I have woken up at 5:00 a.m. every since I started my first paper route at twelves years old. It is amazing how precise the internal clock is.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: