So we come to the end of the first week without full-time (or close to full-time) assistance. And it went like this:
Monday: Did all the exercises, took a walk, kept up on the laundry, cooked a meal from scratch. House was clean and supper on the table on time. Helper came, but had a hard time finding anything for her to do.
Tuesday: Called Grandma to take care of D1, stayed in bed all day. Ate leftovers. Laundry rotted in the washing machine.
Wednesday: Skipped exercises, pawned some of the dishes off, took an extra nap. Laundry got finished (amazingly enough).
Wednesday night: D2 up all night sniffling and gagging.
Thursday: In zombie-like state, found enough food for everyone to survive. Washed a load of towels. Watched D1 take everything in the house from points A, B, and C to points Q, M, and R. Took D2 to the doctor's office and got ear infection diagnosed. Nobody died trying to cross the parking lot.
Friday: D2 is a little better. D1 has a cold and gets to fulfill her dream of constant nose-blowing. Helper has a cold; in case it's not the same cold, I tell her not to come. Adjust to the fact that the house will not be cleaned this week. It's a beautiful day; take a walk and let the dishes rot.
While I was trying to get in the door at the doctor's office on Thursday, a lady opened the door for me and remarked that I looked 16 and certainly not old enough to be the mother of two children. So I guess it hasn't started aging me . . . yet.
I'm getting closer to finding out what a maintainable pace is, I think. And as mother always said (to herself), this, too, shall pass. Too soon.