The Perfect Day

I’ve been looking forward to this long weekend – I’ll be busy Saturday and Sunday, but on Monday (Labor Day) I’m taking the day off. Because it’s my birthday.

When I’m looking forward to a day off, I sometimes find myself overly stressed about how to make it a “perfect day.” Sounds dumb – does anyone else do this?

I’m not sure how I’ll make Monday the Perfect Day. Right now, I’m thinking I might sleep in until… maybe 7am. I know, living it up, right? Then I’ll sit outside on my deck for at least an hour, maybe two, drinking coffee and reading. Perhaps after that I’ll go for a hike with my family – not too long, maybe about two hours, just enough to feel like I got some exercise. Then we’ll come home, get into comfy clothes… and hang around the house all day, watching movies, playing games, and avoiding the computer at all costs. Not very spectacular, I know. The main thing is, in my fantasy Perfect Day, I don’t have to prepare any meals for anyone, or do any laundry, or wash any dishes… ah, bliss.

(Of course, if we could veer into the realm of fantasy for a moment, I’d have a cake delivered from Carlo’s Bakery in Hoboken, a.k.a. Buddy the Cake Boss. Now that would be bliss.)

I’m going to try very hard to spend Monday enjoying the small pleasures. And birthday cake.

If you could create a Perfect Day this Monday, what would it look like?

P.S. No blog post on Monday! Have a good holiday weekend.

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


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  3. Susan Bourgeois on September 7, 2010 at 7:57 AM

    >Happy Birthday! I missed that you said it was your birthday. You wrote it so small!

    My perfect day is like any other day where my husband and my children celebrate the special occasions in our lives.

  4. Anonymous on September 6, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    >Very Interesting!
    Thank You!

  5. sarah on September 6, 2010 at 7:18 PM

    >Happy Birthday..have an amazing year…

  6. Charity Bradford on September 6, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    >I hope you had a perfect day today. Happy Birthday!

  7. Gospel Girly on September 6, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    >Happy birthday Rachelle ….!!!
    Hope you had some cake on my behalf…:-)

    Perfect day for me … would entail
    -a proposal from my beloved hunk,

    -miraculously dropping from a size 14 to 10,

    -Meeting the characters from Drop Dead Diva, Desperate Housewives and Gilmore Girls whilst they are in full character..i.e Eva Longoria would be Gabby and Brooke Elliot would be acting as Jane/Deb in real life.

    Last but certainly not the least…all my unsaved friends and family giving their life to Christ.

  8. Mary Aalgaard on September 6, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    >"You say it's your birthday," ba da ba da…"It's my birthday, too." For real! Happy Birthday, from one birthday girl to the other!! I wish you that perfect day. Although, there is no such thing as perfect, it can have perfect moments and ideal conditions. I woke up early to spend time in the quiet with my journal, coffee, and a book. I DID check my messages – for all the lovely b-day wishes!!! And, wrote about my word, Adventure, in my blog. I will go mini-golfing with my boys, out to eat, and yes, plenty of sitting around and being queen for the day.
    Mary @ Play off the Page!!

  9. Terri Tiffany on September 6, 2010 at 7:03 AM

    >Happy Birthday!
    My perfect day would be no computer, and surrounded by those I love going someplace cool and new:) Enjoy!

  10. arbraun on September 5, 2010 at 11:51 PM

    >Happy birthday! My idea of a perfect day off is not having to proofread, do critiques, network, promote, build a Web site, or any of the rote duties of being an author. I know I'm supposed to come up with an idea, but sometimes it's the little things. I guess pizza, beer and a good ball game? Good friends and a cigarette?

  11. Michelle on September 5, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    >having a long lie-in… with a good book.

  12. Leigh D'Ansey on September 5, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    >Happy Birthday – sounds like it's going to be perfect!

  13. Sue Harrison on September 5, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    >Joyous Birthday!
    Sue and Neil Harrison

  14. Sherri on September 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    >Happy Birthday! Hope you get that 'perfect' day in as many ways as possible and more!!!

  15. Jan Markley on September 5, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    >Sounds like a perfect way to spend a birthday and a day off. My niece and I will be in NY for her b-day, she's a big fan of the cake boss and she wants to get her birthday cake there.

  16. Susan Panzica - EternityCafe on September 4, 2010 at 9:00 PM

    >Happy Birthday! May it be everything you hope it to be.

    As for me, my perfect day is at the ocean with a book and my ipod.

    But my birthday is the day after Christmas, the most anti-climactic day of the year. Even growing up in a Jewish family, we still felt society’s collective exhale on Dec. 26. But my dear husband has redeemed the day for me. He asked me to marry him on my birthday with a homemade lobster dinner, and he has made (or taken me out for) a lobster dinner every year since.

  17. Jen J. Danna on September 4, 2010 at 8:57 PM

    >A very happy birthday to you on Monday! I had to laugh when you said you'd sleep in until 7am because I'm exactly the same way; 7am IS sleeping in (as Howard Taylor on Writing Excuses would say — "Luxury!").

    It sounds like you've planned a wonderful day. It may not be spectacular, but it sounds wonderfully relaxing and you'll be spending time with the most important people in your life and that's more important than flashy and spectacular.

    Enjoy your day and your cake on Monday (and eat it too!)…

  18. Jil on September 4, 2010 at 6:46 PM

    >When I was little my teacher read us a poem about Pippa who only had one day off a year. How stressful it would be trying to make that perfect!
    Mine would be running through fields with my dog.
    Coming home to find my husband making pancakes and fairies had cleaned and tidied the whole house during the night.
    The mouse on my laptop would be fixed and I could write without using that little pad on the computer.
    I would be left alone to paint and listen to music all afternoon.
    In the evening friends from long ago would appear and we would play guitar and sing while sitting on the floor.

  19. Durango Writer on September 4, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    >@PK Hezro… I was going to write that my perfect day was coffee, hike, nap and movie until you mentioned the agent call. Now THAT'D be a perfect day.

  20. PK Hrezo on September 4, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    >Happy Birthday!!! Hope it's a great one.

    My perfect day would be include the agent who requested my partial calling to say she loves my story and can't wait to see more. After I scrambled to email a perfect ms, I'd enjoy an easy day at the pool with the fam. Maybe find out my long lost deceased wealthy Aunt left me a hefty inheritance so I can quit my day job and write full time. Just sayin'.

  21. kangaroobee on September 4, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    >Happy Birthday for Monday.

    All these do sound like perfect days. One can dream. Sat on the deck pen in hand with a slight breeze ruffling through the trees and kids jumping on the tramp and running around. Aah!

  22. careann on September 4, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    >Birthday blessings to you, Rachelle. May many small pleasures result in a wonderful day.

    Our anniversary is Sunday but DH is on a Mission trip so it will be spent alone and quietly, at least the afternoon part, probably reading and writing.

    A perfect day for me is when we're away in our RV, perhaps parked near a wilderness lake. There would be campfire coffee to sip as we share morning devotions in the silence. A walk with the dogs and unlimited time to read and write through the day would be followed by a dinner of seared steak kabobs, potatoes roasted in the coals and fresh wild berries. The night would be chilly so when the evening campfire had burned out we would head back into the RV, snuggle under our duvet, and…. 😉

  23. KC Frantzen on September 4, 2010 at 8:48 AM

    >Have a splendid fantastic marvelous joyful birthday with the ones you love! But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Psalm 68:3

  24. Kathryn Magendie on September 4, 2010 at 7:15 AM

    >Happy Birthday!

    I'd love to really really unplug for the entire day. I never knew I was such a work-a-holic.

  25. Micah Maddox on September 4, 2010 at 5:38 AM

    >Hoping your birthday is indeed perfect.

  26. Michael K. Reynolds on September 4, 2010 at 2:24 AM


    I knew there was something special about you. Monday is MY birthday as well.

    I love September 6, but remember all too often it being the first day of school when I was growing up.

    This Monday, on my birthday, I will have the joy of setting up my office, because my marketing agency just moved. It's seems odd, but taking a day to get everything out of boxes and straightened up sounds like fun to me. It's my author's office as well, so everything is on hold until I get things in order.

    Oh…and our family visited the Cake Boss three weeks ago (and waited two hours in line to do so). A big tip is to go with a local, because you go to the front of the line.

    Happy Birthday!

  27. Dineen A. Miller on September 3, 2010 at 11:58 PM

    >Happy birthday, my wonderful friend and agent! Your plans sound absolutely wonderful. I hope that's exactly what you do. You've more than earned it. Hugs!

  28. Clare WB on September 3, 2010 at 10:47 PM

    >Happy Birthday! Mine is Sunday, and two of my daughters share yours. Must have been a good time for fantastic Virgo writers! Best Wishes for fun with a lot of rest and relaxation too!
    Clare Wheeler-Brandt

  29. Gahal Sar on September 3, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    >On days off like this, I usually aim for "uncomplicated" and shoot from the hip. Sometimes I will plan something in advance, but I usually prefer to turn my brain off.

    If I want to make it special, I take the wife somewhere we have not been before and do something we have not done before. It's more enjoyable that way, and more memorable.

  30. Magnolia on September 3, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    >Happy birthday! Mine is tomorrow…a perfect day would be effortless writing, a wonderful dinner, and a good hair day 🙂

  31. lauradroege on September 3, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    >My perfect day?

    Wake up early (and not be exhausted from insomnia and my chronic fatigue, and have time to spend with God)

    Workout at gym (and meet all my goals)

    Write for hours(preferably fiction and not a blog post, and without hearing "mommy, I gotta go potty" every four seconds)

    Go to bed and sleep all through the night (and rest assured that I will repeat this day tomorrow!)

  32. Wendy Paine Miller on September 3, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    >Thanks for the anniversary wish. Just realized our anniversary is on Sunday, not Monday. Ha! There’s eleven years for ya!

    Another big Happy Birthday to you.
    ~ Wendy

  33. Anonymous on September 3, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    >A very Happy Birthday to You!

    A perfect day for me would be… not having to look over my shoulder. Fearless.

  34. Margaret on September 3, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    >My perfect day would be a day free from my chronic pain, a day full of peace and joy, a day that was 70 degrees F and sunny but with a rip-roarin' thunderstorm at some point, and a day when I hear my daughters tell me they have committed their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ.

  35. mary bailey on September 3, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    >Happy Birthday, Rachelle!

    My perfect day would involve hiking in the mountains, swimming in a cold creek, coming home to a clean house, eating food I did not have to prepare, and being suddenly blessed with life-long organizational skills!

    I don't see any of those things happening on Monday, though.

    Enjoy your weekend and your special day!

  36. Horserider on September 3, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    >When I have a day off, I don't really get stressed out with making it the perfect day. I usually get stressed out making it a productive day (writing-wise, usually).

    My perfect day would be a day when the words are flowing and I don't have anything to do but sit at my desk and write.

  37. Lyla on September 3, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    >That sounds like a great day! And happy (early) birthday!

  38. Stephanie McGee on September 3, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    >Happy Birthday! (A couple days early, but the sentiment is still the same.)

    My perfect day would be sleeping in to whenever I felt like getting up then getting to spend the entire day at home, writing and developing characters. Nowhere I had to be, nowhere I wanted to be other than right there.

    And Indian food.

  39. Jill on September 3, 2010 at 10:06 AM

    >Your idea of a perfect day sounds pretty good to me. I think I would sleep in a little later, but other than that. . .!

  40. Mindy on September 3, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    >Happy Almost Birthday Rachelle! I really hope you have a fantastic day!

    My perfect day would consist of the weather being cold outside where I have no choice but to snuggle with my cat in bed while watching movies all day. Then again it's becoming harder and harder to find movies I haven't watched yet.

  41. Amy Sorrells on September 3, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    >Perfect days are the ones I don't plan. Every time I try to plan one, it's not-so-perfect. I guess for me, it feels like trying to plan on grace: I can't. It just happens and I'm awful grateful for it when it does.

    Have the happiest of (SEPTEMBER!!!)birthdays EVER, and hope you're graced with a weekend full of perfect days!

  42. Janet Oberholtzer on September 3, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    >An ideal day for me includes reading, writing and an outdoor workout followed by healthy food, dark chocolate, dinner with my family and/or red wine with friends.

    Happy Birthday Weekend and Day!

  43. Lindsey Bell on September 3, 2010 at 9:25 AM

    >Happy birthday! I can think of no better way to celebrate than to relax all day (and of course eat lots of wonderful food)! Enjoy:)

  44. Rachelle on September 3, 2010 at 9:24 AM

    >Thanks for the birthday wishes, everyone!

    BW: The cake is NORMALLY chocolate, but this time it's going to be Red Velvet. Mmmm…

    Sharon: I agree, the most perfect days (or moments)usually happen spontaneously. But that doesn't stop me from trying my best to create one! Mainly I know that if I don't seriously commit to "take the day off" I'll end up working most of it.

    MJR: My kids would LOVE to stand in that long line at Carlo's Bakery! We've talked about it many times. We definitely hope to go there one day.

    Wendy: Happy anniversary!

    Rose: Happy hubby's birthday!

    Katy McKenna: Your daughter is overdue BECAUSE you're already there waiting! My first child was born on her due date. For the second, my inlaws decided to come down ahead of time and "wait" with us. My second daughter was 5 days overdue… with my inlaws staying with us the whole time. We all have good memories of the "waiting" and the baby that just wouldn't come.

  45. Renee Gold on September 3, 2010 at 9:17 AM


    You work so hard. It's fitting that your birthday falls on Labor Day.

    Trust that a perfect day will manifest for you.

  46. BW on September 3, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    >Happy Birthday!!!

    You described the perfect day except for one thing, the cake must be chocolate.

  47. Teenage Bride on September 3, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    >happy Monday Birthday!!!!!!

    You really described the PERFECT day. Sounds amazing!!!!!!

  48. Sharon Bially on September 3, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    >I have long since stopped trying to create a "perfect" experience of any sort, whether it's a day, an event, a date with my husband or a time spent with my kids. I've always been disappointed when I've tried, but so pleasantly surprised by the spontaneous joy of experiences or moments I never planned on or expected. Any day that includes at least one of those delightful moments is *perfect* enough for me!

  49. Sarah Forgrave on September 3, 2010 at 8:34 AM

    >Happy birthday!

    As for your question…Hmm, I'm going shopping on Monday to find a dress for the ACFW banquet. So, I guess it would be perfect if I could fit into a size 2, lol. Yeah, that one's not happening. So I'll settle for finding a good deal. 🙂

  50. Erin MacPherson on September 3, 2010 at 8:24 AM

    >Hi Rachelle! Happy Birthday!! I think your day sounds perfect… you had me at "avoid the computer at all costs". Enjoy yourself!

  51. MJR on September 3, 2010 at 8:22 AM

    >happy birthday!

    that's funny about the Cake Boss because he's in my city…I bought my kids' cakes there for years until he became famous! (fyi–you can come to Hoboken and visit Carlos Bakery, but the line is very long).

    My perfect day is being at the beach by the ocean, with a new book, iced coffee in hand. I plan to do that unless the hurricane comes through…

  52. Cheryl Barker on September 3, 2010 at 7:56 AM

    >Have a wonderful weekend, Rachelle, and a very happy, perfect birthday!

  53. Christine Fonseca on September 3, 2010 at 7:53 AM

    >Happy early b-day!!!

  54. Khanada on September 3, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    >Happy Birthday!

    I do that, too. But I always find that when I DON'T have a plan, that's when my Perfect Day falls apart and I have to cook or something. Sounds to me like you've got a great plan for your day. Enjoy!

  55. Gwen Stewart on September 3, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    >Happy Early Birthday, Rachelle! It's excellent that you're anticipating a Perfect Day. Anticipation is half the fun! 🙂

    My Perfect Day would consist of rest, family, reading and writing, in whatever order strikes me. If I can be in a beautiful location, such as the mountains or the ocean, all the better (I think you've got a lock on the former. Lucky you–I miss the mountains terribly. *sigh*)

    Enjoy your weekend, especially your special, Perfect Day! God bless.

  56. Wendy Paine Miller on September 3, 2010 at 7:22 AM

    >Happy early birthday! 😀

    At Bible study once we were asked this question and I almost choked on my church coffee to hear a response from the other side of the table. A woman said she'd clean her basement. I'm not sure I could be any more on the other end of the spectrum.

    I went on and on about racing around on a boat, laughing with my kids, reading, nuggling with my husband, running, etc. Eating lots of cheese would be nice, too. This is a little dangerous to fantasize about. My mind takes off.

    Anyway, it's your birthday, not mine. Have a splendid day. It is my anniversary on Monday though. Eleven years.

    ~ Wendy

  57. Rose on September 3, 2010 at 7:03 AM


    Happy Birthday! Monday is my hubby's birthday too so this has been pronounced "his birthday weekend"!

    My perfect day would be sitting in a CLEAN house, with all the laundry finished…writing. I know that sounds like work to others but since I work full time and have to fit my writing in around that schedule, the perfect day for me is to have nothing to do but write all day.

    Hope your Monday is special no matter what you do!

  58. Richard Mabry on September 3, 2010 at 7:02 AM

    >Please accept early birthday wishes from the Mabry household. We won't be sending them on Monday because 1) you won't be at your computer, and 2) we'll be resting after being with all my children, their spouses, our granddaughter, and a bunch of other relatives. So Monday will be a day with no agenda–a perfect day.

  59. Andrea Mack on September 3, 2010 at 7:01 AM

    >A perfect day would be to just relax with a good book or even work a little in my writing notebook, with an already cleaned house and no chores waiting for me afterward. But, since I'm a teacher and my class starts Tuesday, Monday I'll be stressing.

  60. Esther on September 3, 2010 at 6:54 AM

    >Happy Birthday!
    My perfect day…sitting out in the sun, reading an awesome book. I'd also love to spend time with my family — but on my terms! Be quiet when I want to read, be excited to be with me when I'm ready to play!
    Yes, yes, very selfish…

  61. Melissa Lee on September 3, 2010 at 6:49 AM

    >Happy Birthday

    My perfect day would start with a delicious and yet low fat, low cal breakfast. My 3 boys would put off fighting, bickering, and snatching for a day, and my husband would discover the joys of meal planning and preparing.

    Will never happen, but I can dream

  62. Nairam on September 3, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    >Happy birthday, Rachelle! I hope you have a blessed one.

    It's already a tradition with my family and some friends of ours to have a LotR movie marathon on Labor Day, so my Monday is already booked, and I'm really excited about that. However, I don't think I'd really call that perfect…

    Perfect would be reading and writing, playing games (maybe even winning a few), watching some home videos, food that's not messy or hard to make, and somehow not being worried about everything I have to do when the day is over. I suppose that's how we're supposed to live every day, but it sure is hard!

  63. Katy McKenna on September 3, 2010 at 5:21 AM

    >A Perfect Labor Day would be to have my daughter call first thing in the morning to say she's IN LABOR and that her dad and I should start our ten-hour road trip to reach her in Indiana, but OH, WAIT!!! I can see the hospital where our first grandson will be born from my HOTEL WINDOW right NOW!!! (We decided to make the drive without the stress of her having contractions….) My grandson is now 3 days overdue, but we're here for the duration. One of these days will be PERFECT, and Rachelle, you could very well have a new Birthday Twin on Monday!!

  64. Jessica Nelson on September 3, 2010 at 5:14 AM

    >Happy Birthday!!! 🙂

  65. Kristin on September 3, 2010 at 4:20 AM

    >Happy Birthday!

    My perfect day:
    Sleeping in
    Chipotle for lunch
    Taking a long run or bike ride
    Cooking dinner from scratch
    Watching TV (saving dishes for the morning =)
    More reading

  66. Aimee L Salter on September 3, 2010 at 3:10 AM

    >Perfect day = Lovely breakfast with hubby and son followed by silent hours alone to write, followed by phone call from Agent Of Choice to offer representation, followed by call from aforementioned Agent with Uber-Publishing deal….

    A girl can dream, right?

  67. James Houston Turner on September 3, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    >Perfect day = cookfest. Go to the Central Market here in Adelaide. Buy fresh ingredients. Go home with my spunky wife and get in our tiny shoebox kitchen – which holds two people…just – and make our favorite meal from scratch. Maybe picadillo enchiladas. Or goat cheese pizza. Or vegetarian curry. Add a nice glass of South Australian shiraz and it's a perfect day. Since it's your birthday, we may even throw in a chocolate zucchini cake. We'll let you know how your piece tasted. Enjoy your perfect day, Rachelle. Cheers from Australia

  68. T. Anne on September 3, 2010 at 1:17 AM

    >~*hApPy AlMoSt biRtHdaY*~

    Decision, decisions, it sounds like it’ll be a great day no matter what you choose! I vote you squeeze a book in there somewhere. Phillipa Gregory has a new one out.

    On Monday we’ll be hanging out by the pool. Then it’s off to enjoy some BBQ with my MIL who is also celebrating her B-day that day.

    Next weekend it’s my turn to be the birthday princess! I plan on hanging out all day and not doing a darn thing. I’m not cooking or cleaning. Let them eat cake. 😉