Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Plan

There is a pile of boxes in my living room. They are filled with filled with "stuff". I'm trying to keep them fairly organized: one is full of bathroom items, another with figurines, several smaller ones have books in them and a few have clothing. No, I'm not moving, and no, I'm not taking them to Goodwill. At least, not yet.

The boxes are filled with things that belong to my children. Last weekend they informed me that I was living like a slob and they were going to put me on a show like "Hoarding: Buried Alive" or "Project Organization" or something like that. Apparently they're worried about all the things in the bedrooms that are put there whenever we have company. They admonish me and tell me I need to get myself organized. It bothers me when they do that.

I actually think I AM organized. It's just that I have a lot of stuff and not enough places to put them. And I’m busy working so I’ll have money to do the things I want to do. When I take the time to clean, I don’t have time for my hobbies. But I suppose stuff has to go. So I have a plan. I am going to pack up everything that doesn't belong to me. I will put everything that belongs to a daughter and put it all in boxes. The boxes will either be taken to their respective homes, or to Goodwill.

I began to work this plan this week. I started with the bathroom - in no time, a huge box was filled with curling irons, brushes, lotions, perfumes and makeup. Then I went to the dresser in what I now use as my sewing room. I filled another box with journals, hair accessories, and more makeup. During my husband's favorite tv show (which I can't stand), I filled a box with books. And now there are a half dozen boxes in the living room, ready to be moved either to another house, or to a charity.

Hopefully this trend will continue. Maybe when my stuff is organized my kids will allow me to create in peace. More later.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Father's Day

I’ve written a lot about my own father, so for this Father’s Day I decided to write about the dad in our house, the father of my children. He's a loving dad, but slightly unconventional. He’s the father of five, and grandfather to seven.

When our kids were small, he helped out a little - within certain parameters, because he doesn't like to get outside his comfort zone. Once they got to the point where they could talk and use the bathroom, he was more at ease. He has a rather relaxed style of parenting, which at times frustrated me, but his love for his kids was never in question.

We've had a rather unusual partnership as far as sharing parenting tasks. Since he got home from work about three hours before me, he usually cooked dinner. So our kids grew up thinking that cooking was a man's job. Fortunately, they both like to cook now. Cleaning is not something I like to do either, but somehow they both seem to be able to keep up with it better than me. I don't mind living with a mess, but he does. So now that the kids are all out of the house, I have a room for my glorious mess, and he has a room with absolutely nothing but his bed and dresser.

It will be interesting to see what kind of parenting style they inherit. He's not exactly TV material, but we know he loves his family, and we can't ask for much more.

So here’s a Happy Father’s Day to my unconventional hero.

Goals Update:

I haven't been able to write outdoors like I planned. Between the weather and my awful work schedule, outdoor writing didn't happen. But I did find a great website that challenges me to write 750 words a day. So far I've kept up for three days. We'll see how long that lasts!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summertime Laziness

I’ve always been a procrastinator. I guess it’s normal to put off doing things you don’t really like to do, but lately it seems I’m having trouble getting ANYTHING done. And it’s not because I’ve been outdoors soaking up the sun. Actually, sunbathing would probably be more productive than what I’ve been wasting my time doing.

I have good intentions. Mom’s pants need shortening, and I have several sewing projects that need finishing. So I got my machine out. That’s as far as it got. I have hats that need bows on them, so I got out the ribbon. It’s still on the hutch. I have a story I want to finish, so I opened up my laptop – and played computer games.

So I have all these projects here, partially done. Why am I having so much trouble finishing what I’ve started?

I guess I could use my hectic schedule as an excuse. When I get home from an eight-hour shift, I’m pretty tired. And there are distractions. The television is on most of the time that my husband is awake. For him, it’s background noise. For me, it’s something to watch – and when I watch I’m not motivated to do anything else.

With the great weather we’ve had lately, I wondered what would happen if I took my work outside. We have a three-season porch, and there’s this nice glass-top table and comfy chairs where I can set up my sewing machine or my laptop. I can be outdoors, breathing in this fresh air while sewing or writing. I can still get online, if I get this “need” to play Scrabble, or Boggle, or Solitaire.

There are a couple of advantages to this. One is that I’m away from the television when I’m trying to write. Without the aural distraction, I can write more - hopefully. The second advantage is the kitchen is farther away, so it takes more of an effort to get something to munch on! And third, when I’m freezing because my husband’s thermostat makes him turn the air conditioning so low, I don’t have to bundle up in long pants and a sweater.

There are a few negatives. When the sun goes down, I can turn on the light, but it’s not a good light to work in, so I need to come back inside. Also, even if this idea works, I’ll have to make other arrangements when cold weather comes. I guess then I’ll have to make myself a “Girl Cave” like my friend Andrea.

I’m going to try setting up shop on the porch for a few weeks and see if my productivity goes up! Wish me luck.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Changing Faces

Things change. It’s a fact of life. Everyone knows it, and we expect it. Still, it seems when we leave a place and return later, we’re taken by surprise when we actually see the changes. This week I experienced that surprise twice. Both experiences involved schools in my life.

I heard through a former teacher that the elementary school I attended was closing down due to budget cuts in the district, and on Wednesday there was an open house for past and present students, parents, and staff. I picked up my mom and we went to the little building where I started my school life. The outside of the building looked the same, but the inside was so different. How did we ever operate without computers? A scrapbook in the gym had old newspaper clippings and PTA programs printed out on blue ink from the old “ditto” machine. The hallways were the same, but the classrooms had been updated. I saw a few familiar faces – more deeply lined, framed by hair much lighter than I remembered.

Yesterday I went to a retirement party for a former colleague at the school district where I spent 28 years as a teacher. The gathering took place in the administration building, which had been rebuilt since my time there. That was a change I expected. The boardroom was decorated to reflect the colorful, energetic personality of the kindergarten teacher who was now stepping down to pursue other interests. There were unfamiliar faces, which I also expected. After all, I’ve been retired five years, and people come and go. But it was surprising to see the number of faces I didn’t recognize.

What is it that makes us expect things to stay the same when we’re not there, when we’re able to accept change when it takes place in front of us? Some change is good – my friend will now have time to invest in his antiquing business, and at least one younger teacher will have her job because he’s leaving. Some change is sad – the kids who attended South Godwin Elementary will have to go to a different school in the fall. But they will cope, and continue to learn in a new place.

And I will continue to be surprised and amazed at the changes, both good and bad.