Speaking of semi-annual posts…

I am in the mood to start writing again. Can’t decide if I will do that on a blog that other people can read (i.e., HERE), or whether the prospect of having an audience for my writing will negatively affect my ability to write freely. And I think that writing freely is what I really need. Could I possibly just write freely here, and not worry about what my 2 readers might or might not like about what I say? Not sure.

What do you think?

😉

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The latest semi-annual post is here!

Hello! I had surgery about a week ago, and am spending time at home “recovering.” That’s about all I want to say for now. 🙂

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My first date with a professional organizer

I have too much stuff and not enough time to sort/process/organize it to my satisfaction. So it sits around in piles on counters, in boxes in our office, and on shelves in closets, driving me and (especially) my husband crazy. But we have an extra bedroom, and it’s been serving quite nicely as a junk room ever since the PC died/we started using only laptops/there was no longer any need for an “office.”

But very soon my mom will be coming to live with us. And that junk room needs to be cleared out so it can be her bedroom. And the guest room, which held any overflow from the junk room, needs to be cleared to be HER junk room! Okay, it’s not really junk, but craft and sewing and hobby supplies. But there is enough of it to require a bedroom of its own. So now I have to deal with all my junk, and quickly. I figured I needed Help.

Yesterday afternoon, a professional organizer came to our house to give me a “free consult.” It was a beautiful thing. Finally, someone was here to help me with my clutter. And not just anyone

This lady:

1) Doesn’t have an emotional relationship (either positive or negative) with my Stuff.

2) Has a lot of experience actually finishing organizing projects.

3) Promises that in exchange for an hour of my time (during which I take her on a show-all tour of my house and its inefficiencies) she will give me a Plan to follow.

4) Will work with me to implement this Plan, and

5) Will hopefully at some point soon tell me how much she actually charges for her services.

So right after I say good-bye to my new best friend, but before I can finish more than one pats-on-my-own-back, it comes to my attention that my husband is not thrilled with any of this. Why not? If we can afford it, why not?

Well, here’s why not:

1) He’s a very private person and doesn’t want a stranger going through our stuff. Don’t even ask if he knows about this blog.

2) He’s suspicious of everyone until proven trustworthy. What is the “catch” here? Free consult = too good to be true. What have I agreed to so far? She probably just wants to sell her own products. Best/worst of all, what if this lady is just casing our joint to plan a future robbery?

3) He was raised to be more frugal than hiring someone to help us organize our stuff, and as a matter of fact…

4) He already knows what to do to organize our stuff and has been telling me that for years.

What?!? My own spouse has the answer to my lifelong issues with disorganization? Why haven’t I listened to him before?? (Too late to address reservations #1 & 2.) Turns out it’s because his solution involves me delegating more household work to him and the kids. And I am terrible at getting other people to do work. I’d rather just do it myself than deal with the whining and complaining. And you should hear the KIDS! (*ba-dum-POW!*) But seriously, folks, I am a bit of a dishrag, or a doormat, or whatever dirty/limp/underfoot kind of object you want to imagine. So I have made attempts at delegating work before, but somehow it never stuck.

But this time was different. Why? What finally changed?? Again, I prefer to answer these imaginary-questions-from-the-imaginary-audience in list format:

1) I’m pressed for time and have to get things done before my mom’s stuff arrives from the East Coast, a full month before she actually arrives. And I do my best work for a deadline.

2) Though I may be a slow learner, eventually things do sink in. Usually this happens right after Someone Else tells me the same thing that hubby has been saying for years. (Gee, I can’t understand why that annoys him so much.)

3) He used a great metaphor to explain my situation. Some might call it a cliche; I prefer to think of it as a “classic.” He pointed out that the reason I can’t wrap my brain around all that needs to be done at home (and then get my body to follow through on my brain’s ideas) is that I’m too busy doing the work that’s right in front of me. In other words, I “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Ha! That’s so true! And here’s one I thought of: “The title of Manager doesn’t mean so much when you are also the only one doing any of the work.”

So I made up a preliminary chore chart, with which I relinquished all responsibility for feeding the dog, taking out trash, putting away other people’s laundry, and emptying the dishwasher. Oh, and dinner one night a week is all hubby’s doing, including planning and obtaining the groceries for said dinner. The People must also help entirely clear the table after meals, not just bring out their own plates and cups. And hubby will teach the kids how to load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher.

O.M.G.!!! (Another oldie but goodie.) I could not believe the amount of mental energy that I gained almost immediately, just knowing that I wasn’t responsible for everything anymore. All the work on that chore chart is being done now because it is someone else’s responsibility, and not because they are (apparently) doing me a huge favor. In the short time the chore chart has been in effect, I have done tremendous things around here. My executive functioning got a major boost. I have ideas and I am calmly implementing them while other people do some of the work I used to do.

Oh, don’t get me wrong: if the organizer is at all affordable, I will still hire her. And my husband will deal with it, because I believe it needs to be done, and doesn’t he want me being in charge of things around here? What I really mean is that his idea was totally great, and I’m (as usual) kicking myself that I didn’t listen to him sooner. But I still have a deadline to meet, and more importantly I want to Be Done With Constantly Trying To Get Organized and get on with my life.

So hurry up and email me, organizer lady! Let’s have a second date and see where this takes us!

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Spring Break ain’t what it used to be

Well this week has been Spring Break for my 1st grader, which means my preschooler got to stay home too. And my husband took the week off to be available to do something like take the kids skiing, but they weren’t interested. Seems our trip to Snoqualmie several weeks ago (for tubing) cured them of the need for snow.

So the kids’ lack of interest in anything but playing at home + several playdates cancelled due to illnesses + my husband’s discovery of an addictive soccer game for his iPhone = a whole lot of unstructured hanging out. Hey, maybe that’s not such a bad Spring Break after all.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, having everyone home all week puts a major cramp in my usual weekday style! But I did manage to get a lot of things done. Here are some highlights:

1. Finally dyed Easter eggs, albeit several days after Easter had passed. Nobody seems to care, but I could really use some help eating the egg salad this week.
2. Spent a large portion of our tax return registering the kids for various summer camps. Big relief to get those decisions and arrangements made though.
3. Ooh! Ooh! Got rid of the queen sized bed that we won’t have room for in less than a month when my mom’s “stuff” arrives. (She’s moving in with us!)
4. Moved the computer desk into my room (again making room for Mom), which has been on my to-do list for approximately 3 months. And don’t look at the floor where the desk was, because everything that was on the desk is now on the floor there. But the desk has been moved!
5. Boxed up some summer clothes so they will not gather dust and/or periodically fall from the top closet shelf onto my head. Well, I suppose they could still fall, and this time accompanied by a box. But they won’t be dusty! 🙂
6. Watched in horror as my girls tried to sing and dance along with the Alvin & The Chipmunks version of Beyonce’s Single Ladies. ‘Nuf said.
7. And hey! I got a blog post done!!!

Better quit now so #7 won’t be a lie. And if I’m really good, #8 will be catch up on laundry, but I’m certainly not promising anything.

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Monkey business

This morning M. has the first of 3 performances in her all-school play version of Peter Pan. She is a monkey. According to her, nearly every other girl her age is a Comet or a Starlet. Judging by the pout through which this information has been conveyed to me, this is a horribly unfair situation. She is worried about people laughing at her. Why would people laugh? Did I mention that she is a monkey who does cartwheels across the stage? (Can’t remember if this happens before or after the raccoons dance with “jazz hands”) Anyway, the whole concept of “comic relief” is not one that’s easily explained to (or subsequently embraced by) a seven year old girl who has been cheated out of her chance to be a Comet or Starlet (or an even cuter animal* like a kitty.)

         *based on the informal Relative Cuteness of Animals scale generally understood by 7       year old girls

There were so many kids signed up for the play this year that the Comet and Starlet group could not accommodate all the first graders. So she was assigned to the “Animal Menagerie,” as the various beasts are collectively referred to in the script. At the first rehearsal, the director asked the as-yet-unspecified Animals to “raise (their) hands if (they) can do cartwheels!” M. is in gymnastics and practically does cartwheels in her sleep. As soon as she and the other cartwheelers had been identified, they were all assigned to be monkeys. Whoa! That’s not exactly bait-and-switch, but something akin to it, right? Right??

Until yesterday, I thought she really had been somewhat tricked into her monkey role. She worried about it a lot for the first few rehearsals, then seemed to make peace with it. Now, as the time for the performance has drawn nigh, the fears are surfacing once again. And NOW I find out that she actually did have a chance to change roles, to be a different animal. But she chose not to. So the angst she has about her part is all the more painful, because she chose this path and it’s too late to change it now. Despite many complaints, her mother has not offered to rescue her from her fate by letting her opt out of the performances. (My mother would be proud, since she feels I might have better served had she not rescued me one too many times from my lack-of-responsible-actions in my youth.)

Now of course I think she is a beautiful girl who does fabulous cartwheels, and that a girl like that need only have confidence in whatever she is doing to have “buy-in” from the elementary division of the Cool Police. But never having had that confidence in myself as a child, I definitely relate to her concerns. And I understand that my “words of wisdom” might seem as irrelevant to Her Truth as fashion advice from a baboon.

So I am just crossing my fingers that she will do a great cartwheel, not trip on the stage anywhere, and live through the rest of her school day with a growing suspicion that maybe the other two performance won’t be so bad after all. Now, about E. having to wear a scratchy face mask and piggy nose for her school play tonight… 😉

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Launched a new blog!

Dear reader(s),

If you are reading this within a week of me writing it, you have probably already been told about my new blog “Talk About Stories.” I’m giving you ONE guess as to what it’s about. I’m already outlining the information I want to include, eventually, on that blog. And I’m reading the latest WordPress for Dummies in hopes of turning that blog into something that functions like a “real” website. 

So I’m wondering how much time I should spend planning and such before surfing the web to see if someone else has already thought of Exactly The Same Thing!!!!! Yikes! Well, if so, I can get back to my regularly scheduled programming. But this is definitely more exciting than any other ideas I’ve had in awhile.

The book business is okay, but probably going to slow down since I came up with the blog idea. I did sign up to be an Educational Consultant with Usborne Books & More, which means I can sell to schools and libraries, and hold book fairs or other fundraisers. I need to do more training first, but I have a book fair at my younger child’s preschool tentatively planned for early May. I am also thinking that I will eventually want to have a blog dedicated to my book selling also. Then I could post my own reviews, pictures, links, etc. to help potential customers understand what they might buy. So far I’ve gotten half my sales through the e-commerce site I lease from the company. So providing more service to people who buy online, without getting to thumb through the books first, seems like a good idea.

Perhaps it’s because I keep piling on new projects, but it’s been really busy lately! Both of my kids are doing school plays this week, and I think we are all looking forward to being done with rehearsals. Hubby and I are about to refinance our home loan, which has been involved quite a lot of “busywork” on my part. Meanwhile hubby stopped his allergy shots (per his MD’s recommendation; after years of treatment) and had a big ole’ recurrence of miserable allergy symptoms this month. So he’s spent a lot more time than usual on the couch with his head under a blanket while the rest of our lives go on around him. It should get better soon, just because March is always the worst. (And YES, he will be restarting those allergy shots ASAP.)

Oh yes!!! And for those who didn’t know (which is none of you, as I write this) my MOM is moving out here in June! She’s going to live with us, and I’m excited about that. It is going to be a good thing. And if it’s not, she’s move somewhere else in about 6 months. (That’s our plan! We have already talked about this.) So helllooooooo, extra child care! haha Seriously, my mom is awesome. She can pick up from school, do crafts, mend, teach us to sew, help with homework, be an audience for impromptu performances in the playroom, and so on. She’ll even let the dog out to do her business, though there’s no guarantee how soon the dog will be let back in. 🙂

So this is enough for now. I’ve spent enough time typing today already. Must. Do. Dishes.

Later, tater!

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