Monday, August 29, 2011

"Why Don't You Clean Your Room?"

School started up for the girls last Monday (visual evidence follows), and probably not a moment too soon.

One of our best pictures of the two of them

Monkey 1 doing her best 60-year-old librarian look

Monkey 2 looking forward to a bright future full of opportunities that only kindergarten can bring

What happens when you tell the girls to pose

Last Friday, my older daughter reached out to me to help her with a problem she was having.  "I'm bored," she lamented.

I'm not sure if she was actually bored, and if she knows for sure what "being bored" actually means.  It may have been a ploy to get to play Wii, which she had already played her fill of for the day.

Regardless, it brought me back to some of the struggles of my own youth.  Fortunately, my own mother modeled for me how to address cases of bored in children, and I responded in turn to my own daughter: "If you're bored, you can clean your room."

Alas, her boredom was cured, as she quickly found something to do.

It's funny the things that make you realize life is not the same as it was.  Being on the other side of a conversation about boredom provided an exclamation point to a lesson I had learned over the summer: Summer breaks are for students and teachers.  I am neither.  It was about a month into summer this year that I realized this.  "Why do I not seem to have as much time as I did when the girls were in school 5 and 3 days a week, respectively?"

Of course, now I am asking, "What the heck was I thinking?"  I guess I was thinking I was still in school.  More subtly, I suspect I geared myself up for a non-specified shift in my schedule once school let out, but didn't really explain to myself what that shift would mean for me.  My synapses had for many years practiced communicating to the rest of my body that summer is a time for chilling, and these synapses were stirred from their decade-long slumber and started firing on all cylinders.  Now I am breaking the news to them that they are no longer needed.

I'm a bit embarrassed that I didn't properly gear up for the summer.  That said, it was a good summer in a lot of ways.  I DID get some projects taken care of, like landscaping the front bushes.  And I had made it a goal to do at least one "special" thing with the girls each week, be it the zoo, the Magic House, the Transportation Museum, or whatever.  That happened, despite my feeling generally "off" for much of the summer.

Now school is back in session, and instead of classifying the time I have now as "extra time", I want to treat it as "proactive time".  I want to take care of both the things that HAVE to get done--like cleaning and shopping and attending to car accidents--as well as the things that SHOULD get done to enhance the functionality of our household and the endeavors of myself (like blogging).

For starters, here are 6 specific non-negotiable and ongoing goals I have for myself for the fall semester:
1.  Blog at least 2x a week.
2.  Finish landscaping and lawn-tending that needs to take place in the fall.
3.  Sort through the boxes of art that my children have created the last couple of years.
4.  Become social again, scheduling at least one lunch or coffee a week.
5.  Visit the girls' school at least 3x.
6.  Burn at least 3 DVD's of video from our computer so as to erase the data and free up disk space.

There are more, of course.  Many other projects are more of the "one and done" variety.  But these are ongoing, lifestyle-type things, out there for all the world to see.

So my "summer break" has started, but I have no intention of being bored.  And, if I do get bored, I can always clean my room.



  1. Glad you are ok following the car accident, by the way. Any word yet on how that is sorting out? And good luck on your fall goals--I'm going to steal that idea and compile a list for myself...

  2. Hey, Julia--brand new post gives some updates. As far as the logistical stuff, I'm still waiting to hear back from insurance whose fault it REALLY was. Hope your list goes well.

  3. Peter, if you're willing to take care of #5, too, you've got a deal. But yes, let's set something up. Maybe email me what days work best for you.