A Functioning Mutant is a Delegating Mutant

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I have vented a lot on here about my lack of organization, the stress with the house, and so on and so forth. A lot of you have chimed in with amazing ideas and suggestions and encouragement (as usual, because I have the best readers on the internets EVA).

So, I have been tweaking things around here. Little things. And some of it, is actually working. Stuff like…

Child Labor

I force myself to delegate more and more household chores– especially to Eldest who is beyond old enough to start carrying around a bigger load of responsibility. But also to Daughter and Baby. What have I had the kids do? Well on top of the usual things they already do I have had Eldest empty out the dishwasher with the assistance of Baby and/or Daughter. I’ve also had him load it if anything happened to be in the sink while the dishwasher was full of clean dishes. Daughter is now fully responsible for feeding the cat. I made two changes to make sure she could do this easily. 1) I put a plastic cup in the giant bag of cat food so she could just scoop out the food instead of carry and pour it out. 2) I switched the wet food to this stuff by Meow Mix called Pate Toppers. Why? Because the containers are plastic with foil lids that peel right off. Much easier to do, and safer, than the metal cans. Also, the plastic is recyclable. I have them help me fold laundry, especially socks which I hate doing. I aim to clean while they are present and then delegate appropriate tasks. Wiping down surfaces with a Clorox wipe for instance. Cleaning the place mats. Running the vacuum cleaner. Emptying the bathroom trash cans. I have also employed them more often in meal prep– especially breakfast and occasionally lunch and seldomly in dinner or dessert. Eldest is especially good at this one but Daughter is as well. Baby is good at setting the kids table settings and getting cups of water for everyone.

Google Calendar

Where have you been all my life? I have toyed with Google Calendar before but recently I have made it a point to really abuse it and have gone so far as to set it up properly with settings I prefer (Pop Up Reminders FTW) and even shared it with Stallion and set Stallion up with one so I could better track his work schedule which always changes and is a nightmare to keep track of mentally. I still keep a paper calendar in my purse because entering things in my phone is a pain in the booty-bum and my Nexus 7 has a knack for not being in my purse, not having a charged battery, and/or not being in a wireless hotspot when I need to enter a reminder. I also like that I can email events to people as I’m entering them. So, for instance when I updated my calendar to show Eldest’s upcoming Track and Field meet, I also had it dash a quick email to MutantWino, MutantPirate, and MutantDad since they have all shown interest in attending his meets and have even made it to one already.

Prep

I have been working really hard on getting things taken care of ahead of time. I prep lunches the night before, except mine and I don’t know why I do that. I make sure the uniforms are prepped. I put everything that needs to go out the door with us the next day clustered together on the dining table (one day when I’m financially stable, I will be doing some work on my entry so that it is an awesome Home Base area thing). And when I add reminders to my Google calendars, I try and set the time for evening hours– earlier if it’s something the kids need to do and later if it’s something I need to do. I am also prepping food-wise as much as possible. I haven’t really done another formal meal plan but I want to. And I do try and at least somewhat think about what I have food-wise and what to make with it when. On Sunday, I hard-boiled ten eggs and put them in a tray in the fridge so we’d have access to them all week. It’s been a great extra to throw into lunch boxes and my kids LOVE them. It’s easy to do and so this is something I will do more regularly. I have also started purchasing more snack food. I know it’s more expensive to buy the little bags of cookies individually packaged but I am just not going to package them myself. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Grilling

About a month or so ago, my family had another Grand Round of Shuffling Objects. My aunt and uncle were downsizing, Mutant Pirate bought his first home, and Mutant Wino is settling down with a fiancee into a house they will be purchasing from her mother soon so he is expanding. Anyways, things were shuffled around and I ended up with my parents gas grill. I have never grilled anything on a BBQ in my life and now I’m wondering what the hell took me so long (besides cash flow to actually purchase one of course). Almost every single thing I have put on that grill has turned out heavenly (except for the one time I wanted to char the Tandoori chicken I had cooked in the crock pot and then forgot about- doh!) and there are no pats and pans to clean and there is no cooked food smell in the house and I don’t even lose my appetite after cooking! It’s the best thing ever!!! I have made burgers, steaks, fish, even pasta on the thing. It’s fast and it’s easy and it gives me a reason to be outside of the house where I can’t hear the screaming of the children.

Stopped Caring

About the money that is. Sort of. I have been driving myself absolutely crazy trying to keep everything afloat financially. Counting pennies to make sure I have enough to pay this, that, and the other. Hounding Child Support Enforcement. And so on and so forth and then I just STOPPED. I gave up. On everything. I gave up on paying off my debts. I gave up on tracking my spending. I gave up on the idea of ever seeing child support again. I even gave up on the idea of paying every single bill on time. Yup. Just. Stopped. Caring. I recognize this is not a healthy way to live. I know that I cannot and will not sustain this for a long period of time. And I also know the way I was living before was just as unhealthy and just as unsustainable and finally everything cracked and fell apart. Credit cards are loaded up again. I’ve had some late bills I completely forgot about or flat out didn’t have money for. I had a bounced check. I even had one of my accounts cleaned out by credit card fraud. Someone got access to a nasty adult website at the cost of $90 of my precious money. I just felt like the more I kept fighting the money thing, the more ferocious it got. It was like a hydra. Cut off one head and eight more grow back in its place. So I stopped cutting and settled for lamely poking and some lazy dodging. Funny enough, a random child support check for $100 showed up (two days before my $90 was stolen so there you go). Does it mean things will be turning around soon? Maybe, maybe not. Do I care? Not yet, no.

I believe that each of us has limits and that includes limits on the number of things we can consciously dedicated time and energy to. Because life shifts constantly, these things need constant re-evaluation and re-prioritization. Right now, my focus is on 1) Organization, 2) School, and 3) Relationship Strengthening (romantic, family, kids, friends, and with myself). And that is all I can handle in a serious, dedicated, and consistent manner. It’s not that everything else gets thrown to the curb, it’s just that everything else gets handled as well as it can with whatever energy and other resources I may have left after dealing with 1, 2, and 3. As one of those becomes easier to handle and needs less and less of my attention, other priorities can ease up and absorb me some more. But right now, these are three biggies and they win, period end of story.

So, that’s where I am. And that’s where I am going. Thanks again for your suggestions. I have been trying them out here and there and it’s been nice knowing I have such a great team of cheerleading readers. But I’m curious– what do you think of limits as far as priorities go? Do you shift things around constantly or do you stay focused on pretty much the same things all the time? If so, do you find you need to shake things up now and then? Do you know what your limits are? What are you focusing on big time right now?

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Post-Thanksgiving Pre-Christmas Nesting

Home is where the Heart is
Home is where the heart is” by Linda Yvonne on Flickr

It’s a weird time of year for me. Exhausting and exciting. Tiring and titillating. Wearisome and whimsical.

Lately, the condition of my home has really been rubbing me wrong. Every room in the house has a mess in it of varying size and degree. Some parts of the house don’t smell great. Walking through the house is somewhat of an adventure as you’re likely to either run into or step on something if not do both.

Cleaning out for the garage sale was a big help but it wasn’t the complete answer. So I’ve kept at it.

Sometimes, it’s been a very frustrating thing for me. When you have children especially, housekeeping is truly a Sisyphean task. And there have been moments where this sort of realization has smashed into me and left me frustrated and even depressed.

It’s something like I’m moving the fifth load of laundry into the dryer and am suddenly horribly coldly aware I’ve done this four times in one weekend already and I will likely do it again in another day or two. Horrible. Why. Am. I. Doing. This.

And yet there are moments of redemption too. Brief ones. But you have to clutch to those because the other ones will drive you mad.

Moments like this past weekend where I was busting my ass to get my kitchen beautiful again. I mean, I went to bed at 3 in the morning on Sunday, from cleaning the house ok? It’s still not done, not even close, but that’s not the point of the story.

The point is I was working on the kitchen and I was taking things down from the window sill to wipe it down and at first I thought, Why am I even bothering with the window sill? No one cares about the window sill. And then I suddenly sort of changed moods and switched gears. Suddenly I was doing something to give my loved ones a nice home, one similar to what I had growing up.

And that felt good. And that felt like a good motivator. And I rode it till 3 in the morning. And I’m still riding it because I know it’ll (most likely) eventually evaporate.

But I think to counter the eventual feel good vibe evaporation (quite the scientific term, believe you me) I need to ride it long enough to devise a system. Or maybe not even devise but re-implement.

Like (practically) every good female on the internet, I have been seduced by the FLYlady. I’ve toyed with her process and have had varying degrees of success. Mostly I have two big problems with it– it’s not compatible for a single full time working mother of three children and I really just can’t ever finally love housework. I know she says it’s about finally loving yourself but I beg to differ. I just won’t go into it all right now.

The thing is, whether I like her or not, whether I have the time and patience to put her system into effect completely at my house or not, there is one basic part of FLYlady’s system that works– routine maintenance.

My mom is a domestic diva. She is of the old school lineage that truly takes pride in a home’s appearance. I remember the house always being clean, or at least smelling that way. To this day, when my mom brings something she’s laundered at her house, it always smells a million times better than my laundry and it lasts way longer too. My mom has told me, in a million ways, that essentially FLYlady is right. Cleaning your house is something that has to be done every single day. Like brushing your teeth.

You know how you wouldn’t leave your house in the morning without brushing your teeth? My mom believes you shouldn’t go to bed at night without cleaning something in your house, preferably a lot of somethings.

Even though it’s still hard for me to admit it, Mom’s right. And that’s where the program comes into place. I actually had a house I was proud of a while ago. Which is funny because it was also the time I had a body I was proud of and lots of people out there would say it’s not a coincidence.

And the crazy part is this actually happened during a time in my life where I was a single mom.

I’m unhappy with my home and my body these days. They both feel dumpy and frumpy and neglected. But this post isn’t about my body, it’s about the house. So I’m going to start making up my lists of daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. And I’m just going to keep riding the wave into a more standard program of routine maintenance. It worked so well for me once before, I know it can work again. And the kids are older and can join in more ways than they were able  to two years ago.

So that’s where my mind’s been these days. With my home and putting some heart into it. What about you?

By the way, random question but when should I open up Tinsel my Christmas Pig?

Money in the Bank

The Piggy Bank

“The Piggy Bank” by Africa the Gift of God on Flickr

Hi everyone! Welcome back from your weekends. I hope they were overall quite pleasant. Personally, I’m not going to complain. The kids were with their father and I pretty much did little as far as personally productive things go with the following exceptions:

  • I sold two items on Craigslist Friday and took my jar to Coinstar.
  • I went and did some simple groceries at the Farmers Market on Saturday. When I came home, I half-heartedly attacked the hall closet and decided to tackle the box o’ yarn. I’m sort of confused and frustrated with my yarn stash. I have some wonderful gorgeously banded not a mess balls of yarn. But mostly, I have unbanded and messy balls of yarn. Some of these were barely used, some half used, and some mostly used. These had coagulated in a thick knotted mess of yarn that in the end led me to slice off some with scissors. I have no idea how to store these random yarn balls. I want to use them because they are great for small projects which I love to make. But, I’m having difficulties getting an idea on just what to do with them so they’re not a mess. Later, I watched Persepolis (which was freaking awesome).
  • On Sunday, I went to my friend’s house so she could try a new art concept she had for a face painting job (she does really elaborate work and so I was there from 10 AM to after 5 PM). This is the girlfriend of the friend I was doing the Monster Cape for. So, while I was there I finished the cape between breaks and gave it to them for their baby. Photos? Yeah didn’t take any of the cape. They’re going to take some the way they had intended the cape and everything so when they take them, I’m stealing them to share with you. As for the face painting, I’d love to show you but I don’t like the idea of sticking my face on here.

Otherwise, I did very little more than sitting and/or laying on soft surfaces.

So, how have I survived the weekend as far as my spending restrictions? Remember, it looks like I have to adjust down to $500 this month because of the shortages in income from Ex I’m trying to make up for.

Well, Saturday I spent the most money, but the weekend broke down like this:

Friday

No Spend!

Saturday

$55 Gas

$27 Farmer’s Market (Includes the $.50 in the parking meter and the $6 bag of Sorrell I bought my Mom)

$11.15 Fritas (Cuban burgers- lunch for me and the Friend that is a Boy. He didn’t feel well, I didn’t feel well, and it’s Fritas. No guilt.)

Sunday

$1.01 Wal-Mart (ribbon to finish cape)

$11.77 Walgreens (I found a gigantic bin of Goody hair accessories on clearance for $1 each. These are usually $4 – $6, I’ve been looking for inexpensive accessories for ages, and they included some for my little girl. Win!)

Weekend’s Total Spend: $105.93.

MTD Spending Total: $192.83

MTD Remaining: $307.17

I made some money on Friday for the stuff I put on Craigslist for a total of $65. And there was the jar of coins.

Here was the final breakdown the Coinstar machine flashed up on the screen for me:

Dollars: 3

Half-Dollars: 0

Quarters: 194

Dimes: 189

Nickels: 95

Pennies: 773

Total: $82.88

If that doesn’t make you a Piggy Bank for Spare Change convert, I don’t know what will! The tragedy? There was no option for a CVS card even though the website lured me with one. All they had that was kind of alluring was Amazon but really, how many NEEDS would I fulfill with Amazon? So, I ate the fee and took cash– $74.76. I paid Coinstar $8.12 to count my coins. This has me immensely irritated (I know, it’s only $8 but, it’s EIGHT DOLLARS). Next time, I think I will take the Amazon because I can use it for gifts for Christmas and birthdays. But, right now, cash is king and needs are number one so there was that adventure. Congratulations to our closest guess which was (happily) way off! Sharon thought maybe I had $54 in there. Sharon, I’ll contact you for details so I can send you a little gifty.

I did not do any meal-planning this weekend. Which is fine. I’ll be making something fast and easy tonight like Shrimp Tacos and prep tomorrow’s slow cooker meal. I’ve also finally caved in and made an appointment with the doctor. I’m pretty sure my sinuses are completely messed up. They just don’t stop causing me pain and discomfort even though it’s been three weeks I’ve had this “cold”. Off to finish my Monday. Have a good one!

****I just edited my amounts. I added a section to track my Challenge this month on my spreadsheet and apparently, I did the math wrong initially or did something. Good news is I have more money left than I thought. WHEW!*****

Chanting Closets & Other Craziness

It’s been unusually quiet around here this week huh? Sorry about that, work and life have had me pretty busy. I’m trying to make today as slow as possible and am sneaking in a blog break.

So, my kitchen is still divine. Everything has a place, there’s room for things, I’m putting things away as I use them, etc. It’s given me a nice peace and I found an added perk to having my kitchen in such clean and clear order– I instantly find something out of place which lets me know something’s wrong. Like the other night, my Mom almost left without the miniature orchid I’d gotten her. And a few days before that, she left an important piece of paper she had to take with her. Unfortunately this morning, I took a bit too long to get back into the kitchen to see my son had left his lunchbox before they’d left but I noticed it anyways. This clean and organized experience has given me some encouragement and keeps me motivated.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my oldest two kids go home with my Mom who takes my oldest to Karate. It’s around the corner from her house, my brother goes too, and my Dad or other brother are also around to lend a hand. While he’s at Karate, my mom gives my daughter a bath and does her hair. I don’t know why she does this except she’s doing something to help me and also, I get the feeling she too has discovered the soothing qualities of doing my daughter’s hair. They usually get to my house, hungry, at 8 at night. This means Tuesdays and Thursdays, it’s just me and the baby for about two hours. I only have to manage one child. I can’t explain to those who don’t personally know from experience, what a huge difference this is. The house is infinitely more peaceful and I am able to accomplish so much more. So, encouraged by the success in my kitchen and pondering the importance of completing mundane tasks, I got to work. I set a load of laundry to wash, dried it, folded it, and put it away (throughout the night of course). I cleared a ton of stuff from the dining room table (my number one Pile Magnet). I bathed the baby. I put away the four or five loads of laundry I had piled in my room on the ironing table for days now. While doing that, I thought I’d fix up my closet a bit too and pulled out some things to donate.

I also reorganized it into three sections– Work Clothes at the front, Casual Clothes behind that, and at the rear of the closet the Special Occasion clothes I actually wear. While setting up my Work Clothes, it occurred to me there were a few pieces in there that I couldn’t remember having worn in some time. So, I put all of the Work Clothes I’d just hung from the recent laundry to the front of the closet, tied a bright pink ribbon around the rod behind it, and set up the rest of the work clothes after the ribbon. As I wear clothes, I move it in front of the ribbon. In three months, I’ll take a look at what remains behind the ribbon and get rid of it. In South Florida, three months this time of year is a great gauge to the total of our seasons– hot and humid, hot and raining, coldish and raining, or absolutely glorious.

I don’t really love a good amount of my current work wardrobe and as reluctant as I am to spend money on it (or anything else really), I do understand that if I’m jsut wearing the same couple of things every day, I need to ditch what I’m not wearing and get my hands on some things I would wear– even if I do it at Goodwill. By the time I was done, my closet looks pretty sad, honestly. It’s quite empty and I don’t know that it FEELS positive. Right now, it kind of feels like it’s chanting at me, “You’re alone and you’re broke and you don’t do anything exciting!” You know it’s bad when closets chant. But I have to tell you, I prefer this sparse yet mostly organized chanting closet to what I’m about to show you. All I can say is, I promise I will end this post with pretty pictures to make up for what you are about to see. Please keep your fingers close to your eyes so they resist the urge to fall out after bulging as far as they will.

There is a closet in my hallway. It is a big closet as far as cloests go, especially hall closets. In my grandmother’s house, which has the exact same layout as mine, my grandfather converted this closet into a small office in a brilliant manner. This was in his heyday when he was an extremely skilled carpenter and the office really is perfect. Which is why I wanted to do the same. But, my home office is not glorious or even remotely functional. My hall closet looks like this…

Oh my god I can’t believe I’m doing this…

I loathe this closet. Hate may be a strong word, but loathe is stronger and so much closer to the feelings I have towards this closet. Now, here’s the thing. I’ve been reading One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds and I’m supposed to love myself a bit and do my bedroom in February and do the home office in March. I was actually going to stick to that plan. But, I think I was just trying to give myself an excuse. The thing is, my bedroom’s actually not bad at all. The sparse closet should have been a clue to that. I purge my stuff in my bedroom a lot– some times too much. I just don’t have difficulty or guilt getting rid of my things. The rest of my house is much more confusing and there are parts of the house where the thought of de-cluttering is enough to get me agitated (the kids’ spaces are the BEST example). I could honestly get my bedroom, closet, and master bath in absolutely tip-top shape in just a few hours with just a few bucks. And the other thing is, every time I de-clutter a space, I end up having to take stuff to the “office”. Why? 1) There are certain things that naturally belong in an office– my coupons, tax information, legal papers, etc. And because it’s a good-sized closet, I naturally store things like wrapping paper, school supplies, etc. But 2) because of the condition the closet/office is in, I postpone taking anything in there. Nothing has a place, and if it does, it’s not in it because the way to its place is completely blocked with homeless things or other things that can’t reach their homes.

So, I’ve decided I’ll tackle the beast head-on in February. In March I will do my bedroom with the bonus perk that I will reward myself by de-beiging my bedroom walls.

As for February’s big project, I’ve decided I don’t think I want the office in here after all. It’s HOT in there, the sole power source is one of those outlets that are a light bulb fixture with an orange extension cord dangling from it (see Scary Closet 4), and it’s just not very comfortable to sit in. I think this space would be a better place for the office:

The couch is going into the playroom until either my cousin claims it for herself or I sell it for like $30 on Craigslist. So I will have this nice, open space with a window. I will be in the living room next to the sliding glass doors so I will be able to monitor lots of situatuions. I think, if I can get a nice screen of some sort, I can block it off a bit to give it a sense of separation but if not, I won’t die either.

I don’t have internet at home and honestly have no plans to reinstate it any time soon. This means my laptop, the monitor it’s attached to (Ex sat on the laptop, broke the screen, and never replaced it), and the printer are… useless. I don’t want to get rid of the laptop because I will turn the internet on at some point. The scanner/printer has been with me several years but I think it’s time to say goodbye. I know what a modern, wireless, replacement would cost and I’m comfortable paying that– IF the need arises. I’m sure it will as my kids are getting older but I don’t think it’s happening in the next three months for sure, six months most likely, and maybe not even this year.

As it is right now, I need to have the laptop connected to a monitor fot me to be able to use it. To repair the monitor on the laptop is about $300. I’m wondering if I should put the laptop away, get rid of the monitor, and when I’m ready to connect the internet again, budget to repair the laptop. Is this smart or am I being drastic getting rid of everything? It’d be nice to have a clear desk for things like couponing, organizing photo albums, doing paperwork, etc. Plus, now I’d have two desks available for kids to do homework at. The big expense for this half of the project would be a filing cabinet.

The second half of the project is the hall closet! I want to use it for storage but there is a vast array of things I want to store in there. For instance, right now my holiday decorations sit in tupperware boxes in the same type of closet but one that is not accessible from inside the house and has been a good solution except that a few things have gotten ruined from mildew because the humidity is not being kept out (including a paper ornament I made when I was just three years old). Inside, there are things I am storing for memories. I believe the hall closet has access to an attic but, if it’s accessible at all, it’s a crawlspace kind and I have no idea what’s going on up there. I also don’t know if those types of places are good for storing long-term things? They’d also be in those tupperware type of tubs and I could put cedar into the ones that hold fabrics. I need to also figure out a good way to store things I use on a semi-frequent basis. These things include: my yarn and other crochet/knitting supplies, my toolbox, and gift wrapping paper and gift bags. Lastly, there are the items I use on a less-frequent basis like my Ice Cream Maker. I think that’s going to be the heavy expense for this half of the project because it’s just a big closet with clothing rods and one high up shelf.

Note to self: Tupperware tubs do not count as additional shelves.

Anyone have experience with affordable shelving that works well? This lady in the book keeps going on and on about The Container Store and Elfa but they’re EXPENSIVE. I like the idea of taking my yarn out of the plastic tub it’s in now and using cubby shelves to stash it according to color. I also think it’d be pretty useful to have one of these drop-down tables in there so I can do gift-wrapping in there instead of dragging everything out into the living room and doing it on the floor. The dimensions look pretty reasonable and if I couple it with a vertical gift wrap box and a hanging gift bag organizer, I think that’ll solve that problem. It’s the rest of the stuff that gets tricky.

As much as I want to plan for this project ahead of time, the only way to really figure out what I need to store and how I can store it, is to get in there and start. And then, once I’m left with a clear view of what I intend to keep, I need to analyze how it’s going to be used, and take it from there. God, this project is stressing me out already and I still have a week left in January. Let’s change the subject.

Oh, I know! Ex called and told me he didn’t have the rest of the child support for today like he said he would. He said he’d have it next week for sure (sigh) and that he’s sorry and that he doesn’t want to give me a sob story but he hasn’t gotten paid commission in two months, hasn’t paid his rent this month, and is just in a really bad place. I am starting to get very concerned about my Debt-Free plan. My standard monthly bills alone are more than what I make a month. This doesn’t even include groceries, gas, let alone snowball payments. If he is able to only pay me 40% of what he owes me, that makes me break even and includes groceries and gas but still allows for no snowball payments. This is absolutely killing me but I am trying to steel myself, do the best that I can, know that I have my parents to support me (God I feel like a kid saying that)., and am trying to put myself in a situation where the vast majority of child support is “extra”. I don’t know if I’ll meet my debt goals this year because of all of this uncertainty, but I have to keep in mind the garnishment will go into place at some point this year (god willing) and that will give me some sort of stability. Not to mention, with the youngest starting the private school this August, I’ll be losing that daycare cost. And even though I have to use it to pay the registration fees every year ($2700 this year), that’s only equivalent to just under 5 months of daycare.

Note to the childless: DON’T HAVE KIDS IF YOU HAVE MONEY ISSUES. THEY ONLY MAKE MATTERS WORSE.

Wow, I certainly did not mean to follow-up a stressed out note with a more stressed out note. Let’s not close on a downer. To make it up to you, I’ll link you to one of the most intriguing and funny book reviews I’ve read in a while AND post two pictures..

First, I saw this woman today at the train station and loved her outfit top to bottom. I don’t know if I’m brave enough to sport it myself (leggings!) but I can still admire it, especially that glorious, lusty purple bag.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning having a box of Samoas on your desk is very dangerous.

3/52: Weekend Frivolities

Well, I’m back! This whole no-internet-at-home thing is interesting. Yes, it definitely shows me how convenient it can be but it also shows me how my memory fails me when I can pull something up instantly instead of waiting a few days. I was hoping ot provide a well-formed post today but once again, I seem to be in a fragmented mental sort of way. Not that I’m losing my mind or that it’s breaking into pieces, mind you, I’m just having a hard time focusing. Let me give you, if you’d be so tolerable, a recap of my past several days.

Last week, I started working on my kitchen. Not any sort of remodeling project really, just a big clean-out and organize thing. I worked on this project since last Wednesday and finished it officially Saturday night and I’ve somehow managed to keep it spotless. I wanted to take a photo to show it off except it occurred to me that it really wasn’t a spectacular kitchen in general, it’s just spectacular to me. Especially as it has survived the preparation of three dinners, two breakfasts, two lunches, and some snacks. This little endeavor, by the way, has triggered a lot of thoughts on my part and because I’ve had such a heck of a time focusing my brain’s chatter, I haven’t been able to form a complete solid grasp of what I’m toying with here. But, it goes something like this. I am in my late twenties/early thirties and yet I have the exact same difficulty I had in my younger days– mainly a lack of follow-through. The past several months have shown me hints of this in just about every aspect of my life and it’s at the same time frustrating and encouraging. It’s frustrating because, frankly, I feel like I’m too old for this s-bomb. And yet, it’s encouraging because I’m starting to “get” it and I’m starting to see how dramatically this one little behavioral glitch affects everything. And then it’s back to frustrating because oh my god do you really understand how much this lack of follow-through complicates my life? And then it’s back to encouraging because if I’ve identified the problem, surely I can work at fixing it! And then back to frustrating because where in the heck to start? And back and forth it goes and mostly it’s all at once and very distracting.

This little piece of enlightenment came to me from this little book I’ve been picking through called One Year to an Organized Life which I picked up at the library. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I feel like you have to pick through a lot of muckiness to get some gems. The thing is, there are gems. Take for example, the quote that started poking my brain into submission: “Every action has a reaction. if you never complete your actions, it’s like having a thousand golden threads scattered about. Something beautiful could be made from these threads if we could only figure out where the ends were… If you don’t complete the mundane taks in life, you probably aren’t completing the big ones either… It wasn’t really about closing a cupboard door. It was about follow-through and completion. The open cupboard, the food on the counter, and the dirty dishes stacked to the ceiling all represented a lack of caring.” That was the kind of thought that just sat and turned and burrowed and boiled and hummed in my brain. And every moment of every day reinforces it. We are creatures of habit even if on the outside it looks like there are no habits. Everything in our lives is a representation of a decision we have made, even if the decision made was to not make a decision. This is everywhere– in our mundane every day life and our big breakthrough, do it or die moments. I have to force myself to wash the griddle I used to make french toast in when we’re alld one with breakfast. I have to force myself to unload the dishwasher as soon as it’s ready so I don’t pile a thing in the sink. I have to take out the trash. I have to wipe the counter. I have to close the cabinet all of the way and the drawer too. I have to put back what I took out every single time. Ok really? I hear the “DUH” from here people. I get it. I’m a bit late to the Basics of Grow-Upness class. I’m trying though. No, scratch that. I’m not trying. I’m doing it. And that’s not all I’m doing. I actually had a pleasurable and fun weekend and I’m not just talking about Endeavor: Kitchen Organization.

I went to the circus with MutantBaby and his daycare on Friday. We rode on the school bus which was quite the adventure for these toddlers and preschoolers.

And then we got to the arena and watched the big show. I’d never gone to the circus as a child. I only went for the first time a few years ago. I have to say, I’m always impressed. This year, they did my favorite trick which involves a round cage with lots of motorcycles spinning in it. The kids love the animals mostly. I think the clowns are hilarious. Mostly, MutantBaby just sat and stared.

On Saturday, my local Farmers Market opened for the season. My mom met up with us and we went. We munched on yummy snacks, I bought a beautiful climbing rose, and a bunch of delicious food including my favorite thing to purchase at the farmers market: farm eggs. After that, I went and got my tires changed, stuffed my face with awesome Cuban food while I waited, and flew home on my new delicious tires.

But, we weren’t done with the beautiful weekend and on Sunday I piled the car with the kids and their bikes and we met with my family at Oleta River Park. I did a mountain biking trail! A tiny one, but I did one! Actually, I did two. And the kids had a great time. My whole family did, honestly.

After the fun in the park, I realized we were in Krispy Kreme country and sure enough, the red light of sinfully deliciousness was flashing.

There is nothing on this earth quite as amazing as a freshly glazed picked right off the conveyor belt Krispy Kreme doughnut. NOTHING.

On Monday, the heavens decided I’d completely abused the gorgeous weekend weather and punished us with a good soaking all day long which left me with some insanely rambunctions nutcases kids. But, I didn’t really mind because my kitchen was glorious, my Dad was in handyman mode changing lights and things, and I was happily reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

So, there you have it. My long weekend wrap-up. How did yours treat you?

Get it done & why can’t I keep my own rules in place?

Today’s Thursday which means it’s time to run around like a crazy person, or semi-crazy if you’ve done a good job organizing and prepping, and get all kinds of things done today. Maybe you need to do groceries, or drop off lots of stuff at Goodwill, or shop for school supplies, or pick up uniforms, or pick up library books. Whatever your tasks, today’s a day to focus on getting them out of the way. Goodwill is on my list today and I’m toying with the idea of groceries plus I need to put gas in my car (first time since the 4th!). Those last two mean budget-reviewing and, in the case of groceries, sale reviewing, coupon clipping, and list-making.

For some reason, I keep switching my Office from Quadrant 4 to Quadrant 1 and back again. I don’t know if it’s because it drives me crazy so I want to always keep it in focus or what but it does NOT belong to Quadrant 4. That being said today is the last day of Quadrant 4 (Kitchen, Laundry Room, and Play Room) for a few weeks. The play room needs work so I’ll spend time in there after bed time. I’m still working on the bigger project that will replace the lists I make for the Quadrants. If I finish today, I’ll update this post to reflect it. Otherwise, just be patient please 🙂

Towel Toss Today

Not one sheet got changed in my house yesterday. I blame the cold that began appearing yesterday and has slammed into me full-blown over the hours today. I was disoriented yesterday and my harmonious timing went out the window. I got so caught up in dinner (chicken katsu) I completely forgot to start the laundry until it was too late. So, today I have to pay for yesterday’s spacey moment and do a major linen overhaul. It’s ok though, I have a weird adoration of fresh laundry and linens.

Meanwhile, I’m down to the last couple of days in Quadrant 4 (Office, Kitchen, Laundry Room, Play Room). Yesterday I did 15 minutes in the home office despite lots of inner whining. Big difference in there after such little time. That’s the beauty of these little de-cluttering power bursts. The entire time you’re just WAITING for that timer to buzz you to a halt but it just doesn’t come and when it does you’re a little freaked out it took so long to get here.  Today,  I’m going to skip my suggested list of area-related cleaning projects because I have a bigger, better idea in mind. I’d like to work on it tonight if I have the chance but if not, I can promise you’ll see it very soon. Not sure where I’ll end up today for clean up. I’m thinking the laundry room will be nice to work in today and maybe I won’t forget to actually start the load this time.