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Incentive to clean

Cleaning meme My house is normally clean and tidy, well, fairly clean and tidy, I do have a teenager and many pets living here after all.  So, on a normal day my house is looking pretty good. The exception to this is when I am involved in a project, and since I’ve been involved in nonstop projects since last June my house has been in various states of crazy for a year now. My usual approach ends up being me concentrating all of my focus to the project while neglecting most of the house cleaning in favor of getting the project down in as little time as possible. On paper that sounds great but it really isn’t feasible. Projects are inherently unpredictable, little things that should take just a few minutes end up taking ten times as long, Murphy’s Law at its most devious. The delays add up and ultimately screw up any chance of making a schedule and sticking to it. Of course, this means that the project isn’t getting that much closer to being finished and the house still isn’t clean. It definitely starts getting a little overwhelming.

The current problem with this system is that my daughter’s BFF is visiting from Hawaii and I’ve got to get this house under control. Last June, we started transitioning her room from Disney Princess cute to Geek Girl Eclectic. We painted the room, I built a loft bed but there was sorting and a few other things to finish. I also needed to get the rest of the house back in order. Nothing like company coming to accelerate my cleaning schedule. Yikes!

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No problem…

calendar multiYou know how you decide to do something but you’ve got a couple of months to get it done and you’re thinking, no problem.  Then suddenly you look up and that day is looming?  Yeah, that day for me is tomorrow.  It’s a little craft project that I could have been working on while I watched TV in the evenings.  I’ve been wrapped up in my redecorating project though I just didn’t do it.   I kept thinking, I’m almost done, I’ll just concentrate on getting this done and then I’ll move on.  Big projects like these take time and usually about twice as long as you estimate so I should have known better.

Now, I am not only still behind on my redecorating project but also feeling guilty because I didn’t get this crafty stuff done.  It’s for a teacher friend of mine and school starts tomorrow.  Hopefully I can get them in the mail by Tuesday.  Here’s hoping…

 

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No problem, oh sure…

Camp NaNo 2014-Participant-Vertical-Banner blueSo July was supposed to be the month where I got my act together.  Camp NaNo started July 1st and I had come up with a fabulous idea to help straighten out a particular issue with my work-in-progress.  A short story or novella would be the perfect way to get my characters to my fictional town and a fun way to kick off the series.  Two birds, one stone, how could this not turn out awesome?

I had already signed up with Camp NaNo setting my word count at 30,000 words.  I figured 1,000 words a day would be pretty easy.  During NaNo in November, I write 2,000 words a day so 1,000 words should be no problem.  In the first few days it wasn’t a  problem, in fact I didn’t get started until about July 6th and I was writing 1,500 words each day to catch up.  It was going well, I was excited about two new characters that I’d added that filled in some gaps in the backgrounds for other characters.  I’ve been using Scrivener for a little over a year now, not consistently but I finally feel like I’d gotten a good feel for how to use it and had even spent some time setting up character and location templates  I was really feeling positive about how it would all turn out.

Dust storm

Dust storm hitting Phoenix. July 3, 2014

It was all good, my word count was on track and then we had a monsoon storm.  I live in Arizona and we have these nasty storms in the summer that start with a wall of dust blowing across the Valley of the Sun with high winds often followed by torrential downpours.  Sometimes we get dust and some wind and just enough rain to make the windshields on our cars really spotty.  This time though it was bad, thunderstorms with high winds and microbursts that hit several areas east of Phoenix.  Unfortunately, we live east of Phoenix and lost a good chunk of one of the trees in our front yard.  We were watching from our front porch and half of the tree had folded down on itself.  My husband went out and moved his car since the wind was blowing in the direction.  A few minutes later the wind wooshed in from the opposite direction and folded section broke free and fell into the street.  We waited about ten minutes and although it was still blowing out, the crazy wind has subsided.  We really wanted to get the tree out of the street it wasn’t quite dark yet but we could see it being a potential hazard.  We live about four houses from the main turn into our subdivision, in the dark I wasn’t sure if that was adequate distance for someone to see it in their headlights and safely react in time.  We were able to push and pull it into the yard and out of the street but at one point I slipped on the wet grass.  I fell straight back onto my tuchus and stupidly put my hands down as I fell.  I was laughing before I landed knowing how I looked, scared Sully have to death.  What I didn’t know though was that I had severely sprained my left wrist, I guess the adrenaline overpowered the pain.  About an hour later, I was nearly in tears, I got some ice on it and it started feeling a little more normal.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am not sure which, I have a lot of experience with spraining my wrists, and in fact dislocated the left one when I was in high school.*

I ended up wearing a stiff, immobilizing brace during the day and an Ace bandage while I slept.  There is no good angle in a wrist brace in which you can type, honestly the same goes for the Ace bandage.  I tried different scenarios with my laptop; on my desk propped in various angles, on my lap, on a bed tray, knees up, knees down.  There just wasn’t an angle that would work with the wrist brace that didn’t put the other wrist in a weird uncomfortable position.  I finally gave up and started writing in a notebook.  My word count when I got injured was about 16K so at least I was halfway there.  I remember from previous years that many people write their stories out by hand and how they should proceed to validate their word count.  I used the easier method, I counted the words on three of my handwritten pages to get an average word per page, I probably should have done more but after three my patience began to wane, a lot.  Anyhow, I took the average and multiplied it by my total number of pages.  Somehow I had met my word count and I was able to ‘win’ Camp NaNo.  Yay me!Camp NaNo 2014-Winner-Facebook-Profile

Today was really the first day that I’ve able to type without any pain on my wrist.  I know, it’s not a huge thing but when you’re supposed to be writing it’s terribly inconvenient.  This weekend I’ll have to type up all of the scenes and notes and get them organized into Scrivener.  Hopefully, once it’s all typed out I will still have reached my word count goal.  Of course, the chances of me typing straight from notebooks is very slim, the urge to edit as I go will be really strong.  It’s probably best if I just stick to my original figures and not dwell on matters that were out of my hands.  In the past I’ve always managed to reach my word count.  This time it was in a different way and I can live with that.

Happy writing!  See you next week.  🙂

 

* Yes, I dislocated my wrist and in the most stupid way possible.  I was on the softball team my sophomore year, and while I’d love to tell you that I sprained it hitting a home run or sliding into home scoring the winning run, that is so not the case.  During practice after school we were waiting for the coach or something, all I remember is that we were all standing around.  Several days earlier some of us had been talking about stuff and somehow I mentioned that I could do a cartwheel on a straight line.  So while we were waiting someone suggested that I do a cartwheel on the chalk line.  No problem, I do that all of the time.  I’d shown people all over the place, sidewalks, bleachers, lines in the parking lot, curb stops in the parking lot.  For whatever reason that day when I did my cartwheel it really hurt my wrist.  Whether I dislocated it then or just sprained it and then further injured it during practice.  And yeah, you’d think I would have mentioned the hurt wrist and stayed out of practice but I couldn’t tell my coach, ‘oh hey, I can’t practice I hurt my wrist doing a cartwheel..’  Super responsible, right?  I still can’t imagine having that conversation.  I had to have my wrist taped up for the rest of the season.  So much fun…

 

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It’s about time…

It’s Tuesday and that means that Sully is working in the office today.  Work has been a bit stressful for him over the last few weeks.  Every year his company threatens lay offs and everyone freaks out between September and December.  It’s a bit ridiculous how they use fear to control I mean, motivate the employees.  It doesn’t help that every year they host a huge employee retreat in Hawaii.  Supposedly it’s to reward people for sales and other accomplishments but it’s the same people every year.  This year they didn’t even try act like they were taking the top people.  Usually the top person from each area is invited, this year, they combined the top people from three areas and picked one name.    

So every year, either right before the retreat or right after they get back the lay- off talk starts.  About the same time each year, they shuffle around the bigwigs, some go but most of them just get a new title.  The whole thing is frustrating.

Sully came home annoyed, their whole group is giving up a telecommuting day.  It’s a bummer because it means we will be spending more money on gas and lunches.  It’s not a huge amount but the 25 mile one way trip adds up. 

The cost is a bummer, for sure but the real issue is the time.  Sully and I really treasure the time we have together and his being able to telecommute several times a week is one of the best things about his job.  We know firsthand that life is unpredictable and time is fleeting.  You never know what tomorrow will bring and that you have to make the most of now.  Nobody looks back on their life and thinks ‘I wish I had worked more.’   We are confident that we will be able to look back and feel comfortable that we took advantage of the time given to us together.  My parents met when they were 14 years old and got married at 22 and were happy until my mom passed at the age of 65.  Sully and I didn’t meet until I was 30, we both kind of feel like we have a lot of time to make up.

It’s just more incentive for me to write my book so he doesn’t have to worry.

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Too many steps…

It drives me a little batty that I can never just get up and do something for me.  It seems like every time I plan on doing something for me there’s a list of tasks that I have to do first.  For example, earlier tonight I wanted to go do my Shimmy workout.  I got up to go in the other room, Sully had just started watching a movie trailer and stopped to watch, halfway through the trailer I left to get started.  I got the DVD player on and then realized that our mostly blind Labrador followed me into the other room.  That means I would spend the next half hour with him bumping into me.  Logically, the alternative is to let him outside, but this means that I have to let the other dog in and crate him.  So, five minutes later I finally got to start my workout, five minutes after that the dog I let out started barking.  I made him wait until a break in the workout to let him back in, it really makes me crazy.

Honestly, I realize that half the time the delays and extra tasks are my own doing.  I get up to turn on the dryer and I realize that I need to dump the trash and feed the cats their canned food, oh and since I am in the hall I might as well grab my craft stuff.  It’s good that I can and do multitask but I’ve got to just get stuff done and finished.

Overall, today was a good day.  My friend, ‘Tia’ needed us to watch her daughter ‘Lilo’ today and tomorrow.  Lilo is almost five and quite cute inside and out, we had a lot of fun.  Sully stated at the end of the day, “boy, she’s a pip.”  Boo had a lot of fun and got a glimpse of what it would be like to have a little sister.

Day 7

 1.  Water –  3 – 24 oz. tumblers

2.  Shimmy –  Episode 7 (grapevine traveling step, head slides and hip circles)

3.  Writing  –  Notebook re-org

4.  Exercises – Arms workout and stretching

5.  Project –  Great room (20 minutes)

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Multitasking…

Multitasking is a way of life when you are a mom, help with math homework while folding laundry, wash off kitchen counters while dinner is heating up on the stove, write a blog post while testing spelling words and those are just a few examples.   I do this all day long with a few quiet moments thrown in between periods of perpetual motion.

I have been multitasking since I was a kid watching TV while I did my homework.  As I got older it just got busier, TV, homework, talking on the phone.  By the time I was in college, I was working full time and taking a full schedule of classes, I think chaos was the best way to describe life then.  I left before the sun came up and came home after it set, it was a little crazy.  I had moments of calm, like right before a big exam when I had no choice but spend three or four hours in the library or at the kitchen table pouring over my notes and textbooks.

The thing I am noticing now is that I wonder with all of the multitasking if I have lost the ability to focus on one thing at a time.  The last few days I have been concentrating on finishing one thing at a time and it’s driving me crazy.  I don’t know if it’s the lack of sleep or the out of control allergies but I get all twitchy and fidgety.  My attention span sometimes feels like it’s about ten seconds long, and that is not normal for me.  The chances of me getting a half hour much less three or four uninterrupted hours are about equal to me winning the lottery.  Still you would think I could hold on to a fifteen to twenty minute span of time and get some serious ass kicking work done.  Not so much, it seems.  My brain wanders to the million other things that I need to be doing instead of the task at hand.  

I know I can’t stop multitasking but I need to work on the focusing too.

Note to self… Schedule 15 minutes of uninterrupted focus time every day.

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Making up for lost time…

Can you believe I am still packing up Christmas decorations?  Ugh, I can’t and I can see them cluttering up my garage!  Not last week but the week before I decided that I’d had enough of the decorations in the house.  I did a massive search and seizure operation on the house, packing up as much as I could and moving all boxes and what was left out to the garage.  My plan was to use the garage as a final staging area to sort and get the last stuff packed up.  And, of course, that was supposed to happen last week.  Guess what didn’t happen last week?  Ding ding ding!  Yep, you got it!

So, Monday was a holiday and we’d had a friend of Boo’s stay for a sleepover the night before.  We went to the zoo and carried out the kid transfer there.  By the time we got home I was sore and exhausted from all of the walking (and hills) at the zoo.  Working on the garage didn’t even occur to me.  Tuesday I actually got quite a bit done with organizing and stacking the boxes that were already packed.  Wednesday I had big plans.  I even announced, “hey, I am going to go out to the garage for a little while.”  As usual, something else happened and I never made it out there.  Thursday I wasn’t feeling well and talked myself out of sorting.  Friday through Sunday we were busy doing weekend stuff.

Here we are, heading into the third week of January and my decorations aren’ t put away and I haven’t started my spring cleaning.  It’s making me a little crazy.  (Ok, Faith, I heard that.   Fine, it’s making me crazier than I started, ok?)  I need to organize the cabinet under the sink in the bathroom.  My clothes on the shelves in the closet need to be refolded.  I have drawers that need to be reorganized.  I have papers to file and files to go through… the list goes on.  

Oh man, a list.  I need to go make a list…