Thursday, September 6, 2007

Closing thoughts...but stay tuned!

So my deadline of August 17th has come and gone and, as predicted, now that I am back at work for the first time since the birth of my daughter (and as a first year teacher no less) I am too busy to give any thought to the parts of my to do list that didn't quite get finished. I am, however, very proud of myself for having accomplished my goal of 30 items in the 45 days that I had left to me (including getting a job!) and many things got taken care of that would otherwise still be languishing undone otherwise. So, a big thank you to Laura and Lori for inspiring me to get off my rear and get moving! :) Also, although I did not set up a specific reward for myself at the beginning of my list, I have since decided that I deserve another massage for my hard work. Since Laura also gave me a pedicure as a graduation gift, perhaps I can get both of them at the same time. Now, when to go... ;-)

Instead of my crazy to do list, my life has shifted to other pursuits. Specifically, work, but also, now, finding balance between work and family and, even some private personal time. How will I do this? Well, I have some ideas! Stay tuned to find out what I am cooking up for the future of my blog...

Monday, September 3, 2007

#30 and beyond...

Well, now that noone is reading this blog anymore since I have sort of dropoed off the face of the earth, I wanted to write an update of my task list. My goal, when I started this list and blog, was to complete at least 30 things before I started my teaching career. I knew that I was going to be drowning as a first year teacher and that there were things that needed to get done around my house that I had just never gotten around to. Thus, the list was born. Unfortunately, it grew way over 30 items as I continued to find things that I wanted to get done or have done and it started to go beyond what I had originally meant for the list to be, that is, items I would take responsibility for and could do on my own. This was supposed to keep me from nagging my husband so much about stuff he needs to do around the house. But, as my list grew, he became an essential part of it.

Here are the last things I accomplished on my list:

#30 - Put door knob covers on everything! With my 15-month old daughter who is the height and weight of a 3 year old, she can easily reach door knobs. Learning how to turn them is not far behind.

#31 - Go on another date with my husband - we managed (finally!) to get out to see Harry Potter 5.

#32 - Get Katie's 1-year pictures taken - We used a local photographer that we liked very much and are mostly happy with the pictures. These were taken awhile ago but I didn't originally list it as finished because I wasn't really happy with the pics to start off with. I have a long and annoying history with bad pictures. This particular day was one of the 103 degree days this summer and poor Katie was hot and miserable and unhappy the whole time which made it impossible to get a good family picture (one of the main reasons I wanted to do this). Plus, she looks like her head was dumped in a mop bucket because it was so hot. Anyway, there are some good ones so I am listing it as done and I am just dealing with my annoyance at yet another bad picture day. I have very mixed emotions about it and it's just a very personal thing.

#33 - Put together Katie's one year panorama - I ended up not being able to do this at all. We had a frame from JC Penney that had a spot for a picture for each month from birth through 1 year that we bought way back when I was pregnant. At the time, I had never seen anything like it before and bought it on the spot. Later, when I found that there were other frames available that I liked much better, I wanted to buy something different but they were $50-$75 and that was out of our price range. The othe picture frames used pictures that were more like wallet sized but the JC Penney frame used small oval pictures, closer to what you would see in a locket. This required Jim's skills. He scanned the frame and edited some pictures and put them all on one 8x10 sheet that would fit into the frame properly. It took some working but it turned out fantastically in the end. We need to get another print of it in matte because the glossy is sticking to the front of the frame but otherwise this is done.

#34 - Fix the bonus room door and the pantry door - These were two doors in our house that wouldn't shut properly. Since the bonus room is not babyproofed and the pantry can be climbed, it was important to fix those doors so that the doorknob covers would be useful in preventing Katie's entrance. Jim has now fixed them. Hurray! Years of broken doors and he fixed them both in under an hour. Little did I know or I should have made him do it years ago... ;)

#35 - Declutter and babyproof the den and the living room - Okay, so these have sort-of been done for awhile. But not really. And the den is sort of a redo since Katie has been playing inthe den forever. it was more of a higher level of babyproofing for the den. At some point this summer, I decided that we needed to babyproof the whole downstairs to accomodate our growing active toddler and to keep her whininess to a minimum. That meant getting rid of a whole lot of stuff in our living room that was not babyproofed. When we first needed to do it, we didn't have time to do it properly so we took a page from Laura's playbook and just sealed off the dining room on the main floor by buying a huge gate to separate our open living room/dining room combo. Then, we put everything that wasn't babyproofed or that didn't need to be in the new and improved living room and den in the dining room. Great! Except that the dining room was now filled to capacity with JUNK! So, Jim took 2 days off before I started work after Katie started daycare and we emptied the whole place. It's great. And definitely done.

#35.5 - Okay, so I only accomplished half of the original listed item but it took me a lot of work so it should be considered an item that did get accomplished. The item was to remove the alphabet form Katie's wall, move it to where she could reach it and then put pictures up on the wall higher up. I did remove the alphabet (which required repainting a few spots, removing a bookshelf we decided not to keep in her room, etc...) and I did put it back up on the wall where she could reach it but I never got around to putting pictures up. That may have to wait until next summer. Or at least spring break. :)

Okay, I realize this post is really long so I will finish up with thoughts tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

#29 Go through my school stuff and pack for my new job

Since I will be starting my teaching career shortly, I decided that I needed to go through my teaching stuff and pull out what needed to be taken to my new school and what should be ditched and what should be set aside for another time. Since I have elementary and middle school experience and I will now be teaching high school, I had to cull through my supplies to take out all of the really elementary stuff that I would definitely NOT use in a high school setting. Some of the stuff was iffy so I left it on a book shelf at home. The rest, I packed in two large plastic containers and they are ready to go to my new school on Friday!!!! Aaack! That means I will be teaching my own classes soon!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Back to #5, 25, 26, 27, 28

Well, we had a busy weekend here at Chez Scarborough.

Back to #5: In this task I was boxing up out grown baby clothes to keep in case our next child is a girl and putting it in the attic. I had gotten some of it packed up but I still needed to get stuff out of Katie's room and closet and separate it by size (not easy since it's printed size doesn't necessarily have any bearing on how big it is). Once I'd done that, I realized that I needed to try some of last winter's clothes on Katie to see if anything would fit again this year. Since she has such a large waist but short legs, I had to buy large clothing that I rolled up the legs on last winter. Because of that, some of the stretchy pants still fit this year, I just don't have to roll up the legs! This took awhile since you can't try a lot of clothes on a baby at once. I could do 2 outfits a day at most before she was fed up. When I finally got through all of that and boxed it up, I decided to also box up the bottles and nipples but COULDN'T find them!!! After an hour of searching, I located them in some random place and, unfortunately, came across...2 more boxes of baby clothing I had missed in my initial boxing. I didn't start over but I did have to repack some things. Finally, all of the clothing I could put away is boxed and in the attic up through last winter as well as some of the infant toys like the bouncy seat, infant car seat, etc. There are still a few things to go up but this is definitely done.

#25 Put hooks up on Katie's bathroom door: We have three nice hooks for robes and towels on our bathroom door but the guest bath has nothing on it's door. We bought two hooks (ordered a third) and installed two removeable hooks at child height so that Katie could hang her own robe. Even better, I sweet-talked Jim into doing this for me. :)

#26 Clean out and organize the linen closet: We have a nice linen closet. We keep towels, some sheets, extra pillows, medicines and first aid supplies in the closet. BUT...the boxes for the medicines and first aid stuff were too small and the supplies were disorganized. Plus, we had too many pillows and random towels. We don't have a bunch of nice towels yet (that will be for another list) but we didn't need all of the random towels that we had. So, we purged and got some nice containers for the meds and supplies from Space Savers (I heart that store...) and wala! A nice, useful, organized linen closet with room to spare!

#27 Clean out and organize the coat closet: This was a miserable thorn in my side. We finally purged enough coats awhile back so that we could actually put guests' coats in the closet (novel concept I know) but the floor was a disaster with years of stuff that we had just left there and the overhead shelf had two bins full of hats, gloves, and scarves. I purged like 10 pairs of gloves and probably 20 hats. I'm not kidding. Lots of the floor stuff will be thrown away in our Dining Room clean out tomorrow. (I cheated a little and just moved some of it.) Now there is room for the new small shoe rack I bought and a place to put the diaper bag so that Katie doesn't steal stuff from it all day.

#28 Scan pictures of Erik: Erik was my older brother. He died this past April. When I was in Denver for his funeral, I found a bunch of pictures from my wedding, from his friends, snapshots that folks had taken, and even a few of the two of us. I wanted to scan these pictures so that I could print them, preserve them, and blow them up as desired. I finally found a neighbor with a hi-res scanner and we did it in one night.

Whew! That was a lot! Thanks for hanging with me through this. I am coming down to near the end of my time but I still have a lot I want and need to do before school starts. Stick with me as I come down the home stretch! Let's see how many over my thirty I can accomplish!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Start the Transformation #22 Clean the car, #23 Get a haircut, #24 buy a work wardrobe

Okay, I'm way behind and running out of time...

Since I have recently completed a Master's degree and finally gotten a job that is truly a career, not just a job, I decided that I needed to make some personal changes in my life. Hence, the transformation begins...

Step 1: Clean out my disgusting car.
I have lived in my car for years. This stems from commuting 45 minutes to work or school for the last 7 years and then spending the last year trying to entertain a baby (now toddler) while driving. The inside of my car was really nasty and needed an overhaul. Since money was tight, I sweet-talked my husband into doing the bulk of the work after we returned from our recent road trip. He cleaned out all of the trash and vacuumed. I then took Clorox wipes to all of the inside surfaces (think drooling baby...) and windexed the windows inside and out. It's not a $100 detailing job but it's a darn sight better than it was.

Step 2: Get a haircut.
The last time I cut my hair short I was in fifth grade. I'm serious. It was all layered and on top of my head and above my ears. Then I saw a girl in the line to get our school pictures made who had waist-length hair and I was hooked. I refused to get my haircut again. A year later I had to get 6 inches of split ends cut off but after that I trimmed it a little bit every 6-8 weeks and it grew like a weed. I even had it waist length for awhile. I've been shortening it for several years to get used to it but I have had the same boring straight all around cut from Great Clips or Fantastic Sam's for like 15 years. I don't know how to do anything with my hair so I french braided it, put it in a ponytail or a barrette and that was pretty much it. It was time for a change. It didn't end up getting all that much shorter. Since I wasn't entirely sure of the cut I wanted, we wanted to leave enough room to cut it off again and I would still have hair left. But, I now have layers that are light and fluffy. I definitely like the feel although the jury is still out on the look. I haven't quite figured out what to do with it, again, I'm rather incompetent with such stuff. However, I also now own two curling irons thanks to my friend Mindy (although I haven't yet braved plugging them in...).

Step 3: Buy a work wardrobe
This was very important since I will now be working at a school where I need to where work clothes 5 days a week. First of all, I never had a lot since I never worked a job that required me to wear business attire that often (my last school allowed me to wear jeans a lot). Secondly, the stuff I owned was extremely old and well worn, in need of replacing. Third, I changed sizes since the birth of my daughter and haven't quite made it back to my pre-pregnancy size yet so some of it doesn't fit. Fourth, there was a lot of old, dusty, clothing in my closet that I would never wear and should never wear that needed to be gotten rid of. Finally, I am completely fashion challenged so I have to take someone with me to make sure I don't end up looking like a frumpy 50ish Kindergarten teacher. So, this weekend (a tax-free shopping weekend in NC) I convinced my dear friend Amanda (thank you!) to go shopping with me. 8 hours and $600 later, I think I have a workable wardrobe. And I won't look 50 or like a Kindergarten teacher. BTW, I hate, as in abhor, shopping and I am very indecisive so this was a major thing for me. It's a good thing I've been saving part of our tax refund for this...

Monday, July 30, 2007

#21 Clean off the top of the Dryer

This is one of those small things that only took a few minutes but it looks so big because the stuff is just so miscellaneous that you don't know where it can from or where it should go to. The top of the dryer in my house tends to collect a variety of...junk. It was always very annoying because I could never use it to put things (like clothes) while I was trying to use the laundry room for useful purposes. So, it is now flat and clear. Well, it was until my husband oulled clothes out of the dryer and left some on top of it's invitingly clear surface...

Monday, July 23, 2007

#20 Read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Ahh, the book I've been preparing for the several weeks and the one I've been looking forward to for years. With book and snacks in hand I departed my house after church on Sunday for my Mother's Day gift in order to fully enjoy a day to immerse myself in a book without needing to attend to anything at home. Many thanks to Laura who allowed me the use of her home as a crashpad while she's on vacation so that I could read in uninterrupted peace. So as not to spoil the book for those who haven't had a chance to read it, suffice it to say that it was fantastic right up through it's nail biting conclusion. My hat is off to you, J.K. Rowling.

Friday, July 20, 2007

#19 Open a 529 account for my 14-month-old daughter

My apologies for the out of order blog postings. I had written a post and then forgotten that I had written it and wrote another so I just changed the title of the first and posted it expecting it to be posted afterwards but no such luck. They are apparently posted in the order you write them, not in the order they are published. What's up with that!?!

This is one of those things that I knew I needed to do but just hadn't gotten around to doing yet. I especially knew that it needed to be done after I read earlier this year that the tax benefits were permanently set. Two things held me back. One, we don't have a lot of money, and two, there are so many 529 accounts out there, which one to choose? Well, we finally picked one, filled out the paperwork (I filled out the paperwork), picked the investment and sent some money that her grandparents and great grandparents had already given her over the last year so that it could start earning some real money. Now, once I start earning an income, we should be able to start putting money in regularly as well.

#18 Read 2 "What's going to happen in book 7 books"

Yep, I am truly prepared for my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to wing itself to me today. I even have a crash pad prepared to disappear to on Sunday while I read the book in peace, minus the baby, the husband, and the household chores. My Mother's Day gift at last. :)

Back to #3 Get a job

And finally after months of tirelessly checking websites, going to interviews and fruitlessly pounding the pavement, I finally have a job. It isn't exactly what I imagined when I set out to get a job but it is a job and I am really looking forward to it. I am now a high school ESL teacher. When I set out on this quest, I really wanted an elementary school position but any positions are few and far between in my county right now so I found it difficult to find anything full-time, much less full-time and elementary. I thought perhaps I would end up in a middle school again, where I had done a large chunk of my student teaching, but instead, I ended up in a high school where I have never taught. AAACK! This could be interesting. Fortunately, I have taught middle school and, frankly, I think they're scarier than high schoolers. I was also planning on a full-time position and instead I got a part-time position that might turn into a full-time position if the 10 day enrollment numbers hold. So much for my planned stability. But, I am extremely happy with the school, my co-teacher is fantastic and I think it will be a wonderful experience all around. It just goes to show you that, if you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans. He must have be rolling on the floor...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

...And we're back! #17 Read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Well, I've been out of town at a wedding for several days so I didn't get a lot done on my list this last weekend. I even took several things with me but since Jim was in the wedding that meant that I had full charge of our daughter and she kept me hoppin'. I did at least get this book finished and I am now almost ready for the final book to come out. I also wanted to read two "What's going to happen in book 7" books and I have finished one of them so look for that in the next few days...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

#16 Tame kitchen desk clutter

Our kitchen desk has always been a bit of a sore spot for us. It is a very convenient horizontal surface right as you enter the house from the garage that regularly collects things like junk mail, newspapers, and just about any other detritus that enters the house. It is also where we have tried to keep the computers (two laptops) my cellphone and PDA chargers and about 10 other corded things. Basically, it's a mess. It's also dangerous for a very tall toddler who doesn't know any better than to grab onto things that hang and dangle (this, of course, is also dangerous for the computers). (Important note, the BEFORE pics were taken after the months spent working on the cabinets above the desk so the mess is not nearly as bad as it used to be. It used to literally be stacked up to two feet high with miscellaneous stuff.) So we spent several months coming up with new routines to deal with junk mail and receipts and whatnot and cleaning out the cabinets above the desk. Then, in the last couple weeks, I ordered a magazine rack and a really cool desk valet charger (something that you wrap all your cords up into and then put the little electronics things on top of) and it is now regularly clear which is nothing short of a miracle. (Disclaimer, we actually finished this task a few weeks ago and it has collected a little bit of junk since then so I had to remove a few things to take the very nice AFTER pictures below. HOWEVER, it has improved so much that most of the stuff is truly temporary and takes only minutes to clean up instead of literally an hour of bulldozing.)



#15 Read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Okay, so I completely underestimated the pull of the Harry Potter books. I have read them before. Many times in fact. Still, however, when I finished book 4 on Sunday, I immediately had to dive into book 5 and spent 3 days reading it whenever Katie was sleeping, playing independently, or sometimes when she was eating (it's often boring to watch a toddler eat, or frustrating, better to do other stuff). I hadn't planned to finish it before we went out of town, in fact, I hadn't expected to start it until we were out of town and maybe read it while we were gone and finish it when we got back. Nothing doing. I read in every spare moment (even though I KNOW how it ends for heaven's sake!) and finished it Tuesday night. (I even started book 6 when I was supposed to be packing...) As a disclaimer, I am a really fast reader and I did sort of mentally skim over the stuff that I wasn't interested in reading again. Like Hagrid's story about his trip to the giants. It is the mark of a really good book, however, when you can get people to read it like that even when they've read it before.

#14 Read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Okay, I have now read all the way through books 1-4 and movies 1-3 in preparation for movie 5 and book 7. Only a little way farther...

Monday, July 9, 2007

#13 Make my marriage more of a priority in my life - sub task: go on a date with my husband

This one is a major category on my list with several sub tasks, including going on several dates with my husband. In the 13 months since our daughter was born we've gone out by ourselves a total of I think three times now, maybe four. That's really not so good. I've made it a goal in our daughter's second year of life to try to find more balance. We're past the frantic stage of new parenthood and it is time for us to start functioning more like a family. In my mind, a strong family starts with strong loving parents with a strong marriage that is separate from the kids. I don't want to lift my head in 20 years when my kids all leave for college and look at the other person in the room and say "Who are you?" Our kids will benefit from us having a strong and loving marriage that doesn't always include them. So, to that end, I have enlisted Laura's support to trade regular date nights and we went out on the town on Saturday. We even managed to spend two hours not talking about either our daughter or the house reorganization. (Hurray!) Hopefully, you'll see this task recur a few times before my 45 days are up.

#11 Clean out middle drawer in Master Bath, #12 Clean out cabinet under Jim's sink in Master bath

The overarching project that I started last week with my cabinet and drawers in our bathroom is now complete! I have cleaned out and organized the middle shared drawer in our master bathroom and put in some organizer compartments and put the remaining stuff back in an organied fashion. In addition, I helped Jim clean out and organize the cabinet under his sink and we both cleaned out our smaller individual drawers as well. It took much longer to organize his cabinet than it would have if I had been doing it on my own (because I had a plan on how to do it already) but hey, I didn't actually have to do all the work and it still got knocked off my list. As Laura says, working smarter, not harder. :) All of this cleaning and organizing meant that we were able to remove everything that was extraneous on the counter and the ledge of the bathtub and either throw it away or put it away (with room to spare I might add) making our bathroom much more toddler friendly. We also got a medicine box from One Step Ahead so that we could put the medicines in it that need to be on the bathroom counter but there is another layer of protection to keep our daughter safe.

Friday, July 6, 2007

#10 Start Emergency Savings CD ladder

Jim and I are compulsive savers and particularly interested in having lots of money to retire with. I am actually a bit of a closet fanatic about retirement savings and personal finance and read everything I can find on the topic (that isn't extremely boring). To that end, we have spent a lot of time since we've been married learning about saving for retirement and actually saving for it. Over the last 5 years, however, we have paid more attention to saving for retirement and less attention to some of our closer to home needs, like an emergency fund. With the birth of our daughter and some unexpected expenses (including Jim losing his job while I was 5 months pregnant and in the middle of a Master's degree), we found ourselves with large retirement portfolios but very little liquid cash. That is not an experience that we would ever like to repeat. To that end, we recently decided to open a money market fund, specifically for emergency savings (which I opened a couple weeks ago) and a CD ladder. We will create the CD ladder by opening one 5-year CD each year for the next 5 years. They'll mature in July so that, any emergency that used up money in the money market would also have more funds coming available soon. We don't have enough money right now to put the full amount in the CD that we want to but we put something. In the meantime, we are putting a regular amount of money every month into the money market account and next year, we'll be able to be closer to the amount we want to put in to next year's CD and we can beef up this current CD when it matures in 5 years. Emergencies, we're almost ready for you.

(Disclaimer: I really did this on Friday since that is when the bank is open but decided to post it on Saturday so I could look like I'm doing something everyday. ;-) )

#9 Put up picture in Living room

A couple of months ago I bought a picture of sorts (really a framed quote) that I really liked that I just happened across at Target one day. We decided that we should put it in the living room because we have two recliners there that we like to sit in and read or use the computer and we'll be able to see it a lot. It says "Make time for the quiet moments as God whispers and the world is loud." This is something that Jim and I, in our constantly busy lives need to remember. To take a moment and listen for the ever present voice of God in our lives that so often gets drowned out by other things. Now, I am embarrassed to say that I am the kind of person who buys stuff like this, pictures and whatnot, puts in on the floor by the wall where it is supposed to hang and it sits there...for a veeeeery loooooooong time. Years sometimes. I am happy to say this one only sat a couple of months (I did buy it right before I started the rest of my Master's degree, so maybe I have an excuse for putting it off). Now I can't decide if it's off center. :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

#8 Read Harry Potter books 1-3

With Harry Potter book #7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows due out later this summer (July 21st), I decided that it was important to reread the first 6 books in preparation for this momentous occasion. This task was three collapsed into one since the first three books are relatively short and I am a fast reader. Books 4, 5 and 6 will all be their own task. Incidentally, I have ended up watching the movies as I finish each book. Now I've watched 1 and 2 while reading 2 and 3 and I need to watch 3 while I am reading 4. That will set me up to watch the new movie Goblet of Fire (#5) due out next week while I am reading book 6. After I finish reading book 6, I also purchased 2 of the "what's going to happen in Harry Potter 7" books. I figure that this is one of the only times in history that there is so much hype and expectation so I will enjoy the anticipation until I actually have Harry Potter 7 in my hands. Now the question will be, when will I actually get a chance to read Harry Potter 7? I read #6 in 12 hours, from 9am-9pm in one day. (It was really good!) For Mother's Day this year, I asked Jim to give me one free day/weekend to disappear and read Harry Potter. It won't be immediately after the release but, hopefully, it won't be too long after. Now, where to go... ;-)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

#6 again and #7 Get the house powerwashed

Okay. I have officially finished #6 as I picked up the stacking basket that I needed from Space Savers today. It's beautiful. See the picture below.

I also slaved over the house yesterday. Last week I mightily picked up the phone and called Murco to come and powerwash out house. They complied and our house has been returned to it's wonderful blue-grey with white trim instead of grey-grey with brown trim that it's been for the last many many years. You are supposed to powerwash houses with vinyl siding like every 3 years. We've done it maybe once in 8 years (maybe twice but I can't be certain). They even scrubbed our gutters. :)

Monday, July 2, 2007

#5 Box up Baby clothes, #6 Clean out the Cupboard

I am very proud of myself this weekend. I got quite a bit done. In addition to a lot of regular housework, I also got most of #5 and #6 off of my to do list done. I say most because neither is 100% finished.

I have a lot of baby clothes that Katie has outgrown. Some of it that I didn't want to keep for whatever reason I just gave to the Goodwill but some of the stuff I want to keep in case our next child is a girl (and to use some unisex pieces for a boy). It has been piling up on the bed and dresser in the guest room for awhile. I originally thought that I would just put it in under the bed boxes that are now mostly empty under the guest bed but someone suggested using diaper boxes and boxing up the clothing by size to put in the attic. That way, you only pull out what you need periodically. I thought this was a great idea but found it to be harder than it seems. Baby clothing is not all standard sizes so something marked 6 months in one brand fit at the same time the 9 month stuff fit of another brand or the 3 month clothing of a 3rd brand. I wanted to put like size clothing together so that I could pull it out together but I had trouble deciding what all went together. I have put together two boxes, a newborn kit with all the swaddling blankets and 0-3 month and 3-6 month clothing, and a box with 6 month clothing. It's not quite finished because I need to label the boxes and go through the clothing in her dresser and closet for outgrown stuff before I close the boxes. But it's mostly done. :)

I also worked very hard this weekend cleaning out the cupboard underneath my sink in our master bathroom. It needed it. It was disgusting and we need to store a lot of things there. I tossed a ton of stuff and it, as well as one of my drawers, are now beautifully organized and arranged. I now only need one more stacking basket from Space Savers to finish. The downside? As I moved things to more appropriate areas (like the middle drawer, the linen closet, and underneath Jim's sink) I noticed how desperately messy those spaces were. Oh well, one thing off and three more on...

Friday, June 29, 2007

#4 Get out with Katie more

Some of the things I want to do are ongoing and must be reported on periodically. One of those things is wanting to get out with my 13-month-old daughter more often. Now that she is walking, she needs more stimulation and I need to get out of the house more. I've set a goal of getting out of the house with her at least 2 times per week when we weren't just doing an errand or going for exercise. I started a little late this week but despite several efforts, only managed to get out once this week. Today, Katie and I went to Playspace, a local children's museum, for an hour and a half. She had a great time and mommy came home exhausted! Next week, I'll try harder to get out twice.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

#1 Fix the mirror, #2 Get a massage, #3 Get a job

Okay, so when we turned my daughter's car seat around to face forward, I immediately started missing the mirror that I used to be able to check on her when she was facing backward. So, I went to Target and bought a mirror that hangs down from the rearview mirror so that you can keep an eye on children in the back seat. This is, after all, safer than turning around all the time to see what they are doing which is what I was trying to do without the mirror. It worked great...for a week. Then is started wiggling, then wobbling, then outright flopping around every time I accelerated or decelerated the car making the whole point of the mirror moot. Plus, it is supposed to flip up out of the way when you don't have a kid in the car but it was too loose and kept falling down. So I took it off...and got a crick in my neck every time I wanted (needed) to know what was going on in the backseat (yes, I'm that kind of mom). So I decided to try and fix it. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not especially handy but I do okay. I discovered that the mirror had exactly one screw. That meant that either it would be easy to fix or impossible to fix. So...I tightened the screw, a lot. Then I put it back in my car. I drove around with it today and it worked well...until I saw it move just a little bit when I braked at a stop light. So I pulled out the screw driver and tightened it again for all it was worth. We'll see how it goes. Updates to come.

Today I went to get my first massage. My wonderful husband Jim bought me a massage as a stocking stuffer. That's right, for Christmas. Technically it expired 5 days ago but they honored it anyway. Since I've decided to spend more time doing more for myself in this second year of my daughter's life, it was way past time to get that massage. And it was FABULOUS. Jim, forgive me for not being grateful enough.

Getting a job. When I got pregnant with my daughter, I had just started a 1 year intensive Masters program that would also certify me to teach. Due to less beneficial timing, my daughter was born during the last 5 weeks of classes so I chose not to complete the program with my cohort. I stayed home a year with her and completed the program in May/June of 2007 with the following year's cohort. Since I now have the Master's degree and am now certified to teach, I am trying to find a job and finding that consternating for a lot of reasons. This is one of those tasks that won't be done until someone else decides it is done. It could be done tomorrow, or next week, or next month. I will tell you about my Murphy's Law day yesterday as I went to two interviews. The interviews themselves went fairly well but everything else that could go wrong, did. I drove my husband's ailing Honda (he had my car with the car seat) halfway to the first interview when smoke started pouring out of the vents. I was already running a little late (yes, I know he told me to leave earlier) but I had to pull over because I thought that my engine might be on fire. When I couldn't get a hold of my husband, I decided to turn the AC off and drive on more slowly and just keep an eye on it. Fortunately, it got better. When my husband called me, he reminded me that his AC doesn't work and it was probably just the fan that was burning. Great! No AC in my dress clothes in the south on a 95 degree day going to 2 interviews 20 miles apart. Fantastic!

So I get to the interview and it's fine. I leave. I also leave my portfolio in the room with the interviewers and have to go back and interrupt them as they are interviewing another candidate for the same job. Then, I can't find my car keys. Apparently I left them somewhere and someone helpfully turned them in. Since its summer though and there is no receptionist, they turned them into the bookkeeper whose office was way back in the administrative offices. So, of course, I found them, after looking frantically for ten minutes, afraid I would also be late to my next interview.

I managed to get to my next interview on time (exactly). Fortunately, they were interviewing other folks so I had moment to cool down since, after 30 minutes in a car with no AC I was literally drenched in sweat. So I am desperately trying to dry out my dress clothes so I don't look too nasty going in to my interview. That interview also goes fine. Even well. Then I walk out to my car and realize that I left the lights on and the battery is dead. Fortunately, we keep a battery pack in the trunk for just such an occurrence and I was on my way in moments. So, no job yet, but I'll keep you posted. BTW, I did basically nothing else that I didn't have to do for the rest of the day.

I suppose, if it had truly been a Murphy's law day, the battery pack wouldn't have been in the trunk and I would have left my cell phone on top of the car as I drove away. Here's to small blessings. :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Reasons behind the blog

This is my first (and perhaps last) attempt at a blog. I have gotten hooked on reading a friend's blogs and recently been inspired by her attempt to complete 100 tasks in 100 days ( As I mentioned in my profile, my husband and I have created a gargantuan "to do" list of things that need to get done around the house, for our photography business, etc. I have also decided that, in this second year of my daughter's life, it is important that I start adding back into my life some things that aren't strictly related to my child. I love her, she's amazing, but to be a good mom, I need to take care of me, the person, first and my marriage as well. To that end, my list includes some things that are not strictly "necessary" tasks. They are necessary for my sanity but not to keep the house clean, for example. Some of the tasks are ongoing and can't be done once on one day since they are either recurring or simply have an end date out of my control so I will keep you updated on the progress of those tasks as I go. You all are my conscience to keep me accountable to my list so that stuff keeps moving forward so feel free to poke if you haven't seen me in awhile!

At the moment I don't have the time or the wherewithal to complete 100 tasks in 100 days. After being home for most of a year with my daughter, I will hopefully be returning to work when teachers go back on August 17th. That leaves me about 45 days (give or take) and I've decided to try to accomplish 30 things in that time. We'll see how it goes. And if I turn out to be a terrible blogger, it will be a painlessly short period. :)