A little tweak of the morning routine this week has made things much more peaceful for both me and TheKid. When I take steps to help things run smoothly, everyone is much calmer and the day gets off to a better start.
Just now, I dropped off TheKid’s scholarship application at the Catholic high school he plans to attend. It contains a DVD with a duet he performed in his most recent play: Into the Woods, Jr., where he played the role of Rapunzel’s Prince. There is also the required scholarship essay, his entire theatre resume (14 shows since spring 2011) and the program from a diabetes event last spring where he and I served as panelists to help families decide if a continuous glucose monitor would be a good way to help them manage diabetes.
Hopefully we’ll hear by this time next week whether he has won a scholarship award.
I don’t know why I keep buying laundry pretreaters. I finally got the French-onion-soup stains on Hubs’ NEW (from Christmas) golf shirt, which went through the dryer before I noticed the spots, out. My cheap and effective secret weapon? A generous dose of original Dawn dishwashing soap, scrubbed in with an old toothbrush. Hang to dry until you’re sure it’s stain-free.
This week has been a little extra busy, so it’s a good thing that the Small Success linkup isn’t limited to a single day.
I’m sort of managing to be sedentary. And by this I mean, the Christmas tree is down but all the other decorations in the house are still hanging around, and those are coming down little by little. There’s very little pain in my foot and I want to keep it that way.
The past couple of days, I’ve been drinking my coffee without sugar. Just cream. I’m not missing the sugar, either. Maybe it’s because I’m drinking good coffee and I’ve finally gotten the hang of the Aeropress I got for Christmas…
Also for Christmas, I got some shiny new cookware. That was a want, not a need, because most of the cookware I already had was serviceable (though there were a few nonstick pieces that had been badly scratched by utensils that are not nonstick-friendly). I took out all the old cookware, boxed up the pieces that were still good for Middle Sister to use next year when she has an on-campus apartment, and did not save the damaged cookware “just in case I might need it someday.” That’s a BIG step for me. My kitchen-equipment hoarding tendencies go way back.
I used to count it a success if I made the time in the week to get to the gym for a walk on the treadmill, or to get outside for a good brisk walk (it’s 9/10 of a mile around my block, so with a little extra pass by the neighbor’s house, I can make it an easy mile).
And then I injured a tendon in my foot and was assigned, just before Thanksgiving, to wear a very stylish walking boot for six weeks—from morning ‘til night. No exceptions.
I told TheKid that if he caught me walking around without that boot, I’d pay him a dollar.
I wore the boot to Thankgiving dinner, Mass on Sundays and Christmas Day, a concert I was playing in (hey, it’s black, so it blended in with concert dress), and New Year’s Eve. I wore it all the time.
I couldn’t climb up and down stepladders and stools wearing this boot, so I had to let go of my own personal Christmastime point of pride: stringing 1500+ lights on the Christmas tree. My daughter did the lights. There are under 1000 lights on the tree this year but it still looks beautiful, and I’m happy that my daughter was willing and able to do the job I couldn’t do.
I couldn’t go to the mall and do the Christmas shopping, but that’s why I have Amazon Prime, and my husband and the kids picked up the slack and went to the store for me.
The other day, the doctor said I can transition out of the boot. I only need to wear it after lunch until bedtime, through Sunday, and then I can leave it off completely. However, I must wear good supportive sneakers at all times for 5 weeks.
Even to Mass on Sundays. That’ll look lovely.
Also, I’m supposed to be sedentary when I’m out of the boot, which is why I waited until after lunch to go grocery shopping yesterday.
This doctor is not a mom. He has no idea about what moms consider “sedentary.” For me, it means I sit when I’m not cooking, doing laundry, running errands, or cleaning—though I’ve farmed out a good deal of cleaning and lowered my standards there. I’m pretty sure my doctor does not intend for me to spend an hour or more on my feet each evening, cooking and then cleaning up afterward. I should probably plan some slow-cooker meals for next week.
I stuck with the boot for 6 weeks; I’m hoping to stick to sedentary-and-sneakers for 5. I’m avoiding foot surgery, and that’s a success. I’m accepting help from Hubs and the kids, which is hard for me to do, so that’s a success.
God did not send me a foot injury, but he did put me in a place where I can survive off my feet (sort of) for several weeks. My kids are older now; one teenager and two young adults (only one of whom lives here). And I’m not teaching, so I’m not standing all day as part of my job. (No, there will not be a standing desk in my future anytime soon.)
I’m healing. I’m delegating. And I’m letting things go. Success!
My house doesn’t look like Christmas yet, and I’m OK with that. I am not going to be climbing on things and hanging things up this year–my foot (and the boot that’s on it) won’t allow that. But I have a daughter who’s just home from college and looking for things to do, so I’ll show her where I keep the decoration boxes and leave her to it.
I’m even OK with the fact that I won’t be doing my traditional chore of putting lights on the Christmas tree (that job involves 4 hours, at least 3 folding chairs plus a stepstool, and much up-and-down. I’m vertically challenged.) The year this photo was taken, I hit my Personal Best of 1500+ lights and, I believe, at least 2 blown-out extension cords. I’m the Clark Griswold of Christmas-tree lights, and I’m not ashamed of that in the least. There were so many lights on that tree, who even needed ornaments?
But someone else will light up the tree this year, and I’m sure they won’t use as many lights as I do, but that’s OK because the doctor says my foot is healing well. I have to continue wearing this boot full-time until January 5, when I get to bring a shoe to the doctor’s office and wear the boot only half-days for another week.
At least this keeps me out of the mall, which is perfectly fine with me. I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping thanks to various free-shipping offers and my good friend Amazon Prime, and I’m here to tell you that Target’s “order online, pick up in store” is way, way, WAY better than Best Buy’s. (Place order. Wait for text message. Go to Customer Service and tell them you’re picking up. Hand them your driver’s license for verification, take your stuff and go. By the time you get home, your receipt will be in your email inbox. It’s THAT easy.) Using that service saved me a trek through the whole store. The less walking, the better.
I’ll have a couple of weeks off from work to celebrate Christmas, and I’ve got plans:
set up a gift-wrapping center in TheKid’s old room
start wrapping gifts and use my Super-Secret Gift-Numbering Method™ to keep snoopy people from snooping
2 beta reads and 1 (short) freelance editing job
spend some time with my Everything Notebook, doing some goal-setting, planning and dreaming
I wish I still had this sign to hang on the door to the room where I’ll be doing the gift wrapping. I should have kept it!
I finally bit the bullet and completed the outline I was writing for a book project I’d been asked to participate in. I think the scariest part was actually OPENING THE FILE. Once I got going, it just flowed. Now I’m waiting for input from my cowriters, and then I’ll get it submitted.
I haven’t killed myself yet, walking around in this boot. I did discover that it works well to carry things in a basket with a handle that I can loop my arm through, since I’m a bit off balance in this thing.
I walked away and left my 19-year-old daughter to her own devices as she carved our post-Thanksgiving turkey on Saturday. When you’re carving poultry, there is no room for micromanagement. It wasn’t going to end well, so I had to just let go and leave her to it. While she did observe that she’ll probably never have a career as a surgeon, I think she did just fine (and the turkey was delicious.)
First things first. You need to go over and read Sherry Antonetti’s post that explains why Small Success is such an important thing. There’s not always a lot of participation, but it’s good to do the writing, to reflect on what goes right, to be grateful.
I’ve made my mornings a little easier by coming up with a way to get TheKid out of bed that involves a lot less yelling. His alarm goes off; he ignores it. I call for him 5 minutes later; he ignores me. 5 minutes after that, I head in with my Secret Weapon: my tablet with a Spotify playlist I’ve titled “Teenage Musical Torture.” Here it is, for your listening…um…pleasure.
My friends on Facebook helped me craft the playlist. My criteria specified that I had to be able to put up with the song, so some suggestions were denied because of that.
It’s good, though. He’s laughing, not grumpy, when he gets out of bed.
I find that anything by the Brady Bunch works particularly well. “Disco Duck” is also quite effective.
In other news, both the Big Kids have come home for dinner this week. Not on the same night, but they both came home for dinner. That’s a family success.
And I remembered to buy a set of Advent candles. Let this serve as your reminder, moms: Advent begins in 10 days! Go get some candles!
Thursdays at CatholicMom.com begin with a look at the past week’s Small Successes!
The big success here is that I’m still functional, 4 days into the switch to Standard Time. I haven’t gotten to bed before 10:30 on any night since Friday (and I wake up at 5:15); right now it’s just before 2 PM and I’m ready to pack it in. It’s an early bedtime for me tonight!
I had a different type of morning today: I took two trains in to Philadelphia and headed over to Reading Terminal Market to meet author Julie McElmurry, who was in town for a conference. I reviewed her book about a month ago, and it was good to meet her in person over coffee from Old City Coffee Company. We chatted about writing, blogging, and social media (of course!) Wished I could have stayed longer.
My “Mom Finds All the Lost Things” radar kicked in and led me to TheKid’s missing jacket yesterday, so I was the hero of the day there. Bigger success: I refrained from mentioning that if he’d made his bed the day before like I told him to do, he would have found it stuffed between the bed and the wall.
Best success: my family and I had a great time at the Notre Dame football game. Thanks to our neighbor, we scored an extra ticket so we could all go. The Irish won (YAY!) Do you think it was my ND fleece, or my leprechaun T-shirt, or maybe my lucky scarf that did the trick? No matter; they defeated Temple, who hadn’t lose a game yet this season, and are now in the top 5.
Novels are always a pleasure to read, but they don’t have to be a “guilty pleasure.” I reviewed two novels you’ll want to share with the teens in your life–but don’t miss the chance to read them for yourself.
I’ve been working on cleaning out the dumping ground known as The Kid’s Old Room. It’s a tiny space (about 8X10) and I’d love to be able to use it for something other than a place to stuff things that don’t have a home anywhere else.
I began by sorting the books. The Kid had almost our full collection of children’s books in there, so I had to decide what we wanted to keep (because there’s sentimental value) and what we could give away. I wound up boxing up 3 good-size boxes of middle-grade books, which I’ll deliver to the fourth-grade teacher at his school. She used to teach middle school, so she has said that her classroom library could use some beefing up. There’s also a box of books appropriate for younger children, and I’ll ask if one of the first-grade teachers can use those.
On Monday I took a coupon I’d gotten at JC Penney (one of those “cash to spend for later” deals) to use before it expired. I’d wanted to get some capris for myself but didn’t find anything I liked. I did find a nice summer-weight bedspread, which I thought would be a nice change since we only have a very heavy comforter for the bed. The new bedspread was marked down to $40–originally $100. I had a coupon for $30, so it only cost me $10 to get a whole new look for the room.
Then I took my search for capris to a Goodwill store I hadn’t visited before, but which was on my way home from the mall. I tried on a lot of things and came home with 3 pairs of capris and 2 pairs of jeans. I spent only $22; 2 were Levi’s, 1 was Lee and the other 2 items were Chico’s, so I’m satisfied that I got some good-quality stuff. And one of the pairs of jeans looks like someone took off the tags but never even wore the pants.
When I came home I took the same amount of items right out of my closet to put in the donation bag. The least-flattering things were the ones to go!
So this week I have spiffed up my house in 2 ways and my wardrobe in one. Not bad for a $30 investment!
Yesterday got off to a rough start, but I was able to get it turned around. Since it became apparent that the contractor wasn’t going to show up, I decided to get out of the house for a while. Fortunately I can work wherever I can find a Wi-Fi connection.
I headed over to Barnes & Noble, with an old gift card that had about $5 on it. With that, I indulged in a white-chocolate mocha and biscotti. I savored those treats while working and was able to reboot my brain.
I’d have stayed at the bookstore longer, but the smell of paint became my cue to leave. No, they weren’t renovating the store. Two women were sitting at a cafe table that was draped in a flowered plastic tablecloth–in the middle of an art lesson. As the lesson progressed, the paint smell began to permeate the store. As I’m sensitive to fragrances, I decided it was time to move on. Now I’ve seen knitting clubs that meet in the cafe, and I’ve taken my daughter to a math tutor who met her there. And I had no problem with that (yes, we always bought drinks to justify our use of a cafe table for an hour). I’d have thought nothing of the art lesson if it involved pencils or charcoal. But who brings paints into Barnes & Noble?
I’ve also been working on cleaning out The Kid’s old room, which has become quite the dumping ground since he commandeered his older brother’s room upon Big Brother’s departure last August. This morning I set out 2 lawn-and-leaf bags plus one smaller bag of clothing for the veterans’ donation truck. Yesterday I moved 3 boxes of books and memorabilia into The Kid’s new(ish) digs and out of his old room.
And I took for myself a small bookcase that had been in the family room. I put it in the living room because my piles of books to be read, books to be reviewed, and books I received as gifts were taking over the coffee table and the living-room floor.
When your pile of homeless books nearly fills 2 bookshelves, you just might need a home library.
Hubs would say I need an intervention, not a library.
Getting those things moved around and organized and out of the way gave me a mental lift and some fresh energy.