I have been watching (mostly via Twitter) Hurricane Irma’s progress toward Florida. We don’t get too many hurricane experiences here in PA, but we’ve had a few. Here was my write-up of our aftermath of Sandy (3 small kids, no power as the weather turned cold, solo parenting for multiple days). We also attempted to drive to Maine in the summer of 2011 shortly after a hurricane caused massive flooding in upstate New York and Vermont. In our defense, when we took off, we thought the hurricane had passed, and we had no idea the extent of the inland damage. But we spent that first night in a half-flooded hotel in the Catskills where the plumbing no longer worked and the river was rising out back (and I was incredibly grateful that the proprietor chose to stay open and give me a room). The next day we backtracked multiple times through small Vermont towns where the lone bridge over a river would be washed out. We finally made it north when a policeman chose to open one heavily-damaged road to a few cars, briefly. The devastation was incredible.
Anyway, the logistics of trying to evacuate (bringing enough diapers, formula, etc.), coupled with the uncertainty of not knowing what will happen to your home, make me anxious just thinking about it. Here’s hoping that the damage will be contained.
In lighter news…We’ve had a pretty good week with starting school. The kids seem to like their teachers, and are having fun seeing their friends again. My daughter started kindergarten yesterday. There was some drama; apparently a little girl told her she wasn’t her friend (!) and she was upset about that, but we talked about how maybe some of her classmates were nervous about starting school and people react in different ways to that. The day was salvaged with a playdate and then going to the back-to-school picnic last night. The kids started gymnastics (daughter) and swim (boys) this week too, and both have gone well. Homework and instrument practicing have been happening. All the forms have been signed. We have not missed the bus. Most nights people have gotten into bed on time. I would count these all as victories.
There were a few organizational fails. I went to Target one night while my 10-year-old was at karate because he told me he desperately needed an item for class that I heard as a 3-ring binder. It turned out he meant a 3-subject notebook. I’m not sure exactly where the miscommunication occurred, but I was not happy when I had managed to get to the store and back inside the time of the lesson, triumphantly handed him the binder, and then learned this was not the desired object. However, we did have some 3-subject notebooks at home, miraculously enough, and later that night he found the original 3-subject notebook he had purchased the previous week at Target and had somehow misplaced.
Another one: I use DayMinder’s weekly calendars to record all time-specific events in my life (nope, not an electronic calendar! Paper!) Specifically, I used the G250-00 item, which is a 3 9/16 x 6 inch calendar, with a spiral spine so it opens flat. While I have been sitting on an office chair with a hole on it for the past year, I am very specific about my paper products, and it is now the time of year when I start needing the next year’s calendar. I went on Amazon and ordered what I thought was the 2018 version of my DayMinder. It came and it was not at all what I wanted. There were fewer lines on each day, and there was no spiral, so it flops shut. So I went directly to the At A Glance website and ordered my G250-00, which will hopefully arrive soon. I guess I’ll give the other DayMinder to my 10-year-old.
The 10-year-old, incidentally, just started reading 168 Hours. He now wants to help me achieve several “List of 100 Dreams” items mentioned in that book. I suspect he will be a very demanding accountability partner.
I got my next round of edits on Off the Clock: The Fine Art of Feeling Less Busy While Getting More Done (May 29, 2018!). My editor would like me to diversify the book a bit by including more men and people who aren’t in the little kid stage of life, so I welcome suggestions of highly productive and successful yet relaxed people; as always you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com . A few topics I cover: consciously planning in adventures, and finding ways to savor the memories afterwards; making time for people through conscious planning — think my “mommy days” but maybe not a mommy context.
Anyway…I’m reading (per a reader suggestion!) Frederick Law Olmsted’s The Cotton Kingdom on his journeys through the antebellum south. I had written of wanting to learn what people were thinking in the Confederacy in the years leading up to the Civil War, and this reader reminded me that in the Olmsted biography A Clearing in the Distance (which I’d recommended), we learn that Olmsted spent years filing anonymous newspaper reports on life in the south and the economics of slavery as an institution. These dispatches were later edited and compiled into a book. Turns out it’s available on Kindle for 99 cents! I love the internet. The book itself is fascinating (sometimes in a very terrible way — but still fascinating).
This weekend we’ve got a friend’s kid’s Bar Mitzvah, a date night dinner, a kid book club and karate. Maybe we’ll go for a bike ride. Next week starts the time-tracking challenge. I’ll be posting my time logs here each day, and I will admit that I’ve been thinking through my plan for next week with an eye on public consumption! It’s good for accountability. If you’d like to track time along with me, you can sign up for motivational emails here.