Strawberries and the TBT scorecard

As I think through weekend plans, I’ve had a realization. The opportunity cost of May/June and Sept/Oct weekends is just really high. In January we are often hunting for things to do. Not so much this time of year. We had decided about two months ago that my husband and the 12-year-old would do a 2-night Boy Scout canoeing trip this weekend. As the weekend got closer we realized that Brad Paisley was also performing nearby (my husband’s favorite concert act…kind of too bad since it was also his birthday this weekend!) and that the Reading Air Show was this weekend — another family favorite. It would have been nice if all of this could be spread out over the calendar! But they had a good time. Apparently the 12-year-old cooks up some good scrambled eggs and cheeseburgers on the camp stove. He and I went shopping for groceries for his patrol, and then my husband bought this egg carrier so the eggs made it unscathed!

With one driver gone Friday to Sunday I wound up doing a LOT of driving. Because there was a lot of other stuff on this high-opportunity-cost June weekend too. A birthday party, tennis lessons, basketball, soccer, and a music recital. The 12-year-old made it back from the canoeing trip to play Amazing Grace on his alto sax, and the 10-year-old played “Sea Shanty” on her trumpet. She also dressed as a pirate because she loves any opportunity to be in costume.

I did manage to fit in one “Summer Fun List” item — something that I was looking forward to amid all the driving. I took the three younger kids to go strawberry picking at nearby Maple Acres Farm. This is a smallish farm that’s only about 20 minutes away, and is more manageable than some of the bigger commercial pick-your-own operations. We hunted through the plants for the bright red berries and filled two containers. The 2-year-old has really enjoyed eating “his” strawberries. I’ll just note here that the 7-year-old also really had fun picking them, and there is a trope of parenting/food personal essays that when you get kids involved in picking (or growing, or preparing) produce they will more gladly try it. Nope. The 7-year-old was happy to pick them but made it clear he was picking them for *us* to eat. It is a reminder to me that a lot of personal essays are just…personal. There’s nothing universal about them.

We ended the weekend with a dinner of ribs I ordered from Blue Smoke for my husband’s birthday (the kids tried some but no one loved it…sigh…). The rest of the family ate the Jeni’s Ice Cream I also ordered for dessert. I ate my non-dairy Phish Food.

Anyway, here’s this past week’s Tranquility by Tuesday scorecard (in which I look over my time log and see how I did on the 9 TBT rules).

Give yourself a bedtime. It’s been creeping later. I have been craving more downtime and so it’s been 11:15/11:30. Given that the alarm goes off at 6:30 every weekday morning I need to be more disciplined about this. (Well, or not. The camp schedule won’t be as early, though the toddler might still wake up.) On Wednesday night the toddler woke up howling right as I was going to sleep at 11 and I wound up awake with him (and reading on my Kindle) until midnight.

Plan on Fridays. Done, though I really need to start planning the activity schedule on Fridays too. That was a source of some stress on Sunday night as I tried to sort driving. And because I knew the stress was coming up Sunday night that affected the rest of my Sunday. I am better about this with work — I put finishing something big first thing Monday morning because I didn’t feel capable of dealing with it Friday. That made me feel better about it all weekend, even though it wasn’t done. I knew when I would do it.

Move by 3 p.m. Mostly OK, though not perfect. I did not move much on Monday when we were in the car all day (more on that below) though I ran in the evening on Monday with my 15-year-old. I did take a few early afternoon walks in my yard during the week. Sunday I walked laps with my daughter during the 7-year-old’s basketball practice. On Saturday I did no purposeful movement whatsoever though I somehow managed to get 12,000 steps in. It was that kind of day.

Three times a week is a habit. I am constantly revising my list of things I want to do three times a week, but right now I’m focused on running, practicing the piano, and eating family meals. Each of these did happen three times. I ran three times — twice with my 15-year-old and once solo. I played the piano on Wednesday morning when I had the house to myself (!), on Friday afternoon before the little kids returned from gymnastics, and then on Sunday when I had a little time after the music recital and before we needed to pick up the toddler. We ate family dinner on Monday night, on Wednesday night, and on Sunday (the Blue Smoke birthday dinner).

Create a back-up slot. I generally aim to leave Friday open, though weirdly it wound up more crowded then Wednesday. I had a few things cancel Wednesday and so that day was suddenly completely open. I got ahead on a few things as a result. One place I did actively choose to build in space was on Sunday during the rushed driving. Theoretically we could have made it to the recital after a full soccer game. My daughter’s team practiced at 1, and then the game was supposed to be 1:30 to 2:30, and the recital was at 3 p.m., about 25 minutes away. But we decided if it was OK with her coach she would leave at half time. This did make the whole experience more calm.

One big adventure, one little adventure. Monday was Memorial Day so we packed up everyone in the minivan — which will be crossing 100k miles in the next week or two — and went to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. We had a great time looking at the fish. Everyone in the family likes looking at fish. Very few things are fun for the whole family, so yay. As for the travel…Baltimore is supposed to be about an hour and 45 minutes from our house but not on Memorial Day. The trip home took 3-plus hours due to traffic, and it was so frustrating. On the trip there the traffic was better, but the tire pressure light came on and started blinking so we kept trying to find an air machine at gas stations but at multiple places along the highway the machines were out of order. We eventually found one that worked and filled the tires (which were low I guess) but then the pressure light came on again and we checked again (with a separate gauge) and they were fine so it’s the sensor that’s broken. Also, all the kids have to get out on one side because the door sensor keeps malfunctioning. In other news, we are thinking of entering the market for a new minivan.

As for the little adventure, I’ll say strawberry picking, though I could also choose my virtual make-up session — that was different and memorable for me!

Take one night for you. I sang with my choir on Sunday morning — not logistically easy with my husband off canoeing, but I made it work. We took advantage of rehearsals being done for the season on Thursday nights to go out for a date night Mexican dinner. I like weekday margaritas.

Batch the little things. I did batch the little things on Friday morning but oh my goodness there were a lot of little things this week. There were so many things that I actually did a batching session on Thursday afternoon too (which included taking a kid tux in to get dry cleaned…)

Effortful before effortless. I did better here because I’ve read 3.25 books in the last 10 days or so. I finished Love and Saffron, and I’m currently working on Under the Whispering Door. I am a little bogged down but still making progress and I assume I will finish it this week.



4 thoughts on “Strawberries and the TBT scorecard

  1. Traffic with kids is just the worst. But I’m so glad you managed to cross something off your summer fun list and fresh strawberries are just delicious (if the 7-year old won’t eat them, more for you!).

    As you’ve said many times, sometimes we just have to plan these things in and do them anyway (often, with kids, activities are more fun in retrospect; for your aquarium trip, I suspect most people will forget how horrible the traffic was in a year, but they’ll remember the cool marine animals they spotted). I don’t have an official summer fun list, but I really should. At this point I’m mentally adding/subtracting things as we do them, but it’s nice to look at something concrete and be intentional about fitting things in from that list as time allows. Perhaps I’ll draft one this weekend?

    We did say we wanted to do mini-golf this summer (a first for my kids) and we fit this in with their cousins on our recent trip to the US. It felt like accomplishing our goal on steroids – we crossed off a fun item AND managed to do it with relatives which made it extra special.

  2. I too have a minivan that has over 100k miles and have found myself searching frantically for a tire inflator…enter the husky digital inflator that you can purchase at Home Depot that has completely made the dreaded tire light a non issue. It is so easy to use and does not take up a lot of space. (I store it in the garage and when I am on a roadtrip it comes with me!) It sounds strange that a tire inflator is one of my favorite purchases ever, and maybe the tires on my minivan are just prone to deflating, but it has given me such peace of mind. I literally just used it this morning! 10 out of 10 highly recommend! 🙂

  3. I really want to upgrade to the new Toyota Sienna hybrid minivan! The Pacifica plug-in hybrid looks really cool too, but only seats 7 and I like the flexibility of 8.

    1. @Caitlin – we have to get the 7-passenger since that’s the one with AWD. Hilly, dead-end road in PA winter means the all-wheel drive is quite necessary!

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