Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???

There has not been a lack of positive stuff going on in my life, and I definitely have plenty to say but finding the right words and positive stories to share has been tough lately. I’m not sure where my writing inspiration has gone, but I think it has something to do with my inability to keep up with all the craziness around me. Lacking a routine has caused a shortage of concentration when I sit down to type.

So I thought I would share a few cool insights from the last few weeks.

When your washing machine breaks, there are two things that make it all better. 1. A mom that shares her washer with you and even takes time to dry and fold the clothes. 2. A local handyman named Joe with a terrific sense of humor and just enough sass to make you feel like you actually helped when in reality he was the one who did all the hard stuff.

When your son is too excited to change out of his school uniform because he wants to get going on vacation, let him wear the uniform. It pays to have a hoodie on him when it is unexpectedly cold on your trip.

Leaving immediately after your kids get out school for a 14-hour vacation drive is stressful but forces you to get into a summer-vacation frame of mind.

When your friend wants an authentic Florida palm tree, and she tries to convince the slightly tipsy men in your party to dig one up with a plastic beach shovel, go ahead and agree to drive them in the golf cart after dark. It makes a for a great story later. P.S. Tell the quizzical passers-by that your friends are considering buying the vacant lot and “There is nothing to see here” ( do not mention their attempts to uproot a palm tree with a plastic shovel). The passers-by will look at you incredulously and slowly walk away. Their reactions will cause severe distress as you try to hold in laughter and your friends to fall over themselves to avoid being seen.

Continue reading “Finding Focus – Insights from Early Summer???”

Who Do You Think of When You Mop?

Who do you think of when you mop?

This may seem like an unusual question, but in the grand scheme of things there isn’t a chore or task that we don’t relate with someone else. While I mop, I am usually mentally cussing my family for being so messy, but before the floor is dry I almost always think of Mary Scott.

Who is Mary Scott?

Well, Mary was a shift manager at the Dairy Queen where I worked as a teenager.

Mary was a tough manager because she did not appreciate horseplay, slacking off, or sneaking bites of cookie dough toppings that weren’t paid for. She appreciated a job well done and sought to provide quality customer service to each customer that came through the door. She also really liked making the Blizzards thick enough to turn upside down each time one was ordered.

Many of my co-workers did not like the job of cleaning the dinning room at the end of the night. I didn’t mind it because it was easier to get clean than the hamburger grease in the kitchen. Sweeping, wiping down tables and doors, bathroom supply checks, and mopping the floor were easy enough tasks to get done so I could get out of there at the end of my shift. One night, Mary watched me mop around the last tables and the floor in front of the soda fountains. I asked if everything was okay. She smiled and said she really liked when I or my sister closed the front because it would be done right. “You girls know how to work. That’s for sure,” she added.

I don’t know why her words have stuck with me, but each time I lug a mop and bucket to clean a floor, I remember the pride I felt in her compliment. Her words also inspired me to always do the best job I could. I wanted to be the person who did a job right. Sometimes I was tempted to cut corners in my cleaning, like my colleagues having water fights in the back, but Mary’s words always caused me to be someone she could count on.

Continue reading “Who Do You Think of When You Mop?”

That Bucket’s Not Going to Carry Itself

That Bucket's Not Going to Carry Itself

The farm has taught me many lessons. One lesson that will forever stick with me is the idea that a bucket can’t carry itself.

Why, you might ask, would a bucket’s inability to carry itself be a lesson of any value to anyone?

Well, it all started in a calf barn.

When I was 4 years old, the farmer my father worked for gave me a feed scoop. It was orange, plastic, and had a Purina logo embossed in the handle. The purpose of the scoop was to fill the stainless steel bowls that were mounted on the front of each calf’s stall. My purpose for having that scoop was so I could be the filler of those bowls.

I was elated. Those calves were the best part of the farm in my 4-year-old mind. I loved how they smelled like sour milk and straw. I giggled non-stop at the way they sucked on my fingers. I cried when they were sick or when it was time to move them out to pasture with the larger calves. I was proud to be their caregiver.

There was just one problem.

The bucket my father filled with feed weighted more than I did. The task of feeding those sweet, spotted calves was a tough one because I often spilled feed going from bucket to stall and back again. Spilled feed is almost worse than spilled milk, but I wasn’t supposed to cry about either.

I soon became discouraged when my father would lose patience over my slow progress and pick up that burdensome bucket to deftly pour just the right amount of feed into the remaining bowls without so much as spilling one kernel of corn.

Why couldn’t I carry that bucket that way?

Nothing frustrated me more than not being big enough to do a job. My father knew this.

One day I noticed the bucket wasn’t quite full. After a scoop or two, I tested my luck. With some effort I was able to pull it closer to my sweet calves and didn’t have to truck those precious scoops of feed quite so far. I was doing it! I was carrying the bucket! Continue reading “That Bucket’s Not Going to Carry Itself”

The Heavy Approach

Heavy Approach

“You approached it like it was heavy, so it was.”

In the past I have written about my struggles with laundry. Laundry and I have a tumultuous relationship. The laundry tumults and I trip over it and fuss about having to fold it. My kids’ relationship with those baskets of socks, shorts, and shirts is way more tragic than mine.

Each day my children are given chores. Nothing too crazy. They are to do things like empty the dishwasher, take out the trash, and clean off the table, but this past weekend my boys were to fold the socks. As far as sock piles go, this one was definitely more of a mole hill than a mountain.

It took my 8 year-old and 6 year-old almost two hours to fold approximately 20 pairs of socks.

It was ugly.

Hubby had to threaten. I had to physically remove every electronic device, every pillow and blanket, and some small furniture from the living room so they could do their job.

When the 2nd hour loomed and I had better things to do than wait for socks to be folded, I set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes.

If the socks were not folded, sorted, and delivered to their respective rooms in those 5 minutes, there would be NO internet, TV, Legos, baseball, or fishing for a week. Continue reading “The Heavy Approach”

Experimental Cleaning

 

Experimental Birthday GiftLast year my uncle let me borrow his robot vacuum cleaner for my birthday. The intention behind this gift was to see if I would like one for myself. The experiment went well.

For Christmas, I received my very own robot vacuum. Now we are onto a new experiment in convenience and cleaning.

The subject of our experiment is Roomee.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_QYuSC76Ns5K6lML8zzTIuWtZ9D8JVp_/view?usp=sharing

Roomee is the vaccum’s name and she is very popular at our house. Everyone fights over who gets to push her buttons. All too often I find myself saying, “Stay away from the vacuum!” (Words I never thought I would utter.)

In the time we have had Roomee, I can honestly say she has been helpful. As with any experiment, there have been a few hang ups (mainly with Roomee getting hung up on my kids’ clothes that hide under their beds), but for the most part adding her to our family has been beneficial.

I really like how she picks up around the table and under the counter in the kitchen. The freshly vacuumed carpets in the living room and bedrooms make me feel like Martha Stewart. Having a debris-free rug by the front door makes me a homemaker rock star.

I know what you are thinking, “Where is the experiment?”

The experiment comes in the same form as any other scientific method.

Hypothesis: If I have a robot vacuum cleaner, my floors will be clean. Continue reading “Experimental Cleaning”

Childhood Chores

chores.jpg

My childhood chores involved babysitting, folding laundry, doing dishes, baling hay, milking cows, and whatever else my parents needed.

We no longer milk cows. My kids are too small to bale hay (and we no longer square bale anything). Many of the jobs that were considered okay for my generation and generations previous are considered unsafe for children to do today.

The thing that is most unnerving to me is not that chores are unsafe, but rather the fact that we are raising future citizens who don’t know how to fold their own shirts.

Recently, I overheard two women talking about their teenage children. They were childhood chore funnydiscussing the fact that they don’t let their kids do the laundry. The reasoning for this was that they didn’t have the patience to teach their children how to use the washing machine and that the kids never folded the clothes the way they (the moms) like it.

Okay?!?

png 1 If we don’t demonstrate patience for our children, how will they know what the skill of being patient looks like? If we don’t teach them how to use the washing machine, who will? Some nice lady at the laundry mat?

png 1 Secondly, how can our children improve their skills, in things like laundry folding, if we don’t guide them? I don’t mind if my shirts are a bit sloppy when folded, at least somebody folded them.

Another time a mom told me she didn’t know how I had the patience to let my kids cook with me. “They are so messy, and I am already tired when I get home. I don’t want them underfoot when I am trying to get dinner on the table,” was what she told me.

png 1 Cooking is messy. Learning is messy. Kids are messy. The cool thing about cooking childhood chores (2)with my kids is that they are learning. They learn how to make food. They learn how to clean up. They learn how to work as a team preparing, making, and serving our meals. Plus, my time with them is so precious in the evenings; it is nice to be able to do something productive.

I am not gonna lie. We don’t cook together every night. I don’t let my kids put the clothes away all the time. Sometimes I am too tired to be patient with them and sometimes they are too tired to work with me. But we still try most of the time. Continue reading “Childhood Chores”