The past two days I’ve been in an intensive crash course on how to be a school board member. Given I have a ton of house guests coming this weekend it was not optimal timing but I am very glad I went.
There was one quote that truly resonated; “being on a school board is never what you expected”. I’m getting the impression that is very true. In some ways I think it will be easier, I was expecting to do more ‘work’ and really, the board is supposed to keep a broad view, an eye on goals and hold the superintendent and staff accountable. I vaguely thought it would be like the Parent Teacher Organization supersized.
After many many hours of seminars, there was really nothing super NEW or truly surprising but it was an exercise in gaining more clarity. Like the difference between learning algebra and then seeing why algebra exists in higher math. Now I see much more clearly the role a board needs to play. Seeing is one thing, the next step is doing.
The negative note for the situation though is that I may have irrevocably traded in my ‘cool helpful parent’ role in my kid’s school. I joined the board to have a positive involvement in their lives and I might have just created a situation where their teachers will never quite know how to deal with me. If any teacher is reading this; my plan is to do my very very best to be a normal mom when in the schools for my kids and only wear the board hat if asked. By the way, the board seems to have very few magical powers so I can’t say I’ll be able to pull out any rabbits for anyone.
Last week was very very busy and I hardly got near my computer to say what was going on in life. It was the first week of the winter schedule with choir and gymnastics and while all the children love their respective activities they are across town from each other and at nearly the same time. It was also the week I got officially sworn onto the board so that was a fun event. Inbetween I actually got myself to the gym, and, we dove into the final battle with the boxes by infiltrating the storage room stronghold. I also managed to get our massive window covered in curtains and I can’t seem to take a good picture of it but it’s done. It does cut down on the crazy loudness of the room and the sun in the face by TV situation some minor parties in the house have been disgruntled by. Personally, I liked to see their solutions, you can’t not laugh at them sitting with pillows, blankets, or stuffed animals balanced on their heads to block the sun in their eyes. Life didn’t slow down on the weekend and this week made last week look easy because I had to call in my support team to help with the kid needs while I went and drank from the firehose of learning.
It is a great sort of busy and I feel like this is going to be a good phase of life. Great start to 2019.
In the mornings, pre official wake up time, I surf my reading list on my phone. Over the past few days the big theme seems to be resolutions. The opinions range from “yes! clean slate, do the things!” to “resolutions are stress inducing and dumb” and a semi unique tangent this year seems to be ‘alternative’ resolutions like declutter or go on more social outings. All the opinions have merit and I’m not really going to add to it other then say; you do you, I’ll do me.
The last post talked a little about projects in the works. Like most of my projects I end up doing a little bit on a lot of things and nothing gets done until suddenly one day they all get done. Putting a big party* on my calendar really helped motivate too, and, Lars really helped by feeding us all so I could focus. He also checked in to see if his lifting skills were needed and he toted many many boxes (my nemesis!!!) to recycling, donation, and trash. I’m happy to say there is only one last major battle against the boxes on the horizon; the storage room. Here is a list of my recent conquests;
- the pantry. Was epically disorganized and desperate for a purge. It also harbored 2 unpacked boxes. It required 1 trip to menards and 1 trip to ikea to tame.
- my closet. This was a box stronghold, there were at least 6 very large boxes and 4 totes. You could not touch the back wall even if you had long arms. This required a dive into pinterest, a trip to Menards (yes, a different one), a trip to Tom’s where we still have some stuff (less now), an amazon purchase, and a trip to walmart for hangers. Changing that light fixture was really annoying but worth it. I added to the existing closet system but now it works for us.
- my room! This is less a single battle and more a general campaign. It is now box free (there were about 6 medium ones) and almost ‘done’. There is still furniture to paint in the spring but it is now functional and pretty.
As all people with homes and children know, the daily skirmish against the creeping clutter is never ending. I’ve read the how-to’s and they all boil down to a 2 part plan; get rid of most of your stuff, including any messy hobbies, and, clean every day. I don’t want to do either of those things so my modified version is to get to a point where things have a place to go away and that is what I’m working on.
In this oddly short week I feel pretty good about where I am since I really did spend 2 weeks working toward organizing it does pay off for a little while. I even had time to get through the piles of paper around the house.
*The Party – we hosted a new years day open house and we had a great time, I hope our guests did too. There were about 50 or so people over the day and while I missed a few that couldn’t make it I was super happy to see everyone who did and we even got to meet our elusive next door neighbors!
As Vacation Mom likes to tease me, I’m very habit based on certain things. I do laundry on Monday, I pay bills on the first Wednesday of the month. Deviations are absolutely possible but I don’t like them much. Today, a Tuesday, I had to tackle the bills because tomorrow I start a 2-day meeting extravaganza for school board stuff.
Bills don’t usually make people happy, neither do Mondays, I think I’m a little odd on the subject because I don’t mind either too much. I absolutely recognize that the reason I’m ok with them both is that I’m super lucky and also have worked hard to be in a good place because Mondays (as I believe I’ve said before) are like MY day to get organized and the potential of the week is ahead of me and nothing has yet fallen behind.
I like paying bills primarily because I *can* pay them without worry due to budget mindfulness and good job and planning. I also like double checking things to make sure there are no errors, it is annoying sometimes but so satisfying to work out the problems. This totally paid off today when a billing lead at the town called me because a tangle we worked out 2 weeks ago didn’t execute and because I had been working with her nicely over the past 10 years (it is a funky old system) she called me instead of just processing. The final reason I like bills is that I like to do the stats behind them. How has my electric bill been doing? How about gas? (This new house has them split) What is the spending trend on the credit card? Today I decided after 3 months in this new house I could compare its energy use to our energy use over the same period last year in the old house. Best results ever; they are nearly identical costs! That truly means that
#1 Good news; given the price of energy increasing we are doing better this year with energy use to have the price be the same
#2 Better News; Our new house is not quite double the size and that isn’t costing us more energy! We planned in so many things that should be energy savings but I was waiting to see if it proved out in dollars and cents.
It is a good feeling to have the bills for the month more or less settled, recorded in my spreadsheet, and analyzed nicely. A pleasant byproduct is my desk gets an extra tidy on bills day to make sure I didn’t lose a random bill from a dentist etc. I can jump into my busy week from a place of strength; laundry is done and bills are paid and bonus – I even know what I’m cooking for dinner.
I love my blog enough to pay $13 whole dollars for an upgraded membership. I realized some of the reasons I was not blogging was because I was nearly out of space and pictures really do make the story. So, after the 3million and third targeted add with discounts and ‘last chance’ notes from WordPress I did it. I have no idea what all will change but I have more space and that is what I was looking for.
What about the daily post? Well, that didn’t work out this year. I’m as disappointed as you are (btw I’m assuming nobody was all that disappointed). When last we talked I was suffering from a truly annoying mouth issue that actually persisted for a full 7 days and now I have the creepy crud of congestion. These are not conditions conducive to happy chatting online. Beyond those minor annoiances, the week was really great and super full.
Thanksgiving felt like the end of a marathon. One that started so long ago when we first decided to put the house on the market and then escalated when we were prepping, then selling and building then moving and homeless, then traveling, then moving in and figuring out where things go and a truly giant list of things to do. No sooner were we in the house the kids were to school and the election tasks started, Halloween, and a rather full social calendar of weekend events culminating last week with the first big house party and 8 out of town guests and then Thanksgiving with more guests. No wonder I feel tired and out of planning energy! Sunday I sat there and realized that I have nothing major on the immediate horizon.
Does that mean I am doing nothing? No way, just nothing like building a house or moving. I have a vague hope that I’ll be catching up on the active to-do list to the point where I can get back to a normal week that includes meal planning and working out and generally not just chasing the ball down hill constantly.
So how was your thanksgiving?
here are some pictures because I have space now