The Busier, the More Productive

Have you ever noticed that when you’re busier, you’re more productive? That is definitely the case for me. Right now my days are packed. I get up at 5:30am and am out the door by 6:15am at the latest. At school I have a list of tasks to complete in the 20 minutes before my zero period kids arrive and then another set of tasks to complete in the 10 minute break before first period. Then I teach straight through until 12:07pm and by 12:17pm I am in the car on my way to pick up Monito. Sometimes I try to squeeze in a quick errand (like today I grabbed wart remover at CVS–I know, gross) on my way to my in-laws. I’m always there by 1:15pm and I’m home with Monito by 1:45pm. After a diaper change and bottle he goes down for a nap and I have 90 minutes to eat lunch and do whatever else I need to get done. I keep a running list of To Do’s in my reminder app and if I’m not working out during Monito’s nap, I immediately open it and get to work. That 90 minutes is so precious, I absolutely can’t squander it and the knowledge that there is just no other time to get these things done makes me use that time very wisely.

Monito is usually up by 3:40. I try to give him at least 10 minutes of my undivided attention before I keep working on chores or quickly run an errand before walking to pick up Osita (she really loves when we walk home so I’m trying to do that now, while the weather is still warm(ish) and the days are still long). Little brother and I arrive at her school around 5pm, right when they are coming off the playground (if I get there earlier she doesn’t want to leave) and we head home, munching on snacks while we walk. We take our time trekking back and we don’t get to the house until around 6pm most nights. The three of us hang out for 15 minutes and let Monito burn off some energy crawling around/wreaking havoc/tearing through the house before I put him to bed. By 6:45pm I’m making Osita dinner, which she takes 30 some odd minutes to eat (ah mealtimes, always a power struggle). By 7:15pm we’re having “Osita Time” (more on this soon) and then it’s bedtime for bonzos. Of course bedtime takes at least an hour so I’m not out of her room until 8:30pm most nights and I’ll be back in there intermittently until at least 9:30pm which means I don’t get much done in the following hour. By 9:30 I’m already puttering around the house getting things ready before bedtime and by 10:30pm my head has hit the pillow and the lights are out.

I definitely have less time right now than I ever have before and yet I’m getting more (of the things that I absolutely have to do) done than I usually do. Knowing my time is extremely limited and feeling the pressure to honor commitments means that I don’t waste a minute of the time to do my things. I’ve actually managed to stay on top of a few on going, unrelated projects right now, and I’m pretty impressed with the fact that I haven’t let any balls drop, at least not yet.

Of course this also means that the things I used to do during those off hours are getting swept aside (ahem, blog writing, reading and commenting). I basically have to think ahead, at the beginning of the week, about what I want to write and then schedule it in somewhere or it won’t get done. (I still haven’t figured out when to read or comment on blogs, but I will I promise.) I’m only writing this post now because I’ve pushed back a copyediting assignment until tomorrow (probably not the best call, but it’s been made).

As of today, I’m making this new schedule work but I wonder how long I can keep this up. If I were ever to have an unproductive day (or god forbid get sick) the whole house of cards would come tumbling down and already aspects of my life are suffering: my house is a disaster zone, I’m perpetually exhausted and my tension headaches are coming back. I keep telling myself that if I keep this up for a few more weeks I can get on top of some things and I’ll have a little more wiggle room but I have the sneaking suspicion that that is not actually the case.

I could worry more about that right now but instead I’m going to marvel at how much I’m getting done and how well my reminder app is keeping me on task during the extremely limited time I do have. I always suspected that I got more done when I had less time, but now I’m certain of it.

How do you handle very busy periods in your life? Do you find you get more done when you have less time?

Disjointed Attempts

Ugh. I tried to write a post. I got three paragraphs in and just deleted it. It was for the best. You can thank me later.

It’s 10pm. I’m waiting for the power drill to charge up (don’t get a chargeable power drill, especially the kind that won’t work even if it’s plugged in. WTF?!?!?!?!) so I can I finish installing the gate at the top of the stairs. Our house is old and nothing was built the right way and I’m guessing there is a 40% chance this gate will work once I install it. I’ll let you know how it turns out. (UPDATE: It didn’t work. The ground is not flat so the gate didn’t match up with the lock AT ALL. I’m waiting for the power drill to charge up again so I can drill four more holes. I HATE THIS POWER DRILL SO MUCH. Oh, and it is now 11pm.)

I got 23 boxes packed at work today. I paid a high school kid to help me and we did all the easy stuff today. Tomorrow is the harder stuff that I have to really sort through as I pack it. My new “room” isn’t really a room, it’s a modular and it’s SMALL and I have to get rid of a lot of stuff. Tomorrow is going to be tough. I’ll probably be down there again on Friday. It kills me that I’m missing so much of my last weeks with my baby boy but I’m trying not to think about it too much. It is what it is. It has to get done.

I’m listening to an interesting parenting book that I was really liking at first, and then it launched into an attachment parenting rant and started bagging on working parents a bit and I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck bristling. I recognize that feeling attacked as a working parent is a BIG trigger for me, so I’m trying really hard to let it go. We’ll see if I succeed. If I end up liking it, I’ll review it here.

I took Monito to the OT this morning. As I suspected, she declared that everything looked great. He could move food to all areas of him mouth and didn’t seem to have any sensory issues. She gave me a lot of great tips for moving forward and I’m glad I went. I’ll pass along the best of the info soon, I promise.

I had a weird experience with one of the mom’s from Osita’s class today. I’ve actually written about her before (a LONG post) that I never published because I felt weird doing so and not long after I wrote it something happened that kind of negated the whole point of the post. Anyway, I’ve thought that maybe we could be friends, as our daughters AND our sons are the same age, she lives really close and we’re both teachers. Sometimes it seems like it might work and then she does weird stuff and I don’t know what to think. I’ve long since stopped actively pursuing her friendship, as that didn’t seem to be getting anywhere and the last thing I want to seem is desperate (especially since I am, so I probably reek of it). Anyway, it just makes me realize how hard finding a friend is–I mean, everything lines up perfectly between us and we still don’t seem to fit.

I asked another mom out for dinner or drinks not long ago (via text) and she said yes, but then later in the text conversation she admitted that she had lost all her contacts with her phone and didn’t actually know who I was. So that felt… awkward. She said she suspected it was me but still, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that. I mean, I guess it shows that she’s nice enough to say yes to dinner/drinks with someone without even knowing for sure who it is, but it also feels like I can’t even be sure she actually wants to hang out with me, since she didn’t know who I was when she agreed. Of course she’s leaving this Friday for two weeks in Italy (with her mom and brother, for a wedding, it’s cool, I’m not totally jealous). I’ll let you all know how our “date” goes when she gets back (it totally feels like a date by the way. I feel like I’m on the market, looking to date other moms. Ugh. I sucked at dating romantically, I’ll probably suck at this too.)

Oh, and I lost my Fitbit, so that is totally bumming me out right now.

So that is me at the moment. Trudging through packing my room, trying to baby proof this house, mourning the loss of my FitBit, and trying not to show how desperate I am for a friend to unsuspecting mothers (and I’d be totally open to “dating” women who aren’t mothers, but I honestly don’t even know where I find them. We don’t tend to inhabit the same places these days). It’s, well, kind of tedious, but I’m doing my best to get through.

{I just read through a bunch of posts in my reader and now I feel like a total asshole for being so whiny in this post (and all the my recent posts actually) when there are people with real, honest-to-god, problems in the world. I’m still going to put it up, because I wrote it, but just for the record, please know that I’m aware: me=asshole.}

{That damned power drill better have some juice by now…}

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2ND UPDATE: I finally got the gate installed. At 12:21am. Five hours after I started. At least it works.

Smaller, More Reachable Goals

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement on my last post. I realized as I was reading them that my post made it seemed like, at 155lbs, I was where I wanted to be. That isn’t actually the case, I want to be at 145 so I can wear all my old clothes, especially my size 8 pants. I was going to write a post about how I haven’t really reached my goal, and that I still have a ways to go, but then I stopped.

Because you know what? Fuck that. I did reach a goal. There was a reason I was focusing on 155 first–I knew that when I reached it I’d feel a lot better about myself, my clothes would fit better, and I wouldn’t feel so desperate to see the scale move. And I was right. I feel so much better in my skin. When I see myself in the mirror I don’t cringe. Sometimes I actually think, Damn, I look pretty good! I got myself some capris and tops for the St. Louis trip so I don’t have to wear my worn out, stained maternity clothes anymore. The bras I bought at the beginning of my pregnancy fit pretty well. I don’t feel the need to starve myself to see drastic weight loss. I’m not where I want to be, but I’m in a MUCH better place than I was when I started. Those 15 lbs made a HUGE difference and I worked hard to get them off, so I’m going to celebrate where I am, instead of just thinking about where I want to be. I’m glad I set that initial goal of 155lbs. I’m glad I was working toward that first, so when I got there I could take a moment to reflect on what I had done. If I were only focused on 145 and fitting into my size 8s, I’d probably feel pretty battered down right now, like I’d never cross the finish line. Instead, I feel proud of myself–and I should!–for making a real, measurable change to my body.

I’m glad I had this experience now, before I start really working toward bettering myself as a writer. If I set smaller, more reachable goals on that journey, I will set myself up for more celebration and less disappointment. Especially in the beginning, I want to make sure my goals are achievable, things that I KNOW I can do because only I stand in the way of not doing them. Signing up for a writing class was my first goal, and I already achieved that. Completing that class will be my second goal, along with a few other things that I’m working on now (and will talk more about soon). These are all things that I am in complete control of achieving. They don’t require anything outside of myself, like a certain number of page views or having submitted work accepted. I hope I can remember this lesson for at least the first two years; my goals should be about what I can control, otherwise I might start feeling hopeless or depressed. Otherwise I might give up.

I need to do this with some other things too, like paying down my credit card debt. I think I’ll make my first goal to get down to $4000, and then down to $2000. It’s hard to pay that thing off, and every time I reach a goal I should take a moment to appreciate what I’ve done. Maybe then it won’t seem so daunting.

I’m sure some other goals of mine could be restructured in this way. I’ll have to start doing this more.

Are you more successful when you create smaller, more reachable goals? Is there a goal you’re working toward now that might benefit from some restructuring?

The Last Few Days

My bed is afloat on a sea of snotty tissues and so bullet points will have to do.

— THURSDAY was my birthday and it was surprisingly good. Osita ended up staying home with a sore throat but my in-laws were kind enough to take her for a few hours so I didn’t have to cancel a lunch with a friend. When I got back two of my good friends FaceTimed me while Monito was sleeping. Then Mi.Vida took me to a really amazing sushi restaurant that he made reservations for almost a month in advance. The dinner was incredible–and someone bought us a bottle of their most expensive saki, for no reason at all really, they just thought we seemed cool! It was an awesome night. The only downside was I had a sore throat that I could tell would become something much more menacing the next day, and I found out that after I’d dodged it all week, I was finally being called into jury duty the next day, Friday, at 12:45pm. WHO PICKS A JURY AT 12:45 ON A FRIDAY!?

– FRIDAY started off surprisingly well. Osita had to stay home because she had a bullshit fever for like five minutes the day before and I’m nothing if not a rule follower. We watched some TV while Monito slept and then my in-laws came to pick them both up so I could head to jury duty (do you recognize a theme here–mainly that without my in-laws I’d be fucked?!) I got downtown quickly enough to eat a quick lunch with Mi.Vida and then rushed in the courthouse only to be told that I didn’t read the website carefully enough and we’d been transferred from the Civil Court to the Criminal Court, which is a good 10 minute cab ride away. There were three of us standing there dumbly as this was explain so I convinced the other two to share a cab with me because there was no way I’d let the nice man reschedule me. We were lucky enough to get a cab quick and literally arrived JUST IN TIME to be counted for that day’s service. After thirty minutes it was mysteriously announced that “they couldn’t continue” that day and we were all excused. BEST NEWS EVER.

I thought Friday was making up for the shitty parts of Thursday but then my cold hit like a piano falling from a great height and I suddenly couldn’t move. By the time I’d picked up Monito from my ILs house (Osita stayed a bit longer) and got us both home I was a wreck. My throat was on fire and my head and ears ached. I was feeling super awful when I realized that my license officially expired on my birthday and I never got a new one in the mail, despite sending the renewal paperwork in over a month ago. I gchatted with Mi.Vida about that while I checked my checking account to see if the check I wrote was processed (it wasn’t) and then I started to think about what I should do because with an expired drivers license I couldn’t legally drive my car. As I was trying to see if I could get an appointment sometime soon at the DMV (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!) Mi.Vida called and after much shuffling of metaphorical feet announced that the DMV never got my renewal paperwork because it was STILL SITTING ON HIS DESK AT WORK. I’d asked him to mail it a month ago (and even double checked that he had) and yet it was sitting on his desk the whole time. Needless to say he felt terrible and spent the rest of the night groveling for my forgiveness (which I gave him rather quickly, I’m proud to admit–mostly I just felt too shitty physically to feel shitty mentally too).

– SATURDAY I was sick as a dog and didn’t do much of anything except blow my nose every 2.5 seconds and cough until my chest hurt. (Actually, I did haul the kids to Costco with me because I’m a masochist (and needed more Kleenex–only a set of TEN LARGE BOXES would suffice). We actually did okay, despite sharing the idea to go to Costco with every other San Franciscan within a seven mile radius (which is the entire city, actually, because it’s that small). So far I’ve made it through two of those boxes of Kleenex so it’s a good thing I stocked up at Costco.)

Saturday night we watched What About Bob? which totally holds up. So good. So dark. So hilarious. Both Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus are geniuses.

— SUNDAY I got up with Monito (because I NEVER ask Mi.Vida to get up with him, not even when I’m super sick and feeling like shit). We played in his room for a bit and then I took him for a walk to Walgreens to get some Sudafed because I realized that I hadn’t used over the counter meds for the past SIX YEARS because all that time I was either pregnant or nursing or trying to get pregnant, but now I can take WHATEVER I WANT (hence the two Diet Cokes a day habit I’ve embraced) so we walked in the misty fog to Walgreens and got some Sudafed and antibacterial soap (this if the first illness I’ve had since I stopped pumping and I REALLY don’t want to pass it to Monito) and headed home. Evidently Osita slept past NINE this morning and I was so jealous that Mi.Vida got to stay in bed that late while I, THE SICK ONE, was trudging through the wet morning fog to get medicine to alleviate my OWN SYMPTOMS that I actually kind of hung up on him. I know it’s my own fault for not asking him to get up (and I just made myself feel better telling him that getting up today was an early birthday present (his birthday is tomorrow). I need to figure out how to manage these things better. We just (literally right now, before I typed this sentence) agreed to take turns getting up early on the weekends. I hope we can actually do that.

So that was the last few days. Oh, and I forgot that I’m writing a lot in my new space, partly because BlogHer is this coming weekend and partly because I just want to write there. I feel like my tribe here is dwindling and it will behoove me to branch out more, because so many of the women I follow in the ALI community are writing less and less, or not writing at all, and I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to just stop, so I need to start finding a space that is less about how infertility and loss touched my life, and more about all the rest of it.

I’m sure I’ll keep writing here for a long time (and I hope you all do too!)–heck I may never stop–but I don’t want to be left behind while everyone else gets on with their lives, so I’m trying to be proactive. I hope what I write there is compelling enough for you to read it, but I understand if it’s not.

What was your weekend like? Anything to share?

Disneyland Bound

Today Osita and I head down to Disneyland. We’ll be driving all day today, at California Adventures (home of Carsland) tomorrow and at Disneyland on Wednesday. We drive home Thursday. Monito will be at my parents’ house and Mi.Vida will be home, enjoying some down time in the mornings and evenings, and working the rest of the time.

I have been very excited about this trip, but the disaster that was Osita’s birthday weekend helped temper my expectations. Today tempered them further. Osita was in a bad place. She hasn’t hit, kicked, pinched or slapped me as much as she did today in a long, LONG time. It was a hard day. It made me question this whole endeavor.

I hope this isn’t a huge mistake. I thought I was doing something she would love, carving out four days of uninterrupted us time, planning a trip that was all about her. I knew she wouldn’t remember it later, but I thought it would be awesome for her now. Maybe it still will be. I hope it will be. I guess we’ll have to see.

Tomorrow morning I have to put the final touches on my packing job, get Osita and Monito in the car, and get us all down to my parents by 8:30am. The only way that might happen is if I finish as much packing as I can right now. I haven’t even printed our tickets yet! So much to do.

I hope you all have a great week. I won’t have my computer with me so I’m not sure how much I’ll be posting in the next few days. I have a lot to say, but I’m trying to be more thoughtful in what I say and how I say it, trying to discern what my intention is in writing about a certain topic and wording things in the way I do. It makes it harder to pull the trigger on some posts, but I suppose that is a good thing.

I want to keep writing though. Writing nourishes something deep in my soul. I don’t feel fully myself if I’m not writing. I’m sure I’ll find a way.

Wish us luck on our trip. I think we’re going to need it.

Sick Birthday Girl

It’s Osita’s 4th birthday today.

I got balloons and two dozen cupcakes to celebrate at school.

I got Little Mermaid decorations and party favors for her little movie party Friday night.

I cleaned the house for our family celebration today, on her actual birthday.

I spent weeks planning and preparing. I stressed out all week long, as I graded papers like crazy for the final week of school. I had everything ready. It was going to be awesome.

And then Osita woke up sick yesterday. She couldn’t go to school. We had to cancel her movie party. We even had to postpone today’s small family celebration.

Poor Osita. She was so upset to miss her school celebration and movie night. My heart broke for her.

Mi.Vida stayed home with her yesterday morning and I was home by noon, with the 24 cupcakes and helium balloons (it was too late to cancel either order–I tried). We watched movies most of yesterday and I suppose we’ll watch movies most of today.

Osita’s fever is down today and we hope she’ll be able to celebrate with her grandparents tomorrow. I’ve been trying to reschedule the movie night but there is no day in June when all five girls can make it. I guess we’ll have to pick a day and someone will miss out.

I know it’s not a big deal–she’ll probably not remember this birthday in even five years time–but right now it sucks, for her and for us. I just wish this first birthday that she really had been waiting had been better.

Oh well. Maybe next year.