Friday, May 31, 2013

Almost Done!

 Me and Will listening to the Durham Bulls on the radio, out on 
the screened porch Wednesday night.

 First of all, if you haven't read this, and you have ever in any way been involved with schooling children, I insist you check it out immediately: Not only so true, but one of the most hilarious things I've read in quite some time.

Today is Will's last full day of school. Next week, they will torture us by stretching things out one half-day at a time. Okay, it's only Monday and Tuesday, and then fourth grade graduation is Wednesday. But still, with just a tiny bit of effort, we could have this whole thing wrapped up by Monday night.

So given that today is Will's last full day, and Jack's last full day was yesterday (he started exams today), do you know what significant milestone we just passed? I AM DONE PACKING LUNCHES UNTIL AUGUST 20TH! (yes, I believe that merits all caps.) Maybe if I had children who ate a wide variety of nutritionally sound and interesting food, packing lunches would be a pleasure. But Will eats hardly any typical lunch foods (no peanut butter, no sandwiches of any kind), and Jack sticks to turkey and roast beef sandwiches. No hummus, no yogurt (though both boys eat yogurt at home), no foods that have potential to contaminate other foods with their scent. That leaves us with sandwiches, muffins, carrot sticks, grapes and cookies. Plus the symbolic string cheese I put in Will's lunch every day, which he never eats (though he eats it at home).

So every evening as I pack their bags, I feel like a lunchtime failure. I feel quite positive that Jack and Will's teachers and peers have been judging me harshly. To be free of these feelings for the next eleven weeks? That, my friend, is freedom indeed.

Other things ... I'm on a major decluttering kick. This will be the Summer of the Big Declutter. (Stop laughing! Did you hear me say it was the Summer I Will Finally Get My Attic Under Control? No, you did not.) I've already started, and here's my confession: I'm not recycling half as much as I should. Usually I'm a very committed recycler, but girls, sometimes to make any headway, you've just got to throw stuff away. You know what I'm saying? You chuck it and you don't look back.

So, anyway, do you have any good decluttering tips for me? The Man's idea of a decluttering tip is that I should leave the house for a day while he takes a pile of giant trash bags and fills them with everything he deems unnecessary to our daily lives. When I came home, the house would be completely bare but for the dog, the children, and a jar of peanut butter.

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 49. Because I always round my age up, that means I'm 50. But you know what? I don't look a day over 46.

Anyway, it was a lovely birthday. The Man took me out to lunch, and then he picked up the boys from school, and I lazed about on the porch, drinking sparkling mineral water and reading a Jackie Robinson biography. Will had a baseball game, and had two hits, and pitched two innings for a total 0.0 earned run average (for those of you not familiar with the ins and outs of baseball, that's a might good ERA indeed).

The Man and I put our chairs in the shade, and I drank some more sparkling mineral water (sparkling mineral water is to me the very definition of the word "treat"), and we chatted and watched our guys win 24-3, and cheered for both teams. We always cheer for both teams, but I suppose there will come a day when the players are bigger and meaner, and then we'll only cheer for our team. That will be a sad day indeed.

Then we came home and ate pulled pork barbecue and chocolate cake and I opened my very nice presents.

Okay, that's all I've got for now. Send in those decluttering tips, would you? I need all the help I can get!


Melissa E said...

Hey there! Glad school is almost done, I never understood the half days other than the fact that as a teacher we were just as "done" as the kids and the school system requires a certain number of days in half days were the solution! I de-cluttered this Spring. Not sure how many tips I have, other than I agree that sometimes you just have to throw stuff away to really make progress! I do go through all of our closets every 6 months and get rid of things we are not using or things that aren't needed any longer, sort of a constant de-cluttering. Oh, and yes, let's get together for coffee soon! I will send an email!

Heather said...

We have half days at the end of the school year here, too. Why do they do that? Either give the parents full days to finish up whatever before-summer stuff they have to do or just end the school year a few days earlier. Torture for both the parents and the kids.

I always feel like a failure when I pack my kids' lunches. They are so picky. Then there are the days when I run out of "lunch stuff" before shopping day. Rooting through the cupboards for something the kids deem edible leads to some very strange lunches!

Happy birthday to another May girl! May is the best month to be born in, isn't it?

Tracy said...

So you said summer of decluttering and I immediately thought of your attic.
My tip: CHUCK IT OUT. That's it. Just chuck stuff. It's fun. Imagine all that energy you can have back that you don't have to waste on maintaining stuff that isn't meaningful to you! I started last school holidays. I'm good at chucking stuff. I'll come and help you!!!!

Our end-of-school-year is teamed up with Christmas. It's that much worse when you have to combine end of school with Christmas preparation. Argh. Does it make you feel any better to know Mr Busy gets a jam sandwich and it's not even half way through the year. Bad mum!!!! Not only that my kids have a peg on the notice board for which they are responsible for putting their school notices on. Themselves. I can't keep up with all the paperwork. I don't even try. And then I get slammed by "But Mum I have a ..... today". Ugh!

magsmcc said...

How did you know I was laughing- I hadn't even got to the Declutter word and I was waiting for The Attic! Oh why isn't this the Summer of the Attic?! I love your summers of the attic. They make me feel less alone! I will have to read the rest tomorrow- and the link as well; must go and think about your attic a bit first.

wayside wanderer said...

Happy birthday! I'm glad it was good and I think you look GREAT...younger than 46 for sure. Decluttering tips? I'm good at it. Small goals, rest but don't quit when you loose steam. If you must keep it organize it, label it and make it easy to find. What else? I don't know. What do you think is your biggest hindrance?

Jo said...

Well, we are all kindred spirits here. My youngest refuses to take any fruit to school, ever. Says she hates the way it tastes at recess. Will eat fruit all day at home. So I am the bad lunch mother. Sigh. Still, as parents, we get used to contempt. Also, I am already pretty slack at all the homework, reading notes stuff, and it is only the start of the school year here. Loved that link!
Now, decluttering. If, like me, you are a procrastinator, do not take the advice of all the decluttering books and put everything in three boxes (you know, trash, charity etc. Forget what third is for). You will just end up with any number of boxes cluttering your house instead. The only thing that has ever worked for me is taking stuff out to the trash or the charity shop bag in the car, or the recycling, one or two items at a time. It takes longer, but there are no piles of stuff to deal with at the end.
Alternatively, let your husband do it, and discover the joys of minimalism. Have a fun summer!

Pom Pom said...

Happiest of birthdays, dear Frances! Yay for you!
Are there tips for decluttering? I need them, too!
A bag a day. I'm going to be friends with the peeps at the Goodwill drop off. I will take one bag every day until things look sparse and then I'll ride my bike. I have to buy the bike first. It can be my reward.

Amanda said...

Your birthday sounds marvelous. I'm glad you had a good day! I am also limping to the end of school, and we have 2 weeks to day at a time, one day at a time...I am totally with you on the RELIEF of not packing lunches for a WHOLE SUMMER! (Packing lunches during my 16-yr-old's wrestling season was the absolute worst. Way too much challenge. He seemed to need to bring half the grocery store to school with him.) And you know, if those bureaucrats who decide on the number of days necessary for school could see what goes on that last week, what would they think?

Tracy said...

Ohh....and....HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. I reckon you don't look a day over 40. However old you are you are super duper amazing in my book. I hope you felt how special we all think you are.

Sandy H said...

Happy birthday! Sounds like a wonderfully pleasant day. We had one half day for the last day of school the first few years of elementary school and our family tradition was I'd pick the kids up and take them out to Friendlys for lunch in celebration. I was actually sort of sad when they switched to the last day being a full day--no more Friendlys lunch party! But that was only one half day--a string of them would be annoying.

I used to love watching the show Clean Sweep when it used to be on, and when we had to do a big haul out (when we moved, DD's room on a regular basis), I'd use their system of three piles: Keep, Sell, Toss, although I'd switch the Sell to Donate because I hate running a garage sale. It was hugely helpful! You do have to commit to getting the donate/toss stuff immediately out of the house, but it helps to get everything out of the space, organize it, and only put back in what's going to be kept. If you try to move it around in the room it gets confusing and overwhelming. Clean slates are a wonderful thing.

Gumbo Lily said...

I was waiting for attic news too! Decluttering tips....I haven't many, but I like the Man's idea of decluttering. My daughter is having a garage sale this coming Saturday and she invited me to join in, but I'm not going to. It's not that I want to keep my stuff, but I don't want to haul a bunch of junk in and then haul it somewhere else if it doesn't sell. Ugh. Like you, I'd rather just throw it in the trash and be done with it once and for all.

Happy Birthday cutie.

Nancy McCarroll said...

Regarding no sack lunches: sorry to have to remind you that lunch still rolls around daily. What's for lunch today, Mom?