Thursday, March 27, 2014


Well, it's been a quiet month in Lake Woebegone, my hometown ...

In some ways this has been a very strange month. Simultaneously crazy-busy and very, very quiet. I have taken up teaching again--to be precise, doing Saturday morning writing workshops with kids--which takes a tremendous amount of upfront planning, followed by a lot of revising after I see which of my lesson plans worked and which flopped.

I've also been preparing for a big trip to Missouri next week and realized halfway through planning my presentation that it wasn't going to work. Back to the drawing board.

Planning, executing and revising, planning, executing and revising. That's my life in a nutshell. Emphasis on the revising.


In case you're wondering, I'm still being frugal, except when it comes to grocery shopping. I gave up on being a frugal grocery shopper. I'm not being a profligate grocery shopper, just one that acknowledges she lives in a house with three males (four, if you count the dog), and all of them like to eat.

BUT I have yet to step foot in my local Target this year, and that, my friends, has made all the difference, even if I pay a bit more for cereal and toilet paper at my grocery store. It is a truism of contemporary life: for every twenty-five dollars you plan to spend at Target, you will actually spend fifty. I've never known this not to be the case.

Two other things that are helping me: interlibrary loans and not enough time to quilt (which means a lot less money spent on fabric). I'm having such fun with the interlibrary loans! I'm working my way through my Amazon wishlist and shopping list via the ILL. I figure I'm saving five bucks for every book I borrow instead of buy used. AND I have also discovered that if you request that your library buy a new book, they will! I recently put in a request that they buy two newly published books I've had my eye on, and almost immediately the books were on order.


One of the reasons I'm not getting much quilting done is that right now I'm having to be a very proactive parent. Will, it turns out, has not really mastered the whole time management thing, and now that he's playing baseball again, the kid really needs help.

I'm fairly hands-off when it comes to my children and homework. They need to learn to sink or swim on their own. Will's not exactly sinking, but lately he's been floundering a bit--forgetting that he needs our signature on a project proposal sheet or putting off projects and papers until the last minute. He's a bright kid but has the organizing skills of a tree sloth. So now we have a meeting every afternoon after school to go over his homework assignments, upcoming projects, and make a schedule for the day.

Is it helping? Sort of. Right now Will doesn't have computer or TV privileges during the week, so that frees up a lot of time. But even when homework is the only thing on Will's agenda, he can still find a lot of ways to do--well, nothing. Pat the dog, play nerf basketball in his room, hang out in the room where I'm working or reading and look pitiful.

As someone who spent most of her school years doing her homework on the bus in the morning, I understand Will all too well. Sometimes I think I cut my kids too much slack because I was such a worthless child myself. All I wanted to do after school was play with my friends, read and eat chocolate covered peanuts. That's it.

But--and, I think, as a result--I also spent too much time as a young adult flopping around like a fish thrown on a dock. I had no clear direction of where I was going, and it took me a long time to figure it out. I was twenty-nine when I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up. The Man had similar issues, and one of the reasons why we are sending ourselves to the poorhouse to educate our children at Our Fine School is because we hope they will enter young adulthood more focused (and quite frankly, better educated) than we were.

So less quilting, more hand-holding, for now at least.


I feel like some of you have been praying for me since my last post, A Pause in Lent #3. Am I right? If you are, I can tell, and I thank you.


M.E. Masterson said...

Juggling is a talent that some don't have. You seem to have this gift. Keep up the good work their momma you got this!

Angela said...

Yes I have. And I am glad it has helped. God is awesome!

Lenten blessings xx

Heather said...

My daughter is a senior in high school and is floundering about her future. My heart aches, because her father and I were the same and we want so much more for her. I've fed all her interests as much as a mother could, but in the end, I've now realized, as long as I did all I could, it is really up to her to direct her life. Needless to say, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for her. Thankfully, I know that things have a way for working out for the best.

Now I'm off to Target to buy $25 worth of stuff, which might turn out to just cost $50, but my kids are going with me, so I'll be lucky if it costs me under $100.

Tracy said...

I wish I was a kid in your writing class. I am completely confident you are magnificent in inspiring great writing. Reflective practitioner...welcome to the world of teaching!

I have two very focused daughters and a son who is surely related genetically to Will...Tree Sloth...YES!!!

Mr Busy has recently been professionally described as having "ADHD tendencies". Not enough to really label him but definitely explain lots of his problems with Tree Slothery and limited ability to tune in.

We hand-hold, check in on tasks, assist with essay planning, engage with test revision, practice spelling words and other activities that mean he may well end up with his VCE one day in spite of himself. The boy will surely be the death of me!

It is time consuming, isn't it? But like you I'm determined to ensure my children have more direction and education with which to begin their adult lives than I did.

wayside wanderer said...

Time management is an issue for my two youngest. It is not a problem I have and not one my oldest two have is very frustrating. I think if I could at least relate it would lesson the crazy factor, I think. Oy.

Gumbo Lily said...

Hooray on staying frugal (staying out of Target).

Those are some lucky students who get to take your class! I hope it goes perfectly well.

The dB family said...

Ahh, yes, the hand-holding! I know all about it. Good for you for keeping on top of it. Oh and kudos to your continued frugality.


Amanda said...

I am glad you're feeling free to accept the reality of trying to feed a bunch of males. Frugality with food shopping is truly difficult with teenage sons! And since food is crucial to keeping them happy, it's a good place to compromise. (mine are 12, 15, and 17 right now)