Friday, July 24, 2009

549 Miles

When we left Geneva four months ago, even our most reluctant selves conceded that it would be good to live closer to family again. No jet lag. No jet. Simply hop in the car after breakfast and be among our oldest and dearest by dinner, at least the closest dear ones, that is. Well, we're officially putting our intentions to the test with our first family road trip. Today's 549 mile leg will be surpassed only by the eventual return trip of 997 miles. With 425 miles behind us already, I can honestly say it's not so bad. The girls are watching movies on my lap top and, now that the Captain's behind the wheel, I have the use of his work computer. Yippee! Mobile blogging.

Aside from seeing old friends and family, a change of scenery is long overdue. To be perfectly honest, I'll be happy for a break from my livingroom's lime green patina that has only become more offensive with each passing month. Changing the powder room from builder's white to cocoa bean taupe was enough to remind me that painting is a lot harder than it looks. The living room will eventually get a new coat of something less bilious, but for now I'll be happy not to be reminded of this task every time I walk through the room. I'll also be glad to stop planning for back to school. There is only so much that can be done to prevent the inevitable. I'm fairly certain the university admissions office will be glad of a break from me, too. It would seem a foreign degree from 1993 is quite a daunting thing to assess. Ah, well. Eventually we'll be out of each other's hair.

We've hit our first patch of heavy construction, but the wireless connection is humming. Life is good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Every Parent's Tool Box: The Tidy Up Check List

In five and a half weeks I'll be going back to school after nearly eight-and-a-half years as a stay-at-home parent. To say I'm a bit nervous would be an understatement. Fears of child delinquency and domestic chaos are not unfounded and I'm doing my damnedest to get prepared. Here's my first solution: the tidy up check list.

Materials: two sheets of paper and an envelope, a colour printer, word-processing software, access to a laminator, packing tape, and about two meters of velcro.

I've made a separate laminated tag for virtually every category of item found in my children's rooms. They attach to a support page by two long strips of velcro. The envelope is attached to the support page by packing tape.

Putting the system to work:

PARENT: Let's take a look around your room and see what needs to be done.
CHILD: Soft toys, books, clothes and my bed.
(CHILD takes the necessary tags from the Done! envelope and places them on the board.)
PARENT: Don't forget the dolls in the bathroom.
CHILD: Oh, yeah.
(CHILD takes the Dolls tag from the envelope and places it on the board)
PARENT: What do you want to start with?
CHILD: The soft toys.
PARENT: Sounds good. I'll be back in five minutes to help.
(Five minutes pass. PARENT returns. CHILD is nearly finished. All but one tag is left on the board, the rest having been returned to the Done! envelope by CHILD. )
PARENT: Wow, I can see your carpet. Great job! Can I help with your bed?
CHILD: Sure!

So far it's worked amazingly well. Mouse often overwhelms herself with her capacity for chaos, so a task list makes things less daunting. Emma likes it, too, and has taken great pride in making her bed, a task she was never obliged to complete. Assuming we keep up with it, not only will the house be more organized, but also the girls will be sure to get the recognition they deserve.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Golfing Mighty-Style

The Captain loads the clubs into the truck.
Emma fills the water bottles.
I get the money and
Mouse brings the knock-knock joke book.

We're ready.