Monday, May 25, 2015

Just One Thing

Captain Obvious here: having a kid really changes your daily schedule. It also really forces you to plan your day and use your time wisely.

Life is great. Eddy is THRIVING. She's the most amazing person in the whole world and gets amazinger and amazinger every day. I have a great job with the perfect amount of hours that allows me to do what I'm good at, yet stretches my skills. Overall, I go to bed each night satisfied with my day.

But I know I could do more. I could do better. I could thrive, too.

Let me get back to my Captain Obvious statement. After a full day at work, it's easy to be tired. It's easy to come home and want to order some food and play with your kid for the rest of the evening. Especially now that it's so nice and light out. This is not the best choice for financial, health, and practical reasons. Shawn works much longer hours than I do, which is fine since he has a job that requires this. This means that it is up to Eddy and I to get dinner on the table. The three of us are a team and these are the jobs and roles that we have that make our team work.

I am proud to say that I cook a (most of the time healthy) homemade meal, on average, four or five times a week. It is hard at times, but I feel like it is worth it. It allows us to eat healthy on a budget and teaches Eddy good food habits. This also means we have leftovers for lunch, and not buying lunch everyday is a huge cash saver. But it does take time. And then there are dishes afterward. By the time I'm done with all that and we've put Eddy to bed, the TV calls us to the couch and many evenings are spent relaxing and vegging out.

That's ok from time to time. Especially those days when work has been extra stressful, the child is sick, or something happens in life that is extra hard. On those days, veg out. It's totally ok. The problem is when the vegging out happens every evening. Sure, I've been getting everything that needs to get done done, but just barely. I do just enough to keep the house up, keep the child happy and healthy, and keep myself presentable on a daily basis (and succeeding at catching up on Game of Thrones).

This is why I've decided to restart my Just One Thing rule. This rule says that I have to do at least one useful thing each day, in addition to the usual. I always have a list of things I should be doing. Don't we all? Small house projects, things that need to be cleaned and/or organized, and life things that just need to get checked off the to do list. Having those things looming overhead is not a good feeling, but checking them off is always satisfying. Most of these things are not large projects. They are things that take between 10-30 minutes. Don't we all have at least 30 minutes to spare each day? I know I do.

Some of these things might be:
* Doing the grocery shopping (I'm a fast grocery shopper)
* Cleaning the fish tank
* Reorganizing the linen closet
* Cleaning the toilet
* Cleaning the refrigerator
* Going to the gym or for a run outside
* Making that one repair on that shirt, or hemming a pair of pants

Like I said, these are things that always need done and burn holes in everyone's to-do lists, but aren't necessarily daily tasks. Some take 10 minutes, some take 45. What you decide to do depends on the day.

Things that don't count because they need to be done so regularly:
* Doing the dishes
* Cleaning the litter box
* Making dinner
* Doing laundry

It's been hard to stick to my rule. Some days I've failed. But I have to keep trying.  I have found that if I let myself sit down and pull out the old laptop, then I'm setting myself up to fail. You don't realize how tired you are until you sit down. So I don't sit down until I've done everything I planned on doing. On days that I do my one thing, I go to bed feeling accomplished and ready to take on a new day. I like this feeling and I'd like to feel it on a regular basis. So I'll keep trying. I'm thinking dragging Shawn in on this might help. He probably won't appreciate that, but I think it'll be good for him too.

So, what's your 'one thing'?

Playing is so much fun! Can you spot the baby?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Boiling Sheets

It happened. The thing that all parents fear and have experienced at least once.

The dreaded crayon through the dryer. Ugh.

I was washing a load of sheets and at the last minute threw in a sweatshirt that needed washing. That sweatshirt had a broken orange crayon. ORANGE. With khaki colored sheets. FAIL. Sheets, really?

This is what they looked like. It was bad. I kind of wanted to cry.

I was traumatized.
I needed to sleep on it (literally and figuratively), but the next morning I woke up with a fire to fix my mistake. So I did some googling and got some ideas.

I knew I needed heat to melt the wax. There were too many bits all over to do the ironing method (and I HATE ironing) so I chose not to go with that. I also knew that I needed some strong soap to lift the wax. There were a few sites that recommended WD40, but I felt like it was just replacing the crayon with an equally damaging stain, and I didn't want to deal with the whole chemical aspect as well.

So I pulled out my large canning pot and filled it with water, a few squirts of dish soap, and a few tablespoons of borax and put it on medium heat. Once the water got hot, I tossed in the pillowcases. I let them simmer for about 30 minutes, vigorously agitating them and scrubbing them with a wooden spoon. After a while, I replaced the pillowcases with the fitted sheet. (Luckily the flat sheet escaped without any stains.) I did the same to the fitted sheet, but let it simmer for a little longer. I turned the heat off and let the pot cool for several hours. I poured the excess water out, but dumped the rest into the washing machine and washed them with other stuff just like normal. I let them hang out in the sun for a few hours, which I think helped a bit as well.

I didn't need to go to the gym that day after this.
I'm satisfied with the results. There are still faint orange stains where the crayon was, but we can live with it. I think I should have tried straight up lemon juice for the stains before tossing them into the wash, but its too late now that it has been through the dryer. I might try it anyway. I'm just glad I didn't have to toss 800 thread count sheets. Yeah chemical-free stain removal!

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