Tag Archives: organisation

Where Have All the Odd Socks Gone?

Full marks to my husband! He went and bought himself new socks. However, instead of buying a set of matching pairs, he went and did the unthinkable. He bought individual pairs. Indeed, he bought 7 pairs of socks each inscribed with the day of the week. I guess that’s in case he forgets what day of the week it is. Then, he can simply look down to his feet and have that magic “Ah Ha!” moment. Be relieved when he finds out it’s “Thank goodness it’s Friday” and Monday has been and gone.

However, these Day of the Week socks can be problematic. What if you are wearing the wrong socks? That is, that you’re sitting in a meeting trying to make a great impression when suddenly everyone notices you’re wearing Wednesday socks on Thursday or even worse still…you’re wearing different days of the week?!!

At best, you’ll be perceived as odd. More than likely, you’ll be referred for “counseling”…or worse. You can certainly wave that promotion good bye!!

Not unsurprisingly, therefore, these Day of the Week socks are an absolute nightmare for your sock drawer.

That is, unless you’re one of “them” and you not only pair your socks up but also file them as well.

As you could imagine, Day of the Week socks were just too much for our household.

Indeed, only on their first wash, the unthinkable happened. All 5 days of the week came out of the wash alone. That’s right. There were 5 odd socks sitting on the bed and just to make me feel even worse, there was one naughty sock as well.

Naughty! Naughty! Naughty!

I have long since given up philosophizing about what happens to odd socks and where they all run off to and yet…

Sometimes, there’s a perfectly simple explanation. The pairs have just been split between loads and have simply separately…not divorced.

On the other hand, this doesn’t explain away those “cold cases” where the missing sock never returns.

Over the years, I’ve pondered whether there is indeed some kind of tropical paradise, where these odd socks go. Abandoning not only their partners but also their responsibilities, they’ve parked themselves on the beach sipping Pina Coladas, while everyone else is tearing the house apart trying to find them…the inconsiderate sods!!

That’s one possible explanation.

I’ve also wondered whether the washing machine is implicated. Has it developed some kind of weird odd sock fetish? Or, does it get a bit peckish and simply gobbles them up? That socks were on the menu for lunch? I don’t know but I’m certainly suspicious!

However, as much as missing socks are de rigeur around here, losing five consecutive Day of the Week socks in one load has to be some kind of record. I’m not sure what kind of record but a record all the same. After all, losing all five days of the week, has to be an achievement! I usually only lose a day or two at a time.

Indeed, it was so offbeat that even my husband was laughing.

That’s a turnaround. You see, socks are usually no laughing matter…especially when I’ve been sprung wearing his socks yet again!!

Humph…I guess it’s time I went out and bought myself some more socks.

Speaking of which, these Day of Week socks might actually be useful after all. I might just get them personalized with the kids after school activities printed on them. That way I can just look at my socks and know exactly where I’m meant to be. Wouldn’t that be great?!!

Then, these @#$% socks would actually be useful…the perfect reminders!!

That is, as long as they didn’t get swapped!

Wish us luck. We might yet find the perfect pair!!

xx Rowena

PS It seems I am not the only one struggling with missing socks. Here’s Ann’s saga: http://annofgg.com/2015/08/31/odd-socks-and-ocd/

Dong! Dong! Dong! We’re back to the real world.

Getting the kids off to school for the start of another year, is tricky at the best of times. However, when your life is complicated for whatever reason, trying to get your little peoples to school on time with all their paraphernalia on the first day becomes, or at least appears to be, Mt Everest…particularly if “catastrophise” is your middle name.

Of course, to make matters worse there’s always that parent who has literally licked ever hair on their preciously child’s perfect little head in place just to ensure your child looks completely and utterly neglected like some raggamuffin orphan out of Oliver or Annie.

At times like this it’s easy to feel that no one understands that your children, your family and even your precious dogs have indeed been through the spin cycle and haven’t exactly emerged with all the right bits in all the right places and that you’re just thanking your lucky stars that they even got there at all.

Well, actually, things went a lot better than that but that was my concern. After all, this house is where Murphy’s Law, Mrs Murphy’s Law and Rafferty’s Rules all fight it out to the death.

However, it could be worse.

This time last year, I was undergoing chemotherapy to treat my auto-immune disease, dermatomyositis. I can’t even remember how the kids went to and from school on their first day last year but I do know that they soon found their way into before and after school car, which later cut back to after school care and when funding magically cut out after 3 months because, as we all know, parents only get sick for 3 months and then magically resurrect from near-death. Well, that’s how it is in Australia anyway.

Thank goodness for friends because a friend was giving my kids lifts at least two mornings a week all of last year.

Even though the broken foot is still healing and I’m only just back to driving locally, I’ve decided to tackle the new school year head on like a bull charging at a gate and have decided to take responsibility for getting our kids to and from school even though my mobility is far from ideal. I’m walking with my foot in a boot and my mobility is problematic anyway due to muscle weakness. While I am perfectly justified in getting assistance, I wanted to get involved with school again so we can stay with the program.

The kids all dressed and ready for school. It was raining outside so we didn't get our usual shot at the front door.

The kids all dressed and ready for school. It was raining outside so we didn’t get our usual shot at the front door.

The other problem I have when it comes to getting out the door is that the kids almost always ignore me. LIke so many kids, for some reason they completely ignore Mum and resolutely do their own thing, which makes getting them anywhere on time difficult. While you might say that I need to take control and be the parent, I often have trouble with my voice so it can be a struggle to speak. I struggle to move and so it doesn’t take much for the kids to completely out manoevre me and get away with blue murder. This was where having my friend taking them to school was particularly handy because they didn’t want their friends seeing them in their PJs. The Deputy Principal has also told me that she is quite happy to accept the kids in PJs and they know that. They may think they can run rings around me but they know they don’t stand a chance with her and they quickly shape up.

While it is one thing to make all these decisions, which really do fall under the same heading as New Year’s resolutions. They are doomed to fail without any corresponding plan of action and a fairly detailed one at that. The irony with most of these supposedly difficult changes which we struggle to make is that we already know what we need to do. We probably also know how to do it. We just lack the discipline and commitment to see it through. Stick with it. I understand that it takes 6 weeks to change a habit but day one or at least the start of day 1 has exceeded all my expectations.

I have drawn up a daily check list for the kids which is laminated. Every day, they tick off their jobs as they do them and only once they’ve done everything on the last, will they get access to electronic devices. Devices go off at 8.20 and we are in the car and driving off at 8.30 AM. School starts at 8.55AM and school is only a five minute drive and so they get in plenty of play time with their friends before school.

The funny thing about the check list is that the same kids who were protesting to do the dishwasher, never make their beds and forget to brush their teeth in the mornings did all of these tasks without nagging or complaint. It’s a miracle worker and I’ve known the check list is a miracle worker and yet I keep forgetting to update it. This means it’s been about 2 years since we last used it and believe me, there has been a lot of angst and heartache in between.

Quite simply, I do a list up of everything the kids need to do before school and their afternoon/evening routines and then have a tick column for each day of the week. In the past, I’ve printed a list our for each week and pasted it in a book but laminating the list means they can tick it with a whiteboard marker and you can wipe it clean each week and start over. I have used a bit of colour, highlighting important times like leaving for school and I have also included a row for after school activities so they know what they have on as well. They are about to turn 11 and 9 so should be fairly self-reliant and not be needing constant reminders from Mum and Dad anymore.I am particularly conscious that our son starts high school next year and really needs to get organised now in advance.

Just because Mum's the papparazzi, that's no reason the kids have to pose like supermodels. I was very lucky to squeeze a second shot out of my son and they refused to interact, relax and insisted on this kangaroo stunned by the headlights look.

Just because Mum’s the papparazzi, that’s no reason the kids have to pose like supermodels. I was very lucky to squeeze a second shot out of my son and they refused to interact, relax and insisted on this kangaroo stunned by the headlights look.

I am quite thrilled that everything went almost too smoothly and that we pulled out of the driveway right on 8.30 as planned and I was back here sitting at my desk at by 9.00 AM armed with my special cup of tea and home made Banana Macadamia & Blueberry Muffin.

A relaxing cup of tea and home-made banana muffin after dropping the kids at school early.

A relaxing cup of tea and home-made banana muffin after dropping the kids at school early.

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me”.

-C.S. Lewis

However, to be perfectly honest, the early morning start has been a bit of a doozy so I think I might just nip back to bed for a little Nanna Nap. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before that I’ve somehow ended up on Western Australian time, which is 3 hours behind Sydney and what with the holidays and all, have been staying up way too late and sleeping in and I’m pretty sure Geoff has been hanging out for this morning when the night owl was needing to surface at 6.30AM and get back to the human race.

Dogs sleeping under my desk. While the rest of us have had to get back to the real world, the dogs are on a perpetual holiday.

Dogs sleeping under my desk. While the rest of us have had to get back to the real world, the dogs are on a perpetual holiday.

As we all know, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Please wish us luck and for anybody experiencing the terrible snow storms, we are thinking of you and praying that you are safe and sound.

xx Rowena

 

Old Self…New Year: Beware of the Big Bad Wolf!

If you, like me, decided NOT to make any  resolutions at all on NYE, you could also be in for a rude shock. Just because you objected, that doesn’t mean those resolutions won’t come running after you. Now, that NYE is almost a full week behind us and we’ve almost been lulled into a dream, it’s just the right time for the Big Bad Wolf to come knocking on your door when you least expect it:

“Little pig. Little pig! Let me in”.

That’s right. The Big Bad Wolf will huff, puff and blow your house down. That is, if you refuse to respond and open the door to constructive change.

I have to admit that I’d seen the Big Bad Wolf out on the horizon but thought I’d got a step ahead by taking up the One Word Challenge: http://myoneword.org/.

Love...my word for 2015.

Love…my word for 2015.

Indeed, you might have read that I have chosen “Love” as my word for 2015https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/new-year-my-one-word-for-2015-and-why-i-cant-leave-2014-behind/

“Love” seemed the only choice for me after the week of horror which took place just before Christmas. After all that hate in one week along with the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 earlier in the year, I really felt we all needed to come together in love to cleanse our world of hate.

In order to do this, we somehow needed to learn to “love our neighbour as ourselves”.

Not just our neighbour either.

We also need to treat our nearest and dearest the way we would like to be treated. Or, better still, by having the empathy to treat them the way they would like to be treated. This is so much more than a platitude. I take this word extremely seriously and see this as no warm, fuzzy, soft option. Indeed, the decision, the commitment, to love is a serious undertaking and also involves a word that I’m seriously not good at…”patience”. I failed patience a long, long time ago.

It also involves stopping, which is another concept I’m not that good at. Stop writing and being busy and spend some quality time with those I love…so easy in theory but surprisingly difficult in practice. We all lead busy lives but eventually that excuse wears thin.

With love as my over-arching word for 2015, I already knew that I had my work cut out for me. That love was a sufficient challenge, goal, personal development project for 2015.

Ha! Like so many of us who make plans and goals, these soon get dashed on the rocks. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t given up on love. It’s just that resolutions for the New Year are slowly but surely finding me and they’re being very insistent. I don’t think I have any choice about doing any of this. It’s sink or swim time and of course, I and the rest of the family are wanting to swim. We don’t want to drown.

So once again, I’m left quoting John Lennon:

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”

So while New Year’s Eve has been and gone, we are still on school holidays in Australia and my real NYE will be the 27th January…the night before the kids go back to school. By then, I’ll have to overcome my sins of the past 12 months. I must… especially if I love my kids and I truly want them to reach their true potential. Grow up into themselves, without being stunted. I want my kids to grow up into mighty oaks or even eucalypts… not being constantly cut back and cut back into some imprisoned bonsai which never grows up to reach the sun!

Our daughter growing into a mighty eucalypt or "gum" tree.

Our daughter growing into a mighty eucalypt or “gum” tree.

Sure, I was pretty crook last year. You know my story  or can read it here: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/about/.

While I can justifiably blame the chemo for screwing up my already challenged organisation, I can only blame chemo for so long before I need to act. Do something. As I said, we don’t want to sink…especially in a sea of miscellaneous paperwork and school notes. We want to swim. Be in  the race…not drown.

Improving my health is another non-negotiable this year. This really is something I can’t mess around with.

Now, I’m needing to develop the infrastructure or scaffolding to keep us on track until the chemo brain wears off. These are the sort of tedious changes that eventually get thrust upon you when there is no other choice ie when the Big Bad Wolf has all but gobbled up the sweet little pig.

So while I am also making big plans for my writing, my blog and work in 2015, I’ve also been force to accept these New Year’s nasties:

  1. Develop a detailed schedule and routine to improve organisation and arrive on time.
  2. Keep better track of upcoming events using diary, planner and wall chart.
  3. Lose 10 kilos. This will improve my breathing, reduce the worsening heartburn and improve my general health.
  4. Exercise 3 x per week. This reduces the risk of a respiratory infection…the greatest risk to my health. It will also help to keep me mobile and improve muscle strength.
  5. Declutter the house for an hour a day. I cleaned my desk up recently and I felt so much better. Need to extend those open spaces.

Despite my best intentions, this list of nasties seems to be growing too.

Of course, it goes without saying that I will still be writing, writing, writing. “Working” on my blog and even though my camera is suffering from chronic over-use, I can’t see it sitting home alone either!!

Out Taking Photos

Out Taking Photos

That said, even though I’ve taken these resolutions onboard under duress, that doesn’t mean I have to love them…even if that’s my word for 2015.

Even this ambitious little pig who is building her house out of brick, has to be prepared.

How are things looking for you in the New Year ahead? If you are struggling with it all, how about you listen to this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPtlSF4TlJE

Try

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone’s bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn’t mean you’re gonna die
You’ve gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
You gotta get up and try, and try, and try
Gotta get up and try, and try, and try
[1]

 

All the best with the best laid plans of mice and men and of course, it goes without saying, beware of the Big Bad Wolf!

xx Rowena

[1] Writer(s): Michael Busbee, Michael Ford Busbee, Benjamin West
Copyright: BMG Platinum Songs Us, Hello I Love You Music, Legitimate Efforts Music, Jam Writers Group

 

 

The Bag Lady

While I was at the op shop today, I spotted a handbag. That’s hardly unusual but lately I’ve become a handbag-avoider so I was trying to stay away. Somehow, I’ve ended up collecting handbags and I don’t need any more. That is unless I can find that elusive, perfect black bag. This is a need… definitely not just a want!

As much as I’ve been out on the prowl for the perfect handbag, I’ve ended up with way too many duds. Of course, they all seemed perfect at the time and full of promise but have been plagued by subsequent performance issues. At the very least, all my bags must be able to manage a book. That shouldn’t be mission impossible and yet it is. For some reason, big bags seem to have weak handles. Some haven’t even survived one train trip to Sydney, arriving back home in pieces.

While I wasn’t looking for another bag, this bag caught my eye, probably because it was real leather. I might love leather but I’m still very fussy. No more small talk. These days, a handbag has to be “the one”!

So there I was in the Lifeline shop in Avalon making the acquaintance of yet another bag. Just like my asbergers hero from  The Rosie Project who developed a 16 page questionnaire to find a wife but usually managed to reduce it down to one question,  I cut straight to the chase. Although this bag was rather determined to make my acquaintance, I was playing hard to get.

I went straight to the list. Not that I actually carry around a 16 page check list of all the little extras I am looking for in this ultimate handbag when I do my rounds of the op shops. It’s more imprinted at the back of my brain which explains why I’ve ended up with so many duds. The print must be fading!

Besides, I’m not actually looking to buy any more handbags.

This is where my conscience kicks in. Did you hear that Ro? No more bags! You have plenty of bags. You have bags in every conceivable size, shape and colour. Indeed, you seriously need to downsize. Return to sender. You know you need to take them back to the op shop and you definitely don’t need more!

More! Did I hear you say more?!!!

Of course, all of this advanced psychology and declutter therapy has been totally wasted on me.

Although this handbag isn’t exactly waving at me, calling out or giving me mad enthusiastic hugs, it is quietly persistent.

At this point, I need your assistance. Can you tell me whether a handbag actually meant to be male or female? While this question might seem totally weird, weird scenarios are all part of being a writer. You see, if I’m talking about a handbag flirting with me and trying to attract my attention, is it going to flash a bit of leg or is it going to strut its stuff? It makes a difference. I’ve got to get it right.

Anyway, I’ve decided that the ideal handbag for me would have to be a bloke and I mean a real bloke. We’re talking ruggedly handsome and definitely with a splash of after shave. I know I’m skating on very thin ice talking about handbags as men and I’ve knows a few friends who have borrowed “a suit” for a function but never a handbag! I certainly intend no disrespect.

Anyway, my handbag had none of these manly features. Indeed, it is a Fossil. This doesn’t mean that it’s geriatric or that it was excavated from the cretaceous period. That’s a brand name and a good brand name. That, of course, meant that my beloved handbag has a price tag of $25.00 which in op shop terms is top of the line…expensive!

At $25.00 this not so common handbag had to do the big sell if it was going to have a snowflake’s chance in hell of coming home with me…especially because I’m trying desperately hard but not very successfully to save money. Moreover, as I said before, I already have enough handbags and if you haven’t worked it out already, my real weakness right now is books…inspirational books! Handbags are rather empty relatively speaking!

I bought the bag. You know I bought the bag. Once again, I am absolutely convinced and in this case beyond any shadow of a doubt, that I have finally found that elusive and exclusive perfect handbag. Now, my ideals probably differ from yours…each to their own. That’s to be expected. However, this time I know I’ve finally found IT…the 100% perfect handbag and I didn’t pay full price for it either. Couldn’t find the same bag online but equivalents sell for $300.00! Well done!

Just let me share a few of the features with you.

The bag has a leather exterior with a strong 2cm wide leather strap which can go across my body so it’s not constantly falling off my shoulder. There is a zipper on the front with a pocket where I can stick my mobile phone. This small and seemingly insignificant detail is a must. I barely use my phone but it’s almost guaranteed to ring at the worst possible moment when it’s lost in the bottom of some bag and I’m fishing through all sorts of biodegrading junk trying to answer it in time. At this point I’m usually left “smiling” to some stranger who finds my complete and utter disorganisation highly amusing and I feel like shooting the person on the phone for disturbing my inner peace. Why they haven’t introduced legislation to make these external pockets mandatory in handbags? I’ll never know. It’s such a no-brainer although I must admit that I still buy handbags without them.

Inside the bag- fabulous organisation!

Inside the bag- fabulous organisation!

I lift up the magnetic clip to take a look inside. Amazing! I can’t believe my eyes. This bag was made for me. Moreover, it was designed by someone with a real flair for organisation who wanted to help me out of my pits of chaotic despair. Oh how I love you handbag designer extraordinaire! You are beautiful…an absolute angel who’s been heaven sent. This bag has a spot for pens and I can fit my notebook inside so like zap I am ready when inspiration hits. After all, you don’t want that pearl of wisdom to just pop out of your head as quickly as it popped in. You need to trap it…fast!!!

Wow! This bag is absolutely fantastic. There’s even room for a novel and it also has slots for my business card, other cards and a zipper pocket for my keys. It will be absolutely perfect for business networking events as well. I am about to become supremely and absolutely organised. It is unbelievable and all for just $25.00.

I also make a mental note that the notepad mini which Geoff gave me for Christmas should also fit in this bag if only I could use it. I hate to admit it but my response reminded me of when we gave my grandfather an electric typewriter for his 70th birthday. After a brief appearance, it returned permanently to its box. I have to confess that I haven’t seen my gadget since Christmas Day…

I guess there is always room for improvement!

My Light Bulb Moment

A few days ago a large, glass Moccona jar fell out of my kitchen pantry and landed on my foot. It made this awful loud thump as it hit and the pain was excruciating…a definite twenty out of ten. I was pretty convinced something was broken but these jars are tough. They might not bounce but they don’t shatter. I guess it’s a good thing we don’t have tiles!

My foot was sort of fine too eventually …after two Panadols and an ice pack!

Well you might ask why that jar fell out of the pantry but I’m sure you already know. After all, I’m only human! I was simply doing what most of us mere mortals do…struggling to squeeze just one more tiny little thing into an already over-stocked pantry. Hence I was doing some kind of juggling act holding back a row of Moccona jars while trying to quickly and very deftly slam the door shut before the avalanche hit.While using those big Moccona jars seemed like a great idea for storage, they don’t stack and they’re not square and they certainly don’t breathe in and squeeze into tight places. Instead, they jump out and do nasty, nasty things to your feet. Believe me! I would just love it if our pantry was all stacked and ordered like something out of a Tupperware catalogue but who am I kidding? I’m just not some domestic goddess. I’m somehow beyond the flow. That’s all. Sorting out the pantry just doesn’t seem to make it to the top of my to-do list. It’s one of those killer jobs I keep putting off.

A row of Moccona jars removed from the pantry for photographic purposes!

A row of Moccona jars. They have understandably removed from the pantry for photographic purposes!

Well, you would think that after that jar fell on my foot that I would suddenly find the motivation to get on with it. See it as a sign or perhaps an act of God? After all, what am I waiting for? A jar to land on my other foot or perhaps for all of those jars to jump off in unison like 10 green bottles standing on the wall? That would definitely be a trip to Emergency if not a ride in an ambulance.

As I said, I would dearly love my pantry to be neatly stacked and organised just like something out of a Tupperware catalogue so why don’t I just do it?

What will it take for me to act?

We all know this goes way beyond just sorting out my pantry.

That the pantry is a metaphor… a symbol. Or in my case, perhaps it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

For some reason most of us are creatures of chronic inertia…even when it involves changing something which really matters.

You could quite possibly call it “Tomorrowitis”.  It’s a serious almost incurable disease and you can be assured that if you do actually manage to cross a few things off your “Gunnado List” (this lingo might be Australian but let me assure you it’s a universal disease!!!), you’ll never get to the end. That’s just the way it is.

Such light bulb moments have changed the world even if they haven’t changed me.

Archimedes who was a Greek mathematician, engineer, inventor, and astronomer had a legendary “Eureka!” moment some 2,200 years ago when he realised the principle of buoyancy while taking a bath. He was reportedly so excited that he immediately jumped out of the bath and ran onto the streets naked shouting ‘Eureka!’ ‘Eureka!’ (You can read the whole story here. It’s an awesome story http://www.itsnotmagicitsscience.com/science.asp?newsid=381)

Perhaps, you’ll be thankful I haven’t seen the light after all. The sight of me running through the streets naked isn’t what it used to be!

An apple fell on Isaac Newton’s head and he came up with the Principle of Universal Gravitation.

Meanwhile, a jar hits yours truly on the foot and what do I do?

Absolutely nothing. Nothing at all!

Well, I did do something. I wrote about it instead.

However, after writing about this all day, I have finally reached that elusive state of acceptance. You see, everybody has their own set of priorities and we can’t possibly get everything done. I went for my swim this morning… all 10 laps and it was a small pool but you can only do what you can do. That’s all. It’s taken me a long hard day slogging away on this post to reach this state of acceptance but I’m finally there and it feels like such a release.

I have finally accepted that I don’t have to conform to what someone else considers important or be able to do what they can do. I just need to be me. That is good enough.

Now, I finally “get” the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Niebuhr

What happens when all your light bulbs go on at once?

What happens when all your light bulbs go on at once?

PS: After I reached this lovely point of acceptance, I was flicking through Lao Tzu’s  Tao Te Ching and found this advice, which just turned all my acceptance on it’s head:

Keep filling your bowl

and it will spill over.

Keep sharpening your knife,

and it will blunt.

Keep hoarding gold in your house,

and you will be robbed.

Keep seeking approval

and you will be chained.

The great integrity leads to actualization

never overfulfillment.

I will get to the pantry. I will….

How have some of your light bulb moments turned out?

My son has an all systems light bulb moment. He received this lamp for his birthday today.

My son has an all systems light bulb moment. He received this lamp for his birthday today.

xx Rowena