Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Teen Working on Time Management

It's amazing to me how much kids do these days. For the past several weeks and through next week Teen is part of the pit band for the school musical. She likes it but it makes getting homework or anything else done quite difficult. This week is particularly bad as she is practicing till 9:30 at night or later.

This is requiring some new tactics in time management. Last week she needed help getting definitions for geography vocabulary, basically looking the words up and writing the definitions on a card. When approached I said "I'll do it, but looking up and writing down the definitions is part of the learning process." She disagreed with that until her father said I was right. (Hubby is the last word on all things educational around this house despite the fact that I too attended high school at one time in my life.) So she agreed to wait and see whether she could handle it then if not come back. She came back. No big deal, mostly busy work.

Then last night, after a 10:00 p.m. pick-up from pit band practice, Teen was stressing about a special project due on Monday: the history of the Golden Delicious Apple and its role in saving mankind. That's what the questions sounded like to me anyway. She didn't ask, but I could see she was once again using her new time management tactic, get mom to help, only this time waiting for me to volunteer. I'm a wimp. I did.

So today I looked up anything I could find on the Golden Delicious apple, bookmarking anything that looked remotely relevant to the salvation of mankind. In particular I hunted for information on Johnny Appleseed because Teen is convinced there is no historical context to him and scoffed at me when I brought it up. (Remember that I am not the educational guru of the house, so what do I know.) I am happy to report that Big John was indeed based on a real person and can be tied back to the history of the Golden Delicious. So there.

So far her new time management system appears to be working. Too bad Hubby is out-of-town because now my system is breaking down.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Murderous Machines

When you walk on a treadmill in front of a TV at 10 a.m., you get to hear all kinds of interesting tidbits. Today I learned about murder mysteries that are all named after a dessert. The book being promoted was called "The Apple Turnover Murder. " I kid you not. Some of the other titles are "The Plum Pudding Murder" and "The Cream Puff Murder." I tried to imagine how the people died in these books. Heads smashed into a concoction of butter, cream and chocolate? Maybe with a few nuts stuck up the nose? This reminded me of the murder series that is based on the letters of the alphabet: "K is for Killer," "Be is for Burglar," "S is for Silence". A limit of 26 letters puts a potential end to the crime fighter's murder cases whereas the dessert detective could go on and on and on.

Inspired by the dessert and the alphabet murder series AND my treadmill, I've come up with my very own series: The LA Fitness Murder Mystery Series, featuring the somewhat underweight detective, Lana Flexor. First books of the series are Treadmill Trauma, Bar Bell Barbiturates, and The Curse of the Bicep Curl.

In Treadmill Trauma, a poor hapless out-of-shape exerciser is the unwitting victim of a machine gone mad. He thinks he sets the speed at 4 m.p.h. but the murderer has rigged the machine to move at 10 times that speed. Before he can pull his red emergency cord, which the murderer knows the exerciser never attaches to his clothes, our victim flies off the treadmill, hitting his head on the Stair Master behind him, instantly dying. Our skillful detective, Lana Flexor, a personal trainer by day, must solve the crime with only her wits and a Polar Heart Monitor to aid her.

There are days when I think exercise is murder.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

In With the New, Out with the ....Nothing Much

I received a new color printer for Christmas but it won't fit in or on my desk. I found the perfect sized rolling stand for it over the internet but there's no space for the stand in my office. Thus begins the great eradication of stuff. It's a bit like lining up the dominos and starting the cascade.

The printer needs to go where the 3-drawer storage bin sits. That bin is full of "who knows what" and piled up with "got to do something with that" stuff. The "got to do something with that" stuff needs a home IN the 3-drawer bin so I need to clean out the closet in the guest bedroom, full of ten years of arts and crafts materials, to make room for the "who knows what" stuff. The 3-drawer bin itself needs a space so I'll have to clean out the closet in the office which is full of an extra bedroom's worth of linen, summer clothes, and more "who knows what".

So I started with the arts and crafts materials that I've collected since Teen was a toddler. For ten years we had to buy a new box of pencils, pens, crayons and markers to start the school year off right. Somehow the old box would never do. Classic markers are not the same as Tropical markers etc. etc. Then there's the stamps, glue sticks, stickers, scissors, construction paper. You can't throw this stuff out! It's all still good. It all works. Into the basement it goes.

Next I attacked the office closet. Shoved the clothes to the side. I need those. I'm going to lose weight. And I might have more than two guests one day and need those extra bedroom accessories. I stuffed the pillows, blankets, etc. into a couple of those special bags that you suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner . The picture on the package shows a nice pancake-like package full of all your important stuff. Mine resembled a diorama of the Rockies. Close enough. Into the basement it goes.

Then I attacked the 3-drawer bin inside and outside. More arts and crafts. Important brochures on everything you can do in Minneapolis (in case of guests). But most troublesome: photos and more photos. Photos of previous generations and earlier times, past vacations, and lots of Teen when she was still Baby and Toddler. How can you toss these? Even knowing that I've already captured the best of many of these collections in photo albums doesn't help me part with them. After all, I can't really KNOW until I've cross-checked. So I had to move everything out except the photos. Shove those into the bin, then into the closet it goes. That's a for later job.

So now I'm ready for the printer stand. There's nothing like getting something new to bring home the reality that I do not easily part with the old.

Worse still, now I have to clean the basement.