Meet Me in the Deep End

The house I first tried to buy (but it was gone before I even had a loan) had a pool. I love pools, but I’m just as happy that I didn’t get it. I’d probably have never gotten around to going in the pool.

It’s dumb, but it seems like I need a deadline to even get that done. If I can go anytime, then I’ll go “later.” Or I won’t stay in very long, because I’m thinking of all the things I should be doing.

I like it better where I have to set a time (I like leaving the house an hour and a half before the pool closes) and grab my kid and whichever friends she’s invited, and get my butt over there, and then stay in the pool till the last second because by gum, I paid for this and also I won’t be able to swim again until at least tomorrow morning.

Swimming is such good exercise, and such fun. I like to hang out right around five feet, where I have to stand on tiptoe to stay above the water, and just bounce around and twirl and stuff. Sometimes I go in deeper, and have to actually put a wee bit of effort into staying afloat. I’ve been having a twinge in my side lately, though, and the unthinking movements of keeping myself in place in the water tend to make it hurt.

When that gets better, though, I’m looking forward to hanging out in the deep end. At my favorite of the city’s pools, sometimes they close the diving board and let people just go play in the 13-foot-deep section. That’s my favorite. I just love having that much water under me.

One summer the kid and I went swimming every single day. That was the year I enrolled her in every level of swim class, one after the other, and she spent much of the end of the summer hanging out on the bottom of our favorite pool with a fellow swim lessons graduate.

Today I reminded her of that summer and how she used to dive right when the lifeguard lifted his whistle to tell everyone it was time to get out of the pool. She’d come up and be alone in the pool, out there in the middle and apparently unable to see or hear anyone on the sides before she dove again…it’s one reason I tend to go to the pool an hour before it closes. I don’t want to be the only one trying to get her out of the water!

We’re a house-ful of mermaids, I think. In the desert. No wonder we get cranky. We should probably do everyone, ourselves included, a favor and spend more time in the nearest pool.

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Progress Check…Not Much, But Some!

Progress Check...Not Much, But Some!

So July 4th. Independence Day.

I printed the calendars. I did not finish setting up the rules, laying out the boundaries, or putting the darn things on the wall.

Nope. None of that.

I have, however, been doing better at the things that I was going to create the calendars to help me do. I’m more aware, and when I’m more aware I do better. I’m still going to put the calendars up, don’t get me wrong. I’m just happy to be making a little progress even without having implemented my plan yet.

Why haven’t I begun my plan? Because I’m tired. Stuff keeps coming up that must be dealt with immediately, and then I’m too tired to think about anything. Which was the whole point of getting it done–get it done, get it on the wall, no thinking required just do the thing.

I’m a mom. I’m pretty damned good at “just do the thing” no matter how tired or sick or whatever I am. Moms push on, because we must.

But if I don’t have the plan made yet, I’m not able to do that, am I?

I sense that I have turned to babbling. I took the kid to the pool tonight because it was 110­° at 5 p.m. and now I’m exhausted. Good news is, so is she.

Anyway. Here are some words, and a check-in: I’m still trying to follow the plan.

But right now I think I need to go fall over.

<3

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Struggling With Routine

Struggling With Routine

Sometimes (most times) I could really stand to get into a rut. A very specific rut, understand–the one where I do the things I need to do every day, without really noticing so I don’t have the chance to go “naw, I don’t really feel like doing that today.” I mean, three times I’ve earned a pterodactyl on 750words by doing it every day for over 200, and then…poof. I forgot. Didn’t do it. Blew it.

Imagine what I could do if I did stuff I should do every day. Log what I eat, and get my steps, every day. Wash whatever’s in the sink (usually soaking pans, and I hate pans. Why is it that most of my pans can’t go in the dishwasher?!?) Scoop the litterbox. Practice my Spanish. Update my budgeting software to keep me on the wagon spending-wise. Write something, whether it be a blog post (hello!) or working on a story. Dust or sweep one area in my room.

It looks like a lot, but all those things I just listed* could easily take less than an hour a day. One hour, to live a healthier life guilt-free in a cleaner home with a happier budget. If I just did each of these things every day, I would be in SUCH GOOD SHAPE.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. –Will Durant

So why don’t I spend one stinkin’ hour a day to make my life so much better? I don’t flippin’ know, man. I tried 7 Weeks to make habits, but even after seven months of doing something every day, I can manage to drop it. I tried Flylady routines and those worked really well for a while, but I generally expand and then overcomplicate, and then I crash and burn. Even when I don’t expand…sometimes the system breaks down because I just look at my list and go “naw…”

WTH?

Part of the problem, I think, is that engagement is important to success. So I have an account on Fitbit to talk to people, and I have friends on DuoLingo, and I try to drop by the forums of YNAB, get the reminders from Flylady…and that’s the thing. Who has time for all that?

I just need this stuff to work. Without all the social stuff. I already have places I like to hang out online, thanks. And I just can’t report in on everything every day. I will forget. Or I’ll deliberately not do the thing just to not have to make one more report.

So I’ve been looking for a way to be more accountable to me, and I remember how I finished my first novel. I got a poster-calendar (It was for Star Trek Generations, if you must know, a freebie from Jack in the Box) and put it on the door of my writing room–facing out. Every time I went to the bathroom in that apartment, I walked past that poster. If I wrote two pages, I got to cross off a day. If I missed a day, I had to first do the current day’s two pages–then I could do four more to make up the missed day. If I’d missed another day, I could do six more to make that up.

I missed plenty of days. I remember July was pretty blank. But I hauled my butt back to it every time, and on December 30th, I finished my novel. But that’s one thing. I can’t have six Star Trek poster calendars around, even if I could find them. It would dilute the effort too much. Wouldn’t it?

Then I found this article last week. And I thought. It’s a lot like the way I wrote a book. It’s a way I could maintain without my phone nagging me (which is a good way for me to stop paying attention, alas.)

So I’ll try it. I’ll make a new afternoon routine. I’ll Keep It Simple, Silly. Scoop the litterbox, empty the sink, clean a thing, do my Spanish, update my budget. That will be one streak. Writing will be another. Walking and recording my food–that will be a third. I’ll create boundaries as suggested, so sometimes I can miss and not break the streak.

And if I fail? I will get back on that streak. I will tweak my routine if I think it needs it, I will change the boundaries to make success more likely, but I will keep on because doggone it, I’ve got things to do and I want to do them.

So yeah. Just printed three year calendars starting in July on timeanddate.com.

Onwards and upwards! Right after I watch Moana with my kid because I promised. So I’ll start tomorrow. Fittingly, on Independence Day.

Ooh, I gotta watch that movie again…

*except getting my steps, which would be spread through the day while I did other things. The rest other than writing I could do in half an hour, leaving me thirty minutes to write, which would be WAY more than I do consistently now…

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Freaking Hot

We have come, my friends, to that Time of Year again. When all I want to do is hide in my house. No, I don’t want to go out. No, I don’t care if the sun just came up. As I left for work today at 7:30, it was eighty-three freaking degrees outside.

I ask you. Does that seem remotely reasonable?

It’s days like these that I miss having my summers off. Yeah, I was broke (two months without pay will do that) but I could sleep all day. The kid and I would get up in the afternoon, go swimming in the evening, stay up all night when it was nice, and sleep through the day each with a box fan on high a foot away from her head.

Reminding myself I love my job, I love my job…because I really do. That has nothing to do with my not wanting to leave my house.

Is it October yet?

Although…I did leave my house to see Wonder Woman. Three times.

GO SEE IT.

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Things To Do in June

Things To Do in June

It happens every time I have a deadline looming near. I can’t stop thinking about all the things I want to do, but really don’t have time to do. Not if I want to be done on time! Or even be close to being done on time!

I add that disclaimer because I am not going to be where I want to be by the end of today. I’ve taken the day off work to try, but I know that it won’t happen. (Partly because I’m putting in the time to maintain my 750words streak, but ssh. That’s important.) I won’t be where I want to be by the end of tomorrow, either. Even a few more days, as generously offered by my editor, isn’t going to do it. So, in the immortal words of Elsa, I will let it go.

Only because it’ll come back to me. I will get another crack at this edit, with Siri Paulson’s suggestions to help me get this book in shape.

But! The deadline has not yet arrived. So I can’t in good conscience do the things yet. However, I will.

  • Wonder Woman– I want to go see Wonder Woman. I’ve never been a big fan, but it wasn’t because I didn’t like her. I’ve never felt much affinity for the more talked-about DC heroes (Superman, Batman) so I didn’t stumble across Wonder Woman much. I mostly stuck to the X-Men, in reality. (Storm and Kitty Pryde, and Phoenix, and Rogue…) But I want more women-led, woman-directed movies, and THIS one seems to be hitting it out of the park, so win/win and I will go.
  • Flandrau Planetarium– I jumped on a Groupon that got me a year’s membership to the local planetarium. I get to wander the museum whenever I want, and pay something like $1.50 to go to planetarium shows. I intend to use this a few times in June!
  • Unpack! yeah, it’s not high on my list, but BOY does it need doing. I haven’t been able to use the carport since we moved in because it’s full of STUFF. So is every corner of the house, but the closets are mostly empty because we don’t want to lose stuff (actually I think it’s because I stopped stuffing stuff in closets just to get it out of the way, and no one else was doing that.)
  • My Room– I’m really excited about my room, you guys. When we were loading the truck to move, a friend picked up one of the pieces to my bed and it fell in several more pieces, coming apart in ways it was NOT supposed to do. Bad timing (who wants to spend lots more money while moving?) but no loss otherwise. It was a cheap daybed frame I bought eight years ago used for $100. It had ~had it~ and I do not miss it. I do miss not sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I pulled an oblique muscle (I’m told) in the gym a while back, and I am not terribly flexible at the moment. Getting up off the floor after lying still for 7-8 hours is not easy for me. But! My bed is winging towards me at the speed of IKEA. Wayfair is sending me a mattress pad, new pillows, and new sheets. I bought a full-size bedspread a while back (18 months, cough) because i loved it and because I meant to get a full-size bed soon. AND NOW I WILL HAVE IT. And decorative pillows with sea life on them because how could I not? I AM SO EXCITED YOU GUYS.
  • Ahem.
  • Read Some Books– I have a couple books friends have loaned me that I need to read. I need to acquire the last Temeraire book and read the penultimate book and then the last book. I have a writing book I bought on a deal–Creating Character Arcs–that promises to help me figure out how best to plot my arcs through trilogies and series. Like the one I’m working on now!
  • Watch more movies– I want to watch Rogue One about six more times. NEED to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I want to watch Pacific Rim again, and Ghostbusters Answer the Call. And The Force Awakens. Yes, want to see that again…and (whispers guiltily) Baywatch. I have such a soft spot in my heart for Dwayne Johnson, and Zac Efron too, so I shall have to see it even if it’s a complete and utter waste of an hour.
  • Hang out with my kid– she’s actually missing me. I should take advantage of that. (actually, it’s occurring to me that she only seems to miss me when I am deep in a deadline. She doesn’t want to hang out when I’m not! So maybe I should lie to her about deadlines in order to spend time with her?) (Oh, hey–I’ll take the kid to see Baywatch along with WW and GotG2. Quality time, hopefully with little complaining!) (I love her, but she’s a CONSTANT FONT OF NEGATIVITY and driving me up the wall right now.)
  • Also, I want to go swimming. And wander the park so near my new house. Get into gardening. Get my house set up just how I want it. Fix some things. BLOG MORE. Clip my toenails. Stuff like that.

But right now I’ve passed 750 words, so I gotta go edit.

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Moving SUCKS

So we did it. We got the keys to the new house in the evening May 9th. We only took the survival bag over that night. (paper towels, disinfecting wipes, a couple plastic cups, t.p. The stuff that if you’re stuck waiting for a service guy to come, you REALLY WISH you had on hand.) We explored with no one watching, we discovered with no one else’s stuff in the way, and we reveled in OUR HOUSE.

The next night, we made a couple runs of boxes and such in my Corolla. Three people, couple boxes…yeah, that was about it.

Thursday night a friend packed his mini-van until cardboard was coming out the vents, and we loaded up the car and led the way.

Friday I had two strong tall friends with awesome willingness, and a truck.

Saturday I had one friend with a big truck, but all those loading were short and also not terribly strong. (I am stronger than I look, but I can’t lift stuff far!)

Sunday we had a borrowed truck, and one borrowed pair of strong arms. We made a lot of progress! Then friend had to go, and I had to take the truck back, and we still weren’t done…

I kid you not, we were moving from nine a.m. Sunday to six a.m. Monday and then I went to work because I had to be there.

BUT! I have a house! I live in it now! I love it muchly! There are a few things I need to fix. There are a few more things I want to fix. There are a LOT more things I want to change and make better.

We still have boxes everywhere. The carport is full of stuff. The kitchen is barely useable, and one bathroom has been designated the “plant sanctuary” and most of the houseplants are in there, safe from devouring kitties until we can get the furniture in from the car port and set up away from things that will let the cats climb up and eat the plants.

I’m not kidding.

But. I have a house. It is a lovely house, and it is MY house.

I also have a new-to-me rolltop desk and a light up rainbow keyboard, but those are entirely different matters.

But anyway. House! I am supposed to be doing other things, so I will just leave it at this for now.

House!

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SO MUCH STUFF

I don’t think of myself as a big acquirer of things. I don’t collect anything in particular except books I want to read at least once more, and movies I want to watch a few more times. I’m relentless with my closet decluttering–if it doesn’t fit, and it’s in a direction I don’t want to go (up) or a lot farther away than I expect to get in the next few months, out it goes. Someone will be happy to find it at Goodwill, but I’m not storing it.

My housemates probably (certainly) get tired of hearing about it. “I never wear this.” “So get rid of it.” “But what if I need it later?” “Get rid of it.” Or the child, “I can’t wear this anymore and it makes me mad.” “Okay, toss it.” “But I love it!” “You’re not going back to your 12yo body. Toss it.” “But I love it!”

Both have been called hoarders. I know it’s not true, but I do tease them about it. Especially the book-collecting housemate. I tease her about being a book-collecting dragon, except when Tolkien described dragon hoards he spoke of dragons “not enjoying a brass ring of it” and my housemate most certainly reads and enjoys her books!

All that said, can anyone tell me WHERE all the crap I’ve been packing is coming FROM? THERE’S SO MUCH. Boxes and boxes and bags and more boxes…what the hell? What is this stuff and where did it come from? And why didn’t I know it was there?

Much of that pile isn’t mine. There’s kitchen packing in there, and both the housemates, and some bathroom stuff…but lots of it IS mine, and I just don’t understand where it all came from.

Because I don’t have stuff! So I should probably figure out who the heck has been stashing their stuff in my closet and bookshelves and such. It’s ridiculous that I have to move their stuff…

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