Tag Archives: work

Liking the Space

It seems like I’ve been neglecting my blog.  Truth is, I’m feeling a little overextended at the moment.  Meetings, editing, writing presentations, paperwork, and other commitments have been eating up all my ‘spare’ time.

The 11 hours/day that I spend with the children has become my ‘quiet’ time.  Right now I’m supposed to be working on a slideshow presentation that I need to finish for tomorrow so I really shouldn’t be ‘wasting’ time playing around here but….

I wanted to share some of our experiences as we try out our newly renovated spaces.  There have been (mostly) positives and (a few) negatives from my perspective and the children’s too.

I haven’t really got the time to do this now so I’m just going to post a few pictures for now.  Here is a ‘magic’ tower;

testing 01

The blanket was successfully removed and replaced several times without knocking over the impressive structure hidden under it;

testing 02

In the nature area there has been a lot of interest in our new tree pieces – we now have several different sizes to choose from.  Here are some of the smaller ones that were being used to make a fence;

testing 03

The new art spaces have been popular too – for the preschoolers;

testing 04

And the school-age children too;

testing 05

Even the cats have been checking out the new spaces.  Malta has decided that the nap area divider is her property;

testing 06

However, there have been a few disputes about that.  Both cats have also claimed that the carpet under my computer chair belongs to them;

testing 07

I continually have to decide whether the paperwork is more important than disturbing the cats.  Maybe it is their way of telling me to go outside and play instead 🙂

Hopefully I’ll have time to write a ‘real’ post after things slow down a little.  Until then, I’ve got more work to do….

Point of View

A new year has begun.  My mini vacation has come to an end and I sit here reflecting on what I have – or have not – accomplished during this time.

This year, because Christmas and New Year’s Day both fell on Tuesday’s I took the Monday’s as unpaid holidays which gave me a five day weekend and a four day weekend with only two working days in between.  That meant that out of eleven consecutive days I had nine days off – a mini vacation.

Now, anyone who knows me well will ask “What major project did you tackle with all that time off?”  It’s true that even with a three day weekend I usually have some type of grandiose plan to build or renovate something.  With nine days off I should have managed to complete a lot.

It is with some consternation that I now look back on my mini vacation and think ‘I should have done more’.  The one ‘big’ project I undertook really only took two days to complete so in fact it could have been done on any normal weekend.

Yes, I did also do a ton of laundry and some other housework.  I did reorganize the storage area in the basement.  I did spend time with my family. I even – and this is difficult for me to admit – I even slept in until 9:30 am – twice. Seriously!!

I struggle to resist the urge to say that I wasted precious time – to start listing all the things that I didn’t do.  To agonize about all the things I could have/should have done with that much time off.

The one big project I undertook was to reorganize my ‘office’ workspace.  I cleared out much of the miscellaneous stuff that was stored under and on top of my desk.  The desk and storage area were disassembled and rebuilt.

My new desk is smaller – less room for odds and ends to accumulate on top of it.  Instead of facing the corner my desk now faces the playroom.  Turning the desk and making it smaller gives the children more open floor space in which to play – that was my objective when I planned this project.

Yet, turning my desk also gives me a different point of view.  My desk no longer covers my piano – hiding it from view.  My piano and the window are now visible from my seat at the desk – both distract me from my paperwork.  I spent less than one hour on paperwork during the nine days that I had off.

I played my piano more during this last week than I did in all of the first 51 weeks of 2012 combined.  One of the children notice the piano and asked if I got it for Christmas.  No, I’ve had it for a long time but it has been buried under paperwork.

Certainly I enjoy the building and renovating and I think that gardening and yard work are enjoyable activities too – they are forms of productive play.  I don’t even really mind doing housework.  It is unproductive time that causes me grief.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions but this year I think I will.  This year I will try to not feel so guilty about ‘wasting’ time.  I’m going to look at it from a different perspective.  I’m going to take a deep breath and say ‘sometimes it is OK to spend time on things that don’t produce a tangible result – it is not a waste of time’.

Break Time

I just went through a bunch of pictures from our activities so far this week – I can’t believe it has only been three days!

I had hoped to be able to write a post – there are several activities that I’d love to chronicle but the children will be arriving any minute now so I’ll have to put off blogging until I have more time.

Instead I’ll just show you my favorite view of the yard — my ‘sit spot’ – where I go to take a break;

Our Week Outdoors – The End

The last day of our week outdoors started with me making the ‘trail mix macaroni salad’ – pasta, bacon, raisins, grated carrot, sunflower seeds, and salad dressing (I used ranch).

The flavour was good but I’m still not a fan of pasta salads — it is the texture of cold pasta that I don’t like.  The children all ate it but no one begged for more.

I received some gifts from the children when they arrived;

When we got outside I set up the tunnels.  There were several items I had handy just in case the children got bored – they rarely get bored outside so most of the items didn’t get used.  I wanted to get the tunnels out because we haven’t used them for a long time.  The children cheered;

I left them out all day and they were used for a variety of activities but the favorite one involved the balls – of course;

We also did some crafts — these children prefer active play so getting them interested in crafts is sometimes a challenge — messy crafts are the best.  I suggested that these might make good Father’s day gifts but left the decision up to them;

Later in the afternoon I noticed that there were pieces of bark neatly arranged in the tipi;

When I asked what the bark was for they informed me that it was ‘jail’ and they continued playing.  Some arrests were made, there was an attempted jailbreak – involving a pinecone ‘knife’ – everything ended peacefully.

So, here’s the evaluation of spending one whole week outdoors;

  • Nap time outdoors is AWESOME even (especially) in the rain.
  • Eating meals outdoors is ok occaisionally but eating every meal for a week outdoors is tiresome.
  • No one complains about being bored.  No one misses the indoor toys.
  • I discovered that I would not survive if I had to work any place that required me to wear shoes all day.
  • All the ‘little things’ I normally do in spare minutes throughout the day – loading/unloading the dishwasher, checking/responding to email, miscellaneous paperwork, prepwork and cleaning-up etc don’t get done during the day.  They add an hour or two to my workday after the children leave — I normally only work 12 hours a day, this week it was closer to 14 hours per day.
  • I miss my coffee pot.
  • I have absolutely no trouble falling asleep at night.

I highly recommend it! 🙂

It’s the Little Things

My vacation is officially over and the children return today.

I think my vacation was successful – The fact that I haven’t written a single blog post for more than two weeks should give you an idea how busy I was.  Seriously some days I didn’t even check my email until 11 pm – and I didn’t do any paperwork at all!

I know, many of you think I’m crazy to ‘work’ through my vacation but really, isn’t the purpose of a vacation to take a break from your regular routine and do something that you enjoy?  That is what I did.  For me, swimming or relaxing on a beach is a form of torture – as is any type of spa treatment.  I’m far too independent to tolerate being catered to – I have difficulty letting the clerk bag my groceries for me. As much as I enjoy gardening, hiking, exploring, and visiting museums etc, those activities are not ‘different’ from my everyday routine.

So, what did I do on my ‘vacation’?  My list was extensive. I knew I probably wouldn’t complete it all but I didn’t want to run out of things to do and end up being bored 🙂  One by one big jobs got completed;

  • Tear out two poorly utilized closets.
  • Take down built in shelving.
  • Frame new storage unit.
  • Install storage bin system.
  • Build new kitchen cupboard unit.
  • Paint, paint, and paint some more.
  • Install knotty pine ceiling.

Busy, busy, busy. Cleaning out the pantry was a bonus since there was little time for grocery shopping so when we were hungry we were forced to use up the miscellaneous items we could find in the cupboard or freezer – or order pizza.

Most of the big jobs were completed in the first week.  I started dropping hints that maybe we’d have time to do the floors too.  The scowl and “Can we finish this job first before you plan something else” retort let me know that he wasn’t ready for that comment.  I’m not sure he’s aware that I’m usually planning several new projects as we are working.

By the 13th of July there was nothing left but the ‘little things’ – the touch-ups, the odd jobs, the things I didn’t plan for in advance.  I started dreaming of the new flooring again – after all we still had five days. But those little things really add up. Sigh.

After two days of working on those little things I hardly made any noticeable progress.  It was depressing.  Everywhere I looked there were more odds and ends to put away, small jobs to finish, and I had things to prepare for ‘back to work’ too.  The little things are hard but they are so important.  No matter how impressive the big project was it is not complete until the little things are done.

I don’t have any new flooring – yet. There are only two weeks until the next long weekend and I have big plans….