Biggie and Smalls, my 7 and 5 year-old daughters, have been back in school for a few days and I’m starting to feel like I’ve got this shit down. This is what I’ve accomplished before 7:40 am today:
- Out of bed at 6:15 am, a time formerly reserved for early flights to somewhere fun
- Fed two children breakfast
- Negotiated mutually agreeable solution to sock drama
- Children dressed
- Successfully got kids on bus
- Made all beds
- Straightened house
- Dishes in dishwasher
- Checked email and Facebook
- Read NYTimes.com (or at least the parts I don’t have to pay for)
- Checked eBay for mid-century furniture
- Checked weather report
I’m trying not to pull a muscle as I pat myself on the back. I know, I know…right now, working moms reading this are shaking their heads and muttering, “Aw, bless her heart.”
On his way out the door Ad Man gently asks, “Are you going to yoga this morning?” and urges me to “get out of the house today.” Apparently, despite the strides I believe I’ve made, I’m still giving off that “unhinged” vibe.
So, I sit down and start compiling a list of the things I’ve been promising myself I’d do when I had both kids in school full-time. Here’s just a portion of what’s becoming quite an extensive list (I’m nothing without a list):
- Learn to bake something more complex than cookies and cakes
- Learn French
- Paint our bedroom (We’ve had color swatches painted on the walls since I bought a new, not-perfectly-matching rug over 2 years ago.)
- Figure out landscaping for front yard (The circa-1954 landscaping just isn’t looking as appealing or modern as it could. Wonder why.)
- Therapy/career counseling
- Be more informed about new music
- Sell stuff on eBay
- Go camping (or, better yet, glamping)
- Start following Lakers basketball again?
- Start drawing/painting again
- Take a sewing class
- Try rock climbing (why not?)
- Read classics I’m embarrassed I never read in high school (e.g., Any Shakespeare. Any at all.)
- Learn Final Cut Pro
- Take the Georgia bar? (This is another blog post–or two or twelve–in itself.)
I have already made some progress on Goal #1. The day after the girls started school, I managed to bake a loaf of, by all accounts, beautiful and delicious no-knead (baby steps) bread (please refer to defense exhibit 1, left). You know the one, right? The recipe has been making the rounds online for weeks.
So, I move on to #2 and start researching online French lessons. I find a French immersion program developed by Yale University. Perfect. I mean, really, what am I going to do, hold out for Harvard? I load up the first “lesson” which is, essentially, a video of Mireille and Robert greeting each other with an oh-so-Euro double cheek kiss and inquiring after each others’ families, or at least that’s all I can decipher with the limited French I’ve gleaned from reading perfume bottles and fashion magazines. Unfortunately, Yale has apparently not felt it necessary to update its French video library since approximately 1987 (I’m guessing by the “new wave” clothes and asymmetrical haircuts). In fact, I’m so distracted by the ‘80s style (Isn’t it bad enough that I have to live with photographic evidence that I was a perpetrator of the same fashion crimes?) that I really can’t follow the storyline. I decide to try something else.
I complete the process of signing up for a free (non-immersion) online French class through Carnegie Mellon. Before jumping in, however, I read the introduction, including this warning, like a good, first-born, rule follower…
“Who should study French Online?
The French Online course shares certain characteristics with many online or distance-delivered courses, and as a result may not be appropriate for all students. Here are a couple of thoughts on what you might need to succeed. You should be a self-starter. In spite of our best efforts to furnish opportunities for communication in these courses, you will have substantially reduced human contact during your studies.”
Great. Just what I need…even more reduced human contact. I sigh, and check the clock only to see that the girls will be getting off the bus in less than an hour. So, I decide to watch HGTV and save my first French lesson for another day. Despite Ad Man’s admonition, I never actually left the house that day, but to be fair, I did get a flash flood warning on my cellphone. And what are warnings for but to heed?