Not To Do but I Did

A few days or maybe weeks, shoot it might have been months ago, I read this brilliant idea somewhere on the internet.  When I remembered it today, I scoured the depths of the web to find the source so that I might credit them when I mentioned it only to find that dozens of folks were claiming it as their own intellectual property.  Go figure.  All I can say is that this seemingly brilliant idea was not mine.  The chances of a meaningful thought originating in this brain right now are not that great.  Unless you're looking to discuss something like, "Wouldn't it be weird if we did to adults what we do to babies?"  Like holding them and bouncing them and patting their butt to get them to go to sleep?  Or patting them on the back to make them burp?  Or, for lack of being able to locate a pacifier, sticking your finger in their mouth to get them to be quiet in public?  (Oh what's that you say?  You already saw a YouTube video about this?  See, even my newborn delirium wonderings aren't original.)

In the day and age of keeping up with the Joneses "Best Of" snapshots of lives from Pinterest and Facebook, it's easy to let the To Do list get a little overwhelming.  I have a lot of mandatory tasks each day, things like "Keep the kids alive" and "Try to teach the 1st, 3rd, and 6th grader something so we can call it a school day."  I never bother to write them on a list, but it may surprise you to know that those simple tasks take a significant chunk of time to accomplish.  The things that do make the list are my loftier goals, like "Reorganize the entire house from top to bottom" and "Fold Mt. Sheppard of laundry so that I can see even one square foot of my laundry room floor."  Somehow at the end of the day, I find that I have very few checkable items completed.

What in the world did I do all day!?!

That's where the brilliant idea from the internet suggested that instead of making a To Do list at the beginning of the day that leaves you feeling unfulfilled and anxious at the end of the day, make a "Did It" list at the end of the day that leaves you feeling satisfied by all of the things you didn't even realize you did that day.

I've meant to implement this for a long time, seeing as how my To Do lists lately result in nothing but frustration.  I can't imagine why.

Just kidding.  I know exactly why.

Here's my first go at a "Did It" list.  I think it's going to be super fulfilling.

Things I Did
1.  Ended up with as many shoes and kids as I started with after departing the Chick-Fil-A playground.
2.  Had a conversation with my 22 month old that did not involve any shrieking, by either party.
3.  Completed a worldview lesson that led to an interesting conversation about how my children would describe me to someone that went a little something like this:
Me:  If you had to describe my physical attributes to someone, what would you tell them?
Ben: You have a lot of kids.
Me: I'm not sure that's a physical attribute.  Although, sometimes it does feel as though you're attached to me.
Sarah:  You have freckles.
Me:  I do?  That's my predominant trait?
Abby: have moles.
Ben:  You have hair.
Abby:  You have big feet.
Ben:  No!  I have big feet.
Me:  So, you would tell people I have a lot of kids, moles, and smaller feet than Ben?
Abby:  You have brown hair.
Leah:  And brown eyes.
Abby:  You look a lot different since you had Hannah.
Me:  I sure hope so.
Sarah:  You like striped pants.
Me:  I'm the girl in the striped pajamas.
Abby: You have pretty teeth.
Ben:  You're a vampire!  In Pre-K everyone used to say if you have pointy teeth, you're a vampire.
Me: She didn't say I have pointy teeth, she said I have pretty teeth.
Ben:  I know. I said you have pointy teeth.
4.  Cared so much about my kids that it brought me to tears around 8pm.
5.  Refrained from losing my patience until about 9pm.
6.  Let my first and only "yell" fly around 10pm.
7.  Fed a baby approximately a dozen times.  Or at least it felt like it.
8.  Wiped up about half a gallon of regurgitated milk.
9.  Showered.  Twice.
10.  Washed a load of clothes without forgetting about them in the washer.
11.  Polished off a chocolate cake.
12.  Thought long and hard about exercising.
13.  Danced to Mariah Carey-esque music in my kitchen after the kids were in bed.
14.  Counted that as exercise.
15.  Tricked the kids into learning about Henry Hudson at dinnertime.
16.  Practiced skip counting 7's with Abby while driving around town.  (Unexpected benefit, Leah has them down now too.  Her favorite is 49.)
17.  Resisted the urge to swing through the Dunkin' Donuts drive thru for an afternoon pick-me-up.
18.  Removed a splinter from a kid's butt.  (Don't even ask.)
19.  Laughed with and at my kids.
20.  Finished this blog post.

Definitely ought to do that more often.  You should totally try it.

Mrs.Tech Support (not exactly)

It's 2am.  I'm supposed to show up to teach something from the book of Genesis to a class of three year olds in about 6 and a half hours, and I will, but for now I have a (hopefully very quick) something to say.

When Hannah was but eleven days old, I sat my computer on the half wall in our living room to keep it safe (or so I thought) from my children.  This computer has twice been repaired by Asus, once under warranty and once out of pocket (cha-ching!), because it has a very fragile touchscreen that shatters if you so much as sneeze by it.  (Or step on it or drop it off a bed, but who's keeping track?)  As my very-responsible Ben walked through the living room, he noticed that three-year-old Leah had grabbed my laptop off it's apparently-not-so-safe perch in an effort to watch Netflix on it.  He dutifully confiscated the computer and put it the safest place he could think of - on top of the refrigerator.


Instead of putting it safely on top of the fridge, he rested it primarily on the door so that when Sarah opened the fridge to pour herself a cup of juice, the whole thing came crashing to the floor.

You can guess what the screen looked like after falling six feet onto a tile floor.  (No, I didn't take a picture. It was too painful to bear.)

I, of course, immediately cried, a reaction that probably would have occurred on one of my best days, but at least I had the excuse of blaming it on my postpartum haze  Having just gotten the computer repaired to the tune of $150+ a couple of months ago, all I could think was how that money was just flushed down the toilet.  I was never going to have a computer again.  I can never have nice things.  My life is over.  (Or something to that dramatic effect.)

In our home, Sam is Tech Support.  (No, really.  He literally worked for Tech Support in college.  He has the t-shirt and everything.)  I defer all computer related inquiries, repairs, decisions to him.  It's his "thing" and he's good at it.  After handling the warranty repair phone calls, and coughing up the cash to have it repaired the second time, I just couldn't stomach asking him to deal with this a third time.  Somehow, the "guts" of the computer were still perfectly functional, so Sam began contemplating ways to convert it into a desktop computer.  It would have worked, but I was dissatisfied with that option.  I decided to pull a Scartlett O'Hara and think about it the next day.  That doesn't usually work for me, and instead I obsessed over it for about three weeks.  Finally, I decided to order a replacement part and take my chances at repairing it myself.  Worst case scenario - I'd finish off the computer for good and be out $22.50.  Best case scenario - I'd have a functional computer.

You see, years ago, I was kind of smart.  Somehow, I successfully completed engineering school, secured a job in my field, and actually did kind of okay in the real world.

Now days, it's hard to remember that.  My days are spent covered in stickiness, wandering around trying to remember what it is that I was doing in this room at all, repeating instructions over and over again, making overzealous to-do lists that never get completed, and trying oh so hard to feed, clothe, and educate six little people all the while doing my best not to completely fail at being a wife.

Don't get me wrong.  My current job rocks.  Wouldn't trade it for anything, and I never imagined I'd say that, but it's definitely less...validating.  There's no paycheck.  No one to tell you "Well done!"  Honestly, most of what I do goes unnoticed.  And, most of the time, that's totally cool with me.  I don't need praise or admiration.  But I do like to, every once in a while, see a job to completion and know that I did it well.

Maybe that's why it was so daggone important for me to attempt the repair.

I just needed to know that I could.

Long story short - I did.

Phew.  Still got it.  (Sort of.)

There are so many blog posts I want to get out of my head and into cyberspace.  Now, I have a means to do it.  Until my next late night...

Sweet dreams!

(PS- I would like to thank Sam for unknowingly giving me to the confidence to even attempt this.  I have watched that man successfully tackle so very many major projects and repairs with nothing but a willingness to try and youtube.  Thanks, man.  You're my inspiration.)

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