Scutwork Diary, Day 11

Laundry is delayed today. I will be starting on the filing work, it’s going to be split into four 20 day chunks. There will be making files, filing papers by gross category and then more granular category and I just don’t want to keep going with any of it.

It’s not even that it’s boring, it’s that as I look at the precise household bottlenecks that would improve our quality of life by being fixed, I’m continually shocked at the sheer amount of time neded. It will take another eight days to have a list of clothes to buy for the kids and maybe us parents along with storing all excess clothing and linens somewhere reachable but not too reachable to do season-based wardrobes. Whether the eight days is all together or spread out over the next month, that’s still about how long it would take. Same for getting filing caught up and making a new system to account for the life changes we’ve had since the last time I put a filing system together (5+ years ago). We’ve had so many life changes it is probably two or three solid months at an hour a day to get a filing system with easy maintenance set up and running.

This is what a backlog of functionality looks like. Months of work to set up systems that make it hard to clutter, hard to be disorganized, and easy to maintain once you’ve put the work in. I guess I thought writing it all out would unlock ways to get everything done in a couple-three day sized chunks and that I’d find lots of small successes to make it almost fun to do. That’s just not the case. I have weeks of slogging ahead because organizing paper is the ur-battle of our current life situation. We have a lot of administrative burdens and meeting them means a large, detailed filing system.

So for today, I’ll be tackling the first 20 day chunk which is Household. Next or concurrent will be School, followed by Writing and Personal. The end game is enough files for all our household subcategories and my desk empty of household paperwork. And this is the goal for the other three categories as well. I began on this a while ago, but from the wrong angle. I focused on temporary filing locations with a hazy plan to deal with it all later when they filled up. But instead they’re just not getting used and I would have done better to avoid temporary storage to neaten things up since it totally didn’t.

This will be challenging, because it always takes a day or two to figure out just what kind of categories your personal household paperwork breaks down into. “Bills” and “not-bills” is adequate for many, but it wouldn’t work for us. Anyway I should have the list of categories done tonight and then tomorrow I can make the necessary folders and files. After that I’ll be able to assess the next step for day 3.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, completed, took 3 days.

Project 2: Annual Castle Ladyhawke Remodel Design, still at day 1 of estimated 2 to complete.

Project 3: Laundry Triage and Scheduling, day 2 of 10 completed.

Project 4: Filing Consolidation and Organizing by Subject, estimated 80 days to completion.

Project 4.1: Household Filing and Consolidation, day 1 of 20 complete.

Scutwork Diary, Day 10 (Less-sick day)

We have a truly astonishing number of towels. We thought almost all the “excess” ones were put away, but there’s so many more that were lurking in hidden places and spaces, like in the nightmare world under the kids’ beds. So we’re still whittling them down. But in the meanwhile the kids are sorting out their clothes by type and by the end of the week there is a good chance all that triage will be done and I can order any bigger clothes they extremely probably will need.

I’m finding it hard to come up with 500 words about how we did laundry as a family today, much less 1000 words to come close to “catching up” for my sick days wordcount-wise. I had a long term filing project in mind, something that would span the remainder of this quarter, but I haven’t quite laid it out yet. It would completely improve our quality of life and aid me greatly in any research or artistic expression. But I’m still not really much better and am pretty tired right now, so I don’t want to keep writing or go do any more housework tonight.

Anyway I took a break from writing this to do some stuff around the house and have dinner and having eaten something I guess I’ll keep going. Finding storage for the excess clothing and linens is turning out to be difficult with the “trapped at home” issue. Everyone in the house all day means it’s hard to methodically grab a storage item or set up some space because there’s just so much baseline household chorework to keep things from collapsing into utter grubbiness. But long story short, another day is reasonably checked off on the laundry triage and eight more days is still a pretty good estimate to completion.

As for filing longer term, I think I’ll be able to hash that one out tomorrow and get started. As a big project taking around eighty days, it’s going to anchor a lot of smaller ones the next few months.  While I do feel better, I’m out of energy to get to a full 500 words.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, completed, took 3 days.

Project 2: Annual Castle Ladyhawke Remodel Design, still at day 1 of estimated 2 to complete.

Project 3: Laundry Triage and Scheduling, day 2 of 10 completed.

Project 4: Filing Consolidation and Organizing by Subject, estimated 80 days to completion.

Scutwork Diary, Day 9 (Less-sick day)

I’m doing better and have undertaken the Laundry Triage and Scheduling with T.W.O. We’re going to put extra linens and clothes in our luggage, because we don’t travel more than a few times a year, so it’s a good storage space for clothing, towels and bedding.

Based on symptoms, I appear to have a different, but gnarly coronavirus that’s been floating around a few years and bringing with it some immobilizing but thankfully not-exactly-fatal symptoms. It’s mostly controllable with hydration, which I’m not a fan of, being very traditional minded about fluids. But sometimes you have to drink your weight in ounces because you’re sick and it will help you stop being sick as long. I have vented my share of spleen about the unseriousness of the smart set regarding Wuhan coronavirus in many other places, so I won’t gum up my diarizing with any more of it.

Once the extra clothing is stored, we have to figure out which days are best for laundry and we have to get the kids to sort their clothes by type (shirts, pants, hats, etc.) so that we can finally throw out all the shredded items they’ve outgrown but insist on squeezing into because they like the logo or color or detail (say, sequins or ruffles or a stitched animal). Well, that was a long sentence. And that piece of the project itself will be a lot of work by day-count. I was really hoping this would be a four or five day deal, but with having to include small children doing stuff, it’s going to be more like ten or fifteen days. I think we’ll go with ten.

We’re still stalled out on finishing the remodel design, but I am hopeful we can wrap that up this week. I was well enough to make it outside for more than one minute, and the whole family came along. So much works out when the entire family can successfully go for a walk in the woods together.

It was really difficult to have so many days of unproductive illness. I reaped no invalid’s benefits from the time spent abed. That said, it could have been worse and I have the benefit of being mildly functional today. And progress was resumed on the work of ordering our home life so other non-housework goals can be accomplished in the coming months and years. Life, as the cool kids say, comes at you fast.

And it’s not really fair to beat myself up when I got all the school teaching done despite being really sick for nearly all of the school week and we’re even running a little ahead of the assigned schedule. I’m not lazy or unwilling to do difficult things when my body is weak. It can be an easy trap to fall into, but it’s a foolish one and the sooner I dump that bad attitude, the easier invalid periods will go for everyone, including the invalid.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, completed, took 3 days.

Project 2: Annual Castle Ladyhawke Remodel Design, still at day 1 of estimated 2 to complete.

Project 3: Laundry Triage and Scheduling, day 1 of 10 completed.

Scutwork Diary, Day 5 (Sick day)

This is what a sick day looks like. I don’t know which way the wind blows, but I definitely feel too terrible to have gotten much done for the day. The next project will be Laundry Triage and Scheduling. But this is it for today.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, completed, took 3 days.

Project 2: Annual Castle Ladyhawke Remodel Design, still at day 1 of estimated 2 to complete.

Project 3: Laundry Triage and Scheduling, unknown start and finish.

Scutwork Diary, Day 4

Homeschool Consolidation was achieved. It didn’t look like what I was expecting, but then, that is one of the reasons I decided to make this whole diary happen. What I imagined was tidy shelves and all the paperwork neatly placed in clearly categorized stacks, and organized baskets of manipulatives. What I have is shelves that only contain homeschool stuff, not particularly organized, and manipulatives in baskets, but not tidily so. This is fine.

No, really, it’s close enough to serve the purpose I set out to accomplish. Everything homeschool is in one clear location, with plenty of room to hold a year’s worth of accumulated work for all the kids. That was the goal. So the fact that the neatness element wasn’t achieved merely reveals that it was a stretch goal. Those are good to have, but they aren’t essential to completing the core mission. And the deed is done, so that’s great news.

No progress on remodel design, but that’s as I expected, this weekend was pretty taxing along many vectors. I hope we can wrap that one up this week, and I think that will happen. My current concern is figuring out what to tackle next. I think it’s going to be something laundry related. We have too much of essentials like linens and underwear.

Normally I wouldn’t say anything like this so openly, but when you have two or three weeks’ worth per person, laundry gets backed up on more essential items like dresses, shirts, pants and skirts because “we have more towels/underwear/sheets, I guess laundry can wait another day”. So I think I’m going to do Laundry Spring Cleaning, but I’ll make a firm decision tomorrow. There will be many projects whose 2 or 3 or 4 days are done amidst weeks or months of other projects, and that’s also something I expected fairly early on, a mix of rolling projects and projects that were done within a few days of declaring them.

Life during a pandemic is stressful, especially when you’re trying to establish better habits so you are the person you wish to be ten years from now. Children don’t really grasp what’s going on or why food prices have skyrocketed and they really do have to eat what’s in the larder because there aren’t other options right now. It’s also strange how one takes for granted the incidental social aspect of leaving the house every day for an errand or a park trip or a hike or part-time school for the kids. Now that I don’t have to drive, *and am not allowed to*, I am far more aware of the lack of social contact, though it was not depthful most of the time.

Still, progress that is favorable is happening and I have a positive attitude about how this week will go. One of my children has a heretofore unknown but not all that unexpected gift for deriving Latin plurals without any foreknowledge of Latin’s not-exactly-intuitive structure. That’s not necessarily something that would have come up under the normal school schedule because that schedule is slower because it’s focused on early learners, since I have no middle graders. But it’s good to know and helpful in future language planning.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, completed, took 3 days.

Project 2: Annual Castle Ladyhawke Remodel Design, still at day 1 of estimated 2 to complete.

Scutwork Diary, Day 3

Hit a roadblock: a different project. We ended up spending our sitter time working on the remodelling plans for Castle Ladyhawke. Some detours included whether we would really go ahead and buy 200 year old cabinetry or stick with recent, slightly cheaper cabinetry in a similar style. The decision making process is taking a long time because we’re stressed about all the Chinese virus issues and also that this is Mommy and Daddy’s space, so the choices have to be somewhat more aethestically “sharp” since we’ll be dealing with them daily. So we’ll likely wrap up the Homeschool Consolidation project tomorrow and I’ll open up Annual LadyHawke Remodel Project and say that this is the first day of that. Easier than trying to count up the work we did at the start of the year on design and materials.

There is a sense of delicate wonder to be felt when you look at old, beautifully worked furniture that sold for reasonable prices back then and remember that we as humans can do it that other way, that it doesn’t have to be cheap and chintzy or fifty thousand dollars a pop with no inbetween. That said, there is some decent work in furniture here and there, the drive isn’t entirely lost even if specific skills have died out.

It was another pleasant weather day, but it was also a bit on the slacky side, because sitting around picking out furniture and fixtures and paint colors is mentally a workout but not exactly physically vigorous. We almost decided to go with a 300 year old French antique cabinet before realizing it wouldn’t work with the vanity color, so we’re doing something au courant: open shelves. Which is pretty funny given our general aesthetic approach. But open shelving isn’t all that new, it’s merely currently trendy.

T.W.O. introduced the children to the wonders of grilling and they were quite impressed with the different between meat when it’s grilled versus cooked in the oven. We don’t grill as much as we ought to, we’re hoping to do more of that now that all the kids are potty trained and can make their own oatmeal. We also experienced some spiritual conviction, as we finally discovered where our church hymnal can be found online, including full musical accompaniement. It’s convicting because we could have gotten this information at any time before the Chinese coronavirus-19 situation to be in greater harmony with our congregation when we’re too sick to attend. And we just never thought to do it until we had to. Plagues are, as is true with so much unpleasant natural phenomena, an opportunity to remember humility and that we can’t technologize our way past having to experience adversity to overcome. We are humbled, but glad we can always have the hymns now if we can’t physically attend. It is a blessing.

And the loss of so much temporal treasure reminds sharply that our true treasure must be in Heaven. We continue to pray for the physical and economic traumas so many are suffering and continue to hope in Christ through this pandemic.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, still at 2 days of estimated 3 complete.

Project 2: Annual Castle Ladyhawke Remodel Design, day 1 of estimated 2 to complete.