Scutwork Diary, Day 2

Progress was mixed on clearing out the clutter so we could round up all the homeschool stuff. But we have help on the weekends, and the Chinese virus isn’t getting in the way of that. We will thus be able to do more work for day 3 and still finish up Homeschool Consolidation on time. There is something to be said for maintaining social connections with rural folks, something good.

In any case, it’s been really challenging to sit down and be methodical about decluttering and general tidying. You think it’s just a matter of bulling through throwing a lot of stuff out, or just making yourself sit there for hours asking the question “Where is the home for this?” for ten, twenty, a hundred items. But it’s not. It’s really about whole-life thinking and accepting how you really “do” life before you throw out this or that.

My kids can cook very well, but they are atrocious at cleanup, and like the excellent nine year old cook in L.M. Montgomery’s Story Girl duology, my own kids will be extravagant with eggs and butter beyond what an adult would prefer them to if left to full autonomous process. I don’t have to do a lot of supervising as a result, but I do have to make a lot more rules and restrictions around the cooking process than I previously thought were necessary. And it’s hard, it’s like writing software. So.many.instructions.that.have.to.be.very.precise.and.specific.

But in a way it will be practice for my return to coding and programming. For reasons beyond the scope of this entry anyhow it’s become obvious I have to get back into that realm. Interestingly, and I have some anecdotal evidence in this direction, higher maths have proved to unlock bits of comprehension that used to be confusing. Many women seem to do better going from math to coding, rather than just trying to tinker their way through as noncollege male programmers do. It’s an interesting possibility, if it’s broadly applicable. Perhaps I’ll code a tool that can clarify those matters one of these days.

As is perhaps expected, I thought this entry would take quite a different form. I forgot to put gas in the car before running an errand, and then had a fiasco trying to get gas at a branded station that wouldn’t recognize my brand key fob, so I had to get gas closer to home on fumes. I listened to an 80s playlist the whole time. The kids are very 80s tolerant, which remains very amusing, but also challenging, as you learn the hard way how many times you have to slam that skip button when some song lyrics start up for 80s songs that were blasting from radios in your youth and you had no idea that the singer was talking about *this* or *that*.

We finally got a Census form with the online code. But I’m going to wait for the paper form and fill it out in colorful pen ink.

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

Scutwork Diary, Day 1

This is a diary about boring scutwork. Why boring scutwork? Because the main obstacle to an ordered life in my specific and personal case is social. I can do boring scutwork, but being too ashamed to say that it has to be done has meant that as soon as there’s a crisis or emergency or just a sick day, work and life pile up like crazy. This is because those are the times that the boring scutwork’s boringness rushes to the fore and it gets put aside. Then a lot of interlinking pieces of daily life start coming undone and we end up in survival mode as a household for weeks or months. And then it’s another action plan or buying a piece of organizing furniture and the cycle repeats, but with incrementally more disarray as the kids get bigger and, well, messier if unchecked. All because I don’t talk about it except to my husband. Until now.

I’ve decided to diarize my journey from scutwork to gruntwork, and ideally beyond that. But first I want to succeed at the initial scheme and it is possible to overshoot by yapping about plans that are years away. In the short term, though, that hasn’t been the reason there’s piles of unfiled papers, stacks of books with annotations and notes and endless waves of unsorted kid schoolwork lying around along with unfolded laundry and dish towels in the strangest places. All that stuff has happened because not talking about the daily niggling details except with my husband has meant that I feel like all the scutwork is pointless since nobody knows it’s happening except the two people doing it. So I’m going to open this process to the world.

It’s pretty simple, I will write 500-1000 words 6 days a week about what scutwork I plan to do or have already done. The scutwork itself will be broken down into 2-3 day projects and goal-assessed every 13 weeks or 90 days, whichever is needed to round out a quarter. The initial scutwork project is Homeschool Consolidation. I have two bookshelves I was using to collect all the books I planned to read and discuss before this summer, along with some old children’s books I wanted the kids to read. They did read a fair amount of them, but the location of the bookshelves was not optimal for treating them as bookshelves and instead they’ve collected clutter and only had about half books in them anyway.

So the goal is to clear the books out and just use them as a homeschool shelving and storage system. Currently schoolwork is scattered across the house and the upshot is that it can be hard to find books or papers or manipulatives during school days. Consolidating everything in one place even though it’s not the place I wanted and which I just fought using because “bookshelves are ONLY FOR BOOKS NOTHING ELSE” will allow for the possibility of shaving time off teaching by not having to scramble for missing elements.

This is going to be a three day project. For the first day, T.W.O. and I removed some clutter and put most of the books in the library. We made enough progress that we will aim to finish removing clutter and the rest of the books tomorrow. Then after that we’ll put all the homeschool stuff on those two bookshelves. It’s boring scutwork, but once it’s done, quality of life will improve.

Project 1: Homeschool Consolidation, 1 day of estimated 3 complete.

Cordwainer Smith as pain relief

This isn’t a story I planned to tell, but it came about and so I will.

I was reading a biography of Cordwainer Smith, one that really delves into his private Instrumentality world and how it connected up with his equally strange and complicated life.  Anyway I had a massive reaction to a minor medicine, a reaction consisting mostly of blinding pain.

In the middle of the pain, I felt myself lifting outwards and sidewards into Space-3, a mystical space through which one was supposed to be able to traverse religion and time to cross distance.

Anyway it helped.