Capstone Follies, no fiction writing for mamma edition.

I came up short on my own writing goals, including a big fat zero on fiction wordcount because I spent the week helping one of my kids with a massive capstone project.  And yes, I didn’t think it would take all week and that I’d have some time to write.  But it didn’t work out that way.

There’s always next week though!

Visual Scutwork Update #2

Haven’t gotten next week worked out, but I’m already running out of kid clothes to triage, so I’ll have to change that plan up a little.  Also surprised at how few clothes needed to be tossed due to wear or being outgrown.

chugging along

Scutwork Diary, Day 12

I have a lot of work ahead and today was a day I didn’t see much progress on it. I think I’m running into a problem bigger than a couple days off per week can fix. Full-time homeschooling is eating me alive. It’s explicitly school at home in a way our previous part-time model was not. I started writing these about two weeks ago and I’ve just crumbled under the strains. My own physical illness, worrying that the kids might be sick too (allergies mostly for them, just a bit worse than normal), and the ongoing sadness at the poor behavior of the supposedly professional, managerial sorts.

Being too sick to go outside made staying in even more stressful, and what I have managed to get done is just a drop in the bucket. That I’ve stayed on top of education for my kids is not the comfort I thought it would be, and the drain means I still don’t have the energy to work on all these things I need to. There’s no time in the day with their schedules being heavier than if they did a couple of full days with their other teachers. I have to cover more ground, delve into subjects I normally don’t have to do and the whole thing is exhausting. And then it’s suddenly dinnertime. And then it’s time for bathing and bed for the kids, but I’m wiped out and have nothing in reserve to catch up on scutwork or any other work.

I’m paralyzed by fatigue giving me a massive case of idunnwannas.

And having taken some time since writing the above to read the Bible and pray with T.W.O., I’ve instead decided to shift gears to a project of Wuhan virus sanity management. To keep from falling into despair and inability to function because I live among unserious people in the Lion’s Den, I’m going to spend the next twenty days working on making adjustments to improve our quality of life for just this month. For me that’s resuming regular driving, for the kids it will be supervising more cleaning chores. They already have jumped into doing all the cooking, but cleanup afterwards we haven’t pushed quite as hard as we ought to on. I’ll add in some other things after we try the first two tomorrow.

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.

Project 5: Wuhan Virus Coping Strategy, day 1 of 20 complete.

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.