Anyway, enough with the meteorology. It seems like much of my new life role is in the doldrums. Calm. Boring. Punctuated by huge fiascos. It is not a complaint, just an observation. I think much of the challenge of our lives - especially those of us staying home with kids all day or working in repetitious jobs we can't stand - is trying to find a way to navigate the doldrums well. It's not so much the crazy storms and wild experiences we need to be become experts in. It is like U2's song "Original of the Species" says, "Some things you shouldn't get too good at - like smiling, crying, and celebrity." There are extremes, but that is why they are called extreme. They are outside the average. The average is where we live.
This past Sunday, when we had the crazy day with the tire blowing out on I-75 in the middle of nowhere, followed by the huge storms and no power at home - that day was exhausting and stressful. But it is like you train your life for days like that. You take precautions and learn skills to make sure that you are not beaten by that anomaly. I learned defensive driving, learned to pay attention to my car, got Roadside Assistance (which offered no assist), bought a phone with internet, learned how to change a tire, bought flashlights. When the storm itself finally hits, you hope that you can handle it -- and more often than not you do. I have found that it is the majority of days that get to be the challenge.
You know, one of the things that I have found over the years is that boredom gets people into more trouble than just about anything else. Why do so many married couples have affairs? They get bored with each other. Why do teens go out and do dumb stuff? Lots of times they are bored. I know that with my kids, it is when they are bored that they get the most sassy - and when they try experimenting jumping off the bunk bed, grabbing the ceiling fan light chain, and trying to do a flip. Boredom is dangerous. Using a biblical example (it is what I'm trained to do, people), King David got into the biggest trouble in his life when he was bored sitting around the palace. He went out on the roof to admire nature and got an eyeful of Bathsheba's beautiful . . . uh . . . hills?
I know those of you who read this on Facebook get a kick out of my Revised To Do Lists. Those are the extreme days. I am not complaining on those days, just sharing a (usually) humorous take on the rare stormy days. Want to see my usual To Do List?
7:30am Wake Up
7:31am Turn on Blue's Clues for Gabe
Check Facebook, Twitter, Woot, etc.
8:30am Get the kids breakfast
9:15am Tell the kids to get dressed
9:30am Put on Noggin
Make sure the older kids are ready to keep an eye on Gabe
Get my shower and get dressed
10:30am Check Facebook, Twitter, EW, etc
11:45am Get lunch ready
12:30pm Put Gabe down for a nap
1:00pm Have the older kids clean the living room
1:30pm Let the older kids use the computer
Check Facebook, Twitter, ESPN Page 2, etc
2:30pm Get Gabe when he starts crying
2:32pm Put on Yo Gabba Gabba
Begin rationing afternoon snacks
3:00pm Work on laundry, dishes, whatever
3:30pm Put on Spongebob or iCarly
Check Facebook, Twitter, CNN, etc
4:30pm Begin thinking about making dinner
5:00pm Start the lookout for Heather
6:00pm Eat dinner
Pretty exciting stuff, I know. Sometimes I switch things around. There are days when I have the kids get dressed instead first instead of eat first. Then there are wacky days when I don't have them get dressed until the afternoon. Heck, there are days where I don't eat breakfast at all, or get a shower until the afternoon - just for fun, of course. And sometimes we start looking for Heather at 3:00 - even though we know she won't be home until 5:30. That brings some drama to the day.
I guess the reason I have been thinking about this is that this week has been a doldrums week. This past weekend, we were down with my mom and sister in Tampa, followed by the super fun Tire Storm Day. This next weekend, we will be over at Heather's parents' house for July 4 - which is always a good time. So we have had three and a half days of in-between-time. You don't want to go do a big grocery run (which can kill a good chunk of time) because you won't be here to use it all. It just kind of feels like killing time until the next big thing. I know that can't be the best way to do things. And that is the crux of the struggle.
How can you live the boring average days to the utmost? I will put a lot of thought into dinner, trying to come up with cool stuff. We'll do projects or art stuff. And soon we'll be hitting the YMCA each afternoon. I am not looking for things to do - trying to pack my day. I want to learn how to still be useful and excellent even when the winds die down and you are just . . . there. [Another biblical reference warning] I think this may have been what Jesus was talking about when He said to take up your cross daily to follow Him. It is a daily decision to make your day useful - both for Him and for your family. It is consciously making a choice that each day will be valuable and worthwhile. I think all of us struggle with that. It is funny, we get angry at athletes for admitting they take games off and play half speed. I mean, when the Magic traded for Vince Carter, I was angry because he takes some days off and has admitted it. (Especially after we had dealt with Carter's cousin TMac doing the same dumb thing to us.) But, honestly, don't we all take days off? I know I do. There are days when I don't do much - just kind of sit around. I remember that happening at jobs too, where I would leave and think, "Did I do ANYthing today?"
My new challenge is learning to make every day worthwhile. Maybe that means writing the letters to my students from last year that I keep putting off. Maybe it is designing something for Defender instead of playing Wii. Maybe it is posting a blog post. I want to minimize my days where I sit there at the end and realize that most of the hours involved me waiting for tomorrow. I know that I am investing time in my kids - but I want to make sure that I am actually doing things with them that will better them and me. Even on just the regular days, I want there to be worth. I have learned how to make it through the storms (mostly). Now I need to work on the doldrums.