Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hopeless

Have we ever discussed how hopeless I am with computers? Let's start at the beginning.

My parents are computer people. Dinosaurs, but total computer people. (Hi! Love you!). Programmers, engineers, you know them, the people who the IT guys hate because they know more than they do, yet they still have to help them from time to time? We would come to my dad with a question about some computer related topic and his answer was always, "Did you read the manual? Come back after you have." Infuriating.

We had computers where you had to insert floppy disk after floppy disk just to get it started, no hard drive. I'm pretty sure that the funny program called Prodigy where you could talk to other people on other computers - Dad, were we really beta testers for the whole internet? Did you know that my sister was at the forefront of technology when she invented internet dating? Maybe not invented, but seriously! We were at the beginning of it all!

So, with high hopes, I signed up for an AP computers class my Junior year in high school. I am so old that we were programming in Pascal. It's an ancient romance language, now. Regardless, I signed up, was going to conquer the computer world. I was going to program the computer to add math problems or to type "hello" or something amazing like that. All I know was that I, um, well, wasn't very good at it.

I remember my dad saying, "It doesn't do what you WANT it to do, it does exactly what you TELL it to do." in about as shouty a voice as he ever got. In fact, when it came to our final project, I'm sure that the Green Tractor remembers the rest of the story vividly. He says I had a bad pointer. I have no idea what that means, just that when I wanted my program to run and do what it was supposed to do, that it all went blank. ALL. My program should be the one sold to people who are going to sell their computer on Craigslist, because apparently it was the one that completely wiped the computer clean of everything.

There was a lot of floppy disk inserting and some mumbling about "DNA... genetics... what went wrong...why me?" coming from the guy who had to undo my bad pointer and reformat his whole computer and then a defeated, "Try it again, Sara" and then more floppy disk inserting and more mumbling. I'm pretty sure I was missing and end parenthesis or something silly that if the computer were doing what I WANTED it to do, never would have happened.

Fast forward a couple of years and I thought that email would never take off as a form of communication and that the internet was stupid. Thank goodness I wasn't a business major. Or a stock picker.

And now, today, I tried to enter a password that was about 38 characters and I did it about 38 times and still could.not.get.it.done so the young dude who was patiently trying to help me through my issues made the password easier so that I could handle it.

Things aren't looking good for me as I get older.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Best thing I did all week

So, I have spent that last week in a book fair chairperson's haze, where you can name every book in the rolling metal carts and exactly where it goes, and even if there's an empty spot, you can name the book that once went there.

I adore the book fair. I adore recommending books to kids, helping parents find books and even encourage parents to let their kids read some fluff. I adore children coming back after a day or two and grinning and telling me about their book they read. I also love that we are raising not money, but books. We take all of our profit in books and all of it goes back to buying books for the classrooms, teachers, library and guided reading. It's a good thing.

By the end of the week, however, the milk in the house is expired, the bread is moldy and there is a last minute trip to WalMart at 6:45 on a Friday morning, because there is no dog food, the littlest one has a fieldtrip that day so he needs a lunchable and the oldest one needs poster board for social studies. I'm a deadline kind of girl, but I can promise you these things don't normally happen in quite such a red-alert fashion. Book fair week takes a lot of patience from the loved ones in a girl's household.

But, still not the best thing I did this week. I spent Saturday morning sewing things that needed to be sewn for my work, but didn't get done because I was running from book fair to baseball to swimming and surviving. I sewed all day today, ran to the grocery store and then came home in time for Sarge to take off to work and then to sew some more.

Part way through sewing something that needed to be sewn, Olivia asked me to come downstairs and outside to watch the storm outside. I told her I'd be a minute, that I needed to sew on these two sleeves. I sewed on one sleeve. She asked again. I told her I'd be a minute. And then? I changed my mind. I decided those sleeves could wait.

She and I sat on the front step, watched the lightning, listened to the thunder, petted the dog that sat with us and chatted about nothing of any importance at all. We sat there for about twenty minutes.

At one point she said "Mom, I'll never forget this." I knew before she said that I had made the right choice, but when she said it out loud, I knew I'd never forget it. And I told her that sitting out there was the best thing I'd done all week.

The sleeve has since been sewn on. And my daughter and I have made a wonderful memory, which will last far longer than that sleeve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Spectating

As much as I love watching my children do what they do, I am not satisfied being a spectator of other people's lives. I want to support my family and love them and help them to do what they do better, but I REALLY don't want that to be all that life is.

As a full time mom, I realize that my job is to take care of my children and take care of my husband, but at the same time, I don't want it to be at the expense of me. I'd like to think that I have value outside of just being a helper to other people getting to live, really live, and I'm sure I go overboard the other direction. BUT. I don't think that I can ever be that mom who lives just for her kids.

Because I intend for one day my children to leave me and go be their own people who don't NEED their mama anymore, just want their mama. I want to eventually be someone that they come to for advice and to chat with for fun, but I don't want to need them beyond when they're done needing me.

So I *maybe* jump in to a few more things than I should, I jump in with both feet and attempt to add value to other lives besides the the ones that exist in my home, and at the same time find my value and my contribution to more than just those not-as-small-as-they-used-to-be people, but at the same time with their interests at the forefront of what I do.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

On being busy

I find that when I'm SUPER busy, I get a whole lot done. I make the most of every second and maximize all the waking moments in the day. I can make a business phone call while washing dishes and calling out spelling words if I have to. When I'm not busy? Things get pushed to the side and I think they can wait. So then virtually nothing gets done. Finding a happy medium might just be what I do next time I have a spare second. Because right now I'm in making the most of every second mode.