Monday, April 30, 2012

Leaving the House with Everything

In the morning, I may or may not be going to escort my nephew to a school event.  He needs a "parent" and his momma has to work.  But he isn't feeling well, so I'll find out at 6:30 a.m. if it's a go or not.  Normally, I pack everything the night before, but in the interest of not doing extra work (and packing just to unpack), I'm waiting to find out in the morning.  I built an extra 15 minutes into my schedule for packing.

If I do leave the house, there is so much to remember.  At least my preschooler is totally out of diapers and is staying with Grandma, so no diaper bag.  But I will have to bring, at a minimum, my cell phone (better charge it tonight), my laptop (in case there is wi-fi ;)), and my Nook (better charge that, too, and download another book), as I will have to entertain myself all day.  I also have to pack my meds (4 times a day right now), plenty of water (because I must drink a FULL glass with each med), breakfast, and lunch (that I can carry with me).  Of course, I need my wallet (money and ID), glasses, and lip gloss.  (I wouldn't leave home without my lipgloss!)  I'll bring my planner, of course, so I can get some work done on the road.  I need my camera to take pics for my sister.

In general, I would ALWAYS set this stuff out the night before.  Also, if it is stuff I pack again and again, like for substitute teaching or grocery shopping and errands, I keep a checklist of what goes with me in my planner on a sticky note, which I move to the weekly calendar pages when I need it and move back to the file portion of the planner when I don't.  But how do humans really keep up with this stuff when their lives aren't predictable?  (Bringing a lunch that can't go in a frig or being on 4 times a day meds isn't predictable for me.)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Sure-Fire 5 Step Program for Putting Your Laundry Away

1. Hang up the clothes when the dryer beeps.  Put those away. (Or have the kids and husband do it, immediately!)
2. Fold the other clothes.  Put those away. (Again - kids, husband, lawn boy?)
3. Match the socks. Put those away. (It occurs to me that I need a lawn boy who also saves laundry.)
4. Fold the sheets and towels and put them in the closet.  (Or stuff 'em in the clean pillow case.)
5. Now, put anything left in the dryer away.  (And reward yourself.  Chocolate!  Coffee!  Wine! A NAP!!!)

5 steps, people.  5.  F-I-V-E.  So WHY are there clean clothes ALL OVER my couch and bedroom floor?  Why?


Summer Schedule

For the first time in my kids' lives, I will be home with them all summer.

Take a moment and pray for me.

Moving on.  I will have to entertain, feed, and teach two children all summer long.  Terrified is probably an overstatement.  I'm not sure I am made to be a stay-at-home-mom, but circumstance has me here, facing the summer.  Of course, I feel compelled to make a plan.  You know I'm not actually going to follow the plan, right?  But my kid demands to know what we are doing, so here goes nothing.

First, I plan to have a schedule of leaving the house.  We might switch up the days a bit, but here's what I am thinking:

Sat - Groc Day (I've been doing groceries on weekdays with Loki, but with Alan back at home to watch the kids on the weekend, I'm thinking we are going to move to Saturday/Sunday for groceries).

Sun - Church (Yes, we are really going to try to go to some service every Sunday.)

Mon - Arts/Craft Day (I figure I'll do most of the cooking for the week, something in the crockpot and something on the stove, plus cutting fruits and veggies and freezing leftovers, on Mondays, so it's the day we stay at home.  We can make something or color or build with blocks, but it will be an organized activity.)

Tues - Book Day (We either do a library trip or bookstore, rotating every other week.)

Wed - Water Day (We swim at my aunt's pool, do the local splash park, or setting up water painting in the back yard.)

Thurs - Field Trip Day (We go to the zoo or the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum or to tour LSU.  Anything, really, that advances the kids' knowledge.)

Fri - Free Day (The kids get to laze around the house and do whatever.  No school, no chores, just a totally free day.  That's important, too, right?  It'll also give me a chance to catch up on whatever I need to in the house.)

I'm thinking that, everyday, we will try to eat breakfast, then do the day's activity.  We will aim to be home for lunchtime.  After lunch, chores and then a quick rest/quiet time/movie/tv.  After quiet time, we'll do *school*, which will involve reading for the library's book club and math assignments.  Then free time until Daddy gets home.

Too structured?  Not structured enough?  I guess I'll live and learn.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Doctor, Doctor - Organizing My Medicals

Taking care of my extensive medical details, from appointments to follow-ups to filling scripts to actually taking my darn meds, takes up a lot of my day. I have extensive meds-related issues and two young kids (with their own check-ups and colds and FREAKIN' ALLERGIES TO CORN AND SHOE LEATHER AND ZYTHROMAX), making keeping up with all I have to do and remember for our healthcare a major undertaking.

One thing I do is put reminders to make doctors' appointments on my planner's calendar. For yearly checkups, I write the task (Sched Dr. Whoever - 555-5555) with a circle around it in the month where I want to schedule the appointment. The circle means that it is a repeating task, so once I schedule my 6 year old's appointment, I write the same thing in the same month next year (and circle it ;)). My calendar doesn't go into 2013, of course, but I have a Future page divided into 13 parts (each month of next year and 2014+) to write things on that will happen in 2013 and beyond.

I also have a contacts page with all doctors' name, speciality, address, and phone number in my contacts. I don't keep many contacts in my planner (since most can just be loaded into my phone or kept in an easy-to-update Word document more conveniently), but I do keep household help (e.g., housekeeper back when I had one {weeps} or lawn service) and medical contacts, as well as some take-out restaurant contacts, as those are contacts that usually aren't in my phone and I need outside of the house a lot.

In the File part of my planner, I have a straight-up medical log. When I schedule an appointment, I put the doctor's name and speciality on the top right corner of the page, along with the date of the appointment. I jot the meds I am currently taking (they change often enough to merit checking the list before each appointment) and a list of complaints that I have for the doctor. Then I draw a line across the page. Under the line, I write actual notes of the doctor's answers and instructions. Yes, it's a little weird to pull out my planner during a doctor's appointment. But the doctor's seem to like it, even stressing "write this down" for important instructions. I think they know I'm going to take their advice seriously, and for people who actually care about your health, that's a big deal.

Keeping up with taking my meds is more difficult. I used to keep taking meds on my Daily Checklist, along with things like "do a 15 minute quick clean" and "exercise," but even if I do nothing else in a given day, I have to take my heart medicine. If I never step foot in my house, I need to take my asthma meds. So I had to deal with medications differently, as my Daily Checklist is more a guideline than a MUST DO list.

Daily Checklist
One a week, I put my daily meds into a weekly meds container. I don't need a reminder in my planner to do this, as the weekly container is used daily and sits next to my bed on my nightstand. I have an alarm set on my phone to remind me that if I haven't taken my meds by 9:15 p.m., I need to take them. Once a week, when I refill the weekly container, I write any meds I need refills of on my Errands list so I can pick them up at Target during the week. I also read the bottles to make sure I have refills available and, if I don't, schedule a doctor's appointment. It's a good way to double check that I don't miss a check-up.

My Packing Lists (all versions - the master list, the one for camping, the one for hotels, etc.) all include Meds as an item, so that I remember to pack them if I travel.

For unusual meds (like the four times a day antibiotic I am taking now), I keep the Rx bottle next to my cell phone. I see my cell phone a lot everyday, so it helps me remember to take them. Then, I mark the dates that I need to take them on the bottle in a sharpie markers, and check off when I take them each time. Today's (4 times a day for 7 days) looks like this:

April 25 x x 1 2 
         26 1 
May 1 
         2 x x

Finally, I try to only use on pharmacy and it's at a place where I frequently grocery shop, so it's not too inconvenient.

Let me know if you have any tips for keeping your medical stuff organized.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Homemade Planner?

I love to shop the planner section at Office Depot, Walmart, Barnes and Noble, and Target. If we had a Staples, I'm sure I would be there, too. But you know what I've realized? I'll never be happy with someone else's planner.

I am currently fairly happy with my monthly and weekly layout (Day-timer Family Plus). But I need a daily checklist that works for me. I need a master task list that has room for categories, due dates, and notes. Menus must be on the weekly planner. Weekdays must all be on the left and MUST include a place for time-sensitive to dos.

I make a lot of custom inserts for my planner. I simply fold paper in half, use the page marker to hole punch perfectly, and print out an A5 sheet. Now I'm considering making my planner pages for next year myself. Crazy? Too much work? But it's cheap and I could make them for ME!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Weekly Calendar Update

Back in the days of a "real" job, I went through my calendar on Monday mornings and made sure I had everything done or scheduled or up-to-date. But now that I am a SAHM, I find Sundays are better, as hubby is home to watch the kids. (Well, during Legislative Session, he's only home for two hours in the morning. But that's something!)

I find, now that I am staying home, that fewer things get copied from week to week to week. You know what I'm talking about, right? How I've been meaning to schedule that routine dental checkup for weeks now? How cleaning out the car never really gets done, but just copied from list to list?

But I am missing something - structure to the day/week. I find myself unable to schedule anything, because I can't force myself to dedicate to a time. Sure, when I had work, I would schedule the dentist because it meant I could take off on Thursday afternoon. But, now, without structured work, I don't really want to drag Loki out in the afternoon during nap, so it means dragging him out during the morning. And morning is me time. It's when I do the dishes and laundry, check my e-mail, and apply for jobs. I could do some of that stuff in the afternoon, but then I won't have clean dishes to cook lunch and laundry won't get out of the dryer in time to not wrinkle. It ruins my day.

Hmm, looks like I do have structure. It's just not structure that has room for the dentist.