How I Plan to Survive November

It’s nearing 3 p.m. and I haven’t accomplished all that I’d hoped. I only had three major goals for the day, besides the standard stuff–the dishes, the laundry, the cleaning of the bathroom after last night’s haircut marathon. (All four of the halflings needed a trim.) Those goals? Make a baby shower invite using my PS CS4 program, blog this post based on a conversation I had with a friend, and edit a chapter. That’s it. Nothing too over-acheiver-ish.

Yeah, right.

After getting everyone out the door for school with their crazy hair day styles (Yay, Red Ribbon week) I went to my neighbors to mail packages for them while they are on a cruise. I’d be a little irrigated at them for skipping Red Ribbon week if they 1) had kids in school, and 2) hadn’t surprised me with the gift of Scrivener last year at this time. So, while they’re basking in the sun, I’ll mail their packages without any complaints. It feels good to repay the kindness.

Anyway, I got home promptly at 11:15 and began the invite. And then PS froze up. So, since I know courteously of my favorite CompGeek’s advice, James Duckett, that 90% of computer problems are solved by simply rebooting, I shut my baby down, and decided to unhook her and dust her. (BTW–Everyone should listen to James. Always.) This entails simply using my shopvac on the reverse setting and blowing cool air into the tower and getting rid of all the dust. I’ve done it many times. Today was no different. Until I plugged it back in. no internet. So I do the regular stuff, check cords and swear at it. (Okay, not really this time, but swearing at computers also has proved effective.)

47:13 minutes later, the nice tech support kid at CenturyLink tells me the “Network Adapter isn’t Installed,” ie. you broke something when you blew the tower out. Great.

Explains why I have WiFi on my laptop and phone, but nothing on the PC. Well, in the process, I lost ten of my new favorite fonts, making finishing the invite a drag. I can’t download them again without the internet, and I can’t find the previous TT files in my downloads to reinstall them. So the invite’s not done.

It’s early release, *I loathe early release,* so the kids are home ALREADY and I haven’t started editing, and I could do that, but at this point, I felt I’d blog while I had service and take my laptop with me to rehearsal and edit there.

So, the facebook conversation I had with my friend, Irish Winters, who is a military mom/wife and author, went exactly like this (I didn’t even spell check it):

IRISH: So how are you? Still as busy as ever?
ME: Yes, and I’m trying hard not to wear it as a badge. I just finished up being in a musical this last weekend, but I am in another one right now as well. So for a while there I was double booked with rehearsals. I’m going to be nano-ing, and I’m helping with our Nano group quite a bit.
So, add to that our house is for sale, and it’s been showing every couple of days, despite the fact that we haven’t sold it yet.
IRISH: Wow. I’m speechless. Are you insane? And I ask that in the most understanding way.
ME: Yes. The answer is definitely yes. What part of me was wishing I would have never signed up to do Beauty and the Beast, but my kids really wanted to do it.
IRISH: You have a ton of energy. And you have the cutest family. Good on you!
ME: Well thank you! It’s definitely a team effort around here! On the plus side, there’s two things I’ve learned that will make everything be just fine. One, how the kitchen sink goes so does the rest of the house. I don’t know why, but it’s true. If I stay on top of the dishes everything else falls into place. And two, I have to consciously, actively, and very seriously have dinner prepared every evening. So long as I have everyone fed at 5:30, everything else seems to fall into place as well.

It’s how we survive when I’m sick, or when I’ve had surgery in the past. Both time I wasn’t in a musical, but our house was for sale.
And never underestimate the power of paper plates and a school lunch prep drawer.
Lunch Drawer
This is our school lunch prep drawer. Its full little ziplocs, not the snack size ones but similar,full of things ready to go for morning lunches and after school snacks. I guess you could say I’ve had a pretty tight ship most of the time. And I’m not even a military wife! I should blog this!
IRISH: Wow. You could be military! Yes. Blog it for sure. Organization and a daily plan do make things go smoother. I agree about the dishes. Keeping my kitchen clean is a must at my house. Then bathrooms. Then…. you’re right. Everything else falls into place…

*End Convo*

So, I wanted to share that for a few reasons. ONE. I admire women who work, raise a family, and write. Because I only do two of those things and find it hard. But between the musical I am in, Beauty and the Beast and NaNo and my regular daily grind, it’s going to be like I have a job.
So, this post is for those who are thinking HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO MANAGE TO WRITE 50K in 30 DAYS and still do everything else?
Sure, I’m thinking of my SAHM friends who write specifically, but I think these tips work great for anyone who has a tight schedule.
ONE: It’s true–How the kitchen sink goes, so does the rest of the house. Resort to paper plates if you must, but if you get behind on the dishes, everything falls apart. I don’t know what the miracle behind this is, but it’s the gospel truth. It works during regular life, it works under stress, it works while you’re selling a house, you name it.
TWO: This is tied almost directly to ONE. If you’re going to tackle a project like a musical and NaNo at the same time, you have to have DINNER planned and prepped every day by 5pm. Wait no later. PERIOD.
There is no other way. You gotta feed ’em and if dinner’s not ready, all Hell WILL break loose. If you can present it like this, that’s just over the top and unnessesary. Really, do this and you’ll be fine:
The gnashing, the whining, the crying will commence if you don’ have dinner, and some of it will come from you. You have to PLAN. IF YOU DON’T…. You’ll hear this quote repeating in your head a lot.
failing-to-plan-is-planning-to-fail-failure-quote

So, Dinner planned, Dishes Done. What else?

THREE: Get up. Get dressed, all the way to shoes. Every. Day. I know you think you’ll just lounge in your yoga pants and it’ll be fine. DO NOT DO THIS. You will be tempted to. TRUST ME.  There are a plethora of reasons as to WHY you shouldn’t do this. Inevitably you are going to need to run to town, the school, the doctor, etc for something unexpectedly. You’re going to forget something you committed to do. Being dressed not only will aid you in these regular life moments, but any professional can attest….Getting ready for the day makes a difference, even if that means showering only to put yoga pants on for their work. But they get READY for the day. I know it seems like I’m asking you to perform a magic trick, but you can do it.

You will get more done if you treat your stay-at-home life like a job. (It’s my #1 secret as to why I am productive. My friends frequently tease me that I have more hours than they do. Obviously, not true. It’s because I do have a job, even if I stay home. I treat it thus, 96% of the time. To survive NaNo and all this other stuff, including grocery shopping and Thanksgiving–I’m going to have to give it 100% for the full 30 days. What if I get sick? Heaven help me.

Last, FOUR: This is tougher, but I have to maintain a positive, and focused attitude, especially around the kids.

I can’t expect them to love November if I’m nagging on them, not paying attention to them, etc. because I’m busy. If they feel that neglect, they’ll come to resent NaNo, me, my writing, etc. Which would be SAD. So I have to explain it to them. We’ll have a family meeting about it and everything. Now, I am fortunate that all four are gone to school. Those hours are critical to my success. However, with a Kindergartener, I only get two and half hours. So, every minute counts. My friend, Erin Shakespear, did a great blog post on managing writing with kids and I’ll refer you to what’s in her post. (Click on her name.)

That’s it. I’m sure there’s more, but that’s the bones. Dinner, Dishes, Dressed, DangHappy about it all. I chose to write, I chose to NaNo, I chose to be in a Musical. And while I’m usually not quite this busy, it can be managed. There are others who are even more busy than I. Sometimes life throws us into a fire pit we and we can’t help it and our time is spent doing something we didn’t plan on–like computer’s freezing up. But it’s a different ball game in my opinion when you jump into the fire willingly thinking you’re Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego. You’ll be fine. I think those boys had resigned to dying for their cause, and weren’t planning on surviving. If they’d known they’d be fine, it wouldn’t have been a trial of their faith. So don’t go in thinking angels or God will save you from yourself in this instance. If you jump into the pit, you better have a plan.

November is going to take a toll on me and my sweet family and I hope we manage it with grace and finesse. Oh Gosh!! What if my house sells during all this? *cue panic attack*

What do you do to survive when your schedule gets tighter because you chose for it to be that way?  Either way, I hope you have a plan.

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3 thoughts on “How I Plan to Survive November

  1. Youre an amazing wife and mother! I actually used to have that kind of energy whwn you kids were young and I was Relief Society Pres. Ahhh, I miss that energy! Keep up the awesome work! 🙂 :-

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  2. I just love your posts, Gina! You are super woman and I love how positive you stay through everything 🙂 That’s a tough one for me. I think I’ll just call you every time I need a boost 😉 And I totally agree on the getting ready down to your shoes every day. It really does help you feel more motivated to get things done!

    Liked by 1 person

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