Thursday, April 9, 2015

Juggle!! Juggle!! Ju— Crap.

This is one of those weeks where my calendar is so black with ink I almost can't read it. Everyone in my family is busy, and there are so many moving parts to my many moving Chardonnays!!! And of course all of this is coupled with my near-inability to say no when I'm asked for help.**

Yesterday, the parents of Ottoson Middle School students were asked to bring baked goods or drinks to the teachers who are administering the MCAS, our state standardized test. I'm a baker, I support the teachers, of course I said I'd help.

At 6:15, I arose to begin concocting a loaf of banana bread with toasted walnuts. I read the recipe and turned on the oven.

As the bread baked, I thought, Wow, it seems a lot more fragrant than usual. I patted myself on the back. What a good citizen I am! What a delicious baked good I have produced!

At 7:20, the bread should not have been done but the fragrance was powerful. I took it out of the oven — whew! just in time! The edges were actually a bit black! I then inserted a knife to test for doneness.

The knife came back with raw wet dough clinging to it. What the heck?

 Yeah. I set the oven to 425°.

The bread bakes at 325°.

This is the kind of moronic mistake I make when I have too many balls in the air.

I'm also editing up a storm, which is good because we are broker than ever. My three nearest neighbors and I all banded together to cut down a tree, which (1) is always kind of sad, (2) will improve our backyard situation enormously, and (3) cost an arm and a leg. Mimosa needs new glasses and fewer wisdom teeth, both kids need summer activities, Husband's car gave up its last leg  so we both have "new" cars now, which is awesome — but yeah, two monthly car payments now, and I will be paying for Li'l Martini's braces till the end of time.

And, of course, tons of editing means being glued to my chair in front of my computer.

I did buy a seat cover for the stationary bike but haven't had a chance to try it out yet. Maybe today, depending on when my next job shows up. I'd planned to use my "free time" today to clean up our yard a little. The snow has finally melted (crazytown!!!! February and March are just a blur now), and the most interesting things have emerged, including a string of Christmas lights!!! Pulling into the driveway and seeing the messy yard makes me feel anxious and stressed, so if I can tidy it a little, my quality of life should improve, or at least my mental health. Right? (And tromping around in the fresh air should also give me a lift.)

Except:  it's raining right now. Mother Nature freaking hates me.

April and May are crazy months for parents of schoolchildren, and April is also my busiest time for my church committee. But the great glorious news there is that tonight is my penultimate meeting with this miserable group; two more meetings and an election, and I'm DONE!!!! And next year I've decided to go back to Kind Tina and her committee again, and that will be a joy.

Next week looks to be lighter. Perhaps I will set some goals and give it a framework, as I did a few weeks ago.

And I just checked the rain should stop this afternoon.

Nothin' but good times ahead. Yeah.

— Lady C, not quite convinced

** I asked Good Neighbor Anne if she could mentor me in the art of saying no and not feeling guilty about it. She said, "Saying no, no problem — but I always feel guilty."

I continue to seek a mentor.


  1. When I start breaking dishes, I know I'm trying to do too much.
    (Ditto, burning things.)

    I have gotten better at saying no, and rather miraculously I don't feel so guilty anymore either, . . . but I don't think my replacement for feeling guilty is much of an improvement:
    instead I notice with some alarm that I tend to feel disdain (say, for an inept committee leader).

    Disdain is not a step up, morally speaking,
    but it is a slightly more enjoyable feeling...
    (Oh dear, that probably makes it even worse! I'm going to hell. But at least I won't have to sit on awful committees in this life, if I can possibly say no to them.)

    When you said you and your neighbors took down a tree,
    I pictured you all out there with a Paul Bunyan-kind of saw (or maybe George Washington's hatchet).

    Keep breathing!

    1. I thought of you often this week as I dropped things (nothing broke though).

      Guilt vs. Disdain -- the ultimate smackdown. Yes, I've been intimate with both. I feel great disdain for the people I've christened "takers" or "pew-sitters" -- the ones who merely sit back while the rest of us do the work -- so part of my constant yes-saying is the horror I feel at becoming a Taker. But a little more balance is probably ideal.

  2. "Guilt is like a bag of bricks, just set it down." The Devil's Advocate
    Mrs. Cynicletary

    1. Hee!

      (I have a knee-jerk reaction to the word "just" when being given advice. If things were "just" that easy, everyone would do them.)


  3. Hmmm... perhaps there is a compromise (unless you have a knee jerk reaction to that word as well.) Say, "thank you for thinking of me, but I am currently overcommitted. However, I will commit to asking X other people on your behalf." That gets you partially off the hook while doing the good deed of encouraging takers to contribute more on the group's behalf. If they say, no - at least you tried to help, thus alleviating guilt of not helping at all.

    1. Oh lord, I would rather do it all myself then have to call other people -- hate making phone calls, hate asking "takers" who didn't step up in the first place to help!!! Which is, in fact, what I do all the time for my current committee, ugh ugh. Time to be done!!!!!

      But I do like compromises. My usual compromise is to only say yes to things that sound easy or fun or enriching in some way. But there are also things (such as agreeing to work a shift at the Last Blast, the party for graduating seniors) that I think *everyone* should do at least once. *All* of our kids benefit from this, we should all suck it up and do our fair share.

      Alas. The world is not a fair place. This I know for sure. All I can do is my own small part. And usually I have a better attitude about it -- martyrs are as irritating as takers, in my opinion -- but this time of year is a wearying one.

      So fun to hear your voice the other day!! Yes, please do send me pictures of your beautiful grandbaby. I want to see those big Ward eyes on the next generation!!!