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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Doing Hours

I know I've talked about this before, but you're going to get a bit more detail today.

I've come up with a splendid little psychological trick to use on myself when EVERYTHING in the house is screaming at me to be done at the same time, and I simply find myself overwhelmed. It's that whole thing of "there's too much to do - WHERE do I start?!" Enter The Hours. I decided to make it fun (by using the luck of the draw) and limited. Each task only last 60 minutes (although two different tasks last 2 and 3 hours, respectively). So, if your "luck of the draw" is something you REALLY don't wanna do . . . but HAS to be done . . . you (I) only have to work at it for 1 hour. And, we all know that, in this day and age, 60 minutes seem to be gone in the snap of a finger!

That said, these are MY "hours", in no particular order:

Eggs. How can "eggs" fill up an entire hour, you ask? Well, imagine that I want to deliver 5 dozen eggs tomorrow. That doesn't seem like a big deal, does it? Well, 5 dozen eggs = 60 individual eggs that each need to be collected from the chicken house, brought inside and scrubbed spotless,and then packed into self-stamped containers. Finally, the invoices need to be made for each customer and attached to their dated carton of eggs. And there you have it: "eggs".

Update Blog: Pretty self-explanatory. ;) But, something that gets done infrequently enough that I need to MAKE time for it.

Library: Clean the room which we call the library.

Dishes: I ALWAYS seem to have dirty dishes piled up next to the sink. And, if I don't, I can parlay the "dishes" task into cleaning out the refrig . . . which does what? Produces dishes that need to be washed! (And, remember, dishes are done BY HAND when you live on alternative energy. No dishwasher here - other than me - thank you very much.)

Folk School: Tom is on the Board of Directors of our local folk school and also on many sub-committees there. I don't know how I got wrangled into it, but the Powers That Be discovered that I am going at organization / throwing parties. So, it's been my annual volunteer duty to organize and host the Instructors' Gathering / Dinner the Saturday night of the big spring/summer blow-out. When I draw this one out of the proverbial hat (I use a vase), it means I get to spend time on organizing the menu / caterers / venue, etc.

Wellspring Therapy: This is the massage therapy business that I am the Office Manager for (I'm able to do it from home - the business number is OUR phone number). There's ALWAYS work to be done! I do all of the business laundry and the owner's personal laundry, too.

Office - Main: This is an opportunity to work on cleaning up the DISASTER that is my office. Seriously, only few dare enter. (But it's a family curse handed down thru the generations on my dad's side.)

Bathrooms: We have two. Bathrooms always need cleaning, don't they? We'll have a bathroom in the upstairs apartment above the garage and next to the pub, but it's nothing but stud walls right now. We're thinking of hooking up the waste assembly of that toilet this summer, though, so Tom and I have somewhere to go (no pun intended) when we're outside working . . . rather than tromping into the house, having to take off boots, etc. Since the water isn't hooked up in that area of the building yet (and can't be until we insulate), we'll just flush with buckets of water we've hauled up from the battery room downstairs.

Sun Room: We were calling this the Four Season Porch for a while, but it's the western "bump-out" of the house. It, as any room in the house, can always stand a good cleaning.

Food Prep: I take the time to prepare a really good meal for later that day or to go in the freezer. Or, if I have cottage cheese or yogurt to make I'll take this block of time to get that going.

Chicken Mama Originals (2 Hours): If I only allowed one hour (at a time) to work on my photographic notecard business, I'd hardly get started before I had to stop. So, this is one of the two tasks that I allow myself more than 60 minutes for.

Foyer / Sitting Area: Again, self-explanatory cleaning.

Outside: This could mean anything from mowing the little grass we have on our gravel hilltop to working in my raised beds to trimming the front yard trees and shrubs from the winter-burn they received, etc. (Incidentally, ALL those things need to be done right now!)

Deskwork: Self-explanatory. Bills, budgeting. All the background office work that running a home entails.

Lake View Natural Dairy: There's a local dairy (the only one large enough to sell to the public up here in our neck of the woods), and I'm trying to help them really get off the ground. I've become their dairy deliver(wo)man one day a week to the market one of my girlfriends opened out here. When I'm in town nannying each week . . . and I'm going right by the market on my way home . . . there's no reason for them to have to make a special trip with gas prices the way they are. Especially when I'm already going up to them on that day - my town day - anyway, to get my own milk! So, we've got a good you scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours deal going. The reason it's currently in The Hours is because I said I'd work on some advertising for them (and I haven't gotten it done - or even started! - yet.)

Bills: This is usually included in deskwork, but I had to make a separate category for it just to make sure it got done. I've been so busy and behind that I didn't even get our property taxes done . . . which were due May 15th! Ooooops!

C's Card & Present: This was another recent addition - just to make sure I got it done. A little boy we know and love turned 5 on May 20th. And, while I GOT his little giftie at the end of April, I still haven't sent it! (Kinda like some Christmas presents still sitting here in my office . . . all wrapped and waiting to be packaged up!)

Ironing: Is there EVER no ironing to do??????????? (No.)

Okay, those were the hours that I'd put into TODAY'S bowl. Hmm . . . 18 hours worth of tasks to be done today. Think I'll get to it all? (Hint, it's already 1:30, and I'm only on Hour #2 of the day.)

If I'm somewhat caught up with life (ha!) I'll draw from ALL The Hours. If there is stuff that HAS to be done ASAP I'll put those in a separate drawing bowl. Hence the 18 Hours listed above. Mind you, not everything is in there . . . such as the 35 invites for my girlfreind's baby shower that I'm printing out as I do other things. Those things that just HAVE, HAVE, HAVE to be done don't even get the luxury of being "drawn". They just get DONE - before I start The Hours. And, again, that's why it's 1:30, and I'm only on Hour #2 of the day. The beginning of the day was stuffed with MUST DO IMMEDIATELY things. Wheeeeere does the time go??????????

But, it's great to intersperse the more un-fun projects (cleaning the bathroom - although it does feel GREAT to have it done!) with fun ones - like this, updating the blog. I think that's the key to the draw - you don't know if you'll get an easier / more fun one or a yucky job. "Luck of the Draw" and all that rot!

So, 18 Hours down, a few more to go. Onto The Hours waiting in the BIG jar (that I don't have the luxury of picking out of today):

Return E-mails: Self-Explanatory. I currently have 975 e-mails in my In Box that need attention. Sure, the oldest one is from June 27, 2002 . . . but I still haven't responded to it yet!!!

Dining Room: Self-Explanatory. Besides, I drew it a couple of days ago and got a good handle on it . . . although the dust bunnies that I didn't have a chance to vacuum are beginning to reproduce like . . . bunnies.

Letter Writing: Letter writing - HAND writing - is lost. (And we need to bring it back.) I still have a few folks with whom I correspond the old-fashioned way.

Living Room: I drew this yesterday and finally had the opportunity to put down the new area rug that we'd bought back in December (which had been lying - still in its wrapping - in the foyer since then!).

Utility Room: Self-explanatory, and I drew this yesterday, too.

Swamp River Ridge House Work (3 Hours): This is the other task that requires more time. 'Cause, if I choose to paint or sand some paneling . . . I really need this amount of time to work on it - otherwise you spend all the time just setting up and taking down.

Bedroom: Self-explanatory.

Kitchen: Self-explanatory.

Walk-In Closet: I currently call this our walk-ON closet 'cause there are no hampers or cubicals on the walls . . . so all the dirty clothes get thrown on the floor. I need to re-do the closet rods in there as well as TRY to get a handle on all those dirty clothes!

Chickens: The chickens (the house / coop, mostly) ALWAYS can stand work - cleaning, organizing, refilling feeders, etc.

Upstairs Hallway Area: Again, just refers to cleaning / organization in that part of the house.

Battery Maintenance: Yuck. Maybe my least-favorite task, but an important one. The batteries need to be equalized and the water level always needs to be checked.

And, last but not least, Guest Bedroom: Cleaning / organizing.

So, WHEW, that's it! 31 possible draws for The Hours. But, truly, I really LOVE doing it this way! I know it's a total game that I play with my mind, but, if it works, who cares?!

And, with 11 seconds left on THIS draw, wanna know what the next one's gonna be? Hang on . . . drum roll, please . . . LAKE VIEW NATURAL DAIRY! (Good, that one's been weighing on me!!!)


  1. Omigod! I'm exhausted just reading this blog post . . . but ya know what, little girl? I think you could develop The Hours into a how-to-get-organized book.

    As soon as I get the garden in, I'm gonna make my own jar of duties to draw from. (That task alone may take me 4 days. We must be related.)

    Here's hoping you draw Update Blog frequently! Great writing.

    Mama Pea

  2. Thanks, Mama (Pea), you technologically-disinclined one! ;) Maybe you and I should make a pact: I'll update every time YOU update!

    xox Baby Pea


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