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Feet in white socks compared

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This morning my husband officially threatened to throw away the computer.  It seems he didn’t have any clean white socks.  Again.  He considerately didn’t mention the other unwashed laundry or the general lack of cleanliness everywhere else.  I guess when he went to the drawer and he had no choice but to wear colored socks, that was it.  There’s only so much a man can take. 

So today I did some blog maintenance and the rest of the day will be cleaning and errands.  I’m not happy about it.  I want to sleep.  The baby woke up at 3:30 with a poopy diaper, a mere two hours after I went to sleep.  She then stayed up and played until 5:15.  I got another hour of sleep but it wasn’t enough.  Oh well.  Sometimes a mom has to go without sleep, especially when she’s been MIA with the housework and grocery shopping duties.  It’s my own fault.

I want your help with something.  A semi-regular feature on Momfog is the Daily Foglifter.  I have been considering trashing the thing for a while but haven’t been able to make up my mind.  I’d like your opinion.  Please take the time to click one of the two choices.  Don’t worry about hurting my feelings if you click the “Lame!” option.  I’ve had far worse criticism in my time, believe me.  Thanks!

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Blogging Wishes and Momfog Dreams

Daily Foglifter:   If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee. 

Friday was a very exciting day for me.  I reached a goal.  While I’m sure people reach goals all the time, it’s not that common for me.  I am an expert goal-setter, but for whatever reason, I rarely get past the planning stage.  Ok, I know the reasons. 

  1.  I’m too ambitious.  All laundry washed, folded, and put away?  Sparkling clean house?  Trading pajamas for actual clothes EVERY day? 
  2.  I’m easily distracted.  By TV, books, shiny things.
  3. I’m tired.  All the time.  Some might say I’m lazy.  Po-ta-to, Po-tah-to.

Momfog is part of a master plan.  I want a job.  I have not worked in over 10 years because I was too busy having babies.  Financially and philosophically, daycare was not an option, so I’ve been home with all five of my children.  It’s been great, but also very stressful.  It’s lonely.  It’s boring.  Every day is exactly the same.  I needed to talk to adults.  I needed to DO something.  I needed a job.  It was an idea, but not ideal.  What would I do with my baby?  What kind of job would make it possible for me to be home when the other kids got home?  What about the summer?  The solution, of course, was to work from home, which wouldn’t solve the problem of socialization, but I would be doing something.  The only problems with that were my non-existent computer skills and aversion to telemarketing.  What was I qualified to do?  I looked into elance.com and got excited about the idea of being a “freelance writer.”  Sounds impressive, right?  It’s not.  The jobs paid next to nothing and were unethical, to say the least.  Rewriting other people’s articles, generating fake positive reviews of products and companies (usernames provided), and pretending to be a blogger and answering his e-mails and blog comments aren’t exactly things to be proud of.  The few legitimate jobs required blog experience.  I cringed at the word “blog.”  It sounded so ostentatious.  The Urban Dictionary explains it particularly well:

Short for weblog.
A meandering, blatantly uninteresting online diary that gives the author the illusion that people are interested in their stupid, pathetic life. Consists of such riveting entries as “homework sucks” and “I slept until noon today.”

Did I really want to be part of that?  What could I add to the millions of blogs already out there?  Would it be worth the time and effort?

I researched blogs and was surprised by the number of people who make money doing it.  I was also surprised that many publications accepted blog entries as “published” writing samples.  I’ve dreamt of being a writer for most of my life.  Of course, I had envisioned being a great novelist, but since I’m already 33 and haven’t written word one of a novel (the ramblings of my 16-year-old self doesn’t count), maybe it was time to focus on a local newspaper or magazine.  Start a blog, get some writing done everyday and bide my time until I wrote the one article that would be suitable for publication.  Somewhere.  Anywhere.

After much planning and trepidation I posted my first blog entry.  It went well.  36 views.  I was concerned about returning visitors, but I’ve managed to keep an average of 38 views a day.  Some entries logged as many as 71 views.  I was encouraged so decided to set some short-term blogging goals.

  1. Write every weekday.  This is really hard.  I find myself distracted throughout the day, trying to think of something to write about.  Luckily, life with 5 children is loaded with material.  Maybe not very interesting material, but enough to keep the grandparents checking in, anyway.
  2. Commit to 3 months.  If, at the end of three months, it was just my husband and parents reading, that would be it.
  3. Get 100 views in a single day. 

I’ve done number one and am working toward number 2.  Big deal.  Those had everything to do with me.  Now, number two, that would be something.  It requires outside participation and shameless self-promotion (aka creative marketing).  On Friday, exactly one month after starting Momfog, I met the goal with 113 views.  Granted, I bugged all of Facebook for the hits, but only after I reached 88 and could taste victory.  I also have a very supportive cousin who missed her calling in the PR field.  (Thanks Steph).  

So I actually reached a goal, albeit a goal within a larger goal surrounded by more important goals.  I still don’t have a job, my house is a mess, I’m in my nightgown at noon, and I’m literally counting the minutes until Anna goes down for a nap so I can join her, but that’s okay.  Tomorrow is another day. 

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
~Mark Twain

My Tech-Free Day

Daily Foglifter:  People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.

I did it.  24 hours with absolutely no computer use.  It was harder than I thought it would be.  Normally, I do my “computer stuff” when I have my morning coffee.  That’s usually when I check e-mail and Facebook or play a couple of games on pogo.com.  Since I usually write my blog late the night before I’m ready to post it, this is also a good time to read it over and make sure I didn’t make any major spelling or grammatical errors to make sure that what I wrote at 1:00 in the morning made any sense and wouldn’t unnecessarily offend or embarrass anyone.  Yesterday, it was me , my coffee, and maddening morning news shows.  My Lord, those people are entirely too perky in the morning!

I got a lot done, but not as much as I wanted.  There was no piano playing yesterday.  There was a considerable amount of cleaning, but the house isn’t sparkling this morning.  I blame that on tech support (again).  I spent a little over an hour on the phone, in three-minute increments in which time I was placed on hold so the very nice and pleasant man I talked to “updated his system.”  It ended with agreeing to a new cell phone number.  I figured the hassle of telling everyone our new number paled in comparison to the nightmare that is customer support.  Once I agreed to this, it took approximately a minute and a half to get the dumb cell phone working.  I don’t know why, but there it is.

The main reason my house isn’t clean is because I have a 16-month-old daughter whose new obsessions include emptying the trash can on the floor, the DVDs and books off the shelves, and seeking out any cosmetics, cups, or boxes that happen to be within her ever-expanding grasp and emptying the contents on the floor.  I don’t know what makes toddlers want to “empty” things.  She takes all the utensils out of the kitchen drawers, her clothes out of her dresser, and the baby wipes out of the container.  I couldn’t get one mess cleaned up before she was making another one.  When she threw the freshly folded laundry on the floor, I decided it was nap time.  I sat down to rock her and she fell asleep pretty quickly.  Unfortunately, so did I.

I did get some reading done yesterday.  I have not read in over a week and that is very unusual for me.  I think it had more to do with what I was trying to read than any computer activity.  I’m still working on The Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels of the Twentieth Century and Radcliffe’s List as well.  I’ve read some really good books from both these lists, but there have been some tedious, boring (Invisible Man), and just plain nonsensical books as well.  (The Unbearable Lightness of Being is one of the most self-indulgent and awful books I have ever read.)  The current book was “White Fang.”  It’s not terrible, but it’s just not for me.  I put it aside and started reading some Percy Jackson, at my son’s request, and something I wanted to read.  The lists aren’t going anywhere and I don’t have a set date of completion anyway.

My time away from the computer had its drawbacks.  When I checked my e-mail today I had 48 messages in my inbox and 78 in my spam folder.  I have to at least look at the spam contents because sometimes mass mailings from the kids’ schools gets sent there.  I wanted to make a phone call yesterday and instead of just looking up the number on-line I had to look through two phone books.  The phone books here are awful.  Every town has its own phone book and nothing is listed where it logically should be.

I will not be taking any more computer holidays.  It’s too late to go back to the pre-Internet days for me.  I have too many balls up in the air, and the internet is the easiest way to manage the chaos.  It’ easier to order things from Amazon than to go to a million different stores.  It’s easier to set up appointments and correspond with the kids’ teachers via e-mail.  It’s easier to stay in contact with friends and family back home through Facebook.  Like anything else, I have to be aware of the amount of time I spend using it and adjust accordingly.  After yesterday, I have decided to set a time aside for Facebook, instead of compulsively checking it every hour or so.  Twice a day is sufficient.  The e-mail I still check since that’s how Chris and I communicate while he’s at work.  How else will I know to get him soap at the grocery store or what he thinks we should have for dinner since I’ve run out of ideas after 12 years of marriage, which is approximately 4,380 menu decisions?

I challenge you to take one full day away from your computer.  I’d be interested in hearing what you missed most or were able to accomplish with the extra time.

 
Day, n. A period of twenty-four hours, mostly misspent.
Ambrose Bierce,

Springtime, Bleach, and a Piano.

I’m writing this post Monday night because I have made a resolution.  There will be absolutely no computer activity for the entire day on Tuesday.  No Facebook, e-mail, obsessive blog checking, on-line crosswords or games of any kind.  I’m going off-line and devoting my time to all the things I’ve been neglecting over the last three weeks, paying special attention to housework and time at the piano.  I’m appalled at the amount of time I’ve spent in front of this dumb computer screen lately.  Mostly it’s been to stay in contact with tech support so that I can have a working cell phone again.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of waiting time and I spend that posting on Facebook, clearing out the never-ending stream of spam from my e-mail, and looking up stupid crap on Google.  As of now, at 10:45 pm on Monday night, all I have to show for it is a mile-high pile of laundry, a kitchen full of dirty dishes, and unbelievable rage and frustration in my heart and mind. 

Normal people would’ve just checked in periodically to see if tech support had left a message.  Did I mention that I’m not normal?  I’m obsessive compulsive, but about all the wrong things.  Maybe it’s more accurate to say I have a crusade mentality.  When I decide that something is going to happen, it’s got to happen before anything else gets done.  Period.  This could work to my advantage if I had this mentality about housework or organizing my closet.  It doesn’t work that way.  The current subject is a cell phone.  Past obsessions include cross-stitching, alphabetizing books or DVDs, or cleaning out the flower bed.  These are great things to get done, but not when there are no clean spoons or socks in the house.  It’s time to prioritize.

Right here, right now, I am making a vow to get the house clean on Tuesday.  This includes the dishes, the laundry (folded AND put away), the bathrooms, and the dusting and vacuuming.  The windows will be open and when Chris gets home the house will smell of springtime and bleach. If I get that done in time, I also vow to spend at least an hour at the piano.  I have not sat at the piano for at least a month.  With my limited ability, I can’t afford to miss that much practice.  Use it or lose it, as the saying goes. 

So there it is, for all the world to see.  I have to do it now.  I may go into withdrawals from the computer, but I’ll be able to sit down and devote my full attention to momfog on Wednesday, with absolutely no guilt.  What a feeling that will be.