October 4, 2015

Life Lesson #3

Life Lesson #3: The Best Meals Come With a Sacrifice

 MC and I worked with another dad from the youth group this morning to cook up enough pancakes and bacon to feed the 100 or so teens who had spent the night at the church building for a lock-in. After several false starts, we finally started bustin' everything out and, wouldn't you know, I ended up burning my fingers. (We also set off the smoke alarm, but that's a story for another day.)
Here's the thing about me...no matter how hard I try, I almost always get some type of burn, even a small one, when I cook. Granted, I'm not really making a concerted effort most of the time to NOT get burned, but I'm sure I get burned more per amount of meals cooked than the average person.
When deep frying anything, it's a sure bet that I will at least have oil splatter marks dotting up and down my arm, if not a blister or two from hot oil. The same can be said for cooking bacon. I have a 2 inch scar on my arm from where I scraped it along the inside of the oven when baking potatoes. At one point, I had a crescent shaped burn on the inside of my wrist from where I touched it against the rim of my skillet. My kids are so used to hearing me say "Ouch" when I'm cooking that I think they would really be shocked to find out pain is not actually part of the cooking process.
While cooking may, in fact, be hazardous to my health, I believe it brings nothing but goodness to my family, and it's worth whatever price my body has to pay. After I cook dinner, we gather around the table to eat together and enjoy food that wasn't served in a bag and didn't come with "microwave only" cooking directions. MC and the minions end up with full bellies and smiling faces and it makes this mama's heart happy.
I may not be the best cook, I may not provide as many home cooked meals as I should, and I may not offer gourmet meals, or a worldly array of cuisine, but I can say that I always put a bit of myself into preparing food for my family.
I just wish it didn't have to be so literal.

October 3, 2015

Life Lesson #2

Life Lesson #2: High School Never Changes

I went to an open house at Howdy's high school where they had the parents follow their kids' schedules. We got to spend about 15 minutes in each class meeting the teachers and hearing about what goes on in the day to day for our kids.
What really struck me was how little things had changed.
Most of the teachers were pretty cool, but there's always that one. You know which one I'm talking about. The one who sees it as his personal mission that every child who walks through his hallowed doors isn't merely successful in high school but also prepared for advanced college work. Once all the parents sat down in his class, he gave us paper and pencils and told us we had a quiz. Talk about instant bonding. All our heads snapped up immediately and we met each others' wide eyed stares with the same panicked look that conveyed what we were all thinking: "Test?! There's a test? But I didn't study!" He then proceeded to ask us questions about our school district, questions only the most obsessively informed person (or, you know, the one who actually knows what all those levies and bonds are about) would actually know. We all failed miserably.
My high school wasn't anywhere near as huge as Howdy's, but even I had to struggle to get from one end of the campus to the other without having to break out in an unacceptable run. And wouldn't you know that Howdy's schedule required him to go from one corner of the school all the way out to the farthest room there is. In fact, I overheard the principal saying he'd never actually been to that classroom(!). Of course the class after that was just as far away. It's tough to do when you're a teen; it's life-threatening to do as a middle-aged adult.
Remember walking down the halls and having to navigate around those couples who didn't care to keep their make-out sessions private? Yeah, that doesn't change as you get older. Apparently a set of parents met up at the school after both had driven straight from work to the open house. Their very "warm" embrace was observed by the principal, who then took it upon himself to announce over the PA system that PDA is not acceptable at the school--even if you're an adult. Em-barr-assing!
But the thing that instantly transported me back to my days at Franklin Pierce High School was the gym. As soon as I stepped onto that wood floor, the smell hit me. Decades worth of ground-in, fermented sweat stench and foot funk were so steeped into the walls and the floor that even a warehouse full of Lysol couldn't cut through the stank. That is a uniquely high school smell that no one can really claim to miss.
I guess it's true what they say--the more things change, the more they stay the same.

October 1, 2015

31 Days of Life Lessons

A friend of mine, who also happens to be a professional blogger, posted a link about a blog challenge that intrigued me. It's called Write 31 Days. The idea is to choose one topic to focus on and write a new blog post each day in October on that topic. I have been completely lax in my blogging this year and I thought this would be a great way to kick myself into gear and get back to writing. After much debate, I finally chose my topic and (just in the nick of time) I'm ready for my first post of the month. Now, without further ado, I present to you...

After 40 years of questionable luck and faithfully adhering to Murphy's Law, I feel like I've learned a thing or two. Some of the lessons I've learned were obvious lessons that all of us experience as we transition into adult hood, while other lessons were more unique to me and the odd situations I seem to find myself in. Either way, I hope that when our 31 days together are up, you find yourself a little bit wiser than you were before.

Life Lesson #1: Deadlines Are My Friend

I've discovered the hard way through the years that unless I have a specific deadline for something, it will never get finished. If I have something that I'm working on or even just the idea of something  I would like to do, I have to have a set-in-stone, someone-else-is-counting-on-me deadline or it gets set aside for things of higher priority. So the trick to getting things done around here?  Set a due date.

Now this doesn't mean that having a set deadline makes me work any smarter. (This is me, after all.) Knowing when something is due just tells me how many days I have to put it off until I hit the last minute. In fact, the last minute is my favorite minute because that's when I get the most done. This makes for a lot of sleepless nights and scrambling to get things done, but hey--they get done.