Saturday, June 9, 2012

the challenge


This photo is of one of those wildly impractical inventions to accomplish a simple task - in this case Carbon was inventing a Rube Goldberg machine to butter toast.

I wonder how often I'm doing this without even realizing it - making life wildly impractical when it could be so simple.  The challenge that I face, to keep a lot of balls in the air and not crack under that pressure, sometimes feels very Rube Goldberg-like.

An illustration: yesterday I got up early and finished tweaking an article I was submitting to the local newspaper's faith perspectives column, then the kids woke up and I switched modes to making breakfast, supervising morning farm chores, and then doing a series of homeschool lessons and household chores until noon.

Then a trip the Farmer's Market where I needed to pick up my CSA and my mother-in-law's CSA - only they messed up and gave me my sister-in-law's instead.  So then a series of emails back and forth with my sister-in-law's roommate trying to sort that out.

 I needed to do the shopping for work, for the BBQ I was hosting for our teens last night, so I rushed through a store buying hamburgers and all that goes on them, then we all rushed home to pick up our legos and head over to lego club (which was all the way back on the other side of town).  We got there to find a note saying it was rescheduled for another day - which seriously upset the kids - but did mean I got a free hour in my day.

Back home we headed, which was good because then my mother-in-law called about picking up her dog from me (I dog-sit whenever her husband is out of town because she works too much to take care of a dog on her own).  So while I'm logging some much-needed planning time laying out next year's RE calendar, I'm also waiting for the dog-exchange to occur, and I'm texting back and forth with my husband at work about the logistics of the evening's baseball practice.  The dog is picked up, I load all the food and my grill into our truck, and pack up Carbon for an exchange of parents at baseball.  He has to take a motorcycle helmet with him, so his dad can pick him up.

 I drive him to practice, only it's not where we expect it to be.  We're standing there looking lost when another mom drives past and shouts from her truck that they've moved the practice under cover because the mud was too bad on the diamond.  So we jump back in the truck and drive around the block and I'm watching the clock because I cannot be late to work for this BBQ thing .... then I get Carbon there, drop off his backpack with the snack for the team in it, and the motorcycle helmet, and dash a text to my husband about where to find the practice since it moved ... and tell Carbon goodbye and that his dad will be there soon.

Then I rush to work, where I barely beat the first arrivals.  Teens start arriving, but the other adults are late, so I'm on my own for awhile, supervising teens (and trying to keep them quiet because there are people trying to meditate in the church sanctuary), and starting coals and laying out the food.  Then the cavalry arrives, including my own dear ones who made it safely over from the baseball practice, and my husband kindly takes over the burger flipping on the grill so I can deal with other aspects of the evening - such as the minister arriving to practice the Bridging speeches with the Seniors who will be speaking at the Sunday worship service.

It turns out that I know how to operate the sound booth in the sanctuary but the minister doesn't, so I ran tech for the practice, did a visioning and feedback exercise with all our teens, and then did a more specific planning meeting with the other adult advisors while the teens proceeded to put on an impromptu dance party in the youth room, my kids went off to play with the toys I keep stashed in my office at church, and my husband retired to my office with his work laptop to go log some overtime. Clean-up, load the grill and the kids and the left-over food into the truck, and we're headed home by 9:15pm, with the motorcycle following us home.

Was there a simpler way to do all that?  And, in this way of doing Life and Children and Work and Family, where does work start and end, and where does family start and end?

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