ACW Episode 274 – Grinding and the Minecraft Life


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The kids and I started playing Minecraft a couple months ago, and life will never be the same. Pixie seems to love the game the most, and she has spent quite a few hours at my desktop building houses and mining for ore and catching chickens, etc.

For me, the game has a rather ironic feel. I’ve been reading articles on productivity and recently came across this one on grinding in games versus grinding in real life. I realize that in real life, grinding translates to the everyday tasks I hate to do – laundry, dishes, making the bed, etc. I can get away with not doing most grinding tasks for long periods of time (for example, I dust the house maybe once a year). And some grinding tasks I’ve been able to pass on to the kids (I make them clean their own bathrooms, sort their own laundry, etc.). But there are some grinding chores that have to be done daily, and I hate them, because these are the most futile tasks. Cleaning the kitchen is especially miserable for me. I can spend an entire afternoon washing dishes and scrubbing down the counters, only to have all that hard work go “POOF!” the moment another family member enters the room. The kids make a mess every time they grab a snack. And when Hubster cooks, he can turn the kitchen into a disaster area beyond even FEMA’s scope to fix. (Okay, yeah, FEMA doesn’t have the best reputation for fixing things, but you know what I mean).

So I’ve been trying to find a way to turn these grinding chores into something that either seems more enjoyable, less miserable, or more productive. I haven’t succeeded yet, but I will keep trying.

In the meantime though, yeah, I live with a bunch of creepers. Really messy creepers.

Pray for me.

ACW Episode 257! To be a bum, or not to be a bum…


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Oh. My. Glob. I have been working on this webcomic since Thanksgiving, and I thought it would never be finished. I’m going back to 4 panels for the next webcomic, I swear. Six panels is a lot to do.

Anyway, the irony of this webcomic is that about the time I started working on it, I also started putting in more time on house cleaning and the laundry (though I will NOT do any ironing unless it’s for a craft project). Thus that’s part of the reason why this webcomic is late. I did get up off my lazy butt and clean the house.

Like a lot of people, I find myself constantly caught between cleaning the house or doing other things that are just as (or even more) important. I realize I can’t do everything all the time, and so I swing back and forth between one and extreme and the other. I can clean the house, but not get a lot of work done. Or I can do the work, but the house looks like a garbage dump.

It’s the same for everyone else in the house, too. The kids can get their homework done, but by the time they’re done, there’s not really enough time for them to clean their rooms. And by the time the weekend rolls around, they’ve done so much work, they need time to just relax and play. And Hubster… he works hard all week. He manages to do a lot of the major chores around the house that only come up a couple time a year – paint the porch, clean and seal the deck, etc. And he also keeps up with the lawn. But that’s about all he’s got time for as well.

What I finally decided to do was come up with a list of the minimum that needs to be done each day to keep the house livable. I listed the chores that I’d ideally like to get done each day. And then I try to do at least a little bit toward completing each chore. I may not completely get that chore done, but doing a little bit toward it each day certainly helps to keep things manageable. I might not get all the dishes done, but at least there aren’t dirty dishes scattered all over the house. I might not get the whole house vacuumed, but the downstairs looks good. And at least the laundry gets sorted, washed, and dried. If anybody needs anything, they can pull it out of the hamper.

And then iron it themselves.

Yep, I can live with that!

Stealing Time

I've been playing with my schedule lately. I know I've been all over the map with getting stuff up on the website. Adventures of Cynical Woman is behind and Bitchcraft is WAY behind. It all comes down to having to juggle my work with my responsibilities as a parent and a Girl Scout volunteer. I think if I only had the one volunteer job – troop leader OR cookie mom – I'd be okay. But instead I've spent a good part of this year putting together events for all the troops at the kids' school, and that's turned out to be a lot of work. Handling the email alone on that takes almost 2 hours every evening, and that's just handling the email! That doesn't include filling out paperwork, budgeting for events, meeting with troop leaders to plan events, preparing for meetings with troop leaders to plan events, etc.

I've also been sick most of this school year, which hasn't helped at all.

I've been working on ways to steal back time for myself. Again, 2 hours of Girl Scouts email every evening (unless I ignore it completely, which some days I HAVE to do, if I'm going to get anything done). And those 2 hours really cut into my free time. I consider free time to be any time I'm not spending on taking care of the house or the family. One hour of my free time goes into exercise because if I don't exercise my blood pressure goes up and my head explode (and that's not good). Another hour goes into getting cleaned up after exercise and doing some meditation (again, head will explode with out that). And that leaves me with about 15 minutes of free time, which I usually end up spending going to the bathroom (another thing I have to do to keep my head, or any other body parts, from exploding).

So how to find free time when my free time has all been used up by doing activities to keep my head from exploding? I think the first key may be prioritizing.

By prioritizing I don't mean deciding what's most important for me to do with my free time. I mean deciding whether Girl Scouts, house cleaning, taking care of Hubster and the kids, or doing my own work has the top priority.

I have a huge pile of “everything must be done NOW” tasks, but they can't all be done, so I have to sort through them everyday to decide which ones are going to the top of the heap and which ones are going to sit at the bottom and sort of ferment or compost until I really do have to deal with them. For example, my parents are coming to visit tomorrow. My to-do heap (not even a list anymore, it's a HEAP) includes exercise, plan the upcoming Girl Scout bridging ceremony, wash and fold laundry, clean Pixie's room (where my parents will be sleeping), draw webcomics, draw artwork for new cards and stuff on Zazzle, touch up the hair dye (it needs it, really), plan the next Girl Scout troop meeting, make some new jewelry because I have a really cool idea for a new ring, work on new clothes because my old ones are wearing out, buy new clothes for Hubster and the kids because their stuff is wearing out, go to karate class…

See, it just doesn't end. And I can't do all of this in one day, so I have to pick and choose. When I can, I pick a mix of things – something for Girl Scouts, something for the house, something for the kids and Hubster, something just for me.

Today, I started with me as the first priority. I have a robot drawing I'm working on, so I woke up at 6:30, grabbed a cup of coffee, and promptly went back to bed and read “Adventure Time” comic books. Because I should also mention that I deserve a little down time each day, and the best way for me to wake up is comics and coffee. I read one comic book, and then I pulled out my iPad and worked on the robot drawing for an hour. I didn't get as far as I wanted, but an hour is all I can spend on it, so I've gotten that priority out of the way.

The next priority was the kids and Hubster. Everybody needs clean laundry. So I got up, got dressed, and sorted through all the laundry and put a load into the washer. I'll probably wash and dry 3 loads today. Will I fold those loads? I'm betting not, because what everyone needs is clean laundry, so folding is optional as long as the laundry is clean and dry. If it doesn't make it into a drawer or closet, my peeps know they can dig it out of the hampers in my room.

Next priority is breakfast, which is happening right now as I blog. I gots to eat. And when I eat, I usually think, and it occurs to me that those thoughts could just as easily go on the blog so I have at least SOMETHING new up. I'll finish this up in a few minutes and post it, then finish my coffee and run out the door for the next priority, which is exercise.

I'll spend an hour today at the gym, and another hour getting cleaned up. It'll be noon by then. I'll grab a quick lunch and move on to cleaning Pixie's bedroom, because my folks are sleeping in it. The room doesn't have to be springtime fresh, but I should remove all the tripping hazards from the floor and put clean sheets on the bed. Also, I should probably check for any cat puke that may be hiding up there.

After that, I need to get a new shower curtain rod for the guest bathroom, since the old one broke. Guests need a nice guest bathroom. I'll wait to clean the guest bathroom until tomorrow though, because I've got to switch gears again and move back into “me” stuff. I've got an almost finished webcomic that seriously needs to be a finished webcomic posted on the website. Once that's done, it'll be time to fix dinner so the kids don't start chewing off my legs. And when dinner is done, then it's time to put together the plan for the bridging ceremony. I started on that last week, so there's only an hour or so of work left. Once that's done, I'm going the fuck to bed because it'll have been a damned busy day!

Yep, busy. And you'll notice that I only just barely made a dent in the ever-growing to-do heap. BUT I got the important stuff done. Everything else can wait until tomorrow.

I'm stopping here now and getting a move on my day. Enjoy yours, and while you're at it, enjoy this work-in-progress that I managed to spend an hour on this morning, because I made it a priority.



ACW Episode 218 – the Ultimate Horror

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To be fair, Princess has never refused to clean her room. She just simply can't figure out what to do. School, church, camp, and other places she goes to all send her home with a metric crap-ton of… Well, crap. Loose papers, worksheets, flimsy crafts, crappy cheap toys, awards for having just shown up (I hate those damn things the most). There's a constant influx of garbage coming into the house and ending up right in her room. And Princess is 10, which means she can't yet sort out what's important and what needs to be thrown away. I know she can clean. She cleans the bathrooms for me all the time. But the bathrooms don't have that much crap in them!

So I told Princess last week that I was going to help her by reducing the stuff in her room by at least half. Over the course of seven days, I tossed out five full bags of garbage and recycling and filled several large boxes with old clothes and toys she doesn't play with anymore. Princess was astonished and very happy. We can actually see the floor now, and we finally know where all her school uniforms are. It's a miracle!

Of course, I still have to do this for Pixie's room, my room, and every other room in the house. I didn't get much cleaning done this year thanks to my torn ACL. So I will be spending all summer tossing out at least half of what we have stored in here. I can't wait too see what the final result will look like. I may discover I have an entirely new house when I'm done!


ACW Episode 216 – What’s behind door number one?

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I am exhausted. We got back from visiting my family in Arkansas yesterday. It's a 2-day drive down there and a 2-day drive back. Four days in between were spent fishing, horseback riding, playing in the creek, and being car-sick (the roads are VERY winding back there).

It's going to take me a week to get back on my feet, but have no fear. Bitchcraft will be back this Friday. I'm going to take a nap now.


Steamer Trunk Restoration Update

For those of you who have been following along with my adventures in antique restoration, here’s an update on the steamer trunk I’m working on.

This trunk was given to me by my neighbor who moved two weeks ago. She’d had it in her garage for years and it was a mess, as you can see below…

The interior was really bad of course. It was lined with rotting fabric and reeked of mildew…

Well, I’ve spent a lot of hours working on that trunk. In addition to thoroughly scrubbing it inside and out, I’ve now also removed the interior fabric, replaced the bottom of the drawer (which turned out to be mildewing cardboard but is now wood), and sanded down the interior. I still need to clean up the metal parts and have gathered up the materials to do so. I also need to stain and finish the interior. However, it looks much better than it did and it sure as hell smells a lot better! Take a look at it now…

And here’s the interior with the repaired drawer…

I’ve worked on it on three separate days, between 5-8 hours at a time each day. I estimate I’ve still got at least another two days worth of work to go. I plan to tackle the metal parts on Monday and then hopefully stain and finish the interior come next weekend.

For now though, my back hurts and I’m exhausted from standing hunched over that trunk for several hours today. I’m going to grab a glass of wine and soak in the tub until I no longer smell of saw dust and wood soap. Taa!