Thursday, October 4, 2007

Just don't say "NO!"

Am I stressed? I don't have time to be stressed, but periodically I do get overwhelmed with all my responsibilities. Things I commit to doing generally seem like a good idea at the time, but when it comes time to actually doing them, it seems like they all come at once. I guess I'm agreeing to more things than I thought I had. I like to help others out, especially since I believe I can make meaningful contributions, but more and more people are in need of help (don't get me started), and apparently my name is getting out as the "sucker" to call on.

Lately, I've getting up at 4:30 am just to have some "me" time. But even my morning coffee and newspaper over the latest episode of "Sportscenter" is becoming increasingly less enjoyable. I lie awake much of the night wriggling in bed either because of my daughter's heel in my back, (yes she STILL sleeps in our bed at the age of 4. I won't tell you where my 7-year-old son sleeps, but his mother's back knows all too well), my spine and neck is out of alignment (don't get me started), or because I'm thinking of all the things I forgot to do the previous day, and everything I need to do in the dawning day. I'm starting to believe that restful sleep is an important ingredient for a healthy mind and body, especially long term, because I've been lately feeling the ill affects of not getting it.

Without going into the details of everything I've supposedly said "Yes!!!!!!!" to (outside of my full-time job of teaching mathematics, which can be a full-time job in and of itself, as I have already mentioned, but this year, I have two new textbooks), such as hosting a budding, future math teacher in a university intern, Math Club sponsor (where I have to keep updated lists of members, design and order t-shirts, schedule and plan meetings, make Abacuses, remind officers that I shouldn't be doing everything I just mention I do for Math Club), UIL math coach (where I have to find and copy materials for three events: Number Sense, Written Test, and Calculator applications, assemble and administer the information, sign up and arrange funding and transportation for practice meets, and remind all my "mathletes" that they actually need to learn the math "shortcuts" I found and copied for them), TV host for a weekly Emmy Award nominated math program, Creator for that weekly Emmy Award nominated math program (where I have to write a concise 30-minute lesson plan that is both informative and entertaining . . . . . . and about MATH, that's a full-time job in an of itself--YOU try to make math funny. Can you say OXYMORON?), a mentor to an at-risk freshman student, a recruited thespian in two musicals ("Once Upon A Mattress" and "Bye, Bye, Birdie--simultaneously. Do you realize that these things require memorization of lines and rehearsals?), afternoon kid picker-up from school, shuttle service for kids' dance and piano classes, mascot hauler for our school, chain crew official at high school football games, and finally daily dog walker and kittly-litter pooper-scooper for my retired, travelling neighbors (who are chronically on extended leave.)

Somewhere I fit in my daily three-mile jog, time with friends playing tennis or swimming the river, weed-eating my two-acre property (there's too much honeycomb rock to mow--don't get me started), feeding one dog, two goats, 5 cats, and three fish, playing handyman for any "fix it" problem my family or neighbors run into, doing small contract construction projects (like remodeling the interior of an RV or building a deck or a doghouse . . .), handling all requests for construction projects in my subdivision in my role as chairman of our Architectural committee, and finally . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . writing this blog.

Then there's my family. Who are they?????? I've GOT to be Dad. I've got to help the kids with homework, help their mother with dinner and school lunches, help with laundry, dishes, cleaning, and all the other household chores. I make time to wrestle, read, hug, and laugh with my kids. They still need my help with baths ("did you clean behind your ears? underarms? bellybutton? behind your knees? all other nooks-and-crannies?") and getting ready for bed ("yes, you may use mother's Bon Jovi concert shirt as PJs". But the good news is . . . . . . .

When I'm done with everything listed above, I finally get to spend quality time with my beautiful wife. The bad news is . . . . . . .

It is a very quiet, uneventful time since, by then, one of us is asleep, and the other one of us has collapsed from exhaustion.

I can hardly wait for tomorrow to get here, so that I can take on something else. Chances are, I'll be there to greet it when the clock strikes midnight, reading my latest Abraham Lincoln book, "A Team of Rivals"--the unabridged version!

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