One of the many reasons why I fall so far behind in the clutter war is that I find myself constantly putting out fires on the homefront. Too often my perfectly crafted decluttering schedule gets annihilated by last-minute got-to-get-’er-dones by the boys.
Here’s an example: The other day the #1 son asked me to print out a 10-page paper he had written for U.S. History. He typed it in Microsoft Word 2004, e-mailed it to me, I proofed it and fixed his typos in Word 2008, and tried to print it. When I looked at the preview, the pages were blank. I tested it with another Word document that I knew I was able to print with the older version, and, still, nada. Hmmmm . . . what to do.
Because #1 son had to have the paper the next day, I opened it in TextEdit, which comes with every Mac, fixed the breaks that differed from Word, and printed it out. The next day I made it my goal to figure out why Word wouldn’t print. I have Microsoft Office 2008 on my MacBook, so I checked to see if a document would print from it. It could. I knew the problem wasn’t with the printers hooked to my iMac, because the document would print blank from both of them, not just one of them. I tried to print a document in Excel, and that worked, so I figured it was just a Word problem.
I checked Mactopia, Microsoft’s Office for Mac website but didn’t see anyone else with the same problem nor did I read any solutions. Looked like I was on my own, unless I wanted to call for support. Microsoft allows two phone calls before it starts to charge $49 plus tax; I’d rather save my free calls just in case of a dire emergency.
I thought it would be best to just start from scratch, so I uninstalled Office and then reinstalled it. The #1 son had chemistry notes he needed printed, so I opened them in Word, went to print preview, and held my breath. Whew! They appeared!! Printed them out with no problem. I’m not sure what caused the Word glitch on the initial install, but I’m glad it’s fixed. However, the decluttering time that I had previously scheduled was taken up by putting out the Word fire. This always seems to happen with the boys’ projects, as in, “Mom, I need poster board for tomorrow,” “Mom, please put more staples in the stapler,” and, the ever-favorite, “Mom, I need 30 plastic bowls for chemistry,” which I actually had!
Today’s fire: Troubleshoot the #1 son’s alarm clock, which hasn’t worked right since the time change. Maybe I can multitask and declutter one or two things in his room while I’m at it!
Minor get ’er done
Yesterday when I was pulling various snacks for the boys’ lunches from the kitchen cabinet dedicated just to them, I decided to finally take care of something that has been bugging me for months: Pudding disposal. The #2 son used to be a snack pudding fanatic. He loved pudding! He ate four cups of it for breakfast every morning for a couple years. He would switch from two chocolate and two vanilla cups to four chocolate cups, but he never varied from his breakfast choice. Sometimes he’d even eat it for an after-school snack. I tried making the pudding from scratch (I know, hard to believe), but he didn’t like it as well.
There are two basic rules of thumb when it comes to your kids’ eating jags. First, they will come to an end at some point. It may take months, it may take years, but they will end. Second, when they do end, you will be stuck with food that no one else will eat. And it probably will be a lot of food, because you’ve stocked up. The Hunt’s Snack Pack chocolate pudding that #2 liked wasn’t always available, so I often would buy extra when I saw it, especially when it was on sale. No pudding would equal no breakfast would equal one grumpy child.
Of course, I was just setting myself up for a fall. Suddenly and without warning, #2 stopped eating pudding cold turkey. He hasn’t eaten so much as a bite of pudding for a couple years now. And, of course, I had a shelf in the snack cabinet brimming with Snack Packs that I couldn’t bear to part with. At first I tried to fool myself into thinking that the no-pudding phase would end as quickly as it began, and I wanted to have stock on hand.
Yesterday I looked at the pudding cups mocking me and decided to just put an end to the misery. First I checked the expiration date on them . . . 2007 stared back at me. Even if #2 suddenly got that pudding fever again, he couldn’t even eat them. I trashed them and didn’t look back.
Wonder when I’m going to get rid of the several boxes of old Pop-Tarts, which replaced those pudding breakfasts for a year or so, that are still in the snack cabinet? Maybe I’ll get ’er done today!
I’ve maybe seen one or two episodes of “ER,” none in years, but I plan to watch it tonight. Why? I’ve read that my second husband, George Clooney, will make a guest appearance! It won’t matter if I have absolutely, positively no clue what’s going on . . . all I want to do is stare at George and listen to him talk.