I have been working like a crazywoman this week, and my time has been spent on two things: 1) creating household systems with such detail and complexity that they give me 100% certainty that every day will run like a well-oiled machine from now until New Year’s, and 2) fixing my never-ending RSS feed issues. I’ll discuss the RSS issue in #3 (sorry, you’ll have to wait to read about this scintillating topic), but first let’s talk about the systems:
So it turns out that I have a hyper-organized side. Friends who have been to my house just double-checked the URL in their browser and said to themselves, “Wait, I thought I was on Jen Fulwiler’s site.” I admit that upon walking into my place of dwelling, one’s immediate reaction would probably not be to look at the kids’ pictures haphazardly taped over smudged handprints on the walls and exclaim, “She’s so organized!”
I am terrible at decision making (which means that my house tends to get cluttered, since I can never decide what to throw out until I devote hours and hours of time to the intensive thinking that this requires), and my attention to detail is at simian levels (hence me not even noticing when the kids tape stuff to the walls). However, I’ve realized that I actually LOVE creating systems for recurring tasks like meal planning, cleanup, activity prep, etc., and I have a fairly high success rate of finding ones that work. For example, I’ve been using the same meal planning system for seven years now, and dinner is rarely a source of stress, even though I have no inherent culinary talents.
Five file folders, one thick binder, and fifteen printed charts and checklists later, I feel like I have all sorts of great systems in place to keep this family of eight on track for the Fall. I am perhaps just slightly overconfident, since this plan looks so good on paper that I’m convinced it will solve all our problems for the entire semester. I’ll let you know how it goes.
If you have tried to subscribe to my RSS feed in recent weeks, you may have noticed that you can’t. It’s that same brain-melting issue where a single white space is causing the entire problem, and if I could just carefully look at tens of thousands of lines of code across hundreds of files, we’d be all good.
Yesterday I was trying to fix it but couldn’t even replicate it on the staging server, which is supposed to be an identical copy of the live site, and I decided that if I avoid throwing my laptop out the window by the end of this that I should be canonized. Look for this in the 2113 edition of The Lives of the Saints:
St. Jennifer was beleaguered by painful feed issues for years. Just when it would seem to be fixed, the problems would arise again, only to be more complicated and difficult to repair. Whereas many other bloggers would have given in to the temptation to have a long and public meltdown, St. Jennifer merely complained about it on her blog every other day, and used only the mildest four-letter words when discussing her plight with friends. The technical support people at her host reported that her eyes were always set on Heaven when this issue came up, as she would often report the latest feed breakage made her “want to die.”
A bit more information about this tweet from yesterday:
You see, my girls pronounce little and litter as “litt-oh.” Earlier in the day, I got in a protracted conversation with my four-year-old about what snack she could have, and I eventually told her to get a granola bar from the large box or one of the other snacks in the smaller box. I forgot all about it in the half hour that I spent trying to get the fussy baby to calm down, so when she walked up to me and announced that she just ate something from the “litt-oh box, ” I almost passed out.
Have you ever fantasized about becoming a world-class spammer, or is that just me? (It’s just me, isn’t it?)
I mean, it’s not exactly that it’s my heart’s deepest desire to clog people’s inboxes with garbage emails, but the perfectionist in me gets tired of seeing this done poorly. I got one such email the other day — it was so close to doing it right: It claimed to be from a major bank, and the logo was flawless. The reply-to email seemed legit. The subject was “Urgent problem with your account, ” which was plausible. But then the body said, “Dear Gentlemens: you must click here for page of the information for the moneys.” Upon Googling it I found that if people clicked on the link, it would take them to a malware site that would download spyware onto their computer. But of course nobody would since that shoddy text was a tipoff of the malevolent nature of the email.
Obviously I need to confess the sin of pride more often, because my immediate reaction was to think that it would have been so much more effective if they’d put me in charge. With a few tweaks to the design and some basic editing of the body copy, I could increase their spyware downloads by 80%!
(Yes, I have often thought that the world would be a better place if I didn’t have an internet connection.)
It took place before I knew who this text was from.
I eventually discovered, to my delight, that it’s from a beloved babysitter who is a close family friend; the only reason I didn’t realize it was her is because I couldn’t imagine that her number wouldn’t have made over in the transfer to my new phone. But I didn’t know that when I first replied. Because I was having the kind of day where I didn’t really care if it was from someone we knew or not. Frankly, I thought that if it were a thief casing our house by posing as a babysitter, he or she might be able to provide me with a little childcare and some much-needed decluttering help.
For all the parents whose Fridays are already feeling a little long: 50 Reasons My Toddler Won’t Nap.
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