Dragons, Swamps and Accidental Science Projects

I returned to full-time teaching when Emma was six months old. It was a huge struggle. Managing both my new role as a mom and my old role as a teacher seemed impossible. One day, when looking online for time management tips, I came across a quote which I can’t recall exactly. But the gist of it was, “You must learn to slay the dragons while you simultaneously drain the swamp.” In less medieval terms, it meant that you have to manage both immediate and longer term plans and goals. Even though it wasn’t a practical tip, it showed me I needed to spend a little time every day on long-term and short-term tasks.

Yesterday I was thinking about that quote again and how it pertains to my project. The garage and attic are my ‘swamps’ and are going to take time, but there are lots of dragons to slay in the meantime. I had some more involuntary down-time yesterday too, because Emma stayed home with a bad cold. We had to miss Brownies, which opened up a little time, but other than a quick trip to the grocery store we stayed home and I wasn’t able to get boxes. I’d intended to start pulling stuff out of the garage to add to my donation boxes. So I checked off another day where I didn’t do what I planned to do. I’m trying to decide if this shows flexibility or a lack of ability to adhere to a plan because Emma wasn’t so sick that I had to hover over her all day.

I still wanted to do something, so I decided to slay the dragons hiding in the fridge and freezer.  On random Mondays and Thursdays, I clean both half-heartedly, because trash is picked up on Tuesdays and Fridays. But I realized I need to be more consistent, and at least once a month I need to completely empty each space, because I found this:



That’s 3/22 as in March 22. I did not buy Trader Joe’s pizza sauce on Sunday, so it’s March 22, 2014. It was shoved to the back of the fridge. The jar was half empty so I felt only a little guilty about waste. But it was still gag-worthy and super gross. My punishment was having to wash it out for recycling.  I unearthed a similar discovery in the freezer. It’s hard to read but says “April 10.”


These ravioli were completely fossilized.

You can see I’m fairly proficient at labeling food. I’m not as good at checking to make sure said food isn’t relegated to the nether-regions of the icebox. So I’ve promised myself to go through the fridge and freezer every Monday and Thursday. I’m going to take out everything at least once a month so I can get rid of stuff before it reaches science-project status. Wasting food also bugs me a lot and I’ve been working on that too. I find it helps to buy less produce at a time, and to freeze leftovers if we aren’t going to eat them again the next day. But there’s still room for improvement. Obviously.