I officially finished my fourth quarter and final report for the 2010-2011 school year on Thursday, so Joelle and I are finally on summer vacation. She finished her last test Monday morning; my reports took a few days longer, but the end result is the same. We’re both looking forward to not having classes every morning, and other than one letter declaring my intention to homeschool for 2011-2012 (due June 30th), and another long and detailed report about what I intend to teach next year (due by July 31st), I’m ready for some time off.


That potential time off got me thinking about what I wanted to accomplish over the next two months. Instead of writing an essay at the end of my vacation, I thought I’d write one to begin it: What I want to do on my summer vacation! My questions to myself are simple too: What is most in need? And what do I most want to spend my time on? Based on that criteria, I realize I have two things pressing most: 1) Try to clean up at least the main communal areas of my home, and 2) Spend some extended time trying to finish my book.


I am very unhappy in my house right now, because the last few years of dwindling ability have left me with piles of papers and unused toys/games/books/junk on almost every available surface. How does one get ahead of that when one is so far behind it? I’m not sure, but I’ve made up my mind to try. This is probably the thing that most upsets and annoys me, and I so badly want to bring some kind of order back to my house. Then there is the Joelle problem: She has outgrown so many things so quickly that I’ve just set things aside and now they’ve piled up. I don’t know what I was expecting, but things DO NOT take care of themselves when you’re not looking! We have boxes of books she doesn’t read anymore and bins of toys she doesn’t use, all of which will have to be gone through and sorted.


I am blessed to have two friends who have volunteered to help with a project the magnitude of this one, but it is difficult for me to accept their help. I don’t even like admitting I need the help in the first place, even when it’s clear that I do. Still, I need only look around to see how badly things have gone awry. Breaking it down, I realize I’ve got two months and three rooms that absolutely need to be overhauled: The living room, the kitchen, and the sunroom, which is my dining room/schoolroom. Each is filled with papers and boxes I may never see the end of, but I have to start somewhere. The kitchen–which I think is probably the most important room in any house–seems to be the logical beginning. Ours is very small, but maybe that’s the reason I need to start downsizing and discarding. For example: I have several shelves of glasses that I dutifully put away 13 years ago when we moved in and then have never used again. Is that smart? Having grown up in a family of packrats, I was taught to hold on to everything. But is that smart either? I’ve begun to feel like my possessions hold me, and not the other way around.


It only takes one step to begin a long journey, and I think this is going to be a long journey. But the first step is right there in front of me, so I need to make it. My first visitor will be coming over early next week, so we’ll see how far this takes me. No excuses, and no getting out of it. Since I can’t stand for more than two minutes at a time, I guess I’ll just have to pull up a comfortable chair and get on with it sitting down. Even an hour or two once a week has got to make some kind of dent, doesn’t it? And over eight weeks? Well, eight dents have to be better than one! Besides, the reward will be that I can write in cleaner, more peaceful surroundings.


Maybe that will give me enough incentive to accomplish the second of my goals for this summer too.




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