Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Planning for Slackers Like Me

As I’ve mentioned before, earlier in the month, I started my second year on the PTA at my son’s school. In addition to the craft fair planning, I’m also the committee chair for communications. So far, I’ve gotten many condolences for dealing with the “crazy moms” of the PTA, which is by all accounts a fair assessment of both the moms and the dads of our PTA. You have never seen more drama outside of cable television. (OK, maybe Flavor of Love beats us…) Anyway, planning is in full gear for lots of things. Key word: planning.

And did I mention my lack of skills surrounding planning?

I’m one of these types that comes up with an idea, goes full steam ahead, usually on my own without any clear step by step directions. When I assemble a toy I disregard the directions. Gantt chart? Not in my lifetime. It is very hard for me to visualize and map out the steps involved in getting from point A to point B, while planning for step C and so on. I would prefer to just move and get it done rather than thinking and mapping out HOW I’m going to get it done. Big pros and cons. I know you are imagining how successful I must be in my career as a teamplayer…

So, imagine my delight when coming upon a site called Jooners. Alex Elliot of Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting requested some assistance on reviewing this site and I have to say, my experience with it so far has been delightful.

For instance, for the PTA craft fair that is coming up, I have some willing volunteers (a.k.a. “crazy moms”) to help me do anything from posting flyers to recruiting vendors. All I do is create an event on Jooners by clicking on a list of online planners. In my case, I clicked on “organize volunteers.” (see image above) I then fill in all the relevant information about my event and all of the necessary tasks. I then complete the initial planning process by importing all of my volunteers’ emails addresses, which can come directly from my web mail address book. And then Voila! I click on “send” so that an email alert is sent to my volunteers to pick a task they can help with. No unnecessary emails back and forth. It’s all in one place. And that way, everyone else sees what others are doing. So none of this whining like, “I wasn’t copied on the last email… I didn’t know Barb was managing the bake sale…. Whaa waa…”

And what’s even better is that my recipients do not have to create an account to respond. What could be better than not having to remember yet another username and password? For working moms like me, I have a gazillion passwords at work to remember for all sorts of programs, so all I need is another password (sidetrack: there's an hysterical "Dilbert" that says "...starting today, all passwords are to contain letters, numbers, doodles, sign language and squirrel noises." Those working in corporate America will appreciate that). Of course, as the organizer I do have a user name and password, but I think it’s great for the recipients to not have to be hassled about passwords and such.

For me and my PTA work, this site is extremely useful. It was very user friendly for entering all the necessary information for people and tasks. There are many great planners on the site for even more things such as home improvement, car pools, classroom parties, and event planning. They all work just about the same way. I might have wanted the event planning section to be a little more detailed to help people like me get into the nitty gritty of planning, but it’s not enough of a deal breaker. I don’t need to complicate the events of the PTA anymore than they are, so really, the simplicity of these planners works great for busy moms.

So I encourage everyone to check out Jooners! For your next Christmas party, for your next PTA event, or for your next block party, give it a try. It’s easy, and best information of all: it’s
F-R-E-E. (Good news considering the stock market tanked 777 points yesterday).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday's Photo

Ocean Grove, NJ
Bye-bye summer.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another one down

Picture this: a Monday morning rush. Right after I had just matted down the bedhead on CJ’s hair, then grabbing my necessities on the way out of my bedroom to head out for the day and drop him off at school, we were interrupted by a memorable event: he lost his third tooth. One of the front ones. It was one of those repetitive, rushed moments of a morning that turned into a silly escapade of both of us on bent knees with our fingers roaming through the carpet searching for the lost tooth. He was fussing with the tooth, as he had been for weeks now, trying to wiggle it out of his mouth, and this time it worked. Next thing I know I hear a “ping” sound ricochet off the metal frame on my bed, and the tooth goes missing into the long fibers of the beige carpet. These suckers are really tiny, but our quick search yields nothing. And the school bell would be ringing soon, so we had to leave. This afternoon, when I checked in with my husband to see if he had found it, he hadn’t.

“I just told him that I was sure the tooth fairy would find it herself.”

I can see it now. Sometime in the not too distant future, as a cheerio falls on the carpet and my 2 year old goes to retrieve it, he’ll be munching on a lost tooth instead.

I still have a few hours left to find it before bedtime. If not, the fairy will be on her own.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday's Photo

Taken at a swimming hole at Old Man's Cave in southeastern Ohio.
One of my favorite photos of the summer.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Things to do while the power is out

Attempt to make the best damn dominos set up ever

We had a bad windstorm here in Columbus on Sunday with 70 mph winds. Apparently remnants making its way up the country from Hurricane Ike. We're one of the lucky ones who have power back as of late Monday, but there are still thousands of people who don't. We all learned a great lesson in the greener virtues of living an electricity-free life, less dependent on the grid.

And then did kart-wheels and slapped hands when it came back on.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting drunk is swell!

Early yesterday morning I made the final tweaks to my craft fair proposal I was going to give at this school year's first PTA meeting, printed off a bunch of copies, filed them away and continued on with my day at work.

Until my inbox came with the news at 3:30 pm from my friend.

While at the school picking up the kids, she took a gander at the school calendar to see about penciling in our pending date for the craft fair. And there it was. Scribbled across the square boxes in permanent ink for all to see: "Adventure Month".

Adventure Month is when our gym teacher basically takes no prisoners and overhauls the gym into one adventure wonderland full of zip cords, climbing ropes, and climbing walls. The kids love it. And to my dismay, interferes with the date we wanted the gym for the craft fair, and alas the adventure takes precedence.

So my proposal was a little deflated. I did receive an enthusiastic response from the members, and everyone was really excited about the idea. I already have people emailing me to sign up for help. So instead of a holiday fair, it will be a Spring fair, and the crafters can get out all of their best Easter merchandise. It might be a blessing in disguise because it was an aggressive schedule anyway. But it was a little defeating getting the news, considering all the work I had already put into it. But I am excited that so many people were on board with the idea, considering it will be the first event of its kind at the school.

As for my art, I'm still creating cards, and our Heat Press for our t-shirts arrived this week. Next stop, my Etsy shop once I get the bank account opened. Here's a peek at my latest creation.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The season it is a changin'

So… catching up over the last week or so off. I had joined the “Basement Bitchfest” (see button at right) and ranted on someone else’s blog about something quite big that had been festering in me for so long. I posted anonymously because, well, I might seem half insane if anyone who knew me read it. It’s all about who really is to blame about burning issues. And truly it’s not about my parents or my husband or my brothers or friends who have scorned me. While I’ve had some tough breaks in life, it’s all about me. It’s all about really taking hold of my own destiny and moving past lingering issues that drag me down and don’t allow me to become the person I really need to be. It’s about everyone’s responsibility to be in command of their own life.

But enough about me, right? Even though this is my blog there’s only so much I can stand of me. Onto other things. I’m on the edge of my seat with this presidential race. With the announcement of McCain’s running mate, and the race becoming more of a statistical dead heat, I have to ask…having people lost their minds? Is she really equipped to be second in command? Really? If this reflects where this country is headed, I fear for our future and the futures of my children and grandchildren. We are so going backward.

And so in my local world, besides fearing for my future, things are heating up with school stuff again, besides the recent cold snap with the weaher. We’ve gotten over the first week smoothly, CJ is handling it all quite well, and is really excited to be back in school. It’s his first year of having a full day of school, since both preschool and kindergarten were half days, and besides being “too tired to see” in the morning and get out of bed, once he’s up and at ‘em, he’s raring to go. And things are heating up with PTA business, too. Besides being the communications committee chairperson, I am also organizing a craft fair to be held at the school in November. It’s part noble, part selfish, as I’m also going to be an exhibitor. It’s the first time the school will ever host a craft fair, and I proposed the idea to the president over the summer. I have to make the full formal proposal at the first meeting tomorrow night, where I’m likely to get a passing vote. Unfortunately before I start all the legwork with recruiting vendors, they need all the members to vote on whether I can go forward. It’s like being at the starting gate waiting for the gun to go off. I’m pretty nervous about it all, and hope I can pull it off. We’re also going to have a bake sale and a make ‘n’ take table for the kids. I’m trying to see if someone’s willing to be Santa Claus for an appearance for pictures with the kids to raise some extra dough, but that might be too ambitious for the first year. So most of my spare time these days is caught up between preparing for the craft fair, and then also doing my own crafts. I plan to sell cards, prints and t-shirts. I love doing all this. I wish it were my full time gig. I’m banking on the karma that if I work hard enough on this new business, one day it will.

Meanwhile, here’s some good humor for the day.