Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Making life easier

It's the end of the day, and I'm sitting in bed as I write. Exhausted. I accomplished so much outside of a job that takes up most of my day. As a single mother, I now shoulder all the responsibilities of making my household function. This includes the kids' activities as well as my career and volunteer work.

I mustered all the self-discipline my little self can hold to get through such a stressful day. There was the last minute assignment at work, the new wrestling meet for my sons, preparing for April's Financial Literacy month campaign. When I came home after dropping the kids off at practice, I dropped a few ingredients into the crockpot, ran an errand at the library, picked up the boys, watered my lawn, served the boys dinner, ate dinner with my boys, and then just leaned up against my chair to observe my surroundings. It occurred to me that as difficult as my daily errands may be, I have managed to rely on some tools to streamline the craziness. My childhood came to mind, and I reminded myself how fortunate it was to be living during this period as a woman and mother.

So what has made my life so much easier?

  • Technology. Can't even imagine how this world functioned without it. I was able to catch up with my work assignment considerably faster than expected because of that gracious Excel worksheet and its functions. Did I mention that the file shut down when I was almost finished? Instead of losing my work as it was in the past, the spreadsheet had automatically saved and my spreadsheet was in tact.
  • Crockpot. I've made up my mind to do some serious research on this product. I am a former pressure cooker junkie and was addicted to observing my meals cook within minutes. Only problem is, you can't ever leave a pressure cooker alone. Not so with a crockpot. Just adjust the temperature, leave the house, and dinner is ready and hot when you get back.
  • Smart phone. As a late adapter who bought her first iPhone at the young age of 35, I'm not sure how I lived without it. I have since switched to the Windows phone and highly recommend it as a woman's survival mechanism. I can now carry all my data and pictures on that phone. Can't tell you the number of times I have run out to make copies or print documents and not find what I need on the USB port it was saved on. A few swipes, clicks, and taps and I retrieved those said documents right from my phone, without ever running back to my car and crying, cursing, self-loathing, or blaming. Just right there at the service desk: whip, zip, tap and send. Printing accomplished without much effort.
  • Free WiFi. Not sure how the earth spun on its axis without it. It's everywhere now more than ever before: Library, coffee shops, cafĂ©s, bookstores, you name it. I was recently at a local retailer when I was told I could connect my Windows tablet to its WiFi. Unbelievable. At the time, I needed access to the tablet to finish researching a topic when I realized I didn't have connection to the internet. Once I noticed the WiFi link light up, I connected and tapped away on my keyboard. Research done in half the time it would have taken me to pack up and finish the job at home or the first coffee shop I run into.
  • Affordable cars. Heard a lecture about the price and availability of cars before Ford introduced its mechanical belt and lowered the cost of building a car. Now with consumer exposure to used, leased, and prior year models, buying a car is no longer a major household expense. Especially when you're living in the suburbs as I am, where public transportation is a city-owned mini van that goes as far as the next stop sign. If you're lucky to make it to the bus stop and catch one on time. As a child, I remember the agony of having to wait for a ride to long distance trips and the tiring long walks when I couldn't find that ride. Now almost anyone with decent credit and as much as $900 can afford a functional car.
  • Wallet purse. Yes, the zippered ones in pretty colors that hold your credit cards, money, and smart phone. Just like that, I can pull it out of my huge, untidy purse, slip my smartphone into it and I have all I need to run an errand. Hell, I've accomplished some major shopping with that godsend. No longer am I tied to that bulky purse that holds everything and anything I manage to grab as I'm running half-crazed out the door in the morning. Best of all, the functional handle you can slip on your arm if you need to carry a load or two in your hands.
There you have it: a hectic, fulfilling lifestyle with all the features and tools I need to keep myself together and self-disciplined.

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