If there's one thing I've been trying to do more of in 2009, it's saying 'no'.
"Would you like a third piece of pie, Josh?"
"How do you feel about heading to Baltimore tomorrow for a conference?"
"Kinda short notice; why not send Mike?"
"Want to hit the midnight showing of G.I. Joe.?"
"Hell no." (This is not to say that I don't appreciate a good midnight showing of a solid-looking blockbuster; I've been to several of these: The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Transformers, Super-Man, Spider-Man 1,2 and yes...3. You live you learn, and you try not to make a habit out of it.)
There's even projects at the office that I've backed off in the last year. It's not that I don't like the work, or feel passionately about the principles within the projects. I just find that my energy is better spent on one or two at a time as opposed to four or five. I find myself more relaxed and thus, more energetic about what projects to which I commit my time. Seems that both my fragile psyche and the project is better off due to this new approach.
However, here at home it's really easy to find yourself overwhelmed. I distinctly recall a moment tonight in which I was holding my five-month-old in one arm, repairing one of Miles' drumsticks, and transporting JJ's play-mat all at once (I'm sorry, but every time I write those last three words, I tend to break into Whitney Houston). You really can't say 'no' at home. Take Rachel for example, who was trying to pick up the living room this evening. Wait. Let me paint the picture: Evening. Warm house. Fire blazing. Christmas tree lit. It's time for Miles to start winding down for the evening (an event we call "calm down time"), and my bride, fresh out of a warm bath is barefoot in her pajamas straightening up the living room. Miles has pulled out the following:
1 large. circular, blue tub (his "bass drum")
2 drum-sticks (occasionally he will pull out BBQ skewers as well and use those when proper drum-sticks are MIA)
1 Fisher-Price Sing Station
1 Leap Frog Music Station
2 Halloween pumpkin baskets (used upside down they become "snare drums")
1 Actual drum
1 Ridiculously dented Christmas tin (used upside down becomes "a cymbal")
1 Accordion Box (stage)
1 Red Chair
1 Plastic Stool
1 Wooden Step-stool (Miles was eating Applesauce earlier and insisted on sitting the stool)
Miles has fashioned most of the above into a makeshift drum-set and is playing along to a concert DVD on the TV. I'm...well...I forget what I'm doing now, but I'm sure I was contributing. Rachel was holding JJ and something else, and very gracefully decided to pick up the wooden foot-stool with her toes. When that inevitably failed, the stool fell from four-feet-high and landed at terminal velocity right back on her other foot. I'll say this for her, she didn't drop our baby, but the cry-out-in-pain, was one of the louder I'd heard from her. What makes this silly little story even better is that Miles has studied exactly what happened. He walked up the to the stool, and proclaimed "Mommy, use two hands." He then picked up the stool and added, "I'll show you." Then carried the stool to his room. "Like a big-boy."
More to follow, I'm sure. Until then I have to find more ways to say 'no' to things at the office so I can enjoy the rest of the paid-time-off with moments like these.