Santa stop here

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

smile, breathe, relax

Well, folks, I survived the first day of Complex Adult clinical and lived to tell about it! I wasn't sure if that would be the case about 72 hours ago. Let me start back before Christmas...
As soon as class assignments were made, I received an e-mail from my "new" instructor for the Spring semester. His e-mail said he was passing this information along before we the students quit checking our Campus Cruiser inboxes over the holidays because the e-mail contained information that needed to be completed prior to the beginning of the Spring semester. I glanced at it, and even opened one of the attachments. It appeared to be a one page electronic request for computer access for Texas Health Resource facilities (you know, fill in your last name, first name, school ID#, etc.). I figured that would take about 5 whole minutes, but I saved it because I thought surely, I'd have to actually be registered for my spring classes before I could receive the computer access. Long story short, the week before classes begin I finally concoct a way to scrape up half of my tuition and register for classes on the "payment plan." Then, I go to the Texas Health Resource attachment and discover that the 5-minute one page request for computer access takes 5-7 business days to process AND there are modules (online computer assignments) I need to complete before class on Tuesday. I didn't have 5-7 business days! I barely had 3, and one of those was Monday, January 18, which I wasn't sure would be considered a business day since it was the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. I wrote in the "comment" box on the 0ne-page application that I would sincerely appreciate them expediting the processing of my application as I had modules to complete before class on Tuesday. My heart still racing, I frantically pulled up the letter explaining the business about the modules and took down the name of the nurse who had signed it. I called the hospital education department and was put through to someone other than Michelle Hampton, so I left a detailed message. The unknown person called me back promptly (could probably hear the desperation in my voice), and passed on Ms. Hampton's direct telephone number to me. I called Ms. Hampton's number and again left a similar message explaining my plight and my request for assistance in gaining immediate access to complete the modules. By this time I'd consulted a couple of classmates who said the modules take "hours and hours and hours" to complete. I never heard back from Ms. Hampton that day or over the weekend. I kept checking for access every few hours to no avail.
On Monday morning, nails bitten to the quick, I decided I'd better come clean with my instructor and explain why I had put off the request for access and thus been unable to complete the modules. All I could think of was my semester is shot. I may be sent straight home on the first day of clinicals for not being prepared. I've gotten off on the wrong foot with an instructor who is in the Navy for crying out loud. I anticipated a shaking in my boots "Sir, no sir!" response to his drill-sergeant inquiry regarding the completion of the modules. Visions of camouflage and push ups and...
I contacted my instructor via e-mail thinking it would be better for him to have a head's up than for me to spring it on him in front of the class; and I continued checking for some miracle of computer access. Late Monday morning I did hear back from Ms. Hampton: there was nothing she or anyone else could do to expedite the processing of my request. Her advice was to just keep checking periodically. I had done what I could. Now it was just a waiting game: wait for access; wait to hear back from my instructor. I went on with the business of driving to the hospital to get my parking permit and find our meeting place. The last thing I wanted to do was get lost and show up late on top of everything else. I practiced math problems and stopped by the dealership for them to check whether or not I had an oil leak (I'd been in the week before for an oil change and they suspected a leak and put die in my oil pump, but that's another story in and of itself). I read a bit of Same Kind of Different as Me while I waited, certain that it would be my last reading just for the heck of it probably until after June 1st. On the way home I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few basics for our lunches for the remainder of the week.
When I finally made it home and immediately shoo-ed the kids off the computer so I could check for new e-mails and computer access, I had a reply from my instructor to my previous e-mail. "Here we go," I thought as I nervously clicked on the link to open the message. He had 3 steps listed: Step #1 smile, breathe, relax; Step #2 we'll talk about the computers tomorrow; #3 repeat step #1. I did exactly as he suggested (still didn't have computer access so what could I do anyway?) and thought to myself that everything would be all right. I'm going to adopt his advice as my philosophy of life to get through the next 16 weeks: smile, breathe and relax. This is the home stretch after all. That pinpoint of light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter by the week, and I'm getting excited.
I survived the first day of clinicals. The entire class aced the math exam. Mr. McGraw is a complete riot who obviously loves what he does--from both the teaching and nursing perspectives. He's not big on lots of paperwork but is focused on us improving our performance and ability to put it all together. He seems quite knowledgable on all matters of life during and after nursing school. I get the distinct feeling that our success is his success as well. I plan to make us both proud. That's quite enough for now I suppose. I've been working on the modules on and off for the last 24 hours, and I still have a little ways to go, so I'll close for the time being. Until next time...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

First things first

Well, this should be a continuation of the previous entry about focusing on a task per month. Mike, the kids and I had a "family huddle" this evening because the first things first just doesn't seem to be getting off of the ground and the month is almost halfway over. I have wonderful kids, but the "tweenage" attitude is getting to me big time. I dare not say, "Grow up!" because they're doing that way too fast as it is. I'm afraid to tell them if they want to be treated like adults then they must act like adults because the truth is they are still kids. They
be acting like kids. I always have a fear/vision of them getting into "adult" trouble and coming back at me with, "You told me to act like an adult; so that's what I was doing."
I guess I'm getting a little frustrated that I will be back in school next week and I feel like this week has been a nightmare. Everyone seems to be falling right back into their self-centered modes: dishwasher? why do I have to empty the dishwasher? I'll just watch my favorite programs on TV then study for my midterm exams. etc...
When asked what the phrase "first things first" means to them, Aaron, Alisa and Mike responded (respectively) as follows: "Do what you need to do; then do what you want." "Prioritize." "Take care of what you need to do right now before you start doing anything else." I concurred that they were all great answers. One can obviously see that understanding is not the problem; implementation is. I leave them alone and they don't do the right thing. I nag and remind and they still don't do the right thing without a bunch of eye-rolling and arms crossed over the chest. I'll keep on keeping on as I have relatively few options at this point. Please help pray us through all of this...Good night; until next time...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A strategy

It's only the third of January and already I feel like I'm about 345 days behind where I'd like to be. I tell Mike and the kids all of the time about the concept of intentionality. It's not enough to simply desire something (as in I wish my house was clean) or just intend to do something. You must formulate a plan, set measurable goals and take action for your "desire" or intention to come to fruition. So, I have decided I need a strategy for my family to all come together and participate to achieve some goals that will make our household run more smoothly and efficiently. I've decided to focus on one task or concept for each month of the year, so I need 12 ideas that are general enough that they can include more than one or two tasks but specific enough to not be overwhelming. I'm putting this in my blog of all places so that I can refer back to it on the one hand and maybe receive input from outsiders on the other hand. I'll put down what I have so far, and maybe you can help me add to them. These are for my own benefit as well as my kids. Some months back we developed a weekly menu planning "aide":
Mama Mia Monday (spaghetti, lasagna, pasta & alfredo), Tex-Mex Tuesday (tacos, enchilada casserole, taquitos & beans), One-dish Wednesday (casseroles, soups, stews), Luby's (leftovers) night Thursday, Finger Food Friday (burgers, pizza & such). Suggestions are always welcome from anyone who wants to offer their input about the menu. We don't always follow it religiously, but this way people know what to expect, and it makes grocery shopping for the week a lot easier. Anyway, I point was that organization (my ultimate goal in life) is much more effective when everyone is involved and they feel their input is taken seriously.
January: First things first
This will be a lesson in prioritizing or learning what is a "must do" vs a "wanna do." The kids will focus on emptying the dishwasher/recycling and completing homework before firing up games and the television. I will focus on staying on task: finish one thing before I start another (or at least have a plan to complete what I start within reason)
February: A place for everything
This will be a challenge for sure. We have accumulated so much stuff in just under 16 years it is unbelievable! From my "Sanford and Son" husband who thinks everyone's cast-offs are great deals to my ever-increasing supply of scrapbook stuff (and ever decreasing amount of time to dedicate to my craft), to the kids' old toys, games, etc, to just plain, old-fashioned clutter! I think we'll start by putting stuff that has a place in it's proper place then focus the remainder of the month on designating places for stuff that just tends to lie around.
March: Everything in it's place
This is kind of a natural progression or continuation of February's finding a place for everything goal.
April: Free to Be Clutter Free
I just liked the play on my favorite kids' video Free to Be You and Me. Don't really have a "plan in mind for this title, but I'll keep thinking. Actually, this should be the month we focus on getting the outdoors ready summer entertaining, too. Feel free to jump in there and add a comment below.
May: (this is finals and graduation month; maintaining one's sanity may be the main focus here)
June: If you don't know, let it go
Once the kids are out of school and I'm done with the NCLEX-RN exam, we can focus on some much-needed purging. If you don't know where all the parts are...if you don't know the last time you've worn it...if you don't know how long it's been in's time to let it go!
Well, that's at least half of the year. I'll continue this dialogue at another time. I'm thinking July may have something to do with healthy living and eating for the summer (as in maintaining some semblance of a schedule/routine that includes healthy snacks, exercise and plenty of rest). Until next time...