Family-Life Apprenticeship Now Available

UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY for high school junior or senior, male or female! Gain invaluable first-hand insight and learn about basic life skills as you observe one family’s experience through their “A Day In The Life” Program. Applicants for this unpaid, 17-hour-a-day apprenticeship must be mentally acute, physically strong, tenacious, persistent, patient, cool under pressure, articulate, unselfish, and masters at multi-tasking. Examples of what you’ll experience in this rigorous position:

TIME MANAGEMENT (6:45 – 8:45 am). Start the day off by allowing yourself one 9-minute snooze cycle (optional) while you listen to make sure both high-school kids have woken up and showered. Drink one cup of coffee, pour a second, shower, pack a healthy lunch for a kid, make your bed, badger that kid to wake up, create and blend a fruit smoothie, coax the kid out of bed to drink the smoothie, place the packed lunch into the kid’s backpack, along with his agenda and homework folder (remember to sign off on the agenda), put that smoothie in a to-go cup for the kid, return to your coffee but realize it’s cold now, make sure the kid is wearing shoes (matching), apply makeup (females only), make sure you’re wearing shoes (matching), inventory contents of your work briefcase to ensure it’s properly stocked with today’s client files and office keys, laptop and power supply, device chargers, feminine supplies, and an umbrella. Given time constraints, you will have to decide whether to pack yourself a lunch. Now put some smoothie into a to-go cup for yourself, and weigh how much it matters if the kid brushes his teeth and/or wears a sweatshirt today as you rush out the house (remember to lock the door!) to make the school bus. Make sure you have your glasses, car keys, iPhone, and Metro card with you. Check the weather.

SHIFTING FOCUS / CALENDAR MANAGEMENT (8:48 am – 5:00 pm) After lovingly waving goodbye to the school bus, it’s time to shift to Work Mode. Take a moment to remember what day it is and where you’re supposed to be: Must you be at a client’s office today? If so, in which city? Or is it a telecommuting day? If the former, commute. On the subway, you have a choice of doing work or a crossword. If it’s a telecommuting day, go back home, unpack your roller bag, and subtract points because you spent time doing unnecessary things earlier. Set up your laptop in the home office and get to work immediately. Regardless of work site, you will hone your ability to focus as you concentrate on work for today’s client while constantly being interrupted by other client requests and/or resisting the temptation to check Facebook and/or nap do laundry or vacuum the stairs. Try to remember to eat some lunch and don’t forget to stay hydrated! Hope that you don’t see the school nurse’s office phone come up on your caller ID. Remember to schedule little breaks throughout the day so you don’t strain your eyes or develop carpal tunnel syndrome and/or a DVT. At 3:45 pm, check in with the older brother to make sure he met his younger brother at the school bus (if telecommuting, meet the kid yourself at the school bus). Females only: If it’s “that time of the month” you’ll also need to remember to change your tampon. (Consider setting alerts on your phone so you don’t forget.) If it’s a commuting day, you must drop everything, whether you’re done or not, by 5pm so you can pack up your bag and head home. Use the commute time to gradually shift focus away from work and back to the family. Enjoy this brief respite before your second shift begins.

PRIORITIZATION, PERSISTENCE, SELFLESSNESS (6:15pm – 11pm) Upon arrival at home, you will be bombarded with requests from three kids, a dog and two cats. Remain calm. Don’t change clothes; make dinner for the humans. Interrupt dinner prep to shuttle one teenager to Taekwondo, while you send texts to the other teenager to determine where he is and when he’ll be home. During the Taekwondo hour, drop a prescription at the pharmacy, then go home, open your laptop and schedule the youngest kid for 7 weeks of summer camp (including logistics, forms, and coming up with payments) and one session of spring rec-league baseball clinic. Load the dishwasher, wash out the coffee maker, then go pick up the Taekwondo kid. Come back home; feed the pets. Then realize the grocery list has reached critical mass, so get the youngest kid started on his homework, then leave the Taekwondo kid in charge (have you heard from the oldest one yet? Where IS HE?) while you make a third trip out for groceries, then hit the drive through pharmacy window to pick up those prescriptions. Return home, put groceries away, and make sure the youngest kid is in bed by 9:30. Decide how much it matters if he brushes his teeth (answer: IT ALWAYS MATTERS, but he will always fight it). Try to recall when his last shower was; if you can’t remember, he needs a shower. Negotiate. If there is laundry in process, keep it going so it doesn’t start to stink. (Extra points for folding.) Scoop out the cat’s litter box and ask a kid to walk the dog. Did you ever eat dinner? Eat now if you forgot to earlier. After one bite, the oldest teenager will appear and ask if it’s too late for a haircut, so instead of finally spending 30 minutes on a yoga video, agree that he really does look shaggy, break out the home barber kit and buzz him with a #3 and take advantage of having him seated in one place to talk about graduation activities, whether he needs a tux for prom, and has he completed his college registration. Midway through the haircut, the other teenager will need instructions on how the new vacuum cleaner works because it's 10pm and a perfect time to vacuum his room (but hey, he's vacuuming his room). Throughout the evening you will use caller ID to screen multiple incoming calls, most of which will be telemarketers. Realize it’s going on 11; brush and floss, wash your face (optional), and roll into bed. Don’t forget to set your alarm so you can do it all again tomorrow.

DISCLAIMER: This is only a sample description. Actual activities may vary depending upon the needs of others. It assumes there are no unexpected events, including but not limited to illness (human or animal), compound fractures, teenage crises, liquid spills, pet vomit, broken vehicles, broken appliances, tax filing deadlines, business travel, severe weather, or power outages. It also assumes you are the sole adult in charge (activities are easier when there are two adults). Imagine your spouse is out for the evening for whatever reason, or maybe you’re a single parent. Regardless, the Apprentice will shadow one adult as they adeptly manage the needs and activities associated with working full-time and raising three kids.

FINAL EXAM: In order to receive full credit for the apprenticeship, the successful candidate will be able to repeatedly put others’ needs before his/her own and use tools such as spreadsheets, extensive checklists and calendar reminders to track and prioritize hundreds of tasks daily, gaining experience in both short-term tactics and big-picture strategy. The Apprentice will have gained sufficient insight into a typical suburban family’s life that he/she will both look forward to this for themselves, but not be in any rush to get there.

 

I Hate This Day

IT'S THE FIRST DAY OF APRIL and you know what that means: People are going to try to trick you today. 

I don't know why I hate this day so much, but I do. I'm instinctively wary. An automatic skeptic. It might have something to do with this (excerpt from my 4/1/10 post):

Quote

I didn't think a whole lot of it then, but it's been almost 25 years since we dated, and yet it's still stuck in my craw. I think it's because it struck me as deliberately cruel that he would take advantage of the fact that I was inclined to believe him.

So, today, know this: I believe nothing you tell me. My Skept-O-Meter is fully charged and cranked up to 11. You're not really moving to [insert faraway country] for work. You're not pregnant. There's no way you're quitting your job. I'm sure the car is still in the driveway. AS IF you won the lottery. If you aren't engaged / married / divorced by now, I seriously doubt you're going to announce it today of all days. 

The thing about these fake announcements is, most of them concern the big-news milestones we normally like to celebrate. Why in the world would you try to trick people into believing anything for which the automatic response is, Congratulations!, only to yell, SUCKER!? Call me Debbie Downer, but I don't get it.

I think anyone who tries to pull this kind of prank is the Fool today.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go chase some kids off my lawn.