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This Week … And That Egg Timer

Can I just say I am very glad this week has finally ended? Because I am.

You know how you look ahead and envision all sorts of things for yourself in a coming week, and then none of that materializes? That was me. Dave has been in Haiti on a missions trip since last Friday, and his parting instructions to me were, “Go to a hotel.” Nice, huh? And it could have worked. Tera was heading out to stay a few days with my cousin on her horse ranch, and I was free to pick a hotel and spend two or three days flipping the channels between Discovery and the Food Network (we are cable-challenged at home) and getting some much-needed napping and writing done.

I was thiiiiiiis close. So close that I had the hotel picked out and my finger hovering over the “reserve now” button. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Even bargain shopping down to the best, non-rat-infested deal I could find, I couldn’t justify spending $170 for two nights in a bed just 30 minutes from my house. I know Dave really wanted me to do that, but I’d much rather wait until he comes home and plan a couple of days away with him in Cannon Beach.

So I stayed home. I didn’t nap; didn’t write; didn’t plan my garden or purge my files or post on Twig and Feather. Instead, I had “meetings.” Lots, and lots, and lots of meetings. They just happened. Before I knew it, my entire week was filled up with meetings. One day, I did nothing but drive from one to the other.

But I’m not really complaining. I got to spend time with a lot of people I love a great deal. I got to catch up with one I hadn’t seen in a very long time, laugh with three others, then laugh with two others, then laugh with five more, learn a few things, fix a few things, hold a few babies, and get a few ideas. So in the end, it’s been a tiring-but-good week. But I am still planning that getaway with Dave, let me tellya.

This Sunday is our monthly potluck at church. I’m planning to bring Boston Baked Beans, so I can pretty much promise that on Monday I’ll be posting that recipe (and it’s both easy and delicious).  I also owe my friend, Cheryl, a post about making homemade cream-of-mushroom soup. But before I get to those recipes, I thought I’d post a few pictures of this little guy:

This little timer is the best trick I’ve yet found for fooling myself into cleaning “just a little bit more.” Do you have a kitchen timer?

I remember years ago when my kids were both young and my friend, Kari, shared her new system for teaching her kids to clean up their toys. She called it the “ten minute tidy.” I’ve since seen others using this, so I have no idea where it came from, but it’s brilliant. All she did, when it became obvious that the house was getting away from her, was to set her timer for ten minutes and announce in an excited, “this is almost as good as Disneyland” voice, “Hey, kids! Ten minute tidy!” They ate it up, at least initially. I never checked back with Kari, but I’m pretty sure there came a “wait a minute …” moment when it dawned on them that excited voices aside, all they were really doing was cleaning. Because that’s what happened at my house when I instituted the “ten minute tidy.”

Still, there was something to that timer. I started using it to trick myself. Unlike my kids, I LIKE tricking myself. I don’t resist it. I’ll play little games like saying, “Every time I walk into one room, I’ll do three things to make it look better before I walk back out.” Or, “If I buy something at the store, I have to move two things to the GoodWill pile.” I am pretty good at obeying Bossy Me if she says it in the right tone.

One day, feeling completely overwhelmed by the mess in my office (if I ever feel brave enough, I’ll post pictures of my research table. Think “banquet table.” Think “piled three alarming feet high.” ) I knew I couldn’t unearth my desk in one attempt. It was going to take at least a couple of sessions. But the knowing kept me from doing … until I spied my little egg timer sitting in his usual place next to my cookbooks:

I remember thinking, “I don’t have three hours today. But I have twenty minutes.” So I set Eggbert’s feet at 20 and I started digging through my desk. The thing is, when he dinged, I didn’t want to stop. So I didn’t. And another hour later, I had completely cleared my desk. I think it was the idea that I didn’t “have” to work that long — I only “had” to work for 20 minutes.

Am I the only crazy person on here?

I use him a lot. Earlier this week I decided I didn’t have time to clean both sides of my cabinets (you know that space between your cabinets and the ceiling?). But it was truly disgusting. The six or so fake plants I had scattered up there had collected all sorts of cobwebs. I’d been eyeing them for some time. But I just didn’t have the energy to clean it all. So I set the timer and aimed for one plant … just one.

An hour later, I’d washed every fake plant, and the ceramic bowls in between, and all the pitchers and teacups … and scrubbed the top of the fridge. All because I only “had” to clean for 20 minutes.

If you don’t have an Eggbert, I suggest you run out and get one. I’ll time you.

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7 Comments on "This Week … And That Egg Timer"

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Anita Scheftner
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Great ideas Shannon 😀 We are a funny lot..good thing He loves us..i also put on my timer..only i use my stove timer..i just need that extra little ooomph to go..sometimes i’ll call my daughter and say..k..i’ll call you back in an hour and tell you what i get done..lol 😉

karen
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You know who is going to love that cutest ever egg timer? Yes…your little Gage! It might even keep him entertained if you could get it to walk around for more than 10 minutes… 🙂

Tanya
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I definitely need to do the “ten minute tidy” with my kids! Let’s just say that things get out of hand really fast here at my house, and especially in my girls’ room. Then there are those days when there really is no defining line between their bedroom and the rest of the house… it looks like their bedroom just overflowed into the rest of the house. (Okay, so maybe we need to do a little more training here.) Regular “ten minute tidies” might be a better method than my current “you aren’t allowed to do anything fun until your… Read more »
Sue
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Love the timer idea! I’m definitely trying it!!!

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