An interesting convergence of lessons

Maggie was absolutely the worst at teaching anything about how to ride a bike. She still is. Even with training wheels, flat ground, no obstacles, and being able to walk beside her she would go about six feet, slam the brakes, and then have to start again and complain about it.

All while bragging constantly that she was doing great and didn’t need training wheels and knew how to bike and didn’t need any help and then asking for help because she couldn’t start again and was winded from bragging that she didn’t need any help. At least this is how I remember it. It’s not something I look forward to.

During the pandemic we’ve been with the kids most days, and we’ve had to work most days, and kids tend to need attention, which is really hard to give when you’re six levels into a spreadsheet, remoting into two work computers, and on a phone call. This is not a great situation for anyone involved, we’ve tried to make it less of a situation of ignoring kids, but it’s freaking hard.

On the bike front I showed Maggie how bikes work and how kids that didn’t stop every six feet for no reason whatsoever tended to get where they were aiming for without having to start and stop sixty times while bragging how good they are doing.

The mantra was the same when I explained the adult work situation – every time you have to stop and then start again you have to put all your energy back into it, remember where you’re at, gain momentum again. Stopping and starting is literally the hardest part when you’re in a work flow.

Basically let me know you want to talk and I’ll get there when I can unless it’s an emergency, and no you can’t watch me work because you keep asking questions.

last week I let Google pick a podcast out for me. It was a self help podcast on effective habits to self discipline and I heard my speech to Maggie being given back to me, although without the bike metaphor.

The basics were: complete anything you’re doing, even if it’s small. Stopping that completion and finishing it later has a draining effect that is immeasurable. Completing a task, no matter how small, gets that task off of your to-do list. Trying to multi-task slows you down further (but this was just a side note).

Or basically if you’re going, don’t hit the brakes when you don’t need to and have to start again.

I looked to my bedroom/office/guest room area/alcove yesterday which has been a cleaning project the likes you can’t imagine. Part of my Pocketables blogging involves getting in a lot of products, testing, and not selling them for a time. My work involves keeping a tech arsenal on hand. All of the storage I had in the two downstairs bedrooms is gone due to children. Any space we had in the dining / common areas got claimed when suddenly we had to have three additional functioning desks for remote work. So that’s been the last year. I won’t claim that was the start of the disaster upstairs though. It’s been going on forever.

I also won’t claim I didn’t hit the brakes several times yesterday. But I hit them much less than usual, and took a page from the self-help guy’s podcast and consolidated all the mess that I could into laundry baskets. I already had a couple going on, probably should have a third with how much stuff is actually there. I failed to research who took a battle cry for failure “unleash the kraken” and turned it into … a battle cry that has failed every single time and has a flag.

Maggie stopped hitting the brakes all the time recently. That’s helped out significantly in learning to bike. Now if we can just get her to stop leaning, bragging, or formulating and unsuccessfully executing complicated plots of how she’s going to do something that she can’t do without actually learning to ride, we’ll be golden.

If I can just finish what I’ve started I’ll have a room I like in … about 11 more hours probably.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.