Better Each Week

2020-03-29 17.01.25

It was strangely painful to turn off my electronics this past weekend. The payoff was time to take stock.

The only news that got through was the Feds shifting our expectation from an Easter lockdown to an end April date.

Friends, Bill Gates, a man whose sole agenda is the betterment of humanity, is talking about 6-10 weeks.

I’m going to take the “over” on what the Federal Government is telling us. If your state blows up like Wuhan or Italy then you’re looking at two months, minimum.

Whatever is coming our way, it is going to be a big chunk of time.

Many will spend these days wishing time away.

I’m going to do what needs to be done.

2020-03-29 07.47.42

I spent this past weekend: (a) taking stock of what we accomplished in March; and (b) thinking about what we can get done in April.

March proved we could:

  1. Shop once a week for all our needs – huge time savings
  2. Do without childcare, housekeeping, travel and takeout. This is a material slice of my discretionary budget.
  3. Have the kids clean the entire house, twice, for ~$25 per week.
  4. Have the kids take care of themselves for ~90 minutes. Our oldest is 11 1/2.
  5. Meet our kids’ academic needs with ~2 hours of formal instruction, 5 days a week. The academic part of home school is straightforward. What we can’t do right now is create complex social situations with kids and non-family adults.
  6. Taught my two oldest kids cribbage – my son skunked me by day three


2020-03-27 11.20.56


  • In our first two weeks, we had ten home school days and four open days.
    • The days with a written schedule were WAY, WAY (!) better. Well worth the effort to break through the inertia and make a plan!
    • Now that we are adding online learning from the school district, we will move to Thursdays/Sundays as “open”.
    • School district home school bingo link for K through Grade Five in English and Spanish. Links for older kids can be found here.
    • The kids love it when I do their assignments with them. Most recently, write a poem then act it out. Huge! Lots of laughs.
    • Axel loving the Hardy Boys books – I bought him a boxed set from CostCo last Christmas. I get a kick out of this as they were how I learned to read.
  • To avoid an unacceptable downside in my household, I have retained control of bleach, the stove and boiling water.
  • Financially, I am expecting we will get absolutely hammered on our paper balance sheet. I see no way this plays out as…  down 35% then up 20% and steady as she goes.
    • My main focus is making sure we have cash on hand to meet expenses.
    • A 12-month rolling cash flow forecast is on my personal to-do list. This tool is how we managed through the last crisis. In my professional life, I’ve done this for every entity I advise. If it touches your family then you want a cash flow forecast.
  • Zombies, Zombies 2 and Alexander’s Rotten Day => all great via streaming
  • 1/4 avocado spa treatment for the kids and Monz was a big hit. Photo above
  • These cookies were delicious and made by my 8-year old with minimal supervision – pic below, top right corner // lemon loaf (below, left) was made by all three


2020-03-28 14.55.09

April => what’s your plan?

  1. Stronger Every Week. Total time investment is ~6 hours (total) from Monday to Friday. I start every weekday morning with a win. 8 weeks to go on my plan.
  2. Help Bella learn her subtraction facts and become a self-motivated independent reader
  3. Move my kids up a grade level in math. They are super motivated by this goal. Kinda like “secret training” for an athlete.
  4. Get through a challenging book => here’s mine
  5. Wean myself off earplugs => 15 minutes, total, in the last five days => not sure why I enjoy making my life harder but it seems to leave me feeling like I got something done, which perks me up
  6. Become unreasonably patient with my kids => the Yoda of home school!
  7. Celebrate Lexi’s 1/2 Birthday => give the kids something to look forward to and create a special event for home

We watched The Martian yesterday on Google Play. So great, even with the f-bombs.

The lesson I took away… grieve for a bit then work the problem.

2020-03-28 14.45.03