Sunday, January 31, 2010

150,000 Words. 121 Days. Three CD Programs. One Textbook. One Woman.

After Dean and I had been married a short while and my thrill with being in charge of all things housewifely had worn thin, we worked a deal whereby we divided some of the household chores.  We shared the cooking and the cleaning up and we even shared the bathroom cleaning.  In addition, I did all the laundry, I did all the ironing, and I did all the other house cleaning.  Dean took over all the manly chores, like organizing the record collection.   This arrangement continued on and worked nicely as our family grew busier and more chaotic when children were added.  The girls knew that on Sunday morning they could always count on my sour cream waffles for breakfast.  On Saturday morning they knew they could always count on their dad's music blasting away in the kitchen even though they never knew what would be placed on the table in front of them for breakfast. 

One evening as we were having dinner with friends, our arrangement came up in conversation.  Our friends listened with admiration as we told them how this whole sharing-of-the-chores process worked.  During this explanation I mentioned that I hated coming up with an idea of what to cook each night for dinner, I didn't much enjoy cooking it anyway, and I was glad I didn't have to do it every night.  Dean responded with, "I love cooking but I hate cleaning the bathroom."  Renegotiation immediately ensued and when our dinner ended, a new chapter in shared chores had begun.  From then on Dean did all the cooking and those manly chores, like arranging the cd collection.  I cleaned the bathrooms.  In addition, I also cleaned up after he cooked, I cleaned the house, I did the laundry, I ironed the clothes, and I mowed the lawn.  And that's the deal that is still in place.

A while ago as I was watching Julie and Julia, I was almost inspired to want to cook.  I was almost inspired to renegotiate that long-standing chore-sharing deal and try cooking.  And then I came to my senses.  But what I was inspired to do was learn Spanish.  I have a daughter living in Ecuador after all.  It seems the right thing to do.  I was so inspired that I have been thinking about learning Spanish for exactly 22 days.  Seriously learning Spanish.  Not trying to learn it by loading up my Spanish-on-cd-program three whole days in a row, and then not opening the program again for two months.  No, this time I am inspired to be Julie.

If Julie could cook 536 recipes in 365 days while working full-time, surely I can find the time to learn Spanish.  In the 22 days I've been inspired to think about seriously learning Spanish, I've been seriously considering how to go about it.  I don't enter into this lightly.  I am negotiating a deal with myself and I intend to fully live up to the terms of the contract.  That's been the hard part.   Comng up with the terms of the deal.  My goal is to be able to speak enough Spanish so that when I take Abby her wedding dress I can talk to her future family without making a total idiot of myself.  How hard can I push myself?    Who will I practice with?  Who's going to tell me that when I meant to say "have a great day" I really said, "have a big god" ?  Which tool do I even use?  I have four  of them!  What am I willing to give up in order to add one more task to my daily routine?  Geez, there's already important stuff taking up my working and eating and sleeping and sometimes even blogging.  And not only that, this might make me fat.  What's going to happen when I try and shove 150,000 words into my brain?   

So after 22 days of pondering, (and let's be honest, putting this off), here are the terms of the contract I have set for myself:

1.  I will spend thirty minutes, five days per week, either listening to one of the cd programs or working with the textbook. 

2.  More time may be added during each session but that extra time does not carry over to the next day.

4.  Less than 30 minutes each session does not meet the requirement.

5.  The terms of this contract begin Monday, February 1, 2010 and end on the day I fly to Ecuador with Abby's wedding dress in hand.

6.  Since I don't know when I will be taking Abby's wedding dress to Ecuador I set a minimum final date of June 1, 2010. 

So the next step is to load those cd programs onto my computer, take a big breath and prepare myself for tomorrow.  I'm going to do that.  Now.  Right after I go check my supply of chocolate.◦


Deb said...

I remember your cooking - keep baking. Or maybe it was Dean's cooking I remember - the hamburger/mushroom soup - not sure whose recipe that was. Gordon says without a doubt you need Rosetta Stone (HAH) - me I think you need to spend a month in Ecuador with Abby learning to speak it there... Keep the chocolate away from the computer ok? Love ya.. deb

Leslie said...

Good luck mom. You can help me with my toast!

abby rose said...

Jorge's family will me so impressed! And so will I! You make ME inspired to keep working on spanish.

Al said...

I think you should learn at least a couple phrases in Portuguese. Then you could go down to Ecuador and really confuse Jorge's folks. Good ice breaker. ;)

Art Elser said...

I've got Rosetta Stone for Spanish on my laptop. Started it last year and then fell off the wagon because my retirement kept me too busy. I have it on my list of goals for 2010 to have the course finished by June 1. It is the best program I've seen for learning a language as it is all reading, listening, and speaking. I've had Spanish classes in college several times, and at one time, fifty years ago, was reasonably fluent in it.

Do you have any chocolate you can spare? ;-)