Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wonegan Numbers

At work they call me an ultra-organized data geek.

At home they call me OCD.

However you frame it, I love data and I love organization. This weekend, while attempting to make some sense of our family grocery situation, I stumbled over some numbers that blew my mind.

"Fascinating," thought I. "I wonder how many other mind-blowing numbers we have working here at Camp Wonegan?"

What follows are 39 intriguing numbers, placed neatly into one of 5 categories. So read on, dear one, and prepare to be amazed!


1500 - dollars spent per month on groceries (this was the number that blew my mind)
10 - reusable grocery bags required for each shopping trip
20 - packets of Scooby Doo Gummi Fruit Snacks consumed weekly
3 - pounds of potatoes necessary to make one batch of mashed 'taters
1 - gallons of orange juice consumed weekly
3 - kinds of sandwich bread required to satisfy all dietary needs and taste preferences
3 - varieties of apples required to satisfy all taste preferences
5 - varieties of fruit juice required to satisfy all taste preferences
4 - brands of yogurt required to satisfy all dietary needs and taste preferences (the primary dietary need being my need not to get fat on yogurt laced with M&Ms and crushed Oreo cookies)
3 - varieties of boxed macaroni and cheese required to satisfy all dietary needs and taste preferences ("that cheese tastes weird!" "those noodles never cook all the way through!" "I just LIKE Arthur heads better!")
24 - total number of frozen toaster waffles consumed per week
2 - number of itty bitty teeny weeny pieces of broccoli the average Wonegan child consumes before announcing, "But I DID eat my broccoli!"


2 – loads of laundry done per day
3 – average number of matchless socks per load
6 -- average number of bandaids found in the bottom of the dryer after each load
10 – number of bath towels used and washed per week ("If you're using a clean towel to dry your clean body, it really isn't necessary to use a fresh towel after every single shower, you know.")
60 – number of cloth napkins used and washed per week
11 – number of dish towels used and washed per week
27 – pairs of shoes in the mudroom
8 – average number of sweatshirts hanging in the mudroom at any given time


1.25 – number of hours required to vacuum the downstairs only
2.25 – number of hours required to clean the downstairs floors when mopping is added
1 – number of hours required to clean all four bathrooms
14 – number of times a person has to stop vacuuming to pull the dog hair out of the vacuum brush
4 – number of Wonegan children we have to remind to rinse the toothpaste spit out of the sink in the morning and evening ("I ALWAYS rinse out the sink. It's not me!")
0 – number of times the inside of the oven has been thoroughly cleaned
0.0006 - percentage of my time spent worrying that the oven has never been thoroughly cleaned


2.5 – cumulative number of daily hours spent doing homework by the Wonegan children
5 – times per day I trip over the childrens’ backpacks
6 – pounds of paper that come home from school weekly that are then immediately recycled
3 – number of school lunches made daily
1 – number of Wonegan children who buy lunch at school and are therefore more beloved than the others
13 – number of PTO fundraising packets that come home annually
0 – number of PTO fundraising packets that don’t end up in the garbage


7 – hour in the am at which at least one Wonegan child awakens
10 – hour in the am at which Mr. and Mrs. Wonegan wander downstairs looking for coffee
11 – hour in the am at which all computers and televisions must be turned off and the poor Wonegan children are forced to do something …. GASP .… outdoors!
5 – hour in the pm at which computers and televisions are allowed to be turned back on
6 – number of hours during which the average Wonegan child is “bored”
63 – average number of miles driven in the course of the weekend in pursuit of high adventure in Vermont’s beautiful nooks and crannies, bends and turns, mountains and lakes

What are your numbers?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Harbingers of Autumn in Vermont

I love September.

September whooshes into town with her cool demeanor and takes my breath away. She's a persistent dame - she makes each day a little shorter, each garden pumpkin a little bigger, each meal a little heartier, and each night a little colder.

She chuckles her wise, tender chuckle as the beaches slowly empty and parents take their eager children shopping for stiff new school shoes and the perfect pencil-case. She teases with her warm afternoons and thunderstorms, but I know the truth about September: she's gently preparing us for the harsher days of a Vermont winter to come.

This is September's greatest strength. She could give us blistering winds and rapidly falling leaves or icy rain and frozen gardens. But she doesn't. She eases our transition to winter with county fairs and harvest festivals, apple picking and corn mazes, the glorious honks of geese flying south and the cozy smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. She politely but insistently takes us by the hand and leads us to the ghosts and witches of Halloween and to the bounty of Thanksgiving.

September gives us blushing leaves and a delicious breeze.

Here at Camp Wonegan, September has firmly established herself in our lives.

She's been accompanying the children as they head off to school in the morning, reminding them to wear sweatshirts with short sleeves underneath. She's been watching over them as they re-connect with old friends and make new ones, struggle through the first, tough days of homework, and get used to that pesky school-year bedtime that Mom and Dad insist on.

She's urging us to turn off the air conditioners and open the windows and doors. She's filling our house with the scent of awakening woodstoves, late season barbeques, and early falling leaves. She's reminding us to take our allergy pills to keep autumn sniffles and sneezes at bay. She's allowing us to mow the lawn a little less often and she lets us off the hook when we'd rather stay indoors watching TV than play outside.

September is the gracious host of several autumn birthdays. She celebrates with Grandpa, Uncle Kevin, Uncle Mike, Dan and me.

September makes me feel romantic and healthy and optimistic and alive.

She also apparently inspires me to write mushy missives.

But I'm not embarrassed.

I love you, September.