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Keeping Up With the Family

Anoth­er his­tor­i­cal arti­cle, writ­ten some­time before 2005. This is so much eas­i­er with smart­phones and shared cal­en­dars!

Keep­ing up with where every­one in our fam­i­ly is at any giv­en time, much less when things need to hap­pen, is not a triv­ial task. All four of us have PDAs, thank­ful­ly, and we make exten­sive use of them and an online cal­en­dar that can be accessed from any com­put­er with inter­net access. Every­thing that’s sched­uled for the fam­i­ly has to be entered into the cal­en­dar or we won’t remem­ber it. I mean dance lessons, fam­i­ly gath­er­ings, games, teacher con­fer­ences, the day the trash is picked up — absolute­ly every­thing.1

The catch is that I have to remem­ber to look at the cal­en­dar and my to-do list, though, whether online or on my PDA. I also have to remem­ber to syn­chro­nize the PDA. I’m actu­al­ly pret­ty good on that part, but have to nag the rest of the fam­i­ly to do it. I can even have the PDA’s alarm go off to remind me to do that. I haven’t come up with a solu­tion to get­ting every­one else to sync their PDAs reg­u­lar­ly, but I’m work­ing on it..

Beyond the tech­ni­cal solu­tions, we have a white­board in the kitchen. Imme­di­ate reminders, like “take the out­go­ing mail with you when you leave,” or “the gar­den must be watered today!” go there. All of us have got­ten pret­ty good about look­ing at the white board. Katie has her own small board on her bed­room door, where we notes things like, “Do not dis­turb: MIGRAINE!” Sam has his own white board next to his desk, where he puts reminders for him­self. If I had a desk, I’d prob­a­bly have one of my own.

There’s a gro­cery list on the refrig­er­a­tor, where we are all sup­posed to list things as we use them up, or as need aris­es. That’s for non-urgent items, as we only grab it when we’re mak­ing a “real” gro­cery run. Any­thing urgent has to be ver­bal­ly request­ed from who­ev­er is out and about (thank $deity for cell phones).


1 I’ve dis­cussed the need for fam­i­ly group­ware else­where, if you’re inter­est­ed.