80 Lengths

I swam a 2000 today.  That is by no means a normal swim, though I suspect by the end of the summer that it will be.  Right now, a good solid 1500 is my normal workout.  A 2000 takes me about 50 minutes and I don’t always have that much time.  No, I am not a fast swimmer by any stretch of the imagination!

So, that’s 20,000 yards since May 1.   I want to see if I can possibly get in another 5,000 by May 31, so that I can be properly on track to get to my goal on time without scrambling too much.  I have until Aug 31, so ideally I need to put in 25,000 yards a month.  That’s a good, steady pace.  Not insane, but there’s little room for slacking.

That’s a lot more yardage than I’ve ever swum in a month.

This is doing a good job of keeping me focused on working out.  You pretty much have to keep working at a pretty steady pace or you won’t make it.  Oh sure, there are already people who have racked up something like 35,000 yards.  They’re competitive swimmers and hats off to ’em.

I found out an aqua aerobics class only counts as 500 yards.   I think they’re getting the short end of the stick. Those classes are an hour long!  I’ll grant you probably don’t go quite as hard as I do, but… Well, if aqua aerobics is what you’re doing, either your fitness levels aren’t quite at the lap swimming range, your technique isn’t up to it, or you’ve got a disability where there’s Just No Way.  I wouldn’t begrudge an hour class counting as 2000 yards if it’s getting butts in the pool.  Doing what you can is important.  I mean, there’s a reason I’m a swimmer and not a runner!

I’m all mellow and relaxed and sleepy after my swim.  I may nap.  I may just veg.   But goodness me, it’s nice to have work done, have worked out and have a free afternoon.  I don’t get this often, but I sure like it.

How Do They Rise Up?

I’m a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and today marks a big day in fandom for Pratchett fans — The Glorious 25th of May.   I’ll try to keep out too many spoilers for those of you who want to read Night Watch but haven’t.

Now, as an American, how could I have the gall to celebrate that on today, of all days, Memorial Day?

(You Pratchett fans were there.  This is for people who weren’t).

The Glorious 25th of May is a day of rememberence — not for great and glorious heroes, but for little men who weren’t anything special.   They were losers; they were mostly craven and misfits.

But they did the job that was in front of them. They didn’t do it for glory, reward or anything, but simply did the patient and unassuming duty they’d shouldered.

Friends, ultimately that’s what heroism really is — doing the job that’s in front of you.

Another of my favorite writers talks about this:

“She didn’t give up, Ben; she’s still trying to lift that stone after it has crushed her. She’s a father working while cancer eats away his insides, to bring home one more pay check. She’s a twelve-year-old trying to mother her brothers and sisters because mama had to go to Heaven. She’s a switchboard operator sticking to her post while smoke chokes her and fire cuts off her escape. She’s all the unsung heroes who couldn’t make it but never quit.”Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein.

On Memorial Day, I don’t think of flags and bugles and glorious charges with great battle cries.  Sure, such things can wring tears from my eyes in a movie, but it’s not the important part and it’s not what I think of when I think of this day.   I think of everyone who patiently does the job that’s in front of him or her — and God knows our military is full of them.

And I do appriciate it that you were there.

What's Really Work During Office Hours?

What’s Work?

When you set your office hours, decide what’s work and what’s not.  Please, for the love of Ceiling Cat, don’t limit what you consider work to paying contracts and marketing.  I know it sounds weird. But look at the policies of some successful companies who encourage their employees to take a certain percentage of their time to develop a project that just takes their fancy.   (Google leaps to mind. Gmail and several other Google applications are a result of this policy).  You want to make sure that you “count” time to be creative, to brainstorm, to experiment, get messy and make mistakes.  Just be careful not to fool yourself about what those projects are.    For instance, this book is one of those projects for me.  It counts as work.  If I’ve finished what I intend to do on paying contracts, have finished answering my quota of RFPs and have done my bookkeeping, this is what I work on during my office hours.

So, how do you decide what’s “real” work and what’s screwing around?  Ultimately, you’re going to have to make a choice.  Sex blogs?  That’s a no-brainer, right?  Well, I know of one entrepreneur for whom sex blogs would most certainly be time well-spent professionally!   What it boils down to is, “Is this really in my field?”

I’m a writer who will work on some of the most amazing ranges of things, so this can get fuzzy.  I’ve written on everything from Red Pandas to how to flirt.  I may be called upon to write about almost anything at almost any time.  So, does surfing Wikipedia count?

For me, no.  While my ‘Satible Curtiosity is a boon to professional development, I’ve chosen not to allow surfing for information randomly during office hours.  Oh, I have a ball with it afterwards (under the “learn how to learn” principle).  If I can’t envision a “product” for it within an hour or two, it’s screwing around rather than working.   Does this mean I might turn rants, irritations, debates and curiosities into actual useful material?   Well, where do you think this course came from?

Depending on your field, you may find that you spend less professional time than you intended on directly paying contracts.  For me?  I spend an average of 45% of my working day on directly-paying material.   That’s pretty much par for the course in my field.  If it drops below that, I know my sales and marketing needs work.  If it goes above 60%, I need to re-assess how many contracts I’m accepting.    That sounds really cool and all, but it’s actually a lot more stressful than not enough work.  You won’t believe me until it happens to you, but trust me, it’s true.

This isn’t something you can look at as a daily, or even weekly thing.  I’m talking month to month.  There are weeks when I have bugger all to do for a client, then weeks where I spend all my office hours on directly-paying material.  While you really ought to keep track from day to day, you don’t want your evaluation granularity to be smaller than a month.

This does help you set your rates, though.   My bills are such that I have to bring in at least what I did as an administrative assistant.    But only about half of the hours I spend working directly pay for that.  However, I charge more than twice per hour what I earned as an admin, even though I bid by the job, so it’s not necessarily immediately obvious to a client.  Yes, I’ll be giving a good hourly rate formula to you in a later lesson.

Train Yourself to Work in Weird Places

While routine is good, and it’s a good idea to make it work for you, Life Happens.  Kids get sick, spouses change work schedules so that alone time you thought you had is no more.  You’ll want to make sure that whatever you do, you don’t get so wedded to your routine or work ritual that when that ritual can’t happen, you can’t work.

This is another one of those “speaking from experience” moments.  When I was working on my first novel, I was living in Virginia with my husband.  I had a word count goal for each week day.  We lived in a one-bedroom apartment and my desk was in the living room back to back with his drafting table.  My ritual was to get up, have my mug of espresso, and write all morning until I’d hit my word count.   I would dread “workdays” that he’d take off, or wouldn’t go in because of snow.[1] I couldn’t get anything done.  His very presence was a distraction.

Don’t do this to yourself.  If you’re going to make a living, especially doing creative work, the last thing you can afford to indulge in is artistic temperament.    If you can train yourself to be able to work under a variety of conditions, it’s a good idea.

I really do, no kidding, write when I’m traveling.  In fact, before I started work on this paragraph, I was working on a formatting job for a client – all while riding on a passenger train to visit a friend[2].

Why should you do this?  Well, for one, you don’t want to develop an artistic temperament, even if you are an artist.  Two, you’re going to be working your rear off.  You’re not going to be getting paid vacations, so it’s better to accept that, and learn to work during dead time like travel time, or under unusual circumstances.  Otherwise, you’ll be chained to your house, or you need to raise your hourly rate to save for vacations.

Set Daily Goals

Setting goals is really important to being self-employed.  You’ll need it at first to start getting the contracts, and then to complete them.  You’ll need the goals to have some direction, especially in the beginning when you aren’t bringing in a lot of cash.  You’ll need them as you go along to make sure that you’re making appropriate use of your best commodity — your time and brain.

Setting yearly and monthly goals are a good way to help you plan your daily goals.  In fact, I’d say that the daily to-do list without a general idea of what you want to accomplish over time is foolish.  While there is a certain level of throwing things against the wall to see what sticks in this gig, you don’t want to be too scattered!

This was my goal list for October 2007

  • Prep to teach a kick-ass class in MS Word
  • Get three new clients
  • Make my word count every day on Stoneflower (A novel I was writing)
  • Find one more project or sideline that could bring in $400 in a month.
  • (non-income generating) Keep up on my Poly writing. I might go ahead and do a quarterly ‘zine, but I’m going to play that for a break-even thing and do it for fun. Can’t everything be about money, nor do I want it to be.

This led to a to-do list for a day early in October 2007:

  • Write 500 Words on Stoneflower
  • Have meeting with neighbor across the street to help her make a Spanish class brochure (I count this as client work because I’ll be getting about $200 worth of Spanish lessons for my son).
  • Bid on one project on iFreelance
  • Brainstorm 10 short story ideas for writing contest due Dec 3.
  • Do a brainstorm on the Polyamory ‘Zine to speculate format, how often it will be released, costs to make/send out, etc.
  • Bid on an eLance project
  • Brainstorm some topics for the Polyamorous Misanthrope column that will include more than a one-line topic.
  • Spend an hour brainstorming things that I think I can do that will bring in $100/week.
  • Study the MS Word manuals for the class I am teaching

Now interestingly enough, not everything panned out.  You know what?  Everything won’t.  That’s okay. You want to try lots of different things.  Stoneflower is only about 65,000 words long so far and far from done, though it’s properly plotted, I never did do the poly ‘Zine, I didn’t win the writing contest, and the woman who was going to teach the Spanish lessons never did get back to me.

And yet, I am still in business.  Those daily bids on the freelance boards did pan out eventually, but even that took time.

The important part is that you’re consistently thinking about ways to bring in business, how to refine your business, what new products and/or services you might want to offer, and what works for you.  Your list won’t be the same as mine, as your goals and abilities are different.  That’s perfectly all right!  What is important is that you’re in a stage of constant refinement with it.

[1] This was Virginia.  Virginians tend not to go out in the snow, and no wonder.  It’s amazing the difference a plow, some sand and good snow removal makes!

[2] It would be a rare trip, indeed, that I could not use the time as enough working hours to pay for the trip!

Bento without the Gear

A bento made with whatever I could scrounge in the kitchen
A bento made with whatever I could scrounge in the kitchen

To make a point, I wanted to make a bento that:

A)     Did not use a specialty bento box.

B)      Only used what I had on hand in the house and,

C)      Did not use any specialty bento-making equipment.

So, basically, I tried to make a bento based on what one can reasonably find in a kitchen.  Cookie cutters that I’d owned 15 years were arbitrarily deemed okay, but vegetable cutters bought for bento purposes were not.  I decided that I wouldn’t even use an Onigiri mold.

The container is a 2C (550ml to those of you across the Pond) flat Rubbermaid container that I think was meant to be a sandwich container.  This is more or less a standard volume for any Japanese bento you’ll buy.

As it happened, I did not use any sort of cutters.  This was an interesting challenge, because I’m getting low on veggies and fruits, and I wanted to make it out of stuff I ordinarily had in the house.  I decided that for the sake of the experiment, I would not go grocery shopping for anything, but use what I had in the kitchen.  I really frowned over how to make the fishies when I realized that giving the impression of fishie was plenty.  Detail wasn’t important, only impression and contrast.

So, the rice is regular rice only with blue food coloring added to the water while cooking.  It tastes like rice.  The fishies are grape tomatoes.  The seaweed is lettuce, the rocks are stir-fried chicken breast and the orange things that I don’t know what they should represent are carrots.  I added some chopped cucumber for a little more green.

This is also a million times fancier than anything I ordinarily do and was still a bit off-the-cuff.  I’ve seen seascapes that would blow your mind.  It’s just that I didn’t want to spend more than 20 minutes on it, so this is what I did.  But notice that with a small time investment, you can make some incredibly cute bento without spending extra money on all the “cute” stuff.  The container was a flipping 2 cup sandwich style container, for heaven’s sake!

The Furoshiki is a bandana I had lying around from the last CampCon
The Furoshiki is a bandana I had lying around from the last CampCon

Notice that I didn’t use anything special for the wrap, either.  It’s just a bandana I had lying around, as well as the chopsticks I’ve had since forevah.

I commented I didn’t use any specialty bento gear and my son gave me an odd look and said, “I thought your bento gear was your brain.”

Why yes, I am proud of my son!  Even if he didn’t want this bento for his school lunch.


I put in my 1500.  Only 86,000 yards to go!  The lifeguard was funny. “How many miles did you do today, young lady?”

Yeah, right…  If he’s more than ten years older than I am I’ll swim 2000 tomorrow.  I still wish I could have retorted, “One.”  The challenge clocks the yardage in 500 yard blocks, so it’s not like I can work up incrementally and get up to a mile slowly if I want the milage to count.  Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised if in the next couple of months, swimming a 2000 (which, for the purposes of clocking the challenge is the distance closest to a mile) is going to be my basic swim.

Today’s swim was okay.  I got into that zone where your body is working hard, but your mind just starts to float and drift.  I don’t get that for every workout, but when it happens, I really like it.  It mellows me out a lot.

Not many people have signed up for the fifty mile challenge this summer, and all the ones that did were the triathletes and the Masters swimmers.  I have to complete it now, just out of stubbon pride.  Besides, since I work at the gym and all, not following through would be embarrassing.  No, I’m not biting off more than I can chew with this.  6,000 a week is pretty doable, even on a busy week.

Speaking of busy, I have clients who need my services and wouldn’t want to leave them twitching.  Work time!

Managing Your Self: Set Office Hours

This installment is late.  Mea culpa, I bow in the dust.  But I had someone paying me for a lot of my time, and that has to come first.  Welcome to my world.

I’m going to tell on myself.  I did not have office hours for the first eighteen months that I was self-employed.  Oh, I made a living, sure.   But it was inconsistent, insecure, feast or famine nonsense with little in the way of a cushion.  I decided that what I really needed to do was set office hours.  It worked so consistently and dramatically that I had not only to have specific hours to work, but strict guidelines about when to stop because of all the paying work.  This is more important than you think.  A couple of twelve hour days taught me that real quick, let me tell you what!  No matter how you love your work, getting brain-fried and ignoring your friends and family is not a good idea.  Yes, yes, work hard!  But let work time be work time and make sure that there is specific time that is not work time!  Corral it, set good boundaries around it, or I promise it will take over your life.

Why Office Hours Work.

I really did think that office hours were kind of missing the point of being self-employed!  Ahh, the freedom!  Oh, how nifty to be able to go work out in the middle of the morning and take as long as I wanted for a swim instead of cramming it into my lunch hour.  Ahh, what bliss to realize that I could spend a Sunday afternoon writing for money rather than dreading coming into the office on Monday morning.   What fun to be able to take your laptop on travel with you and still work!

You know what?  There’s some truth to it.  There’s nothing in the world wrong with setting your schedule to suit yourself.  My office hours are not a standard 8-5.  I do sometimes work when the Spirit moves me outside of office hours, and I really do work while traveling.  I’ll take the train rather than drive somewhere just because it’s easier for me to work while traveling rather than waste the time driving.

The problem comes in not because the freedom is bad.  It’s because it’s really easy to fool yourself.  “Oh, I’ll finish that up tonight!” you’ll say to yourself, or, “I’ve got all day to finish that!”

Anyone who has ever been a homemaker knows the dangers of, “I’ve got all day.”   In fact, the Sidetracked Home Executives use the IGAD! acronym as a telling point about how dangerous this really is.  “I’ve got all day to deal with that,” translates very quickly into “IGAD! A Deadline I might miss!”

I do know of people who don’t have office hours and make it work.  Most of them are far more self-disciplined than I am about deadlines and less prone to procrastination.  They also usually have other controls in place about work – a target income level they have to meet before they’ll permit themselves to slack, or a set of tasks they must complete before they allow themselves to call it a day.  If it works for you, great, but be ruthless with yourself when assessing this.  If you’re not putting in six hours a day of honest work, you’re really slacking.

I caution against slacking, but you know, if you find yourself slacking that much, either you’ve got someone supporting you or you’ll be looking for a Real Job pretty fast.  I consider myself something of a slacker, and I willingly pull down some hours that have astonished me.

Rule of thumb for the self-employed: it’s illegal for anyone to ask you to work as long or as hard as you’ll be working for yourself. — Holly Lisle

When I read the referenced article[1], I’m gonna have to admit I figured her to have an overdeveloped sense of Calvinist martyrdom and inverted pride.  Well, she was right, I was wrong.  Chances are good that you’re going to have to guard against overwork rather than otherwise.  I was cranking out 1,000 words a day on a terrible and unpublishable novel and holding down a Real Job.  It was no strain.  Boy, did I get fooled when I really did take the leap from the lion’s mouth!

If you think you’re putting in ten hours a day of work, I highly recommend you get some  tracking software for yourself and assessing that honestly.   I can recommend ClockingIT and RescueTime.  ClockingIT is more for billable hours and RescueTime is for an honest assessment about what sites you visit and how much time you spend in what applications.  I would have been indignant to have RescueTime on my machine with an employer, but my present employer is a real slave driver.  <grin>

You can fool yourself that screwing around is work. That’s a very short road to both poverty and burnout.  Just because you’re at a computer or in your office doesn’t mean you’re working.  Be sure all that work you’re doing is genuinely productive work.  I have guidelines stricter than most commercial places of business about websites I can visit or what I can be doing during office hours.  I’ll talk about this later in the What’s Work section, but it’s an important concept.

When I face this in all honesty, I know that for me, being strict about office hours is what brings in the cash.   I encourage you to try office hours first.  The important thing is that you create some workday structure and control for self-management.

How Many Hours should you work?

Oh my, if that isn’t a “that depends”.  If you’re not putting in 35-60 hours on your business, you’re not going to make it.   Yes, I’ve read the 4-Hour Work Week.   Mr. Ferris is being incredibly misleading about how he lives.  He’s only counting the time spent on stuff that is directly-paying.  He works more than four hours a week just doing interviews and networking.  That image of the rock star lifestyle is part of his product. He has to document what he does (and I promise that takes a few hours, even if he is hiring some schmuck like me to pound out the words), come up with stuff he thinks will be interesting to his readers, harass people to meet up with him and blog about how cool he is, and so on.  If you think self-promotion isn’t work, you don’t understand how the gig works.   By his rubber ruler, my very busiest week was about 20 hours and I’ve plenty of weeks where I spend less than that on directly-paying stuff.  I promise you I work more than 20 hours a week even on weeks I spend at the beach!

I’ll deal more with this when we talk about setting prices.  But you’re not going to have every hour of your work day be for directly-paying clients.

What About Breaks?

Yes, for heaven’s sake, take breaks.  I know of one freelancer who tries to get up at least once an hour, so that she doesn’t feel chained to her work.  I, personally, take a whole hour for lunch.  That’s my time to eat, screw around with social networking sites, whatever I want to do that’s not work.

On the subject of lunch, one of my hobbies is making Bento — cute little Japanese lunches in small boxes that are healthy and aesthetically-pleasing.  I generally make myself one, ensuring that I’ll eat at least one healthy meal a day, and take a break.  They’re so cute and pretty, it’s hard not to make an event of it.    Snacking all day at first is the bane of the new freelancer.  This makes me not want to.

You do want some sort of break in your work day to have a little something to eat, reorient yourself and relax before you dive back in to your work.  This is the time to have a meal with friends, take a walk, or otherwise refresh yourself for the rest of your work day.

Where is Your Office?

Where should your office be?

Because my office is really my laptop, I don’t bother with a specific “work only” space.  I have four places I usually work.   On the left is my writin’ chair.  This is far and away the most common place for me to work.  It’s in the living room, and is considered a “classic” no-no.   I would agree a living room would be bad if it’s a public place where you can’t get any privacy.  I’m usually alone all day, so it works for me.  Note the privacy bit. We’ll be getting back to that.

I work there frequently because it gets plenty of sun, it’s comfortable and my office hours are over when the kids get home from school, anyway.  This isn’t to say I don’t work after school.  I do.  But I save administrative tasks and other things that do not require intense concentration for those times.

Experts also recommend against having an office in your bedroom.  My writing desk is in my bedroom and that’s where I’m presently writing this.  I work there sometimes, but I tend not to work there every day, as I’ll start to feel as if I am trapped in a single place after awhile.  I mean, I already spend at least seven hours a day there sleeping!

I mentioned earlier that I sometimes work from bed if I’m trying to give myself a reward or motivate myself.   I don’t do this often.  Yeah, I know that looks comfy. But it would be terrible on my back to do it, and since I make a habit of watching Doctor Who and streaming Netflix movies just in that position, it’s just not got the “serious work” feel to it.   Hence using it as a carrot when I really need to motivate myself.  It’s kind of my version of “casual Friday.”  It’s also where I work if I was stupid (as I was recently) and managed my time so badly that an all-nighter was necessary.  I try very hard not to do that.

The fourth place I work is my “Jungle Room”.  It’s a room in my house that’s sunny, filled with plants and has the wood stove.  In the wintertime, this is great for chasing away that cold, dead feeling of winter and being warm.  I live in Northern New England, so warmth, sun and living things can be a nice feeling.  However, things are not set up in there to be an easy-to-manage workspace, so I usually only do it when I’ve shivvered too much for one week and want to be by a warm fire.

I discuss all these things not because I’m going to discourage you from having an office.  Honestly?  If I had a specific room in my house with a door that closed that I could use for one, I would in a heartbeat.  But in terms of productivity, you need to decide for yourself what’s going to work.  Being able to give myself a change of scene frequently is what works for me. If a certain workspace starts feeling a little stale, I move.  I have a laptop.  I can do that.  Some people find that having an office puts them into “work” mode better than office hours and dressing for work put together!   The principle here is to find what gets your mind into “serious work” mode and do that.  Yes, it seems like there are a lot of externals that “shouldn’t” matter.  All I can say is that some millenia of civilization has taught us that ritual drives mindset, and it’s not bad to make it work for you.  For me, it seems to be the ritual of “setting up shop” somewhere.

Don’t underestimate the “carrot” of being able to work in a special place.  For you, it might be a coffee shop with an Internet connection – always a popular choice and a great one if you’re sick of being alone!

Whatever you do for an office, be comfortable. I am unusually careful to create an ambiance that reminds me that I’m doing this to savor life, not spend my life in a working grind.  If scented candles or incense turns your crank, there aren’t any office regulations forbidding it any more.  Have your coffee or tea in the good china if you have it, play music that focuses your brain, and don’t lock yourself away in a forgotten, cluttered afterthought of a room.  Don’t tell yourself that you’ll do these things “when you can afford it”.  Putting away clutter costs nothing, and few of the things I’ve mentioned are an extra expense.

The Bad News About Office Hours

A lot of people want to work from home so that they can take care of small children while they’re working.   Thing is, at the end of the day, it’s still a job and to get paid, you have to put out product.

I’m not saying it can’t work. There are things you can do while you’re looking after a small child that can make money.  I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that anything that requires concentration for a long period of time isn’t it!  Programming, writing, graphic art… If you need to think uninterrupted, don’t fool yourself that you’ll get anywhere near enough done – either from responding to RFPs or actual paying work while attending to the children. I speak from the experience of a failed attempt to do so.

I can’t even begin to count the number of people who get into writing because they think they can do it when their kids are small and avoid the cost of daycare.  The ones that make this happen are usually people who don’t need much sleep, are night owls and work when the children are asleep.  Even with older children, you might have the habit of keeping an ear out.  My first summer as a freelancer was a real eye opener about this, and I have a teenaged reclusive introvert as my main parenting responsibility!

The take-away here is that unless you’re doing work a child can help you with, such as many sorts of farming, you really do need time alone to be able to concentrate and work.  I’ve created websites while the children played, and while it can be done, you’re not focused and efficient enough to make it a business.

[1] And by the way, I find her writing advice good, even if I’ve no talent at fiction.

Just Keep Swimming

I swam my 1500 today.  That’s a challenge still, and took me about 45 minutes1.  But that’s okay.  Come June, I don’t think that’ll be a challenge any more!

I’m even using a cute widdle fishie ticker.  Ain’t that sweet?  I note, however, that the progress bar is hardly to scale.

Apparently an aquafitness class counts as 2,000 yards.   I think they’re figuring a certain fitness level2 takes about an hour to swim 2000, so that’s how it’s figured.   Fair enough.  Plenty of people find lap swimming mind-numbing.  I don’t, but that’s because that’s my time to work out plots for stories, plan how to pitch projects or plan classes.

In fact, I spent most of today’s workout working up a proposal to try to teach a bento class that the gym where I work.  It’s a community/rec center more than a classical gym, even if the exercise equipment is really good.  They have all sorts of fun classes, so if I can figure out a structure for it and pitch it right, they might let me.   I was figuring an end of summer-type deal where I have the class and give away to each student a cheap bento box (you can get ’em for a buck through Ichibankan), a colorful bandana and some cute chopsticks as well as a few lessons on how to make and arrange some basic bento food.  I’d have a handout with some basics, a list of local stores that sell good Asian food and some places where people can buy bento boxes.

For the local gym, the pitch would have to be the “healthy lunch for your kids” thing, I think.   There’s also the frugality hook.  But I’m going to have to figure out a way to pitch it as not particularly time-consuming.  The way I do it, it really isn’t, but you can go overboard with the cute.

I’ve had the idea for this class in the back of my mind since I started bein’ a bum, but it’s fleshed out a lot more in my mind lately, and I have a considerably better idea of who to talk to for getting this class on the program as well as how the class really ought to be structured.

1Go ahead, competitive swimmers. Laugh it up.

2Hmm, close to my own, now that I do the math.