Monthly Archives: June 2011

32 Points of Procrastination

It always starts the same way.  I throw open my closet doors with unbridled enthusiasm and every intention of ending up with a neat, organized space.

But then here’s how it goes, every time:

1. What the @&#*! is this?
2. Ohhhhh…right. This is part of that whatchahoozit baby carrier thing we got that one summer.
3. I wonder if we still have that?
4. Probably not.
5. *throws out the piece*
6. Hmmm…brown pants. I wonder if these still fit.
7. *tries on pants*
8. God, I wish I could still wear these pants. I wore these pants with that really soft sweater.
9. But I haven’t seen that sweater in awhile…I wonder if I left it at the cleaners?
10.*halfheartedly looks through sweaters*
11. Oh, but look! Here’s the purse that goes with it. Purses ALWAYS fit!
12. *sits down, rifles through purse*
13. Hey! My lost library card! *opens zippered pocket*
14. Lip gloss…old gum…antacids…appointment reminder. Must’ve carried this purse while pregnant. (Tipoff: Antacids)
15. Oooooh, I should sell all my maternity clothes in the garage sale! Where did I put those?
16. Although we could still have another baby…
17. Don’t be insane!
18. *shudders*
19. Well, hellllooooo, spring jacket! Too bad I didn’t find you this spring when I needed you.
20. And right there next to you, there’s the dress I thought I donated.
21. This must be the Bermuda Triangle section of the closet? Maybe I’ll find Hoffa, wearing the shoes I lost.
22. Not unless they’re cement shoes! HAHA
23. Somebody was just raving to me about their Bermuda vacation. Who was that? I wonder how long the flight is.
24. *picks up iPhone, Googles flight length to Bermuda* Only 2 1/2 hours!
25. *checks Facebook, Words with Friends, completes quick level of Angry Birds*
26. Okay, time to get serious. *stretches*
27. My pretty pink shoes…keep? Sell? Donate? They’re a bit specific. And slightly absurd.
28. I think the last time I wore them was to that fantastic restaurant with The Daddy.
29. Where we ate those delicious crab cakes.
30. And the chocolate mousse with the brandy in it.
31. I’m hungry.
32. *leaves closet in shambles to forage for food*

So there it is, that’s the pattern. I start cleaning out or organizing something and instantly develop a raging case of attention deficit disorder. My mother could go into a professional organizer’s house and show them what they did wrong, but I just spin my wheels and get confused and frustrated, and sometimes hungry.

The good news is that we’re moving in only 3 1/2 weeks, so I’m sure to find everything then. And this weekend is…drum roll…the garage sale! I’m really doing it this time. I even placed an ad and everything, so it’s really official and I can’t back out.

I can’t wait to see how much money I make selling maternity tops and old lamps!

MY ATTENTION SPAN: LOST OVER THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE
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For The Woman Who Scrubbed My Sink

Dear Friend,

I saw you earlier today in the hall, when I was on my way to check out of my beautiful room. I wanted to say thank you for all that you did for me, but I was too shy (and worried that I was late for my meeting) to manage more than a quick smile and a rushed morning hello.

On the way to the airport, I thought about a typical day for you. I did your job in the summer between high school and college, although comparing what I did to what you do is like a parish priest comparing himself to the Pope. It was a Ramada Inn in a small Michigan town, as opposed to a world-class luxury hotel in ritzy Santa Barbara.

As I thought about you, I imagined that you likely awoke before dawn. You probably helped a child or two get ready for the day, and maybe you walked a dog. Perhaps you threw some dinner ingredients into a crock pot, as I often do, and put the clean dishes away that dried overnight. You probably put on your uniform at the last minute, wishing it was more comfortable, and plucked a pair of stiff black shoes from the bottom of your closet.

You arrived at work early and went in through the back entrance, smiling at various coworkers on the way, greeting them quietly in case of guests looming nearby. You hurried to the stock room to get a cart – you hoped you were early enough to score one of the newer carts with the squeak-free wheels. Finding one, you loaded it up with supplies; first the sheets, then the towels, then the cleaners and toiletries. You prayed for one of the good vacuums, since the bad ones could add as much as 3 minutes to the time spent in each room.

You stopped by the supervisor’s desk to get your list of room assignments, helpfully organized into “check-outs” and “stay-overs.” The sheet contained a time limit in which you should have completed all of the rooms, as though all messes are created equal. The time limit didn’t account for the kinds of disasters created by late-night parties/the food poisoning victim who couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time/the little girl who couldn’t bear to leave her hamster at home and has been keeping it in the bathtub for the past three days.

You pushed your heavy load down the hall, accustomed to and unaffected by the perpetual feeling that the whole thing was going to capsize. When I saw you, you were probably already on your fourth or fifth stay-over room, moving at a steady clip, not yet exhausted and dreaming of putting your feet up.

I should’ve said out loud that I’m grateful for what you do. At the very least, I should’ve left you a note on the dresser, thanking you for caring for me and cleaning up my mess in your unassuming, anonymous way. Your work is important and it is truly appreciated. For those of us who are especially weary of cleaning up our own messes (and those of our children), your services are a rare and cherished luxury.

Love,

The Woman With All The Unnecessary Shoes in Room 525

SHE ALSO SCRUBS SPANISH-TILED SHOWERS

Friday Morning in Four Parts

I.

6:15 a.m. My eyes haven’t even opened yet. I can sense daylight through my eyelids, but I am not yet remotely interested in what time it is. Benjamin is lying next to me. I’m pretty sure he’s sleeping, but then he says,

“Mama, Grandma told me that saying ‘What the…?‘ is fine. There’s nothing wrong with it.”

Here we go again. Keeping my eyes closed, I say,

“Grandma probably doesn’t know the end of that sentence, so she would think it’s fine. But it’s not okay for you to say, because plenty of people DO know how to finish that sentence, and you’re too little to be saying it.”

“I’m listening to Grandma because she’s right.”

“No, I’d like you to listen to me because I’m your mother and I said so.”

“No.”

“Yes.”

I’d type out the rest of the conversation, but it’s irritating and redundant.

Notably, not even an hour later, Ellie peers into her cereal bowl and says, “What the…?”

II.

8:30 a.m. Benjamin and I are in the car, idling in the drive-through line at Tim Horton’s. He’s playing with his show-and-tell item, a skeleton of a Quetzalcoatlus, and is right in the middle of explaining why he needs a chocolate chip cookie. At that moment, out of nowhere, BAM! The lady behind us slams into my rear bumper.

Benjamin probably said, “What the…?” but I didn’t hear it. I pull into a parking space and exit the car. The perpetrator does the same, meeting me between the vehicles to inspect the damage.

I throw my hands up in the air, incredulous. “What was that?” I ask.

She looks at me sadly. “I’m so sorry,” she says. “I don’t know why I did that. I don’t know how it happened.”

My heart rate slows. Who really does know why, when they do something like that? It wasn’t like she did it on purpose. I look at her car and notice a little boy, much like my own, sitting in the back seat. I look for damage and there is very little. “Well, I’ve done plenty of things I can’t explain too.” She smiles. I reach out, give her arm a little squeeze, and suggest we just get back in our cars and get some coffee.

I slide back into my seat. Benjamin says, “Why did she do that to us?”

“She says she doesn’t know.”

“Oh. Well, she almost broke my Quetzalcoatlus skeleton.”

“Boy, that would’ve really stunk.”

“You’re right, Mama, it really would’ve.”

He said I was right about something!

III.

8:40 a.m. I finally make it to the window at Tim Horton’s. Everything about my order is correct, except the part where they downsized my coffee, ensuring that I won’t attain the appropriate caffeine dosage required to fully start the engine on my higher-level brain functions.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!

I mention this to the drive-through lady, and she is plainly uninterested in correcting the problem. “Oh,” she says, “that’s the size they charged you for. Sorry!” Then she adds, “Figures. Goes right along with how the rest of my morning is going!”

IV.

8:55 a.m. Benjamin and I arrive at his preschool. He hands me his Quetzalcoatlus skeleton model and says, “Here, Mama. Hide this behind your back so I can surprise my friends with it. My back isn’t big enough to hide it behind because I’m only little.”

(In case you’re wondering by now, a Quetzalcoatlus is a type of flying dinosaur. And I would be remiss if I didn’t explain that flying dinosaurs are actually called Pterosaurs, as Benjamin announces to anyone who will listen.)

I take the skeleton as he’s climbing out of the car. When I move my arm behind my back to hide it, I feel one of its wings catch on my shirt and then OMG the whole thing just collapses into a million pieces, spread out all over the parking space next to us. OK, so maybe it was only 10-ish pieces, but still, we’d been through so much already this morning, and now THIS.

Benjamin starts to panic. “Mama, all the pieces! They’re all over! We have to pick them up and put it back together! Hurry! Mama! Mama! Mama, mama, mama!”

We scramble to pick up all the pieces before another car comes to park in the space. The problem is, I don’t know how many pieces we should have, because I didn’t put the wretched thing splendid specimen together.

I dump what we’ve got into his booster seat and set about recreating it. After a few false starts, it goes together pretty easily. Benjamin thinks I’m a heroic genius.

“Thanks Mama! You did it! I can’t wait to show it to my friends!”

I tell him I’m not going to try to hide it behind my back again, and he sees the wisdom. We walk into his school, and as soon as his friends see the skeleton, they go bananas. He beams from ear to ear.

On my way out, one of the little girls in his class stops me to say,

“Hey, Benjamin’s Mama, you look really pretty today!”

I smile at her, thank her, and give her all the cash in my purse. No, I didn’t. But who could’ve blamed me?

QUETZALCOATLUS DETESTED FENDER BENDERS

Move It or Lose It. I Pick Lose It.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, I should’ve been thinking about our nation’s fallen soldiers and their indescribably generous, selfless sacrifice. And I did think about them – don’t get me wrong – but not as much as I should’ve. Hopefully someone else thought about them more than they expected to, so much so that their over thinking balanced out my under thinking, and the appropriate gratitude level was eventually achieved and maintained. Because what I was thinking was HOLY SWEET CRACKER SANDWICH, WE’RE MOVING IN SIX WEEKS!!!!

Way back in the olden days of college apartment living, six weeks would’ve seemed like a long time to prepare for a move. For example, I might’ve delayed panicking until maybe six days (hours?) before moving. I’d be sitting on the couch, maybe eating a cracker sandwich, and it would suddenly hit me that I had some packing to do. “Hey – I’d better get some boxes from somewhere,” I’d think, “and maybe find a friend with a truck or something.” I’d sit there some more, pondering the situation, and then decide not to think about it until “later” because the evil thoughts were making my stomach hurt. Inevitably, it would all come together at the last minute and my stuff would get from point A to point B (where point = tiny apartment) and everything would be fine. Ah, the magical days of yore.

THIS time, I’ve got the stuff that accumulates during 14 years of marriage (we got married the month I finished grad school). That’s 14 years of saying things like, “Lookatthis! We could really use a cool cappuccino maker/this totally boss reciprocating saw/a fascinating instructional coffee table book about origami/this awesome treadmill!”

And boy howdy – kids really add to the Useless Crap Accumulation Factor (UCAF). Which is probably the biggest reason I need to follow through with the garage sale.

To compare, here’s an approximation of what I moved from my adorable, tiny one-bedroom apartment:

1. Two surly cats (one of these creatures still lives with me, despite being 498 in human years)
2. Clothes, easily contained in 2 large garbage bags
3. Several mismatched plates, a cereal bowl, 3 coffee mugs, and a few pieces of flatware
4. A pot, and also a pan
5. A coffeemaker
5. A twin bed
6. 2,000 pounds of textbooks
7. A vacuum
8. A large computer desk (and a computer, which had only been recently acquired after I finally abandoned my electric typewriter)
9. A love seat and a papasan chair, which was dangerously prone to tipping over
10. 2 lamps
11. A color TV that was reluctant to display colors
12. A coffee table that I found on the side of the road
13. Cleaning supplies
14. 6-ish bottles of shampoo, give or take (a gal needs options)

Even packing up the contents of my current pantry cupboard and refrigerator (not to mention the separate freezer in the basement) is enough to make my brain go on a terror-induced shutdown. I would give anything to only have to deal with the contents of my grad school refrigerator:

1. A half-eaten container of sesame noodle salad
2. One quart of milk, used only as a cereal accompaniment
3. A nearly empty bottle of Boone’s Farm Country Kwencher
4. A small container of tabbouli
5. Hot sauce

Anyway, if you could send any encouraging energy my way in the upcoming weeks, the kind of energy that promotes organized packing skills and the ability to sell and/or throw out one’s useless worldly possessions, I’d really appreciate it. And if you happen to be kind of person who likes doing that kind of thing, COME ON OVER. I’d even repay your generosity with fascinating coffee table books and hardly-ever-used small kitchen appliances.

COST OF MOVING: ELEVENTY BILLION ORIGAMI ELEPHANT DOLLARS

Image via Wikipedia