• Thursday, March 15th, 2012

At the end of last summer, my two sons “flew the coop” and took up residence in dorms. Strangely enough, though I thought their departure would decrease the general upheaval in the house, quite the opposite occurred.

Earlier in the summer, when the boys were home general chaos was the order of business in our house. Every Wednesday evening there was a concerted effort to pick up the accumulated “stuff” sitting in piles everywhere. Marsha (long suffering housecleaner) arrived promptly at 8:00 a.m. for the Thursday morning crackdown. Many cleans past, she had threatened to fire us if we left the house a mess for her to “clean”. This was the one-day the house was clean, and I relished the one hour . . . until accumulated books, bags, stinky socks, retainers and dog biscuits started to pile up again, and my “to do” list grew increasingly longer, IF (duh) no one picked up their stuff at the end of each day.

“To do” lists have never worked for me.
1.Change Dr. appointment
2.Pick up prescription at pharmacist
3.Find a babysitter for last weekend of this month.
4.Write my birthday thank you notes from AUGUST birthday. (It is only November and I have a year, right? Or is that wedding gifts?)
5.Wrap and deliver long overdue gift to friend.
6.Sign up for organic vegetable delivery.
7.Have business cards made up.
8.Hang up doggy picture in bathroom.
9.Plant Costco-size bag of bulbs in garden.
10.Write to sick friend in hospital.
11.Mop us water on floor and call refrigerator repairman.
12.Find “10% off” certificate from Honda dealer and take car in to have oil changed.

The above chores do not require a lot of thought, well, maybe the thank you cards, but for the most part an efficient person should accomplish this list in a few hours or so. Right?

While in the bathroom hanging up the doggy picture, I noticed the toilet paper roll was empty. (Don’t get me started.) I sat down on our 1920’s toilet to load the roll of paper (T.P. within reaching distance for the person who left roll empty, but apparently not within loading distance.) The antiquated seat had been sat on one too many times and I fell halfway into the toilet, the seat was missing a bolt. Anyway, I completed my job, but soaked the sleeves of my sweatshirt, conveniently tied around my waist.

Not wanting to wear “eau de toilet bowl” sweatshirt for the rest of the day, I then went to the laundry room. Once in the laundry room, I started a load of wash, completely forgetting about the picture-hanging chore. Washing laundry was not on my list.

Back upstairs, I glanced at my list again, and walked back to the bathroom to hang the doggy. Having hung the hound picture up, I realized that he (the doggy) had smudges on his face, or on the glass frame, so I took down the frame to polish it. No Windex in the bathroom, a walk to the kitchen remedied the matter. Doggy picture waited on the bathroom sink, neglected, again. My daughter and husband were in the kitchen having a leisurely lunch, when asked about the empty toilet paper roll, both change the subject. Left in a huff and marched to the bathroom.

The doggy picture now sat happily on the wall, sparkling from Windex and looking fetching.

Time allotted chore number 8=5 minutes.
Time taken to accomplish chore number 8=45 minutes, including shaking fist at lazy daughter and husband.

I felt extremely frustrated with my lack of efficiency and decided to plant bulbs because it was a glorious blue bird day. Amazingly, I found my spade resting in its spot and the bag of bulbs in the car, still unloaded from Costco.

I briefly wondered where I planted last year’s bulbs but decided it didn’t matter; the squirrels or some other creature had probably nibbled on them anyway. The spade required a lot of digging so I got out the shovel. One quick dig, throw the bulbs in the hole, and blanket the hole with more dirt.

In reality, one coffee-powered dig left me with one broken irrigation pipe. Fortunately, the plumber comes tomorrow for the leaky sink in the bathroom with the broken toilet seat. I called the plumber (not on my list of chores) and asked him in my most pathetic voice to “do you happen to have tools to repair an irrigation pipe that I just broke?” he wasn’t happy, but said he might be able to jimmy something together. He declined to fix the toilet seat.

Time allotted chore number 9=20 minutes
Time taken to accomplish chore number 9=1 hour after calling plumber.

Fifteen minutes remained from my 2-hour chore window. I came to the realization that nothing on my list could be accomplished in fifteen minutes that I had left before I picked up the dogs from the groomer. I ran out the door to pick up the dogs from the groomer, toothbrush and toothpaste in hand. Brushing my teeth was not on my list.

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