following essay was produced as part of my 2013 effort for the
November National Novel Writing Month effort. As such, please
understand that while I did give it a quick review, it has not
gone through the same proofreading and editing I normally try
to give all of the material posted on this site.
always make some mistakes. There are errors to be found throughout
this web site, and many exist despite dozens of attempts to correct
problems. That said, ask that you approach this material in the
spirit intended – a basic thought, slightly worked out and very
informally researched, delivered in the hopes of writing more
than 50,000 words by the end of November.
~ ~ ~
is going to be a slippery slope for me to climb… and so it is
important for me to begin with a very important announcement.
you want anything done by Bobby or Terry, the person to have on
your side is Terry.
can procrastinate about procrastinating. For hours. Without a
problem. If there is a deadline involved, I am absolutely sure
to meet it… and with equal certainty I can say that I am quite
unlikely to deliver results much earlier than that deadline.
on the other hand gets things done. Simple as that. When she decides
to begin working on a project, she gets frustrated that she hadn’t
finished at least two days before she began.
as such, you might be surprised when I tell you that she has no
concept of time. And this creates some very strange disagreements
will begin with an example.
typical drive for the two of us might be anything from thirty
to forty-five minutes. And by that, I mean that where we are located,
if we decide to go out to the big city -- meaning anything from
visiting our parents to getting to friends… leaving our immediate
neighborhood to get to a restaurant we haven’t been to in a while…
going to a movie theater -- in any direction we go, the drive
takes about thirty to forty-five minutes. Minimum.
have… on multiple occasions… been standing next to Terry on a
particular day. And on that day, we need to run an errand. And
she will suggest getting lunch and maybe seeing a movie while
we’re out running that errand. And somehow, she feels that even
though it is noon as she suggests all this, we can get back to
our house by 3pm.
round trip drive alone is one of those three hours.
she is suggesting getting lunch, running an errand and seeing
a movie in the other two.
knowing what time the movies are playing.
then she gets a bit upset when you look at her strangely while
asking if there will be time to finish all that.
go back to the opening of this essay.
you want anything done… ask Terry. Do not ask me. My talent is
avoiding the work altogether.
other day we had decided to clean out the garage. It was, as you
might imagine, a project I had managed to make long, long, long
my mind, I wanted to take the cardboard boxes and stack them in
a corner. You know… half-ass the effort by taking at least half
of the work involved and somehow stalling it for a later time.
Terry, on the other hand, was cutting up the boxes and properly
placing them with our recycling. She wanted the job done, done
right, and done once.
the project continued, we decided to stop for lunch, and sat down
outside to eat. While there, she was looking over the front yard.
She decided the grass needed to be cut. She had also decided there
was plenty of time to cut it once we finished the garage.
I drew the line though was around 3pm, when she wanted to start
taking down the shutters and paint them.
probably not doing either of us any favors with this essay, and
so be it. The reality is that you need to experience the situation
first-hand to truly understand it. The thing is… I think I finally
figured it out… and I blame television for the problem.
many of you (I would imagine), Terry and I seldom watch television
shows when they are actually broadcast. Instead, we’ll record
several weeks’ worth of a show’s episodes, and then spend a couple
of hours one afternoon or evening catching up. Or, we’ll watch
the show a day or two later. The big thing is… we almost never
end up watching the commercials.
of this, a one-hour television show is over in, let’s say, about
forty-five minutes. (Terry watches American Idol too… and in that
situation, fast-forwarding through commercials means a one-hour
show is over in forty-two seconds.)
you see where I’m headed? I have a funny feeling that because
she can clear out an hour of a television show in less than three-quarters
of an hour of viewing time, she may very well have this clock
ticking in her head during other projects.
the shutters… the garage… the example of travel time not being
had some wood to cut and stack recently.
am told a cord of wood is roughly 8-feet by 4-feet by 4-feet.
That roughly concept being tied to how the wood is cut and actually
guess is that we ended up with at least three cords of wood. At
least. And that was only what we cut and stacked (along with the
help of Justin… who had picked just the right time to be visiting).
one day we were unloading crafts from an event, while repackaging
them to get ready for the next event. And when the boxes and tables
had been moved, and it came time for the delicate work… which
means I keep my hands out of the way… I wandered into the back
yard and started stacking some wood. You know… making myself useful
until Terry needed me back on the main project.
perhaps thirty minutes, Terry came in the back yard and we worked
out a system to help each other out in the process of moving and
stacking the wood. At one point, while waiting for me to arrive
with the wheelbarrow, she pointed to the deck. She mentioned that
we should use the nice day to get the furniture put away.
face gave away my feelings on the project.
stay with me…
furniture on the deck normally gets put in the shed for the winter.
The shed is also where I keep the longest of our ladders, which
I was going to need to clean out the gutters. And since the furniture
would all be stacked in front of the ladders… yeah… in order to
put the furniture away, I would also need to clean out the gutters.
Terry views things, working on one project normally results with
the development of a list of additional projects… most of which
she wants to begin (and finish) that day.
I view things, working on one project means focusing on a single
project, getting it done, and pacing yourself since it is possible
you might have to work straight through to get it done and not
take a nap.
to the packaging of crafts, stacking of wood, consideration of
furniture, and resulting view of the gutters…)
I had wanted to clean out the gutters next week. There were still
some leaves on the trees… though admittedly, not all that many
and few on branches near the house.
regardless of my stomping my feet or rolling my eyes, I eventually
did what I more or less always do when Terry and I have a debate
about things such as this. On a day committed to organizing the
boxes from the craft fairs and stacking some wood, I grabbed the
ladder to begin cleaning the gutters.
when, somehow, I managed to have the gutters cleaned and the furniture
put away… after finishing stacking the wood… in time to help Terry
load the boxes for the next craft fair before the light of day
had left us that afternoon, she smiled. And said: “See? Doesn’t
it feel good to have it done?”
it did. At the time, it always does.
this guy named Murphy has some thoughts on the subject. And generally
his thoughts tend to lead down a path where I would love to say
“I told you so”… and my enjoyment of life means I had damn well
next day I got up for work. In the early morning sun, and crisp
fall air, I walked through the mist created by my own breath toward
the car. And looking up, I noticed it had been windy overnight.
I say I noticed it because… sure… there were leaves in the gutters.
wish I could claim some understanding of all this that allowed
me to use my realization to better organize myself (or Terry).
I wish I could get myself more proactive… maybe put as much work
into getting things done as I do in making sense of putting things
neither have that understanding or that level of motivation.
I can tell you is that every so often… just once in a very rare
while… we do run out of time on a project. And while she is absolutely
right… it does feel good to have the project done… secretly, there’s
a small bit of unspoken “I told you so” that feels nice too. (And
those husbands with ever-expanding honey-do lists will know that
unspoken feeling well.)