The start of lists


I’m not talking about milk and eggs, or even orange juice. (But please, don’t let me forget the orange juice when I head out tomorrow.)

I’m talking about those down the road lists. Have you ever started one of those?

Rhode Island is famous for coffee syrup. Autocrat is the big name in the game for coffee syrup. (In fact, I believe Autocrat is the only name in the game these days, having bought out the only real competitors in a market most of you readers might not even know exists. But back to our story…)

Recently Terry was talking to a friend and mentioned coffee milk. End result… next Rhode Island trip… need to pick up a bottle of Autocrat to deliver to her friend.

Terry and I have a few projects lined up. For one, I need to make some display screens for upcoming craft fairs. (That project actually came about after some creative efforts back in the spring, when I repurposed the old display screens to make a fence for our garden. No good deed goes unpunished… I simply delayed the inevitable.)

For these and other reasons… the scraps of paper line up on the counter. Milk and eggs. Autocrat syrup. Some 8-foot lengths of wood and chicken wire. (And juice. Geez, I asked you to remember the orange juice. It really hasn’t been that long. Try to keep up. Ok? Thanks. (Sorry. Didn’t mean to jump on you for that. I just don’t want to forget the orange juice.))

I find most of my lists are begun when I break away from my normal needs or routines. I don’t need a list to remind me to mow the lawn. I don’t need a list to remind me to do the laundry. And even when it comes to milk (and juice), I’m usually good without a slip of paper next to my wallet and car keys.

Here’s a funny thought: You know when lists bother me the most? When I just crossed everything off a different list.

There’s that old joke about the honey-do-list. You’ve probably heard it. It’s based on the idea of that particular list never being completed, and more likely ever-expanding. But, for something like a shopping list, there actually is an end. It’s created by… you know… shopping.

Terry and I went out last week and had some shopping to do. Picked up some of the not-on-the-list essentials, and also added a few other things. Got home and went to wash some dishes… found the dishwashing liquid was low and I was going to need more. Then went to make some coffee and some lemonade… only to find we were on the last gallon of bottled watered. You probably see where this is going…

I walked in the door from shopping, put away the groceries, tossed the completed list from that journey in the trash and pretty much immediately started writing the next shopping list. (Ugh.)

Another fun thing is when you begin rewriting lists so that you can take a few pieces of paper and combine them into one. Or, when you have enough things noted that you need to organize your thoughts and give some priorities to the to-do process.

Friend of mine and I were on the phone a couple of years ago. We were talking about an upcoming trip she was planning, and I still remember laughing when she said she needed to get a list going of the lists she needed to make.

No… really… needed a list of lists. For instance, she wanted a list to remind her to start a list for clothes and toiletries she would need… she wanted a list of theme parks and other attractions she should check out before she left so she would know hours, and special events, and if reservations were necessary for anything… she wanted a list of people so she could remember to bring some addresses with her in case she picked up some postcards… she wanted a list of people she might buy a gift for… and you see. (I’m not at that level of list making yet. That’s some professional level list making. (By the way, her husband actually has a spare spare set of car keys—yes, two spares, a backup for the backup set—because his darling wife is legendarily bad at keeping track of where her keys are.))

For the most part, I feel ok about my list making. It’s usually important stuff. Things I would forget. Yes, I have found myself wandering aimlessly around the kitchen, completely befuddled by what it was I went into the kitchen to get. But I’m not making a list to remember half and half… not because we need it, but because I made a cup of coffee and in the time it took to turn toward the fridge to reach for the half and half I forgot that was why I was going to the fridge. A list won’t help with that.

But we do need orange juice.


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