Friday, September 11, 2009


I had no specific plans this afternoon except to go through my bills/reminders/fliers... all the detritus now overflowing the banker's box where, having been moved from the desk after accumulating in various piles on a variety of counters in more rooms than you would think possible, they now reside. The box has been yelling at me for a while; looking at it makes me yawn.

They called it neurasthenia in Professor Maas's Psych 101 class. The body's uncanny ability to become exhausted when faced with an unwanted task isn't something I've out-grown, unfortunately. Once I get started, I'm The White Tornado (anyone out there remember Mr. Clean?). It's the getting started part that gives me trouble.

The problem is compounded by a lesson I learned on the job. There were some projects which had taken up permanent residence at the bottom of my Ignore Me At Your Peril box. Over time, I began to notice that if I waited long enough most of the problems seemed to resolve themselves or to disappear. I had to be sure that none of the parameters were changing, but, for the most part, watching and waiting did the trick. I was young, so some of it was probably learning to be patient before barrelling into a situation with my good intentions flailing about me, but some of it was, without a doubt, procrastination being rewarded.

Tonight, though, life is going to teach me a lesson. We've contracted with Blue Coyote Painters to refresh and refurbish the outer covering of our house. It's neither wood nor brick nor metal, but an amalgamation of minerals and bonding agents that could be called stucco but might not be that at all. Before the paint can be applied, the power-washer must come and cleanse. Years of guano and feathers and nests and crud sprayed away from every nook and cranny. And that's where the problem is. There's a refrigerator in one of those nooks. It used to hold cold drinks for our pool-side enjoyment .... until the pack-rat made a nest inside and behind it, using the wiring as part of its home-building materials. How it didn't electrocute itself is a mystery. There are palm fronds as door-mats and dried berries to mark the way and the power-washer won't move the damn thing so I'll have to do it. Packrats are nocturnal creatures, so I have to wait until it's pitch black and then hope he's gone out foraging and that he's not sitting back there waiting to introduce himself with a leap and a snarl.

I've never missed a deadline. I'm always early to an appointment. I know I could do better. After all, I'm always glad to have finished the task and I always promise myself that I'll never let things pile up again. And yet, here I am, once again, in an uncomfortable position because I was putting off asking the window washer or the kid with the truck if they'd help me. And now, I am stuck.

If this doesn't teach me that lesson, I don't know what will.

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