Yesterday we had a state-of-the-union address type conversation in order to sort out what needs to get done. I’m not talking about things like taking out the trash, cleaning gutters, and vacuuming. I’m talking about real dirt-under-your-nails type of activities – things we’ve shrugged off and ignored for, oh, years. For example, about 5 years ago we decided to rip up the filthy “white” carpet in our house and replace every last inch of the place with saltillo tile. In a sneaky effort to save money, Jer convinced me that laying the tile ourselves would allow us to “take more pride” in our home. Obviously, that’s total crap since the labor I put into the floors only makes me resent them. But I digress. The point is that we spent months working on the tile and decided to take a small break from the work before putting in base boards. 5 years later, Jeremy says the break is over (what a task master!) and that it’s time to complete the project. At some distant point in the past we also started scraping the 1980’s popcorn off of our ceiling and never finished. Add to the list repairs of chicken-pecked house siding and torn window screens (culprit? also chickens). And on and on. And on. Oh folks – that’s just the house list.
IF we begin construction in June, we’ve signed on for site prep duties for the homesite along with the task of trenching in and laying water pipes, clearing a path for electric poles, clearing the large septic field. Making a driveway. Starting/finishing work on all 14 doors. Re-wiring old lights. Re-furbishing the old oven. Researching the actual meaning of “refurbishing” an old oven.
It’s quite ludicrous when I see this all written down.
Due to this ludicrous-ness (Yep, it’s a word. I just made it up) we felt a “To-Do” list of epic proportions was in order. I rattled off this list while driving to another family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. Jer recorded the list while I drove and sent it to me via email. I have yet to open the email. I am intimidated.
Which got me thinking. What’s the deal with to-do lists anyway? Are they really all that useful? Don’t they just create undue stress in an already tense situation (life)? What’s with all the added pressure?! Because, come on, if stuff’s really that important, don’t we usually get around to it in the end? Can I get an amen?
Tonight I am alone in the house while Jer spends the night at the land. It’s the perfect opportunity to crack open the list he sent me, face my demons, act like an adult and get moving. But I’ve been sidetracked by a glass(es) of wine and the Coal Miner’s Daughter. And I’d rather work on a very different list.
After careful consideration I’ve created the following list to help guide me through the spring – if not life. Feel free to use this as your own general road map, and please do re-prioritize as you see fit.
1. DON’T pass up a glass of wine for any reason. Unless it’s a really good reason.
2. DON’T over-clean your house. Clean it once in awhile and feel quite proud of your work. Then just forget about it until someone complains.
3. DON’T live by lists. If you feel the urge to create one, just jot stuff down on a post-it and leave it lying around the house. At some point in the future, find the post-it stuck under a magazine. Say “Oops, I forgot to do that” and then shrug your shoulders. It’s therapeutic.
4. DON’T, as they say, sweat the small stuff. If you do sweat the small stuff, like myself, then refer to #1.
5. DON’T forget to repeat #4.
6. DON’T ever go through life without a pet or access to some sort of animal.
7. DON’T get pushed around. In any situation.
8. DON’T just trust your instincts; follow them.
9. DON’T pass up a glass of wine for any reason. Oh! I already said that.
10. DON’T listen to me. I’m still working on achieving most of these. But doesn’t this beat the hell out of a TO-DO list?