Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Disorganized Thoughts on Disorganization

by Stephanie Black

We have a lot of fun in our household, but there’s not a soul among us naturally gifted with organizational abilities. You know in the Book of Mormon when it talks about possessions becoming slippery so you cannot hold them? That describes the state of affairs here perfectly. “Behold, we lay the remote here and on the morrow it is gone; and behold, our hair brushes are taken from us in the day we have sought them for grooming.”

Things you’d think would be obvious are not obvious. My sister tells the tale of sending her children to put sheets or towels away in the linen closet. She gave them instructions something like this:

Put the towels away.
Put them in the closet.
Make sure they are on a shelf in the closet.

She did, unfortunately, forget to clarify that they should then shut the closet door.

There’s an important lesson here. When you have children like mine who assume that cleaning their bedrooms ought to be a seasonal activity, never assume that “put the towels away” is clear and adequate instruction.

But this Friday is the last day of school, so this summer we can take a deep breath and kick back—at least until it’s time to find the 7000 items we’ll need in order to send our YW-aged daughters to girls’ camp. And then there’s the pioneer trek . . . and yikes, I need to pack for the family reunion. Anyone have a good idea for a skit for the talent show? Last year we stole an idea from the Cub Scouts and did the Invisible Bench. We’re open to new suggestions.

I’d better get to work. But before I head off to do the laundry and find a substitute teacher for my Sunbeam class, here are a couple of thoughts on organization, or the lack thereof:

It’s a shame, really, that library fines aren’t tax deductible. (Yes, I’ve asked). Furthermore, I think the library should have a Walk of Fame program for big-ticket fine payers. After you reach a certain amount in a given year, you get a decorative brick with your name on it added to the library walkway. If you’re really forking over the cash, eventually they name a wing of the library after you.

Paperwork gives me the fidgets. With four kids in school, I have mounds of school notices, newsletters, field trip forms, homework, etc. coming through my house. I need a secretary. No—I need Mrs. Danvers, the formidable housekeeper in Daphne Du Maurier’s classic novel, Rebecca. “Your son has a field trip next Friday, Madam,” she’d say, handing me the form as I sit sipping my orange juice and reading Rob Well’s blog. She’d then hand me a pen--an actual ballpoint pen with actual ink in it, not a colored pencil without a tip—and point to where I needed to sign, after which she’d go back to the business of being creepy and evil, but it would be worth it to have the tax info all organized when April 15th rolls around.

Losing one shoe is worse than losing two shoes. If you’ve lost both shoes, chances are they’re together, so you can try to figure out where you left them. But if you find one and not the other, you’re doomed. The lost shoe could have ended up anywhere—the dress-up box, the car, the neighbor’s house, Cincinnati.

Rule of Lost Objects: If you are missing something other than shoes (electrical tape, scissors, glue, hairbrushes, towels, nail clippers, the Pyramids of Giza, Atlantis), check my teenage daughter’s room.

Rule of Travel: You will never return home from vacation with all the socks you brought with you.

Which brings up an interesting thought. If I pack an odd number of random socks, would I come home with an even number of matched pairs?

It’s worth a try.


At 6/14/2006 2:02 PM, Blogger Mean Aunt said...

Ooo, send Mrs Danvers this way when she's through at your house.

The thing about disorganization is it is impossible for organized people to comprehend. Why don't you just write the library due date on the calendar and take them back on time? Huh? What do you mean you did but now you can't find the calendar (assuming you remember to look at it).

I did think about making a list once. But I couldn't find a pen.

At 6/14/2006 5:39 PM, Blogger oshee said...

Do you live in my house?

If so, I must have lost you somewhere.

At 6/16/2006 2:03 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Check under the laundry pile. I often get buried under laundry piles and don't emerge for weeks.


Post a Comment

<< Home