Editor’s Note: As his annual Mother’s Day gift, Mike turns his column space over to his wife, Lee Elliff-Pound, because he is too cheap to give her anything else.
Until recently, I thought I was really joining most other midlife women in attaining that heretofore elusive thing — organization. Ha! If you’ve read Mike’s column, you know that my idea of being organized compared with a normal person’s idea is, well, different if nothing else. I prefer to call it creative organization.
I live and die by my calendar. That is, when I know where it is. I can’t tell you how many times I either call or, better yet, text Mike in the morning and tell him I’ve forgotten my calendar, and that if I don’t have it that day, I’ll absolutely die. The text will go something like this:
“Good morning, darling. Would you please be able to find a quick moment in your very busy day to please drop my calendar off by my office, please? I would be forever grateful and love you forever. XOXOXO!!”
And then I wake up from my daydream and send the real text:
“Hi. Forgot my calendar. MUST have it today. Lost without it. Love you! ;-) “
First, Mike will spend about 30 minutes cursing me under his breath because he’ll have to stop by my office, which, by the way, he drives by every day so it’s not really out of his way. Then, he’ll spend another 30 minutes trying to figure out what the semicolon with a dash and closed parenthesis is in my text.
So, once I get my calendar back in my hands, I can resume my day as a working mom, organizing the many meetings and tasks I have set ahead of me. Only there seems to be a problem as I look at my calendar. The problem is that not all of my events seem to be scheduled on the right day.
Now, I’m not one of those techno fans who likes to put their calendar on a computer, on the Internet or even on my phone. I’ve set my phone before to ring to remind me about a meeting. The only problem is that I’ve left my phone in a totally different room and then I don’t hear that I’m late for a meeting. All the while my cellphone is playing Reba McEntire’s “I’m a Survivor” for everyone else who’s around, and they have no idea what or why my phone is playing the theme song from her hilarious sitcom. By the time I find my phone, turn off the alarm and figure out what the alarm was set for, I’m late for whatever and wherever it was that I’m supposed to be.
Nope, I like the old-fashioned calendars that you can write on, staple appointment cards on, doodle in and stuff with a lot of other miscellaneous and very-important-at-the-time pieces of paper. I don’t want anything virtual or automated. I want paper. I want a calendar just like what my mom had hanging right over the old-fashioned rotary-dial telephone in our kitchen. If it was good enough for my mom in the ’60s and ’70s, it’s good enough for me today. She made sure we got where we were supposed to go. And if I had a rotary-dial telephone, I wouldn’t constantly be misplacing the house phone and using my cellphone to call the house to find the phone either.
So this past year I’ve tried to be more like my mom. I’m writing down all of my meetings, all of Emma’s classes and special events, and any weekends for which we have family events planned. I’ve even done some color-coding to be more organized. This sounds and looks great in my old-fashioned, spiral-bound calendar. If it’s written on the correct date?
I was feeling really good about my calendarizing, as I call it. That is until this week. Mike pointed out that we have triple booked, not once, mind you, but twice, the very same weekend.
Thank heaven for my mom. She will call me and remind me of important things — on a daily basis — that I should have down in my calendar. “Don’t forget you have a haircut tonight after work,” or “Emma has dance practice tonight.” My lack of calendar organization has now led her to asking Elva, who cuts our hair, to simply hand over my schedule card to her directly so she can remind me. My mom is truly organized, is what I’m saying. Maybe I should hand over my calendar to her.
So now that I’ve reorganized the triple booked weekend a third time, I’m going to go write it all down in my calendar, if I can find it. Guess I’d better go call my mom.