It started with the ‘H’ key. Years ago, it somehow broke off the computer keyboard and went missing. After that, in order to make an ‘H’ appear on the screen, I had to forcibly press on the uneven metal parts that became exposed in its absence. It irritated my fingers and slowed my typing.
My husband said it wasn’t a big deal. Sure. No problem at all. After all it’s only in those minor words like ‘the’ or my name. Barely used at all!
Of course, I did little to fix this problem. Every day on my way home from work I passed a sign that boldly proclaimed WE FIX COMPUTERS – CHEAP! I never wrote down the number. Months passed and the ‘H’ key remained missing.
This was the start of what I like to call my “Overflow List.” These are the things in my household that are just left hanging. These aren’t just items that I didn’t get to check off the “To Do” list. These poor things never even make it onto the “To Do” list.
See that pile of papers on my dresser? Yes, that was previously the pile of papers from the kitchen counter. It just gets moved around when we have visitors.
Hear that random beeping noise coming from somewhere near my bedroom? Or maybe it’s in the attic? It sounds like a truck, or maybe the Little People school bus. It usually startles me awake right as I’m drifting off to sleep. I have made some lame attempts to find this toy, but have been unsuccessful. Instead, my husband and I lie in bed at night and talk about finding it. It has been at least a month. It must stop at some point, right?
Oh, don’t mind the vacuum in the corner of the room. Ever since we did a bit of a house renovation (oh, two years ago!) and got rid of one of our closets, my vacuum has not had a permanent place to be stored. I usually just leave it in the last room I vacuum. When company comes over, I roll it into the room I think that will be visited least.
Impressed that I run on an incline on the treadmill? Don’t be. I’m only doing it because ever since we moved the treadmill into the corner of the playroom it shakes terribly if not on an incline. I keep saying I’ll try to fix it, but it is usually after my workout when I don’t want to do anything but plop down on the floor and let my kids climb all over me since they are outraged that they have not been the center of my attention for thirty minutes. So, I run on … with an incline. I suppose this will create a healthier me, but it is really annoying to have to work out harder than I want to!
Oh, you like the handmade Easter egg decoration hanging off of our closet door? It’s so cute. My daughter made it in preschool – eight months ago! You know, when it was actually Easter.
Of course, you are completely correct, I should definitely just do these things instead of writing about them! I will admit that part of the reason there are so many neglected items in my house is laziness. I see that Easter egg every time I sit down to watch television after the kids go to bed. I could easily get up and put it away, but I really just want to watch a show that is not a cartoon.
And, where would I put it anyway? All of the other Easter decorations are safely stored in the attic, and I can’t just throw it away. If I took it off the door, it would likely just be placed on the kitchen counter, where all other miscellaneous items seem to find their way.
So, I let it hang there.
There are quite a few things left hanging around here – literally and figuratively. I am constantly battling the feeling of being overwhelmed with the mundane tasks of parenthood. To combat this, I make lists and lists of things I think I should do: Organize closets. Clean under bed. Weed garden.
However, I often lose these lists before I can even finish making them – never mind actually completing the tasks on the lists. Sometimes, my daughter will find a list and practice drawing purple cats on it, or my son will unearth a list and use it to wrap up a dinosaur toy. He presents this gift to me as if saying, Isn’t this a far better use of your time? Dinosaurs. Playing. Imagination.
So, I abandon list after list. I never add those things like Fix treadmill. Instead, after completing the necessities – grocery shopping, cooking, laundry – I play Candyland with my daughter (again!), and I read a dinosaur book to my son that I can recite line by line.For months, I used the missing ‘H’ key as an excuse not to write. However, at some point I started to realize that not only was the ‘H’ important to my typed name, but it was also important to my Happiness. It certainly was NOT an item to forget about like the pile of papers on my counter.
So, we eventually replaced the keyboard, and I could no longer use the missing key as an excuse not to write. With full access to all letters of the alphabet, anything is possible. So, now, instead of adding unnecessary items to my “To Do” list, I will write about them instead.
Of course, I’m curious. What is on your “overflow” list?