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June 8, 2005

A day late and a dollar short

Of course, I am about 72 days and thousands of dollars short, but you get the general idea. I am behind in everything. EVERYTHING. Here is a brief list, with a longer more detailed description to follow.

• I am behind schedule on my diet

• I am waaaay late planting my garden. Hi, it's JUNE.

• I am weeks behind in email answering, blogstalking and general internets tomfoolery.

• I am one poor pathetic excuse of a mail-receiver and mail-sender.

• I am behind on holidays.

• I am woefully behind on writing.

• I am totally late to the draw with every kind of family obligation.

• I am behind on the seasons.

• I am behind on my knitting.

• I am behind on world events, news, politics, etc. (but I am totally caught up on gossip, thank you Star magazine and US weekly! I sure got my priorities straight!)

Ok, so here we go. Got some coffee? This is long.

1. Diet
My fridge currently has all manner of peppers, cauliflower, broccoli and other ass-diminishing foods still sitting in the plastic. Hard to eat them when they are just sitting there, unwashed, uncut and uncooked. At this point their only purpose is to separate the beer from the diet Coke.

2. Garden
When the hell did it get to be June already? I have yet to break ground in my backyard for a garden or plant any of the two bazillion seed packets I bought. My parents told me this weekend I'd be better off eating the seeds. THANKS, YA'LL.

3. Internets
I am one poor correspondent, I've been too (too) hard to find. But I just can't seem to get you off my mind. And when I get home at night, do I turn on the computer and answer email and do all the responsible, geeklike things I truly want and need to do? No. I come home, feed the cats, clean the catbox, and have just enough time before bed for a glass of wine on the patio. If I start getting home any later or getting up any earlier, I'll just be going to bed when the alarm goes off. Woe the fuck is me.

4. Mail
Ok, we're going to save this one for last. Because it's long, detailed, and VERY IMPORTANT.

5. Holidays
My mom's Mother's Day gift? Still sitting here making California a better place to be. How can she love a child who is incapable of sending anything on time? And Father's Day? It's next weekend. Have I found a good Dad present yet? HAH HAH HAH.

6. Writing
I want to write a piece for Annie, knit goddess and object of all my affection. But have I completed it? No. Why? because I want it to be PERFECT and also, I want it to NOT SUCK. Here's where I get into real trouble. For more on this, see "mail" below.

7. Family obligations
In addition to holidays (see above) I have also got a birthday and graduation card here for my nephew who graduated and ate birthday cake a month ago. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH ME? Perhaps these gifts and cards needed to age. We may never know. Also, my Uncle Truman? Calls my parents once a day to tell them that me, Their Bad Daughter, has not called. Again.

8. Seasons

9. Knitting
Mystery Knitted Cat Thingamajig? From, like, February? Still only half-done. Self-hatred sets in.

10. World Events, etc.
Perhaps I haven't had time to read any news or watch any news or do anything remotely brain-expanding, but let me guess: Politics still sucks, we're still at war, the economy is still weird, the globe is still warming, the rich are still rich and the poor are still poor. Am I close?

Now. Let's get back to #4: MAIL.

This one is important because it explains a lot about me, and really has less to do with my currently insane workload than it does with my always insane self. The fact is, I have a problem. Well, two problems, really.

Perfectionism and Procrastination.

My two closest companions. Perhaps you may have seen them before? Do they look familiar to you, too? Please say yes. Don't leave me here all alone with them.

And what does this have to do with mail? Well, ya'll know I love mail. I mean LOVE it. This comes from spending most of my life in some rural chickenscratch town where the mail was the one surprise every day. Except Sundays, and those were dreaded interminable endless days, spent in too-tight dress shoes and on hard church pews. No surprises there. But mail? You just never could tell what might show up in the big metal mailbox.

When you live out on the Rural Route 99 and your mailbox is down half a mile at the foot of the drive, you also get the feeling that you're traveling long and far to get your surprise. I used to wait each day for three o'clock to roll around so I could take the dogs with me and walk down to the end of the long, winding dirt trail we called a "driveway" and pick up the mail and afternoon paper. In Comfort, Texas and all the little towns of my childhood, one thing stayed the same: meandering to the mailbox, wondering where the stamps would be from, getting dust on my toes as I went to fetch the mail.


So I do love mail. At age seven I got my first pen-pal, and she was from a fabled and far-away place called "Manitoba." I looked up Manitoba on the Time-Life Atlas and decided it must be very, very exciting there. I don't know what became of my pen-pal, but to this day, the word Manitoba still makes me think of snowglobes and pretty stamps.

I also love to send mail. LOVE it. I love the packaging, the addressing, the careful contemplation of every piece, like a little treasure hunt in a box. But, ah, here's where my twin theives of suckage, perfectionim and procrastination, come into play. I can't just mail something. Oh no. I have to make it AN EVENT. Which is retarded. I mean, just put the pieces together in a box and mail it.


I am the person who insists upon making my own holiday cards every year and EVERY YEAR fails to mail them on time, or mail them at all, because they must be PERFECT. And if they are not perfect, I cannot send them.

I have a long, long list of ways that the two Ps affect my life and ya'll, it is not for the positive. Let's take email for example. I can't just send off a one-line reply, or jot a quick "Thanks! Talk to you soon!" as Lynne has discovered. No. Instead, I will appear to be ignoring all your little notes for a week when suddenly you get the War & Peace of emails in your inbox. (Drew, you know, too. I'm sorry. I'll try to write postcard emails from now on. How's your eyestrain, by the way?)

And now I need to do a little apologizing. I LOVE the mail, and each piece makes me so happy and I laugh and feel like it's Christmas and I am appreciative, in fact I am floored that anyone would send me anything, and yet, have I let anyone know this?


So, this is the mail I have received in the past two weeks:

And this is the mail I have yet to send:

Notice the carefully designed box labels, the uniformity of the box size, the padded envelopes, the tissue paper and bubble wrap. And imagine inside a handmade card, perhaps a little voodoo, a surprise or two. Now imagine I meant to send this all weeks ago but I am here, STUCK IN MY RUT OF PERFECTIONIST PROCRASTINATION trying to make you the best ever T-shirt, card, or CD, something that will knock your socks off.

And there's more. More ways I fuck up with the perfectionism. See, when I received each little mailbox surprise, I should have just emailed a quick "Thank you! love it!" but I did not do so. Instead, I thought, "Oh, they'll love it so much more if I send something unique and small and funny!" Or, in other words, perfect. And while I am having all this perfection happening in my mind, ya'll are out there thinking I have no good sense and I have bad manners because I never write, never call. When I'm just trying to find the perfect way to thank you.

I must stop this. I have to change. And now.

One of my Birthday Resolutions, coming soon to an Internets near you in mid-June, is to STOP WITH THE PERFECTIONISM. Especially when all the (imperfect, but still fun) outbound mail is stalled at home. Not in the mail. Or in your mailbox. Or anywhere near Manitoba.

So. Tomorrow is Thursday. I will wake up a few hours early to do some much needed email maintenance and print some things out. Friday night I will finish assembling the goodness, and Saturday it's off to the Post Office, even if nothing is perfectly perfect. NO MATTER WHAT.

Also, tomorrow I will give you the detailed low-down on THE LOOT!!! With pictures! I've received such cool packages and nice notes and postcards and all manner of goodness. And, please, bear with me. I've had 33 years to entrench myself in My Issues, it may take me a few weeks to work out all the kinks.

But I thank you :) I do I do I do.

P.S. I just need to say it one more time. MANITOBA. Love that word.

Posted by laurie at June 8, 2005 8:40 AM